Friday, December 13, 2013

Dressing (or Undressing) Sleepy Hollow’s Ichabod Crane

I’m a huge fan of Fox’s new TV show Sleepy Hollow. With season 1 nearly over – and the 2-hour finale scheduled for Jan 20th – I'm filling my time speculating on how the great writers of the show will sum up this amazing introduction to the world they created AND what Ichabod Crane might be wearing. His gabardine jacket and period clothing can only carry him so far. They’re 250 years old. Parting with the last thing that’s familiar to him, Ichabod would not simply let Abbie pick his new clothes. This is a character who is opinionated and insistent on what he thinks is “appropriate.”

 Fans of the show would agree that the hunky British lead actor, Tom Mison, would look good in anything. It’s tempting to treat him like a Ken doll and dress him up (or down) to suit our fantasies. (Whew! Is it hot in here?) As an author, I have an idea what the clothing style of each of my characters and often create an image board for each one as ideas for how to dress them, while staying true to character. But we must remember that in the case of our revolutionary war hero Ichabod, he would feel naked without a jacket for example (something I read on a historical clothing site). His clothes can change during the seasons ahead (Fox has renewed the show for round 2. Yay!), but this first attire switch would probably be Ichabod’s choices to make with Abbie’s thoughtful guesses on what would work for him.
So here are my thoughts on what clothes Ichabod might choose for himself.
Pants – His colonial culottes breeches (marking the more aristocratic classes – working class men wore full length pants) are down to his knees and his knee high boots come up to where the clothing ends. There are men’s military style pants with a similar look, but here are some that could work and that Ichabod might find practical and similar.

Boots – I don’t see Ichabod giving up his boots for sneakers. This is an area I hope the show wardrobe people have put a great deal of thought into. Those knee high boots are romantic and look great on Ichabod. Below are a few boot styles that could transition him into the present day without losing too much of the real character. Not sure he'd love the lace ups since his knee high boots are slip ons. Boots #2 are western style ropers, but the buckle might feel like his period clothing since buckles were often fashionable.





Jackets – As I said before, a revolutionary war hero feels naked without his jacket. A blousy tied shirt like he’s been wearing could be found today, but here are a few images of jackets that would cover anything he wears underneath. Even though many fans would feel that less is more, Ichabod would not agree. He’s modest and respectful of propriety. What do you think of these jackets? (Poor Tom Mison may be stuck in NC humidity in a jacket if Ichabod gets his way, but I think Tom is also a stylish man and would put up with Ichabod’s insistence.)

Shirt & Stock – I see Ichabod wearing open collar (without the more formal stock/tie that came more into style later in the century) similar to what he wears now with fabric ties used for buttons. Here are some images that might work, although he might also see a loose dangling neck scarf as practical.




Tom Mison at NYCC looking dapper in a scarf

Vests – I see Ichabod layering his clothes because the clothing he is used to wearing had its layers. As he gets more comfortable without a jacket, a vest might be a good compromise for his modesty.



Outer Coat – A great looking navy double-breasted pea coat would work well and the military styling would suit him, but here are coats in a similar style to a period Frock coat.



Undergarments – I see Crane dressing in boxers or some other form of loose fitting undergarments. No tidy whities for him. He wouldn’t like the tight fit. Even in his period clothing, he is wearing a hand stitched loose garment that almost hangs on his hips – not commando.


Fun stuff – If I were Abbie and could buy Ichabod fun stuff to wear (with a sense of humor), I might look for crazy Tshirts or funny boxers with a reference or image printed on them he may not understand – something he would wear underneath that only she would know what he had on, yet wouldn’t embarrass him in public.



Those are my thoughts on what Ichabod might choose to wear if he had to ditch the worn gabardine jacket. What do you think? If you were Abbie and took Ichabod on a shopping spree for clothes, what would you convince him to wear? He trusts you. He’d listen, right?