Salem costumes are an haute couture work, result of the careful artistry of Joseph A. Porro, WGN Salem official costume designer. Over 600 costumes and 300 shoes help bring Salem to life. Costume designer Joseph Porro reveals how he dressed Salem Village with both history and fantasy.
Historicity and fantasy Edit
Women’s fashion in Salem at the time of the trials was very conservative. The church dictated the dress code, and women were to wear large dark outfits that hid their form and most of their skin. In fact, convicted witch Sarah Bishop was in part accused thanks to her “flamboyant dress.”  Porro said the inspiration for many of the costumes came from paintings and photographs from that period, the late 1600’s.
“Then our producers wanted us to have a little fun with the stuff, make it a little sexier, a little more fashionable for modern audiences,” he said. They may not be the most comfortable outfits, but they`re helping the actors get into character.
Main Characters Edit
Main Article: Mary Sibley/Wardrobe
Mary Sibley dresses are among the most refined and elegant, suitable for her high social status as George Sibley's wife, the head of the board of selectmen. The clothes worn by Mary Sibley are definitely anachronistic and provocative to be accepted by a strict Puritan dogma, but perfectly represent the theme of the show: sensual and obscure. The clothes sported by Mary Sibley over the episodes vary in shades of burgundy, purple, black. Always accompanied by jewels and embellished with masterfully executed decorations and seams, they are to be considered as a real artwork for the thoroughness with which they were sewn. The clothes are often accompanied by capes and cloaks embellished with details that recall in some way the natural world and to some extent that of witchcraft, without mentioning bonnets and hats elegantly worn by Salem most rich and notorious woman.
Main Article: John Alden/Wardrobe
John Alden is a war veteran and a practical man. His general outfit consists of shirts and trousers in a simple fashion and leather boots. John Alden wears leather that looks naturally aged. The coat has hand stitching all through it. "There's a great leather guy out of L.A. who does primitive-looking skin," said Porro. It's aged and goes through dying that takes days just to get it to look like it's really beat up and has been worn for two years. Joseph Porro wanted to tap into an iconic all-classic look for John Alden.
Main Article: Cotton Mather/Wardrobe
Reverend Cotton Mather clothing is suitable for his ministerial office. For the entire first season of his clothes were of strict and thoroughly historical reproductions of a Puritan clothing, precise even in the ribbons that bound his cuffs. These costumes also serve to give an aura of severity to the character, helping the actor to get better in part as stated by the same Seth Gabel in an interview. The total black look was replaced in the second season by more sober and colorful outfits, also due to a certain lack of freedom and political role requiring decorum and elegance.
Main Article: Anne Hale/Wardrobe
Anne Hale is the daughter of Salem magistrate and as such enjoys a certain economic wealth. Her outfits are much less elaborate than those worn by Mary Sibley, but not dowdy. Anne Hale costumes are more in line with the historical period, chaste and dark according to the Puritan dogmas. Only during the second season they become more elaborate and curls of detail as if to run hand in hand with the blossoming of the young witch into her power and not just wealth.
Main Article: Tituba/Wardrobe
Mysterious Tituba has the exotic look of the witch. Her dresses range from simple handmaiden clothing or uniforms to intriguing items of clothing that recall the occult through jewelry in the shape of a raven skulls and other details. The colors worn by Tituba are mainly burgundy and black.
Main Article: Mercy Lewis/Wardrobe
Mercy Lewis is the character who has gone through most changes in clothing styles. Initially devoted daughter of the local Reverend, with her dark clothing and candid undergarments covered in blood and vomit during her brief demonic possession, she briefly experienced the luxury under the protection of Mary Sibley, wearing pale pink dresses. With the forced hermitage in the woods, her clothes were rough and damaged dress, only to return wearing more flourishing than ever luxurious clothes generously offered by the Countess Von Marburg in the second part of Season Two, making Mercy able to wear even more sumptuous dresses of those worn hitherto by Mary Sibley.
Main Article: Isaac Walton/Wardrobe
Isaac Walton wears clothes very similar to those of his friend and staunch ally John Alden, although definitely more worn and less detailed. Coats of tanned leather, leather boots, pants, and shirt sleeves are garments worn by Isaac Walton throughout the series, often dirty or damaged by wear.
Main Article: Sebastian Von Marburg/Wardrobe
Baron Sebastian von Marburg is the man with the most stylish clothes, mainly due to the European aristocracy inherent vanity of the time. researched in detail, Sebastian garments vary according to the occasion. He was seen wearing elegant gowns and dresses chamber, complete with gold stitching and elegant baroque textures, as much as austere clothes in line with the Puritan style even up to leather military uniforms in shades of red and black.
Main Article: The Devil/Wardrobe
Mary and John's long lost son, the host of the Devil, wore fine clothes of a wealthy child born into a Puritan community since the time when he was reunited with his mother. These dresses are similar to some clothes worn by Sebastian Baron Von Marburg, complete with accessories blacks and rich finishes and black capes and elegant shoes with shiny buckle. From the moment the Devil has taken full possession of the child body, he has fostered a candid white dressing gown that made him like a Roman emperor or a bishop of the Church of Rome. Outside the home, his clothing continues to be totally black, but elegant as a kind of infantile version of Baron Von Marburg style.
Note: for a more detailed description based on the costumes worn during the episodes, it is advisable to click the link attached.
Recurring characters Edit
Main Article: Countess Von Marburg/Wardrobe
Countess Von Marburg is undoubtedly the character who sported the most extravagant and colorful clothes during the series. Her status as European aristocratic allowed her to indulge in decidedly indecent clothes according to Puritan morality, made up of colors and very expensive materials. Her astral double even wore a short tunic made of braided human hair with shells instead of gems as decorations. In important situations and officers, Countess Von Marburg also wore sober and decorous clothes similar to those of Mary Sibley, constituted by elegant and richly decorated with jewels sewn onto the fabric. Countess' dresses are always full of accurate details that seem to appear more and more every time you look more carefully.
Main Article: John Hale/Wardrobe
Magistrate Hale is the epitome puritanical clothing, facilitated by considerable economic wealth. Frock coat finely stitched with gold buttons, hoods elegantly lying on the shoulders, silk ties and shoes with shiny buckles. he often wore broad-brimmed hats. His clothing is of lower elegance only to that of an aristocrat.
Main Article: Petrus/Wardrobe
Petrus clothing is downright bizarre, consisting of tanned leather and embellished with details nothing short unusual. For example, a necklace made up of the paw of a rate, bone buttons and finishing with great references to the natural world, similar to some extent to Native Americans rather than settlers.
Main Article: Samuel Wainwright/Wardrobe
Main Article: Wendell Hathorne/Wardrobe
- According to Ashley Madekwe (“Tituba"): “Our corsets are real. There are no zips, no buttons. They’re incredibly restrictive and I don't feel that elegant in it, because there are so many layers.”
- Janet Montgomery ("Mary Sibley") also said: “It is difficult, because I'm in like three skirts and two corsets, and then I have to act on top of that,” and “Joseph has done such an incredible job with the costumes, and he's so period accurate. As much as I might complain about it when I don't want to put it on at like 6 in the morning, it actually does help my character. I'm a sloucher. I have no choice but to stand up properly,”
- One of the interior set that's part of a soundstage in downtown Shreveport, LA. which appear like a forest had been transformed into a wardrobe, displaying some unique and downright disturbing outfits.
- Some of Joseph Porro's statements about the costumes are as follows:
- “I have a ghoul over here who's a reoccurring character, made out of human skin. He has everything from ears to real human teeth as buttons,” Porro said. “I wanted faces and hands, backs and highs, and they've all been hand sewn together. So that was one of the craziest things I've ever made in my career.”
- “This is one of Mary Sibley's dresses. The dress is half silk and half patent leather. And this is Petrus, our alchemist who lives in the forest and blends in. It's almost like a forest camouflage he wears.”
- “Then our producers wanted us to have a little fun with the stuff, make it a little sexier, a little more fashionable for modern audiences,”
See Also Edit