There are so, SO many TV shows and movies out there that create such costume envy in their viewers. Who hasn’t seen one of Daenerys Targaryen‘s many regal outfits and thought “why can’t I dress like a Khaleesi too?” Hasn’t every girl wished at some point that she could glide around a ballroom with a handsome prince in Belle’s iconic golden Beauty and the Beast dress? There are a ton of majestic costumes that we all wish we could own, and we thought it was high time we celebrate some of them.
18. Once Upon a Time
When dozens of fairy tale characters are brought together into one mega-magical TV show, there’s bound to be some pretty incredible costumes involved. Once Upon a Time doesn’t disappoint! I could write a college-length thesis about the gowns featured in each season, but I’ll limit myself. Regina’s general aesthetic definitely deserves a shout-out, though! Burgundy and black make a pretty badass combination and are well used in this Evil Queen’s wardrobe. Pair that with her love of lace and leather and you have some pretty phenomenal looks! I also wish it was socially acceptable to wear her elbow-length leather gloves on the daily because WOW. Can you get much cooler than that?
Back in the 16th century, the French court was pretty much the center of all things fashionable. This is definitely reflected in Reign, which chronicles Mary Queen of Scots’ attempts to survive and thrive in this foreign court. Mary’s gowns are consistently stunning, with their intricate patterns and bejeweled details taking our breath away every time! She looks every inch the queen – and her ladies in waiting don’t look too bad, either. Part of me seriously wants to time-travel back a few centuries so I can strut around looking like a French princess (although in reality, I’d probably be a peasant dressed in a potato sack).
16. Thor: Ragnarok
The first element of Thor: Ragnarok’s costuming that I’d like to commend is the fact that the title character ends up not wearing much at all for one particularly memorable scene. Everyone needs some shirtless Chris Hemsworth in their lives. However, the times when characters are fully clothed are also pretty darn cool. I’m thinking especially of Hela, the evil-yet-badass Goddess of Death, and Valkyrie, whose armor is a sight to behold.
Hela is just so metal it hurts, stalking around Asgard in her jet-black gown and horned headdress. Valkyrie, on the other hand, looks like she could kill (or at least seriously harm) a bitch in her glistening white-and-gold suit.
15. Dancing With The Stars
Many of us have probably dreamed of competing in Dancing with the Stars, simply to wear all of the incredible costumes that the dancers sport each week. (Also to dance with one of the cute pros, TBH.) Who doesn’t want to waltz around the ballroom in a gorgeous, fur-trimmed gown? On top of that, you’d get to bring out the sparkle, sequins, and sass for the Latin dances, and generally look like a total superstar. Plus, all of the men either look totally sizzling in their salsa gear or polished to perfection in their black tie suits. The show’s costume department seriously deserve all of the awards for finding such perfect outfits for each specific dance!
This 2002 film adaption of the famous musical of the same name seriously brought it with its costuming. Somehow, Chicago manages to make sexy jailbird chic a thing, and it does so with aplomb! I’ve never really been one for fishnets or saucy burlesque attire, but for some reason, I always want to buy some after I watch Chicago. Same goes for sparkly 1920s flapper dresses and giant fur coats that scream “I just murdered my husband.” Velma and Roxie are surprisingly well-dressed for a pair of murderesses living in prison. I’m not complaining, though — got to love all of that sparkle.
13. The Crown
This smash hit Netflix drama about the early years of the Queen’s reign seriously makes me wish I was an English royal. THOSE DRESSES! It’s estimated that the first season contains no less than 20,000 separate costumes, and they’re all stunning. It’d be hard not to feel regal in the gorgeous gowns that Claire Foy’s Elizabeth gets to wear. A particular standout is her incredible gold-laced coronation dress – it pretty much took my breath away. I mean, it’s not the kind of thing you’d be able to wear to the grocery store, but I could keep one for special occasions, right?!
12. The Tudors
This late-2000s bodice-ripping drama brought a lot of now-familiar faces to our screen for the first time, including Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer and Superman hunk Henry Cavill. It also gave us a LOT of gorgeous Tudor costumes that we all kind of wish would come back into fashion. The production team manufactured around 500 original costumes specifically for the series and rented or altered dozens of others. Every single dress is intricately woven with velvet, pearls, and golden threads. It’s almost enough to make one wish they were Henry VIII’s queen — but not quite, because let’s face it, he was a pretty awful husband.
Creating costumes for Westworld must have been no mean feat: every piece of 19th century Wild West-era clothing looks incredibly authentic. It’s unsurprising to learn that almost everything was handmade. Even the fabric was specially commissioned to get the most realistic look possible! Dolores’s pretty cornflower-blue dress gives off such Southern Belle vibes, while Maeve’s role as a madam is perfectly encompassed by her raunchier, brighter clothing. On top of that, the modern costumes of the corporate side of Westworld contrast perfectly with the park’s traditional theme. Frankly, I mostly want to get me a badass wild-west-hero outfit. Who doesn’t want to look like they’re about to save the day?
10. Downton Abbey
The costumes of Downton Abbey are the epitome of class and sophistication – well, okay, maybe not the servants’ clothes but everyone upstairs was dressed to the 9s. The Crawley sisters kept right up to date with the fashions of the Edwardian era, sporting some beautiful gowns over the years. There were also some more daring fashion choices, including Lady Sybill’s daring decision in the first season to wear – can you believe it – PANTS. It was genuinely shocking stuff at the time! The luxury of the era was perfectly displayed in these aristocrats’ attire, both ‘modern’ and more traditional. Plus, Maggie Smith’s Lady Violet sported an amazing range of hats. Good choice, your ladyship.
9. The Lord of The Rings trilogy
Let’s clear something up straight away here. When I’m calling Lord of the Rings costumes majestic, I absolutely do not mean those of the orcs. Those beastly creatures and I may look similar before I get my hair and makeup done in the morning, but they’re hardly anyone’s style inspiration. No, I’m thinking more of Lady Galadriel, the ethereal elven beauty whose glistening silvery-white gown is wedding goals. In fact, the elves, in general, have pretty good taste. Liv Tyler’s Arwen actually does get married in the final film, and her stunning pale green dress with its scooped sleeves is a fairy tale wedding dream. Basically, LotR’s costuming is the perfect wedding inspiration for us all.
8. Anna Karenina
Back in 2013, historical drama Anna Karenina won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and it’s easy to see why. Keira Knightley portrays the doomed princess who pays for an adulterous affair with her life, and she looks stunning in every frame of the film. It’s not surprising considering a) Knightley could wear literally anything and look gorgeous and b) an estimated $2 million worth of Chanel diamond and pearl jewelry accessorized her elaborate Russian period dresses. That’s one heck of a budget! The stunning deep reds and blacks of Anna’s gowns cause her to stand out against her pastel-clad contemporaries and represent the dark side of the character that eventually emerges.
7. The White Princess
The White Princess follows the marriage of English King Henry VII and his reluctant wife, Elizabeth of York, but does so through the eyes of the women of the English court. The color palettes and styles worn by each character represent perfectly the rumors and reputations that swirled around them. Elizabeth, allegedly the former mistress of her uncle, King Richard III, sports low-cut necklines and bold, jewel-encrusted gowns. Her mother, another Elizabeth, has her reputation as a water witch translated into a wardrobe full of blues and greens. Their nemesis, the King’s overprotective mother, Margaret, stalks around the court in darker hues. Frankly, I’d feel pretty majestic wearing the costumes of any of these three powerful women!
The Viking people may be infamous for their bloodthirsty and violent ways, but at least they did their pillaging while looking like total badasses! If the History Channel drama Vikings is anything to go by, their style was practical and yet super majestic. The combination of leather fixings, huge-ass capes, and intricate weaving creates costumes that scream “don’t mess with me.” Plus, they adorn their outfits with the gold and silver that they’ve stolen from their victims. It looks pretty cool, even if it is ethically dubious. For once, the Viking outfits are actually pretty historically accurate, too: not a single made-up horned helmet in sight!
5. Beauty and the Beast
It’s a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme, and a film featuring one of the most iconic Disney dresses ever. The 2017 live-action version of Beauty and the Beast brought back Belle’s famous golden dancing dress, with an adorable twist: Beast actor Dan Stevens’s young daughter helped out with the final design! She did a pretty good job, too! There’ll always be a part of me that wants to swirl around my house in a dress like Belle’s! The detailing of the period French gowns was spot on, too, down to each and every powdered wig! Disney has a tendency to bring it with their incredible costumes, but Beauty and the Beast took it the extra mile.
Labyrinth may be one of the creepiest kids’ films ever made, but its costumes are pretty impressive. The late David Bowie’s Jareth the Goblin King looks suitably strange in his eclectic mix of leather and frills, and he has more volume in his hair than I can ever dream of. His total weirdness contrasts perfectly with protagonist Sarah’s range of beautiful white dresses (evil vs. purity symbolism, anyone?!). No wonder these two are one of the most popular Halloween couple costumes out there. You either get to look wonderfully eccentric and generally cool or utterly stunning in your puffy-sleeved dress… what’s not to love?
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Three words: TILDA SWINTON’S DRESS. Good lord, it’s beautiful. Nearly a decade before Frozen made Elsa the most famous snow queen in history, Tilda was killing it as this film’s icy antagonist. Her main costume is a thing of beauty. Her white and turquoise ombre dress was way ahead of its time fashion-wise, and her crown of icicles was one of the most majestic things we’d ever seen. The Ice Queen may have been deeply evil but part of me still wanted to be her thanks to this outfit alone. I was less pleased with her battle costume, though: wearing Aslan’s mane at her neck was too savage even for me.
2. Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is a show full of dominant, badass women to look up to – and every single one of them knows how to power dress. A personal favorite of mine is Cersei’s Gothic phase in the most recent season: she just looked like such a badass in her high-necked black dresses and dangling chains! Of course, nothing is more majestic than the attire of the Mother of Dragons. Who hasn’t wanted to march around in that strappy number from Mereen? You’d feel so queenly and powerful (and look sexy as hell, let’s be real)! To be fair, we have clothing envy for every single character, even if the Stark siblings’ furs are actually made of IKEA rugs.
1. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman’s costume has always been pretty iconic, but something about the recent reboot starring Gal Gadot just made it even more majestic. Maybe it’s because Gadot herself is a confirmed badass, having actual military training alongside her phenomenal acting skills? It could just be how awesome the outfit’s modern update is, combining the classic design with elements of gladiator-inspired armor. Even though a lot of Wonder Woman’s body is admittedly on show, it doesn’t feel exploitative or misogynistic. Instead, it feels more like Gadot saying, “look how strong and powerful I am! Women can have muscles too!”… And good for her.