A Claire Cosplayer Reviews The Hot Topic & Torrid Outlander Collection

Blacklanderz’s own Amanda-Rae Prescott doing what she does best . . . Outlander’s Claire Cosplay. Enjoy the post!

Wearing my gold French Claire dress outside of comic cons and Outlander fan meetups isn’t socially acceptable. Logo t-shirts are great for running errands but are too casual for my workplace. I wanted Outlander themed pieces that I can get away with wearing to work. The picture in my head was the Doctor Who and Disney dresses already in my closet, but with more tartan prints. I also wanted items I could use for a less strict interpretation of Claire’s costume designs but didn’t feel or look like cheap Party City costumes. The Hot Topic collection for standard sizes and Torrid for plus sizes was the answer to my desires.

I was lucky to order every item before sizes started to sell out. Overall, I believe that the collection presents a good balance between catering to the geek chic trends Hot Topic and Torrid are known for while referencing 18th century and 1940’s design elements from the series so far. The decision to have a few items that were exclusive to plus size Outlander fans was a very good idea. Far too often, my plus sized friends complained that the best items were only available in standard sizes.

I do believe that some items could have benefitted from some edits. However, some of the criticisms of the line I have seen so far are from Outlander fans that wouldn’t shop at Hot Topic or Torrid under normal circumstances because they are outside the brands’ target demographic. Their style expectations are different. I also noticed that some serious historical costumers were quick to dismiss the line for not using pure wool and cotton to replicate exactly Terry Dresbach’s intricate designs. This viewpoint is not only highly unrealistic but also not shared by the majority of Outlander fans. Very few fans could afford the line, let alone the average Hot Topic or Torrid customer if their specifications were followed.

This review of the line excluding the Torrid quote t-shirts is intended to help fellow fans figure out the pros and cons from each other from the point of view of someone more familiar with nerd fashion and with cosplay. I am 5’4 and between a US size 10 and 12 in junior/women’s clothes depending on the item and style. My previous Hot Topic shirts are size Large for shirts and XL in outerwear and dresses. Until now I have never ordered items from Torrid for myself but for my plus size friends and family. All of the pictures are taken with indoor lighting on an iPhone 7 and were not retouched. The items links are based on which site had the most stock available at the time of publication.


CLAIRE’S FAUX FUR TRIM RIDING COAT (Hot Topic & Torrid)

This coat is an interpretation of one of Claire’s fur trimmed coat from Castle Leoch from S1. I ordered this item in an XL because I wanted room to layer. Winters in New York City can be mild but they can also be bitter cold.

riding-coat

For something that’s called a coat, it feels a lot more like a light blazer. I think this coat could have benefitted from a thicker wool blend. The hood is a great feature for wind and rain. The arms and jacket length were just right for me. However, I felt like it was slightly too tight on my upper stomach compared to my other Empire waist items. I didn’t have enough room to layer so I will exchange for the next size up.

My favorite part of this jacket is the inside lining. You can see the details of Claire’s wee medicinal herbs.

riding-coat-lining

The faux fur trim does make the coat appear the most like a costume piece compared to the rest of the collection. I love hooded jackets and coats so I can shield my hair from frizz.


FRINGE TRIM WRAP FRONT CARDIGAN  (Torrid Only)

This cardigan is a modern interpretation of Claire’s hand knitted shawls and capelets. I ordered a Torrid Size 0 which corresponds roughly to a Hot Topic XL so it can drape more. The contrast stripe reminds me of the shawl she wore to collect the rent in Season 1 and near the end of Season 2. My main fear when I brought the sweater was that it would feel like itchy wool or polyester. Thankfully, the cotton is soft yet also thick enough to keep the cold away.

cardigan

My favorite features are the buckle detail on the neck and the thumb cutouts on the sleeve. I’ve never had a cardigan that closed in the neck before so this is a nice addition to my winter collection. For those who want a touch of Claire’s style without having an obvious costume piece, this is a perfect choice. If you are a Small or Medium it could even work as a coat.

nect-buckle


KILT (Hot Topic & Torrid – Out of Stock)

Jamie’s kilt is just as iconic as some of Claire’s ensembles, so it was a great idea to have a kilt style skirt. It was the first item in the collection to sell out completely. However the skirt, in my opinion, is the worst item in this collection. I ordered a size Large, which I thought would have enough width for my hips while not being overly baggy on the waistline.

kilt

The fabric feels like a cheap school uniform. I have a few miniskirts but none of them fit me as poorly as this one does. I noticed that my butt is actually hiking up and spreading out the back pleats, which only adds to the lack of length. In the front, the waist is way too tight and my hips appear even bigger than they are. If the skirt was lengthened to mini or even knee length, it would be more flattering for every body type. I was very disappointed in this skirt, and I expect more people will want to swap sizes or return it.


TARTAN COAT (Torrid Exclusive – Out of Stock)

From the pic on the website, I was picturing a thin tartan print trench coat or Mackintosh, a la Burberry. This coat is frankly the best item in the entire line.

tartan-coat

I started to sweat while taking these pics. So, that means it will be perfect when the weather turns cold. There are so many delightful details in this coat that it is clearly inspired by the blue coat Claire wore during her honeymoon.

scotland-map_riding-coat-lining

The lining makes me think of the maps spread across the table at Bonnie Prince Charlie’s war headquarters. Wentworth Prison, Culloden, and Lallybroch are featured as well as a map of all of Scotland. I also love the brass buttons featuring the crown logo.


TUNIC (Torrid Exclusive Out of Stock)

This tunic combines Claire’s white dress she wore as she traveled through the stones combined with the popular peasant top. I bought a size zero so that it would fit loosely.
tunic

Although it’s more Bohemian than 1940’s chic, I like that I can style the tunic several ways. I can dress it down with jeans or up with fancy leggings and boots. I could even pair it with one of the jackets from this collection. The only downside is that even with the inner layering tank attached, it may be a bit too sheer for work wear.


TARTAN 40’s DRESS (Hot TopicTorrid)

This dress was a far better interpretation of Jamie’s kilt concept. The length is much more complimentary as well as work appropriate.

dress

I thought I ordered an XL but I got a Large. The dress fit just right but I intend on exchanging so I have enough room for a long sleeved shirt for winter. The length is far more flattering compared to the skirt and the bodice has a nice vintage touch. It may be made of the same material as the skirt, but it feels a lot nicer. Dresses with pockets are always a plus in my book!


RUFFLED PEPLUM JACKET (Hot Topic & Torrid)

The green semi velvet texture reminded me of one of her S1 bodices. The lace trim is also a nod to her finer French dresses from S2. I ordered an XL because I pictured this jacket looking better as a tunic.

peplum-front_back

I like that the neckline is a typical 18th century one. It feels just like the dresses I’ve made. The jacket is close at the bust and then flares out. I like that the front looks like a typical stomacher bodice from the period without the shaping of stays. I can already picture this with leggings and my knee high riding boots. I also plan on using it as a temporary green jacket another cosplay requires.


TARTAN REVERSIBLE CAPE (XS/S-L/XL at Hot Topic sold outTorrid)

This was another very popular item from the line based on how many sizes sold out. Claire’s capes from the show were much thicker, but the thickness is just right for early fall. The tartan side will add a splash of color to neutral toned outfits while the black adds polish to a formal ensemble.

cap

The cape is truest to size out of all of the items. I brought an L/XL. I have enough room for a chunky sweater or as a cover for a shoulder-baring dress. It will also come in handy when I am in cosplay as well to shield dresses from the rain or for warmth. It’s definitely a fun piece to add to your fall wardrobe.

I can’t wait for the weather in New York to truly become fall-like so I can dress like a Sassenach every day!

I hope to collect some outfit ideas in a future post.  Unfortunately according to recent posts on Hot Topic’s official social media; they have no plans to restock sold out items at this time. There is a Facebook group for fans wishing to swap sizes. If you brought any items please reply in the comments or on Twitter!


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11 thoughts on “A Claire Cosplayer Reviews The Hot Topic & Torrid Outlander Collection

  1. I wore my cape when I went out to breakfast this morning. It was perfect for this Fall weather we are having today. I love all these items on you. Such a bummer that the skirt is so short. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the length. I wanted the plaid coat too but DH thought it would draw too much attention to my big butt. I think he’s right.

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  2. Thanks for the detailed review! I am not in the demographic for these shops; the cape is the first and only item I purchased and I love it!!! Looks like you broke the bank, girl, but now your Outlander cosplay wardrobe is robust AF!

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  3. I wish I had ordered the cape before it sold out. I did get the fringed wrap sweater and love it – not really as “Outlander” as the rest of the items, but has a hint of it and fits great. I also got the tartan coat but it is a bit too big for me and I’m debating what to do with it now (alter it perhaps?). Hmm… Perhaps there will be more Outlander-themed clothes to come! Thanks for the review!

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      1. Unfortunately it is the smallest size they offered so can’t swap. May look into having it altered vs selling it. Bummer!

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  4. I wasn’t impressed with the kilt. Too me, they feel like cheap tablecloth material. I bought two of them both a size 16 (I normally wear a 14, but noticed that when ordering a licensed clothing item from Torrid or HotTopic it’s better to go up a size or two). Neither one is sewn the same. When I wear the buckle on the side of one of them the zipper is in the front, but when I wear the buckle on the side of the other one, the zipper is in the back.

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