When it comes to recycling movie costumes, it’s far more common to come across costumes on women instead of men. Wardrobe pieces for men and women are recycled with the same frequency, but in general, and with a few exceptions throughout various eras, clothing for men has been less showy or detailed than that of women, and thus much harder to spot a second time. This is not to imply that costume designers today do not put the same amount of thought or work into costumes for male characters - merely that they generally do not jump off the screen as easily. However, there was a time when the wardrobes of male characters weren’t given the same consideration of those of female characters. Deborah Noodleman Landis’ excellent book Hollywood Costume states that:
The busy wardrobe department at Paramount was divided into two sections: women’s and character costumes….in keeping with the practice at the time, as chief designer Greer only clothed the principle women in a film.
It was not at all uncommon to see the credits on a film stating “Gowns by Adrian.” with no real credit to any other designer for working on clothing for the men. Again, this is no longer the case, and costumers today work with both men and women characters, giving them thoughtfully designed costumes to fit their character’s personality. Still, certain eras such as a the 16th and 18th century tend to stick out more for male costumes.
This beautifully detailed Elizabethan doublet was worn by Nicholas le Prevost as Robert Sir DeLesseps in the 1998 film Shakespeare In Love. The piece was designed by Sandy Powell, for which she won an Oscar for Best Costume Design. The costume went on to be used again in the 2005 mini-series The Virgin Queen, where it was worn on Tom Hardy as Robert Dudley. It was worn a second time in 2005 on Tom Sturridge as William Herbert in A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets. Lastly, it was used in the 2007 first season of Showtime’s The Tudors, where it was worn on Jonathan Rhys Myers as Henry VIII.