Who wouldn't want to dress Jamie Fraser, hunky Sam Heughan's counterpart on the popular TV series Outlander? He is good looking and muscular and takes well to well-designed outfits.
Viewers might have been too besotted with the actor to even notice his outfits, however, there are many things about them which remain unnoticed and unconsidered. For example, the story behind the tartans and kilts, and the Scottish traditions considered in their construction. Here are 10 things about Jamie Fraser's onscreen garments which you probably didn't know about:
10 Mix and match
There are times in the narrative where Jamie's apparel is mixed and matched. This means that some of his outfits aren't stand-alone outfits but bits and pieces from each are added together to create something new. This is as it is with any person's wardrobe.
Sometimes a kilt is added to another ensemble... a shirt here... trousers there... the result is a credible character, from a specific time and fashion period, with a relatively humble wardrobe, with some key pieces. The wardrobe team from Outlander, as planned and as detail-conscious as they are, made provision for some flexibility.
9 Ode to nothing
Some outfits weren't hand-made. Some didn't exist at all! This included the undergarments for men who wore kilts, keeping within true Scotsman style. Jamie Fraser wore nothing underneath the well-fashioned kilts designed by Dresbach and her team.
This fact about Sam Heughan's attire as Jamie might not be spoken about but for fans, it's an important detail about Jamie's Scottish attire. The costume design team really did their homework in keeping everything true to 18th century Scotland fashion and this was just a part of it.
8 Tartan surfaces
Fans would probably know that the different clans in Scotland wear different tartans to show their allegiance to clan members and the 'family'. The Fraser family, for example, has their own unique tartan, worn for the first time by Jamie at his wedding.
Dresbach said that the tartan patterns for the show had been chosen to reflect the look of the show. She said research had also been undertaken, and they had found the tartans worn during the Victorian period had been particularly bright.
7 Fine detail, impressive results
Viewers might be too focussed on Jamie to notice the finer detail on his clothes but according to designer Dresbach, it was all about the details when creating the garments for Jamie and the rest of the Outlander cast.
The team designing the costumes made sure everything was done properly to reflect historic accuracy, the expected wear and tear on the garment, and cultural and personal nuances. Dresbach explained it was irrelevant whether or not viewers could see the detail on screen. As long as the characters knew it was there, their acting was positively impacted by the experience of wearing the state-of-the-art outfits.
6 Jamie's wedding attire
Jamie Fraser's wedding attire was as impressive as the character himself. Before this, he is presented looking rugged and somewhat scruffy. When he gets married, he is shown cleaned up, with an outfit to match his transition from boy to man.
His attire shows he has grown up and has successfully made the transition into manhood. This is also the first time he wears the Fraser tartan and his kilt is folded differently to previous episodes.
5 Jamie's favorite suit
Jamie has a special suit which follows him from Scotland. He wears it for many episodes, and it appears to age with each one. Designer Dresbach explained this was done through adding layers and layers of darning to it.
The suit itself was handstitched and seams were intentionally ripped apart in later episodes, sometimes stitched back together, to create the illusion of credible wearing and tearing over time. Lots of repairs happened to the suit - some visible and some not visible - to add to the authenticity of Jamie's apparel.
4 Clad in kilts
For the tartan ensembles which make Jamie seem so becoming, designer Dresbach said she and her team had done extensive research. The kilts are made from yards of fabric and can be wrapped in different ways, for different effects, as evidenced in the series.
The actors were taught some kilt skills to get the wrapping of the kilts just right. Putting them on required first lying down on them, before wrapping them up in a specific way, depending on the specific look or image required (formal or informal), to reflect historic accuracy.
3 Based on the books
Jamie Fraser's attire in the TV series was worked out to stay true to the books by Diana Gabaldon. This would probably please readers, who first fell in love with Jamie and his rugged sense of fashion through black and white print.
Even actor Sam Heughan's hair has been dyed red in keeping with the character of Jamie Fraser, who has a charming spray of red hair. Sam Heughan has naturally blond hair but red hair suits him just fine!
2 Fashioned with care
A lot of work went into making Jamie’s dashing outfits, along with the other outfits on the Outlander series. Costume designer Terry Dresbach explained that all of the ensembles worn by the cast were, in fact, all hand-made. She explained that there were not many stores which stocked 18th-century clothing finishes.
As such, everything, including the buttons, swashbuckling belts, hats, etc had to be hand-made by Dresbach and her team. Even the fabric, including the tartans worn by Jamie and the men, was designed specifically for the show.
1 Busy bees
The team which worked on Jamie and the Outlander crew outfits had to produce thousands of garments during the filming of the series. Ten thousand garments had to be produced for Season 2 alone.
Considering that all of these garments were hand-made, with fine attention to detail, one has to take their hat off to the costume design team. Furthermore, all of the outfits were one-of-a-kind, in that there were no back-ups for them.