Researching my Handmaid’s Tale cosplay…

Today is the second in a series of posts that I am doing on creating my Handmaid’s Tale cosplay. See the first post Why The Handmaid’s Tale here.


Once I decided to make my handmaid costume, I knew I needed to collect some images and details. First, I looked at promotional images for the series.


This is when I noticed that the bodice was split at the center front and that the belt was a separate piece. I decided to investigate further.

I looked for interviews with the costume designer, Ane Crabtree, and found a treasure trove of information. She’s given numerous interviews over the past 3 years. I found the ones in Atlanta Magazine and Vogue particularly helpful.

Each one of Crabtree’s choices was so purposeful. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

In the end, the poetic fluidity of the dresses [looking like priest robes] meant that the handmaids looked like lifeblood moving through a grey concrete dystopian world.


“I removed the laces from the heavy, utilitarian shoes, so that the handmaids could not hang themselves, and added a canvas duck twill spat, or shield, over the top, to remind them of their laceless, industrial possessions that were built to last. The end result actually looked quite sexy. Actresses began to request them to wear off-set.”

Then I tried to find any images I could from the show itself or behind the scenes. In doing this I realized that while all the handmaids are dressed similarly, there are some key differences.
Some handmaids wear an obi style belt and others have a corset style belt.
See the boned belt in the Japanese obi style?
THT210 (32)
This is the back view of the more ‘corset’ style belt worn by Alexis Bledel’s character in Season 2.
The costume is adapted for breastfeeding and pregnancy.
THT210 (1556)
A screen capture from S2 E10 ‘Holly’ of Elizabeth Moss’s character 9 months pregnant.
This is a screen capture from S2 E12 ‘Postpartum’ that showcases how the handmaid’s uniform is adapted for breastfeeding.
As well as many other variations. I decided to make what I considered to be the ‘most standard’ and go with a traditional bodice and obi style belt. Stay tuned for my next post where I detail how I made the dress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: