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Poor Things: Mastering the Pastel Victorian Style

The award-winning film Poor Things has reached cinemas and has blown me away with not only the Frankenstein tale but also the fashion choices. It’s brought a lot of things back to life for me, including pastels, frills and textures, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Just in time for spring, it has brought to light how much fun you can have with fashion. As the film tells the story of Bella growing to understand society and things like fashion, it is beautiful to see her fashion choices evolve through the film.

Let’s dive right in and explore some of the dazzling fashion moments I am living for and will be bringing into my spring-summer rotation.

Who Was The Designer?

First, we need to have a moment of appreciation for costume designer Holly Waddington, who researched many looks from the 1890s and what inspired her puffy sleeves, which seemed to be a highlight of that time and took that and ran with it to create one of Bella’s stunning blue puffer sleeved cropped jacket’s. 

Waddington said in an interview, “I was using Victorian shapes and then I was finding other ways to interpret rich texture, which for me needed to feel animal, unruly and organic.” I think the logic and inspiration Waddington had were truly successful and embodied Bella’s innocence.

Holly Waddington and Emma Stone on the set of 'Poor Things.'
Holly Waddington and Emma Stone on the set of ‘Poor Things.’ | Searchlight Pictures

The leisurely outfit throughout the film begins to turn vibrant, adventurous and bold, which reflects Bella’s need and urge to learn, find her path and her overall imagination. Her uniqueness fills every room and when she is introduced to independence and the outside world, we are met with beautifully bold silhouettes that just make us fall in love with Bella even more.

Going-out dresses that I could only dream of owning are covered in pussy bows, ruffles and colour explosions that have left people gob-smacked and looking like they’ve just come off a runway.

How To Dress Like Bella? Where Can We Draw Inspiration From?

When it comes to taking all the fashion brilliance and adapting it into more modern styles we have some ideas for you. If, like me, you want your spring/summer wardrobe to be purely inspired by the Victorian era, carry on scrolling.

Frills Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Sorry, Marilyn, but I have found a new best friend, and it’s everything frilled. There are vintage and modern pieces that share the love for frills so you won’t find it hard to find some pieces to add to the collection. 

Poor Things pop-up Frills costume and prop exhibit at the ASU FIDM Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.
Searchlight Pictures

If you are struggling with what exactly would work, you could look into blouses to really embody Bella, or alternatively, if you want something more modern, try those mini shirts all the Instagram girlies are obsessed with. When in doubt, try a frilly skirt or a cami with frilly sleeves. 

Pastels of Poor Things

This will be easy as we are approaching the warmer seasons. You can incorporate pastels into your outfits, from baby blues to pinks. You should find this quick and easy to look for on your cute girly websites. If you want to fully embody Bella, you could stick to the colour scheme of yellow, blue, pink and white, which embody summer, while showing your appreciation for Bella.

Poor Things pop-up costume and prop exhibit at the ASU FIDM Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.
Searchlight Pictures

No Makeup Look

If there was ever a time to go barefaced, it’s now. Bella rocked a bare face, just like Pamela Anderson said at Fashion Week that she didn’t want to upstage the clothes. If you’ve got a solid outfit, minimal makeup or a bare face is the perfect way to let them do all the talking.

Poor Things Wedding

How could I write about Bella’s fashion choices without mentioning the wedding dress (spoilers)! Another brilliant take on 1890’s fashion from Waddington. The concept of it being a cage with delicate silk tubing bands appealed to me. To hopefully convey this feeling of being trapped, it felt significant that you could still see her body through her. Not to mention the sleeves mimicking cages.

Poor Things pop-up costume and prop exhibit at the ASU FIDM Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.
Searchlight Pictures

It’s filled with metaphors but it also makes her look extremely beautiful, sheer but also freeing and classy. That veil has definitely inspired me for my wedding. It’s a beautiful take on the film that will bring old wedding trends in a fashionable and modern way.

Final Thoughts

While “Poor Things” might tell a fantastical story, its fashion choices brilliantly translate to our modern wardrobes. From playful frills and vibrant pastels to captivating wedding dress, the film inspires us to embrace individuality and joy through fashion. Whether you add a touch of whimsy with frilled blouses or go full-on pastel, remember, Bella’s style is about confidence and self-expression. So, ditch the trends, embrace your inner Bella, and let your unique fashion story unfold!


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