I’m going to start this post with a confession – I’m not a great fan of Sadie Jones’s book. I read The Outcast this summer, I’d found it in a charity shop during a trip to Wales and fell in love with the stunning cover. The book sounded great too, set in one of my favourite decades, the 1950s, and with a glamorous lead character in the charismatic Elizabeth. But then I read it, and found that although it was beautifully written, it was also relentlessly depressing, there never seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel for poor Lewis, or the rather wonderful Kit, and even the hopeful ending left me strangely cold. I liked the book, but didn’t love it, and that left me disappointed.
So when I saw it was being dramatised by the BBC, I wasn’t sure if I would watch. But in the end, the terrible choices of Sunday Summer viewing left me feeling this was the best choice of a bad bunch of programmes. So I watched it, and I’m really glad I did. The series flowed better as a programme, the misery was less claustrophobic, and the characters really came to life thanks to the beautiful acting. And, as a fan of the 1940s and 1950s, the styling was just beautiful.
The series is full of important female characters, each with her own style and personality that shines through in the clothes she wears. The programme starts in the 1940s with Elizabeth Aldridge, a free spirit in pretty tea dresses and silk slips, a glamorous character who brings light to every room she walks into. Step forward into the 1950s and we have Alice, super pretty in floral dresses, but with a repressed sexuality and urgency to be a mother. She drinks a little too much, laughs a little too loud and desperately, but always looks immaculate.
The Carmichael sisters are Snow White and Rose Red. Older sister Tamsin is a 50s tease in shorts and a headscarf. She has that Grace Kelly poise and is a walking wolf whistle – a real ice cream blonde. Younger sister Kit is a maverick and is ahead of her time with her beatnik bobbed hair, red lips and all black outfit.
If you are a fan of vintage fashion, The Outcast is well worth checking out on IPlayer – it is a beautiful celebration of a couple of stylish decades through its glorious costumes.
The Outcast Style
Did you watch The Outcast? Any thoughts?