We're going to start today with a look at how stupid costume people on stupid television shows cannot be bothered to go do proper research, of which there is even plenty on-line and can take no more than five minutes to look up a historical painting or photograph to correlate with whether or not you got the historic clothing right. It is especially agregious when the time period is the American Civil War and there are 50,000 reenactors as of 2000 (Wikipedia, 2009). With so many people interested in this time period, you'd think the costume people could try a little harder.
First, let's start with the people that are supposed to be portraying "slaves" in this show:
Let's compare with an 1862 photo of slaves:
There are NO shirts and skirts in the 1860s! I hate that! Well, ok, caveat, there was occasionally, but not to the extent that all the slaves should be wearing it. In the top photo, the "slave" has a blousy, unfitted shirt and a skirt with way too little fabric to be right for the time period. In the second picture, what the heck is the slave companion wearing? That particular slave lady also has a corset, which, usually, is fine, but in this case, check out the real photo. NONE of the women are wearing corsets. You can tell, because much is sagging or otherwise loose. If there was a corset, you'd seen the straightness of the body up to the bust line. Also, in the real photo, the skirts and bodices are attached and made of the SAME material. Really, it's not that hard to put that together. Here, get a pattern. Or two.
While we're at it, look at the young lady in the second picture. While the jacket she wears is decent for her age and the time period and the skirt is really not that bad, a little too much skin! A blouse on her would have been appropriate.
This one of the main young lady is also horrible:
Oh, come on. In the time it took me to write this, the costume designer could have checked out this website: Wikipedia, 1860s fashion or looked up these lovely patterns of which there are many and decent ones that they could have used on the girl character. Simplicity even carries some really decent 1860s outfits in their current line. That's right. She could have gone to the fabric store, or WALMART and looked these up in their pattern catalogs. Sheesh! (Did you hear that Susan De Laval and Jennifer L. Bryan?) And seriously, if you don't have the time to make the costumes, you can buy plenty of decent ones. Oh, and that's just the tip of the ice berg.
And don't even get me started on the men's clothing in these pictures. Double ACK!