So I am stepping out of my normal “regular scheduled programming” to share with you something I found fascinating!

My older siblings and I were watching this movie with my Mom and Dad. Sherlock Holmes featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. *disclaimer* I don’t recommend this movie for younger viewers, and even for us adults, my parents still fast-forward several parts.

Loving Historical Costumes the way I do, I was analyzing what the characters wear and came up with a rather fun conclusion. Wardrobe really is essential to good story telling through visuals. It relays something about the character before you even get a chance to know them otherwise. I will start with Sherlock.


You can tell by his costumes right away that he is man of an eclectic and rather carefree nature. Looking perfect is not his top priority. Mixing and matching patterns. ( I do love his Brocade waistcoat thought!)



Again mixing patterns, styles. Not really caring that his belt is not in the proper place or that his buttons are all buttoned. They are doing their job and that is all that matters.


So what can we tell just by looking at his wardrobe? He is eclectic, doesn’t really care about the traditions or society rules of the day. Wears what he likes and is comfortable with that. Now compare him to Watson in the next picture. Watson is very put together and Holmes looks more ragged around the edges.





Again, in this picture, they are very different. Watson has a neat, orderly tidiness about him that Sherlock does not have.



He is organized, put together and dashing. Not necessarily in the self aware way, but he cares about presenting a good image and appearing professional. He is a professional and wants to put those around him at ease, so they know he is clean cut and upstanding.


Irene Adler:



Irene Adler is flamboyant to say the least. Definitely not what you would expect from a Victorian era lady. Hot pink is not something your average woman would be wearing to walk the streets. It shows us something about her though. She doesn’t care what other people think. She is different and she knows it. Modesty is not that important to her, yet the cut of her gown shows she has refined taste and is very fashionable.



Her overcoat of Brocade Velvet is gorgeous and shows that she does have some reason to be a little less forward with her costume, when it suits her purpose.

Sherlock Holmes


Her hat is gorgeous, probably acceptable, but her makeup is a little more than the average woman would wear. Makeup was a little more frowned upon in those days. She is definitely attention getting and sets the stage well with her wardrobe choices.




Now compare Irene with Mary, a sweet, upstanding young woman who has caught the eye, and heart, of John Watson. She is a beautiful woman, well dressed, and well carried. Her outfits speak of refinement, quiet taste, modesty, but appreciation for beauty and culture.



Her wedding gown in the second movie was beautiful, Modest, and simple. Allowing her natural beauty to shine through.


Her travelling outfit was simple, yet gorgeous. With no undue attraction added. The color and cut were very flattering, yet they did not call attention to themselves.



So from Mary we can gather that she is lovely, likes to dress well, but is not flamboyant or attention seeking. She is refined and simple, but well enough off.


Well, that caps off my analysis. Costumes, in my opinion, are very important in a film. They convey a small part of the characters overall personality and tell us things we don’t even realize sometimes, but are there none the less. Kudos to Jenny Beavan for the amazing job she did with the costume design for these movies. I was blown away by the beauty and complexity of each piece. I can only one day hope to achieve such greatness in my seamstress and designing abilities!


What did you think of the post? Should I do more like this?

By His Grace,