Costume Designers Revealed the Meaning Behind the Characters’ Outfits From 9 Famous Shows

year ago

TV shows have always been a source of inspiration for many fashionistas, as their characters can sometimes become real style icons. We decided to look at some memorable costumes from popular TV shows and find out how they were created.

And Just Like That...

Carrie wears this beautiful tight-fitting dress on her first date after breaking up with Mr. Big — and she throws up at the end of it. Costume designers had to buy 6 pieces of this Norma Kamali dress because each new take required a clean outfit.

Luckily, 5 dresses out of 6 survived, as the scene was filmed within 1 take. So, they’re still hanging in storage along with the jackets and shoes.


Costume designer Nolan Miller created approximately 3,000 costumes throughout the series because he didn’t want to see the characters wearing the same outfit twice. The jewelry and furs were also authentic. By the way, the weekly wardrobe budget was $35,000.

The White Lotus

Jennifer Coolidge’s character who seeks la dolce vita meets her demise thanks to a pair of sandals. The real pity for Tanya McQuoid is that she lost her footing, not in the acres of Dolce she packed for the trip, but because of a pair of $52 shoes.

Tanya’s colorful dress made from silk chiffon references The Godfather. This character becomes the victim of her husband’s affairs, just like Michael Corleone’s first wife, Apollonia, who also wore a dress with a floral pattern right before her death. This means that Tanya’s outfit in the season finale signaled inevitable tragedy.

Mad Men

Though Mad Men is known for the impeccable wardrobes of Betty Francis and Joan Holloway, Megan Calvet’s arrival in season 4 heralded the inevitable transition of 1960s fashion from prim and ladylike to bold and brash. Just look at this black dress with bell sleeves. It was the first mini dress shown on Mad Men. Megan’s glamorous dress was so impactful that it was on the cover of many magazines the day after this season premiered.

American Crime Story

It’s worth mentioning that the show’s creators didn’t work with the fashion house of Versace directly. Costume designers had to seek authentic vintage Versace pieces in different stores and online. Penélope Cruz’s outfits, which consisted of high-waisted leggings, boots with Medusa heads on them, jewelry, purses, and leather coats, were all found in various stores online.

But some pieces were made by costume designers from scratch, like Cruz’s gorgeous pink dress with a gold safety pin. But for legal reasons, designers couldn’t copy this gown exactly. This is why the piece lacked the Medusa head and the brand logo.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Costume designers created Sabrina’s outfits in accordance with her mystical heritage. For example, they added a gothic grunge vibe to her typical ’90s teenage look. Many of us still remember her black tights, mini skirts, and sheer tops.


The TV series, Julia, tells the story of Julia Child’s success and how fame changed her life. Creating the wardrobe for this character required understanding who the woman behind the apron really was.

Costume designers studied her correspondence and collection of photos. They managed to grasp the key elements of her style — her highly developed sense of taste and the skill to put things together. This is why exciting combinations of colors and patterns distinguished Child’s outfits. This was Child’s attempt to bring sophistication to the American palette. Keeping this in mind, costume designers created vivid costumes, like a green and yellow blouse and a bright orange and red ensemble.

Emily in Paris

Costume designer Patricia Field noticed that Lily Collins bore a striking resemblance to Audrey Hepburn. And this inspired her to send the Emily in Paris star to the ballet in a black midi dress and glittering circlet, just like Audrey Hepburn wore in the movie Funny Face.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Before the Valentine’s Day picnic, the girls take a group photo with Mrs. Hester Appleyard. Her red dress contrasts with her students’ white outfits. It is meticulously structured, hinting at the strict control Hester exerts over the image she projects to the world. But at the same time, the bright color and luxurious fabric make her look both feminine and powerful. If the girls in white dresses look airy and ethereal, Mrs. Appleyard’s silhouette and color scheme are foreboding. This gown is like a ghost of her past that continues to invade the present.

Do you usually pay attention to costumes in movies and TV shows? Do they help you better understand the story?


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