This summer I’ll be dressing like Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) in The Dig
If you like The Detectorists, you’ll love The Dig. A dreamy film based on the true story of the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon burial ship at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk; on the brink of the Second World War. Carey Mulligan plays the determined widow, Mrs Edith Pretty, who has a feeling that the ‘mounds’ on her Suffolk estate may contain archaeological treasures and hires the self-taught excavationist Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to investigate. It’s always a shame when the part of a woman in her fifties is given to an actor in her thirties (Fiennes, in his late 50s, plays a man in his 50s), but once I’d got over my initial annoyance – I enjoyed the film, nonetheless. Both Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes are excellent; but then so would be the pairing of Kristin Scott Thomas or Helena Bonham Carter and a man of a certain age…
Anyhow, putting ageism to one side for the moment, let’s talk about the clothes. As this summer we’ll be staying at home in the UK, what we wear needs to be weather-appropriate and practical. The Dig showcases a quintessentially English look, with a colour palette inspired by the earthy tones of the beautiful Suffolk countryside (not a jogging pant or elasticated waist in sight, hurrah!). Throughout, Edith wafts around in high-waisted wool trousers, homespun knitwear, bow blouses, tea dresses and a showerproof mac. All very Margaret Howell.
Costume designer Alice Babidge has recreated the period in a series of outfits that feel realistic, timeless and infinitely wearable. ‘I loved all of her outdoor, stomping-through-a-field looks in men’s trousers,’ Mulligan told Vogue. ‘Everything has history, and everything feels like something that they would’ve owned, you know? The majority of key costumes were originals or copied from originals. Nothing feels like a costume, and I think that’s so important when you’re doing period dramas, that the clothes aren’t wearing you but they feel like a part of the character.’
(How clothes contribute to the character is a subject Amelia Bullmore touches on in my recent podcast).
This summer we’ll all be digging Edith Pretty’s style.
*Please note affiliate links may gain a small commission