Welcome to today's edition of the Austen Awards. This time we're focusing on all things FASHION. So check out my picks for the ten best wardrobes in Austen films, and vote for your favorite below! Come back tomorrow when I rank the hunks of Austen, and Friday when I rank the heroines!
Okay, I'll be honest... I'm a sucker for the color blue, and particularly love all things blue and white. So Jane Fairfax's wardrobe in the 2009 version of Emma was just incredibly lovely to me. It's a tossup between the picnic and her blue dress with the criss crossing on the bodice (verrrrry similar to a dress the Jane Fairfax in the '96 version wore, I might add.) In the end, I had to go with the picnic dress. It's very simple, but adorable. And really it's a type of dress that's all in the details.
Unfortunately, for Jane Erstwhile(Hayes) in the first half of Austenland gets some pretty drab clothes. But once she takes control of her "life" and sets out to be a heroine, she gets a nice makeover and looks fabulous for the rest of the movie. Really Amelia Heartwright should be getting the credit here as it's her clothes that help out Jane, but nevertheless. My favorite dress is the one she makes her entrance in!
Truth be told, Elizabeth Bennet's wardrobe on a whole in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice is rather drab. She earned a spot on this list purely for her Netherfield Ballgown. I feel that this dress has become rather iconic for Jane Austen films, so I had to put it on here. I do like her wardrobe, it just is more functional than beautiful.
Mansfield Park is the only Austen novel I haven't read all the way through, but the novel MUST describe Mary Crawford as a total fashionista because both film adaptations always show her to be fashion forward. Hayley Atwell's version is the lesser of the two style-wise, but still always looks fabulous. Her look when she comes to Mansfield Park is my favorite.
Lily James's version of Elizabeth Bennet has to be the most well-dressed version of the character to date. Both of her ballgowns are gorgeous (unlike Keira's Elizabeth, who looks like she put on the rattiest dress she owned for the Meryton Ball.) But Lily James's Elizabeth also has adorable day to day wear. Even all of her outerwear is adorable. Basically Elizabeth looks fantastic anywhere she goes making her perhaps the loveliest Elizabeth to ever grace the screen.
One of the things I like a lot about the 2005 Pride & Prejudice is how fashion forward Caroline looks in comparison to everyone else. They're all stuck with the fashions of the last decade, while Caroline's clothes reflect someone en vogue. My favorite look is probably her red dress, but I chose to showcase the green one for two reasons. #1 I could find a better full-length picture of it, and #2 because the green looks stunning contrasted with her red hair. Let's be honest, whatever Caroline is wearing in Pride & Prejudice 2005, she's looking pretty fabulous.
All Emmas must be incredibly fashionable and have the most adorable wardrobes. This is a very important rule whether you're set in a modern version, or a period version. Emma 2009 is no different and honestly the best thing this movie has going for it is probably the clothes (now being seen on Jane in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.) I do really like her yellow dress, but I think my favorite is her orange floral one. I would legitimately wear it.
Some wardrobes are beautiful, some are stunning and on trend. And then there's Catherine Morland's whose clothes are simply ADORABLE. Every single dress she wears is absolutely precious in Northanger Abbey. Unfortunately, there aren't many pictures online that reflect this since most of her gowns are seen in very poor lighting. My favorite dress is her white and pink ballgown, but there are many runners-up! Seriously, every single dress (minus the dress she wears when she dines with Henry and his father,) I wish I could own. For more looks at her other adorable dresses that I couldn't find HQ pics of, check out this post HERE.
Everything Mary Crawford wears in the '99 version of Mansfield Park is full of edge and fashion. Her clothes and the confidence they give her are a big ingredient to her success in bewitching men. Like Caroline Bingley, her wardrobe reflects how fashion forward she is, as well as how refined she is. This was a tough choice between her gold trimmed ball gown and the dark blue dress with the long see-through sleeves. The blue one felt more iconic, so I had to go with that. Mary is the type of character where you can't wait to see what she wears next. I only wish we could have seen more of her wardrobe!
I HAVE to give this honor to Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma. Literally every single thing she wears in this movie is stunning. I thought about doing a simple top ten of most beautiful dresses in Austen films, but I knew that Emma '96 would totally dominate this list for me. She has so many memorable looks. But really it was between two: her iconic pink dress she practices archery in and her patterned dress she wears at the picnic. I went with the picnic dress in the end because I just love how the whole look comes together. She looks absolutely beautiful here as she does throughout the whole movie.
Honorable mentions: Not everyone could make the top ten. But here are some honorable mentions. Mrs. Elton in '09 had a couple cute dresses, Marianne & Elinor from the '95 Sense and Sensibility had some lovely ball gowns. I really like Elinor's classed up style, Anne Hathaway's Jane Austen had some adorable dresses in Becoming Jane, Isabella Thorpe was always impeccably dressed in Northanger Abbey. Fanny had a nice ball gown in Mansfield Park, and Kate Beckinsale had some beautiful dresses in Love & Friendship.
MODERN FASHION: As I said before, ALL Emmas dress impeccably. Cher in Clueless is totally iconic (if dated for the 90's fashions, but still fun!) Emma Approved's Emma has a wardrobe I would kill for. Seriously, one of the funnest reasons to watch would be to see what she wore next. Lizzie Bennet is a girl after my own heart with her constant Anthropologie fashion in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Jane Bennet always looked adorably put together and precious. Caroline Lee always looked great as well in Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Elizabeth Bennet in A Latter-Day Comedy had some adorable early 2000's outfits.
FASHION POLICE: The 1940's version of Pride & Prejudice. Honestly, I never wanna watch you because of your fugly costumes.