Putting together a fancy dress costume for the highly flamboyant Sebastian is lots of fun. In this guide I show you how to get the look for a Lord Sebastian Flyte Brideshead Revisited costume for Halloween or any dress up occasion.
Anyone who has read the book of Brideshead Revisited or seen the televised adaptations on the big screen will recognize your Halloween or cosplay outfit. They will appreciate the nod to this outstanding novel and also the really tortured and self-destructive character from it.
Lord Sebastian Flyte is a highly unique character who is played to absolute perfection by the English actor Anthony Andrews in the 1981 British TV series of Brideshead Revisited. The TV series was based on the original 1945 classic book written by Evelyn Waugh.
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Dress to Perfection With a Brideshead Revisited Costume Based on Lord Sebastian Flyte
If you've only ever seen the 2008 movie then you're really missing out. Although the film version does feature the brilliant actress Emma Thompson, it is not the best adaptation. The 1980s TV series with Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons is much truer to the actual book.
The acting, and especially that between the main characters of Sebastian and Charles Ryder is simply mesmerizing. I've watched it through several times and I still love it. Let's see how to dress in a Brideshead Revisited costume style.
Lord Sebastian Flyte, Brideshead Revisited Costume Parts
You cannot just go out and buy an actual Brideshead Revisited costume or a complete outfit for Lord Sebastian Flyte. So you have no option but to look for items that will work to give you the exact look that you're after. Luckily his look is not too hard to pull off if you get the main bits just right. Here's the main elements for pulling off his pre-war style.
1. Sebastian and his Teddy Bear
First you'll need a rather traditional looking caramel colored stuffed teddy bear like the one pictured above. Sebastian's relationship with his teddy called Aloysius is what first interests readers of the book and also the main narrator and protagonist, Charles Ryder.
Aloysius was a classic style jointed teddy bear with a black nose. You may be able to find a vintage style one on an auction site that more closely matches the one used in the TV series. You can also find a jointed teddy bear on Amazon. You want one that looks great for the part and is not too expensive to add as your costume accessory.
Why does Sebastian carry a teddy bear? It is hard to imagine why a grown man would carry a teddy around. That is an intriguing part of the book and also the TV series. It immediately offers this character a unique edge.
A big part of why he carries a teddy is because he simply does not want to grow up. He doesn't want adult responsibility and clings to the good parts of his life which include his teddy and also his cherished Nanny.
Aloysius provides memories of happier times before Sebastian's fight with alcoholism and all the religious guilt he suffers. The teddy is like his comfort blanket that Sebastian clings onto.
2. Sebastian's Traditional Cream Sweater or Jumper
You'll need a traditional cream sweater or jumper. Sebastian often likes to wear this, not just in the standard way over his head, draped over a loose, long-sleeved white or cream shirt.
Often the sleeves just hang down over his shoulders or the sleeves are tied loosely around his neck. Any cream or white hand knit style sweater is a great bet. Scour your local charity shops or your old clothes for something suitable.
3. A Pair of White or Cream Men's Pants
Much of this characters wardrobe was either in white or cream and I often wonder if this was done purposefully by the costume department. I believe it was done in order to symbolize Sebastian's childlike innocence and the fact that he is unable to deal with becoming a man.
You need some white or cream pants that are rather a loose fit around the legs and not tight. Sebastian did not favor any tight fitting clothes. It was as if he was trying to symbolize breaking free from the confines of his life. He expressed this desire in the manner of his dress.
4. White or Cream Formal Shoes
A pair of white or cream formal leather shoes are needed. Sebastian wore light colored formal leather shoes which always looked very soft and expensive. You can get away with getting some white canvas slip on shoes for your costume and especially if your pants are quite long in the leg.
How to Dress as Lord Sebastian Flyte
The first clue that really tells us that Sebastian is a little different to other undergraduates studying at Oxford university here in the United Kingdom is that he likes to carry around a stuffed teddy who he has called Aloysius.
It is this special connection between Sebastian and his bear that piques the interest of the main protagonist of Brideshead Revisited: Charles Ryder. So it is rather crucial to this costume idea that a teddy is carried and cared for. Sebastian even had a hairbrush for Aloysius engraved with the teddy's name.
Sebastian favors wearing whites and pale creams throughout the series and often completely from head to toe. His clothes are always worn a little loose as if he finds them restrictive.
His long-sleeved shirts are normally unbuttoned at the neck and there is no neck or bow tie. His formal pants are tight at the waist and baggy in the legs with a slight upturn at the ends of the legs.
A cream pullover, sweater or jumper will casually be tied around his shoulders or he'll be wearing a knitted cream sleeveless vest over his shirt. That's exactly how he looks for most of the series. Have fun dressing as this wonderful and flamboyant character.
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