Emma Stone’s 10 Best Bella Baxter Outfits In Poor Things, Ranked
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Emma Stone’s 10 Best Bella Baxter Outfits In Poor Things, Ranked

Summary

  • Costume designer Holly Waddington won Best Costume Design at the 2024 Oscars for her work on Poor Things.
  • “Poor Things” combines sci-fi, comedy, and horror with a fantastical aesthetic that is reflected in its unique and original costuming.
  • Emma Stone’s best outfits as Bella Baxter reflect the protagonist’s growth and character development, with each look holding symbolic significance in the film.
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    Emma Stone wears an array of strikingly gorgeous and unusual outfits as Bella Baxter in Poor Things. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things is based on the 1992 book of the same name by Alasdair Gray, which tells the story of a grown woman who is resurrected and implanted with the brain of an infant by a scientist named Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). With an insatiable curiosity about the world, she sets out on a journey of self-discovery and exploration. Stone won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance as the lovably bizarre Bella Baxter in Poor Things.

    Along with Stone’s Best Actress win at the 2024 Oscars, Poor Things took home a number of awards, including Best Costume Design for costume designer Holly Waddington. Although Poor Things takes place in the Victorian era, specifically the 1880s, Lanthimos took some creative liberties with the sci-fi comedy’s fantastical aesthetic, which is reflected in the unconventional costuming. For Bella’s wardrobe, Waddington combined traditional late 19th-century silhouettes like puff sleeves, ruffles, and plastrons with more modern details, colors, and textures. Bella’s growth is reflected in her bright, colorful, and partially anachronistic outfits, the best of which are ranked below.

    Poor Things also won the Oscars for Best Production Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

    Poor Things Mark Ruffalo as Duncan Emma Stone as Bella Willem Dafoe as Dr Baxter
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    10 Cream Turtleneck Sweater & Brown Skirt

    Bella Baxter’s Final Outfit In Poor Things

    Bella drinks and reads a book in Poor Things

    Poor Things’ ending shows Bella studying for an anatomy exam in her pursuit of becoming a doctor. In this closing scene, Bella is wearing a brown skirt and a cream, ribbed turtleneck sweater with less puffy sleeves than her other getups. It’s much tamer and more understated than the rest of her looks, but this is still one of Bella’s best outfits in Poor Things because of how it contrasts with the rest of her attire. Its simplicity is the point, as it’s meant to depict how Bella is maturing and becoming more grounded as her brain catches up to her body.

    Emma Stone as Bella Baxter from Poor Things
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    9 Orange Satin Puff-Sleeve Gown & Purple Plastron

    Bella Returns To Her Old Life In Poor Things

    Bella Baxter (Emma Stone) wears an orange satin gown with purple detailing in Poor Things.

    When Bella’s husband, Alfie Blessington (Christopher Abbott), crashes her wedding and reveals that her name was Victoria Blessington before her suicide attempt and Godwin’s operation, Bella opts to return to her former home with him instead of marrying Max McCandless (Rami Youssef). After a startling and concerning dinner, Bella attempts to leave the lavish mansion but finds the front gates are locked. As she wanders the halls, Bella dons an orange satin puff-sleeve gown with a form-fitting, padded purple plastron on the front.

    Ultimately, this look is less appealing to the eye than Bella’s other looks, but it still ranks among her best outfits because of how much it stands out. After a relatively consistent color palette of pastels and bright colors, this burnt orange and eggplant purple come out of nowhere, creating a sharp contrast against one another and the rest of Bella’s wardrobe. The textures are also uncharacteristic for her and seem to conflict with each other. The satin material feels constricted by the thick padding and sharp edges of the plastron, representing Bella’s imprisonment.

    8 Pea Green Puff-Sleeve Open-Front Wrap Dress, White Ruffle Top, & White Shorts

    Bella Explores The Ship In Poor Things

    After Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo) tells Bella to climb into a trunk in only a white, sleeveless, ruffle top and undershorts, he brings her onto a ship without her knowledge. Bella is not happy about this surprise and leaves their cabin to go exploring on the deck. Bella throws on a pea-green, puff-sleeve, ribbed, collared wrap dress over her clothes, which she eventually falls asleep in on the ship deck.

    One of the most authentic aspects of this often surrealistic film is that Bella re-wears most of her garments, but pairs them with other pieces to keep her looks fresh. Bella wears this pea-green number again on its own, tied up as a wrap dress sans ruffle top and shorts, in a later scene on the ship and more than once while working at the brothel in Paris. She treats this garment almost like a fancy cover-up, giving an effortless to its ethereal essence. However, this first pairing, with the ruffle top and shorts from the night before, is the best.

    A profile shot of Emma Stone as Bella in Poor Things
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    7 Black Button-Up Coat, White Collared Shirt, Black Knee-High Boots, & Over-The-Knee Socks

    Bella Has A Run-In With Duncan On The Streets Of Paris In Poor Things

    Bella Baxter (Emma Stone) stands on the snowy street in a black coat and knee high socks and boots in Poor Things.

    When Duncan returns to Paris for Bella in Poor Things, he follows her down the snowy streets as she walks with her friend and fellow sex worker, Toinette. In this scene, Bella is wearing a black, mid-thigh-length coat buttoned all the way up, with a white collar peeking out the top. The coat has intricate black detailing and the slightest of puff sleeves, though they’re significantly less inflated than most of Bella’s other looks. She pairs this coat with knee-high black boots and tan over-the-knee socks.

    This outfit has a much simpler and more timeless silhouette, but the over-the-knee socks give it enough variation that it’s still interesting enough.

    This serious, studious look almost resembles a schoolgirl uniform, reflecting Bella’s intellectual advancements in Poor Things. Like the turtleneck sweater look at the end of Poor Things, this outfit has a much simpler and more timeless silhouette, but the over-the-knee socks give it enough variation that it’s still interesting enough. Bella sports nearly the same look when she returns to London to visit a dying Godwin, though she wears a floor-length skirt instead, making it inferior to this pairing.

    6 Yellow Ruffled Tulle Puff-Sleeve Garment, Baby Blue Ruffled Plastron, & Pink Floor-Length Dress

    Bella Meets Martha von Kurtzroc & Harry Astley In Poor Things

    On the ship, after Bella is shown to be growing tired and irritated by Duncan, she meets Martha von Kurtzroc (Hanna Schygulla) and Harry Astley (Jerrod Carmichael) and they strike up a friendship. In this scene, Bella is wearing a bright yellow, ruffled, puff-sleeve garment made of a tulle-like material, sitting on her shoulders. This garment is tied over a baby blue ruffled plastron, which were very popular during the Victorian era. Bella wears the plastron over a pink dress with a blue waistband.

    Bella wears this bright yellow garment again at the Paris brothel. However, she’s not wearing much else in that scene, making this pairing with the pink dress and blue ruffled plastron a much fuller and better styled look. The contrast of textures and colors creates a bold, eye-catching visual that makes it impossible to keep one’s eyes off Bella, which was no doubt the intention.

    5 Pink Sheer Floor-Length Skirt, Pink Puff-Sleeve Jacket, White Ruffle Top, & Black Hat

    Bella Lets Loose On The Dancefloor In Poor Things

    In one scene from Poor Things, Bella gets drunk at a bar by herself before joining Duncan for dinner. In this scene, Bella is wearing a pink puff-sleeve jacket, a sheer pink floor-length skirt, a black wide-brimmed hat, and the same white, ruffled, sleeveless top and white undershorts she’s seen wearing in earlier scenes. After her first appearance in this outfit, Bella sheds another layer of this outfit with each new scene. First, the hat in the hotel lobby, followed by the jacket at dinner, then finally the skirt in her hotel room.

    The sheer material of Bella’s skirt is also indicative of the modern slant of the film’s costumes, making this outfit one of the best representations of the originality of the clothing in Poor Things.

    The best version of this outfit is when Bella ditches the hat and jacket, allowing her to move more freely on the dancefloor, while the lightweight flow of the skirt accentuates Bella’s erratic jolts of movement as she attempts to dance. The sheer material of Bella’s skirt is also indicative of the modern slant of the film’s costumes, making this outfit one of the best representations of the originality of the clothing in Poor Things.

    4 White Puff-Sleeve Ruffle-Front Gown & Lace Gloves

    Bella Witnesses The Atrocities Of The World In Poor Things

    When Bella shows a little too much blind optimism and idealism about humanity for his liking, Harry Astley opts to shatter this illusion. He takes her to Alexandria where he shows her the suffering people in the “slum” below. The sight of these impoverished, starving souls completely breaks Bella’s spirit and compels her to take all of Duncan’s gambling winnings and give the money to the poor (though it really ends up in the possession of two deckhands).

    The monochrome color and satisfyingly complimentary textures of this outfit give it a seamless and put-together feel, which serves to emphasize Bella’s inner turmoil about living a lavish lifestyle while others are suffering.

    During these heart-wrenching scenes, Bella is wearing a white, striped, puff-sleeve gown with ruffle detailing on the front (potentially another plastron) and lace gloves. Although this is a distressing part of Poor Things, this look feels especially pertinent to the themes it’s addressing. The monochrome color and satisfyingly complimentary textures of this outfit give it a seamless and put-together feel, which serves to emphasize Bella’s inner turmoil about living a lavish lifestyle while others are suffering.

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    3 Blue Puff-Sleeve Jacket, White Sleeveless Ruffled Top, Yellow Shorts, & White Booties

    Bella Explores Lisbon On Her Own In Poor Things

    After Poor Things’ scenes change from black and white to color upon Bella and Duncan’s arrival in Lisbon, the first outfit Bella wears is a baby blue, puff-sleeve jacket over a white, sleeveless, ruffled top, paired with a matching floor-length baby blue skirt and white booties. This outfit is a departure from the more infantile clothing Godwin dressed Bella in, signalling her mental progression. However, Bella adjusts this outfit slightly when she decides to explore Lisbon by herself after “siesta” with Duncan.

    The contrast between the pale, softer tone of the baby blue jacket and the bright yellow shorts creates a striking visual that aligns well with the fantastical aesthetic of Poor Things.

    Instead of the matching floor-length skirt, Bella removes this layer and ventures out in a pair of bright yellow shorts, which are implied to be her undergarments. The contrast between the pale, softer tone of the baby blue jacket and the bright yellow shorts creates a striking visual that aligns well with the fantastical aesthetic of Poor Things and makes this one of Bella’s best looks. The way the formal, sophisticated top half of the outfit contrasts with the short length of the bottoms signals that Bella herself is unconventional, further establishing the nature of her character.

    Emma Stone as Bella in Poor Things
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    2 Gold Bow Gown

    Bella Tries To Punch A Baby In Poor Things

    At her first dinner with Duncan and his high society friends, Bella dons an extravagant gold gown with gigantic bows on each shoulder. During this dinner, Bella spits out her food at the table and attempts to punch a crying baby in an effort to get the infant to quiet down. Duncan stops her and pulls her aside to scold her for acting inappropriately and failing to abide by “police society” standards.

    This outfit would score more points if it was shown for longer in Poor Things, but sadly, Bella only wears it in this brief scene, most of which she spends sitting down, obstructing the view of the gown. Still, this gown is one of the most lavish and visually striking pieces Bella wears that is guaranteed to immediately catch the viewer’s eye. The giant bow sleeves are especially memorable because they’re not the typical puff sleeve shape she wears, making them distinct enough to warrant a higher ranking among her best outfits.

    1 White Puff-Sleeve Wedding Dress & Lace Face Veil

    Bella & Max’s Wedding Gets Interrupted By Her Former Husband In Poor Things

    Though she wears a ton of eye-catching looks, Bella’s best outfit in all of Poor Things is her wedding dress. As she walks down the aisle prepared to marry Max, Bella wears a sheer, white gown with boning on the puff sleeves, paired with a lace veil over her face. Her wedding day silhouette is in line with many of her previous looks, though these may be her puffiest sleeves of all. What makes Bella’s wedding outfit unique is how lightweight and delicate it looks, which is also what made it the most difficult look to get right, according to Waddington (Harpers Bazaar), but it pays off immensely.

    The veil is part of the reason why Bella’s wedding attire happens to be Stone’s favorite look in the whole film.

    Although a white wedding dress is more traditional than viewers would come to expect from her, the lace veil covering the bottom half of Bella’s face is just bizarre and unconventional enough that it actually feels like something she would wear. In fact, the veil is part of the reason why Bella’s wedding attire happens to be Stone’s favorite look in the whole film (via Refinery 29). There may be more colorful, layered, and complex outfits worn by Bella in Poor Things, but the wedding dress and veil pairing is the best of the best.

    Sources: Harpers Bazaar, Refinery 29

    Poor Things Poster

    Poor Things
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    Poor Things is a sci-fi romance film from The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos. The story focuses on the bizarre and fantastical world of Bella Baxter after a scientist named Dr. Godwin Baxter brings her back to life. The film is based on the 1992 novel of the same name by Alasdair Gray.

    Director Yorgos Lanthimos

    Release Date September 8, 2023

    Runtime 141 Minutes

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