Unpacking the Hamilton Costumes: Historical Accuracy? How to Take Liberties With Period Costume



Also. Irrelevant, but when are we going gender blind and getting a woman playing Hamilton?

*I’m referring at this point to the stays in Hamilton providing a vertically flattened silhouette, eliminating bust curve in the bodice that would not have been apparent in the 18th century. This was poorly worded (‘flat front’) as stays technically were not entirely flat down the front at all; particularly as the century progressed, stays became more and more rigid down the front, the center front peaks more prominent to the point where busks were used to push the center front seam out away from the body and into a point. See for example the extant stays on pages 106 and 110 in ‘Patterns of Fashion 5’ by Janet Arnold, et al.

[1] Paul Tazewell was trained in Shakespeare and other historically-based productions: (
[2] Examples of women in stays as outerwear:


– (Francis Wheatley’s ‘Cries of London’ series)
– (Francis Wheatley’s ‘Cries of London’ series)
[3] Portrait of King George III:

Screenshot of the elbow dart was taken from this video interview: ABC Costume interview:

IMAGE CREDITS:
Portrait of a Lady, 1764. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dress, Ca. 1760. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Robe à l’Anglaise, 1785-87. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dress, 1795-97. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Coat, 1787-92. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tailcoat, ca. 1815. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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