Boss Witch Fashion Friday: The Historically Inaccurate but Deathly Fabulous Costumery of “Salem”

Greetings, Boss Witches! We made it through another week. A week of working, of cooking meals (ew), of trying to keep our sh*t together. I think we all did great! So I have been rewarding myself by watching Salem on Netflix.

I hadn’t got into this show yet, which is weird, but I do think it was a slow starter that got great. Is it cerebral? NO. Is it wildly entertaining and full of blood and guts and spells? YES. What more do you want?

Elise Eberle as Mercy Lewis in Salem with her girl gang of wild witches.

Now, I must admit to you here that I have dabbled in historic re-enactment in my time. Mostly regency, but I have also posed for a Georgian-era costume book. I am a huge fan of the corset. I am a huge fan of a full skirt, and any excuse for big hair is great in my book.

Ashley Madekwe in Salem.

One of the big things in those re-enactment communities is HISTORICAL ACCURACY. For example, “Did you see Ethel in the Promenade? Her shoes were completely historically inaccurate, and her dress was made of polyester!”. It can be brutal. But I think dressing up is all about fun, so, unless you’re an historian, how about you STFU and let people wear their frocks and britches.

Janet Montgomery in a promo shot for Salem.

Anyway. Back to Salem. This show is about … Salem. And witches in Salem. In the Olde Times. Which means we should be seeing a lot of dark, dreary woollen and linen dresses, boring bonnets and silly buckled hats. HOWEVER. Costume Designer/Genius Joseph A. Porro (who also did The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, FYI), was like, “F*ck that, that’s boring” and brought us some of the most spectacularly Witchy costuming I’ve seen in a good, long while.

We have plunging necklines, we have beading galore – we have a WET LOOK SILK GOWN, I mean, where can I purchase this item, please?!

There is lots of dancing around fires in corsets and nighties, and over the top gowns that look like they should be for being presented at court, but no – she’s just nipping round the Priest’s house. And why the f*ck not, Mary Sibley? You go, Witch. She also sports some pretty bloody impressive headwear, not going to lie.

Janet Montgomery in a still shot for Salem.

I also want to briefly address the rather fabulous capery, which, as you know, is something that is very dear to my heart. Both Janet Montgomery and Ashley Madekwe are serving some Grade-A cloak action in this series. Royal purple? Yes please. Bit of a faux fur lining? YAS.

Meanwhile, we have lovely Tamzin Merchant giving us lovely, innocent Puritan girl in Season 1… but I don’t want to post spoilers so I will just give an honourable shout-out to her adorable tubular curls that peek out from those bonnie sweet bonnets.

A plague doctor mask worn in Salem.

The men are also delivering in this series, with some fine hats and decent britches, but we must also pay tribute to frilly collars, and John Alden’s ridiculous woodsman/Red Riding Hood situation. Additionally, the inexplicably fabulous leather jackets.

I think the point of all this is that television, and costumes, are meant to be fun. So don’t be a Debbie Downer. Just let people wear their corsets and be happy.

Blessings, and have a magickal weekend!

xxK

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