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13 Costume-Design Secrets You Probably Missed in Your Favorite Movies

It’s common for people that don’t work in the movie industry to not even understand the number of little details that must be taken into account when making a new series or a movie. Not only do you need a good script, good actors, a good director, and a good production team, but you also need costumes, which are essential to telling an amazing story. Everything that appears on screen has a reason for being there, after all, it costs money to put a certain detail in there. Many times, costumes have certain hidden, almost secret details that have more meaning than we might think at first sight.

Bright Side wanted to raise awareness about the work of costume designers in movies and series by compiling a few details that you might have missed while watching your favorite movies, and here’s what we found.

1. Jo and Laurie’s vests in Little Women

Jo and Laurie exchange vests constantly throughout the film. In the director’s own words, this symbolized that they were each other’s other half, they were meant for each other. The idea came from costume designer Jacqueline Durran, who made several identical pieces to make it look like they share clothes.

2. The color pink and Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

A very curious detail, and one that may have gone unnoticed by many, is that in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the pink costumes of the evil Dolores Umbridge change shades as she gains power. The more power she has, the darker the shade of pink is. And because producers wanted pink to be related to Professor Umbridge only, they felt the need to change Nymphadora Tonks’ hair color, which, in the book, is supposed to be pink and in the movie is purple.

3. The colors in Black Panther

In the scene where the 3 main characters of Black Panther go to the casino, they’re all wearing clothes showcasing the traditional colors of African culture: Nakia, wears green, T’Challa, wears black, and Okoye sticks, as usual, with red. These colors can actually be seen throughout the whole film. It’s only when foreigners and external elements not belonging to Wakanda appear on screen that blue is used, for example. In the picture, we can see that there’s a blonde woman walking behind them. She’s clearly a foreigner and she is wearing a blue dress.

4. Chris Evans’ clothes in Knives Out

The director of the film suggested to the costume designer that Chris Evans’ character should wear expensive and brand name clothes, but that his wardrobe should look a little bit sloppy. The idea was to give the character a sort of nonchalant, but debonair look. She then decided to wear holes in the sweaters that Evans would wear and even wear out the soles of his shoes.

5. Will’s Halloween costume in Stranger Things

In a scene from the second episode of the second season, the kids are out during Halloween. The group of 4 friends chose to wear a Ghostbusters costume. Kim Wilcox, the series costume-designer, wanted to make Will’s costume stand out from the other boys’ costumes. His is actually less perfect. You can tell that it was made at home and with fewer resources. It’s even oversized for Will. This was done on purpose because the production team wanted to show that Will’s mother had less time and money than the rest of the households in town.

6. Cobb’s kids in Inception

Everyone who has seen Inception is left wondering about what the end of the film means. Is Cobb awake or is it all part of a dream? Well, in fact, Cobb finally managed to see his children again. It turns out that Jeffrey Kurland, the costume designer, might have been the one who gave us the key to understanding this. If we take a closer look at the children’s clothes in Cobb’s dream and in the last scene, we’ll notice that they are slightly different. Also, at the end of the movie, Cobb’s children have grown up and we can finally see their faces. Everything seems to indicate that Cobb has indeed woken up.

7. Ryan Reynolds’ shirt in Deadpool 2

The T-shirt Wade wears when he wakes up in the X-men’s mansion has a picture of 2 cats on it: Olivia and Meredith. These are the cats of Taylor Swift, who is close friends with Ryan Reynolds and his wife.

8. Thanksgiving dinner outfits in Spider-Man

In the previous Spider-Man franchise, during Thanksgiving dinner, Peter Parker is wearing an outfit with the colors of the Green Goblin, while Norman Osborn wears the colors of the Spider-Man suit. As if this wink wasn’t enough, Harry Osborn wears all 3 colors combined, red tie, green shirt, and blue jacket.

9. Sabrina’s dress in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The red dress Sabrina wears at the Academy of Unseen Arts is virtually identical to the dress Mia Farrow wore in the classic horror movie Rosemary’s Baby. This series makes constant references to horror classics. We will also find tributes to The Exorcist and Nightmare on Elm Street.

10. The butterflies in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

In the baptism scene, Sophie wears a butterfly dress. In the flashback where we see Donna as a young woman, she is wearing a pendant with a large butterfly. This symbolizes the connection between mother and daughter and Donna’s free spirit, flying freely wherever it takes her.

11. Boromir and Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

After the death of his companion and compatriot Boromir, Aragorn wears his bracers and keeps them on throughout the whole trilogy of The Lord of the Rings. This gesture was a way of honoring his companion and keeping his memory alive in Aragorn’s subsequent fights.

12. The tigers in Shazam!

In Captain Marvel’s comic book, the character of Shazam had as a sidekick, an anthropomorphic tiger called Tawky Tawny who was supposed to come from India to better integrate into social life. As a reference to this character in the film, the buttons that hold the superhero’s cape have tigers embossed on them. Shazam also gives away a stuffed tiger — in Billy’s backpack there is a tiger and they even use the song “Eye of the Tiger” in the soundtrack.

13. Klimt’s influence in Bram Stoker’s Dracula

The costume designer of Bram Stoker’s Dracula was Japanese, so it’s hardly surprising that many costumes, and even the makeup and hairstyles, bring to mind the style of traditional Japanese Kabuki theater. But for the final costume of the count, the costume designer was directly inspired by Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss as seen above.

What strikes you the most about the costumes in a movie? Do you remember any details that seemed like a wink or a clue for the public to better understand the movie? Let us know in the comments!