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Unforgivable Costume Mistakes That Made it Into the Final Scene

When you make movies, you usually make mistakes. That’s often because it’s such a huge project, with so many moving parts, that something is bound to go wrong. And sometimes those mistakes come from the costume department. Now, we aren’t here to rag on the lovely people who do the often thankless job of making movie characters look good in the sartorial department. Because how many famous movie costume designers can you name? Probably not as many as you can name actors, actresses, and directors. But it’s sometimes fun to take a look at some errors in costumes that took place during filming. Most times it’s a matter of a certain item of clothing or an accessory that wasn’t technically available to people in the time period where the movie is taking place. So stick around as Facts Verse presents: Unforgivable Costume Mistakes That Made it Into the Final Scene.

Dirty Dancing

While Jennifer Grey’s character, Baby, was gallivanting around the Poconos, learning to dance, she had numerous outfits that would befit the daughter of rich parents at a summer resort. And for the most part, the outfits given to her by the costume department fit in the 1960’s were spot on. They fit the time period, the location, the weather… you name it. However, they did run into trouble when they asked Grey to wear jean shorts. This might seem like the most benign costume choice these days. After all, who hasn’t tried on a fun pair of jean shorts for some outdoor, summer fun? Unfortunately, what the costume department didn’t take into account (or totally ignored) is the fact that cut-off jeans shorts of the high-cut variety didn’t actually become in vogue until the 1970’s. Many people attribute female rockers like Debbie Harry and Patti Smith for making them popular. So either Baby was way ahead of her time, fashion-wise, or it was an overlooked costume error. And considering Baby was pretty meek and, well, kind of a baby, it seems unlikely that she was pre-dating cool rock chicks from the ‘70s.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Speaking of jeans, The Raiders of The Lost Ark features a jean-wearing extra that was either supposed to be a time traveler, or was the victim of the costume department caught sleeping. In a scene that takes place in in 1930’s Cairo, Egypt, Indiana Jones is sipping on a drink in Cairo. He is lamenting the fact that he no longer has the love of his life, or at least so he thinks. While most of our focus is on Harrison Ford, as he plays the irascible but genius Dr. Jones, eagle eyed viewers might catch the extra causally strolling by in jeans and a t-shirt. Of course, these days that would be total fine. In fact, in most locations and eras from the latter half of the 20th century on would likely feature people wears this particular get up. But the problem is that people in Cairo in the ‘30s weren’t wearing this ensemble. So this was probably the case of the costume department having one too many extras to wrangle, and perhaps missing one. Or maybe nobody informed them that this was an anachronistic wardrobe choice, and they gave it the green light. Either way, it’s an engrossing scene on its own, so the movie probably gets away with it.


Speaking of extras, there’s one in the movie Glory who wore an item that was very much not time-period appropriate. Glory is a powerful and heart-wrenching movie set in the American civil war. It tells the tale of soldiers fighting in 1863, and it’s a true movie classic. But one extra puts a slight damper on it… by wearing a watch. This might seem like a harmless move, but unfortunately wrist watches didn’t start being worn until about half a century later. This blatant costuming error pops us out of the time period, and perhaps ruins the scene for some viewers. This is another case of an extra’s costume being the culprit. So perhaps it was that the costume department had too many extras on their hands to catch it. It seems most likely that the extra forgot he was still wearing his own watch when the cameras began rolling. Let’s just be thankful it wasn’t an Apple watch or a Rolex!

American Hustle

Speaking of Rolexes, we have another watch-based error in the movie American Hustle. And this one is super subtle, so most people probably missed it. This David O’Russell movie is set in the 1970’s, and deals with the infamous ABSCAM scandal. Many politicians were busted for taking bribes during this scandal, leading to some exorbitant spending on their parts. One of the characters who has clearly taken a bribe is the one played by comedian Louis CK. And the costume department decided that one way they’d show it would be to have him wear a Rolex. Which isn’t a problem in and of itself. The Rolex company was around in the 1970s. The problem is the particular model they chose. It wasn’t available until 2010! So, perhaps they thought it was such a small detail that they’d get away with it. But thanks to obsessive fans who catch these types of things, we know about this costume error!


This one is a biggie. If you’re like most people who saw Braveheart, you loved it, and you left the theater (or your couch) trying to imitate Mel Gibson’s Scottish accent. As well you should. The movie is a classic, and won a slew of Academy Awards. But one thing it shouldn’t necessarily be praised for is its costuming. That’s because the kilts that are seen on nearly every Scotsman in the film weren’t actually worn in the 13th century, when the film takes place. According to historians, kilts didn’t come into fashion in Scotland until nearly 300 years later. That makes it a pretty huge error. It’s such a major component of the film, it seems unlikely that it was a mistake on the costume department. It seems likely they were given the task of making kilts for all the men, and did their job. And thus the higher-ups on the movie, like Mel Gibson, were probably more to blame for this huge time period mistake. Oh well, the movie is incredible, and very rewatchable, regardless of what they are wearing.

My Girl

My girl is a heartwarming yet tragic tale about a young girl coming of age in the 1970’s. It has a stellar cast that includes Anna Chlumsky, Dan Akroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Macaulay Culkin. And the costume department did a great job of outfitting all the characters into era appropriate clothing and accessories. That is, with the exception of one important accessory. The main character, Vada, wears a mood ring. It’s one of those color changes rings that supposedly changes based on the wearer’s mood. And while these were indeed popular with young girls in the 1980’s and 90’s, they weren’t yet available when the movie takes place. Though it should be noted that they were commercially available in 1975. The only problem is that My Girl takes place in 72, a full three years before Vada could have gotten her hands on one.

The Doors

The movie, The Doors is a wild and dramatic take on the ups and downs of the seminal rock back of the 1960’s. it chronicles Jim Morrison and crew as they navigate the rock and roll scene, and life as famous rock stars. And while the costume department did an excellent job overall of creating looks that really nailed the aesthetics of the 60’s rock and roll scene, they did get one major thing wrong. Val Kilmer, who plays Morrison, is seen wearing some Ray Ban sunglasses that didn’t actually come out until the 1980’s. And while they looked great on Kilmer, they shouldn’t have been included in the movie. Perhaps it was an error on the costume department’s part, or perhaps Kilmer insisted on wearing them, cause they made him look quite cool. It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Kilmer, channeling his inner Jim Morrison, would have wanted to break the rules here and there on set.

Singin’ in the Rain

Here’s a costume error from a little further back. Fans of classic films are likely fond of the Hollywood gem, Singin’ In The Rain. It was released in 1952, and set in the latter half of the 1920’s. Amazingly, it didn’t get a lot of love when it came out. But in the 70 years since, it has become considered a classic of American cinema. It has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, something not many films can boast. And it generally nails the essense of the late 20’s with its costumes. However, there’s a scene where Debbie Reynolds, as Kathy Selden, is wearing an outfit that is decidedly out of time. She has on a form fitting pink dress. And while it certainly showed off her lovely figure, and was a great look overall, it didn’t fit with the fashion trends of the late 1920’s. So that makes it a big mistake on the part of the costume department.

Some movie mistakes are glaring, while some are only detected by eagle-eyed viewers after a significant number of rewatches. And the internet makes it so that the costume mistakes are not only caught, but also preserved to be seen by millions around the globe. So we can’t help but feel bad for the poor souls who forgot to do their job on a day of shooting. Or the extras who strolled over to set and forgot to take off an accessory. Of course, bigger mistakes like wearing kilts 300 years too soon are pretty unforgivable. But each person can decide which costume mistakes ruin the movie for them, and which ones are just fun trivia tidbits.

Now it’s time to hear from you. Do costume mistakes like these ruin the movie watching experience for you? Let us know in the comments section!

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