Actors get a lot of credit for making our favorite TV shows what they are but the real magic happens behind the scenes. Every person on production we don’t see on camera also puts a ton of thought into creating the characters we love so much. In the case of the wardrobe department, all of that planning makes it onscreen.
Here are 50 interesting behind-the-scenes facts straight from the wardrobe departments of a bunch of iconic TV shows:
Along with being a co-creator and star, Dan Levy also supervised the wardrobe department.
Catherine O’Hara suggested the British heiress / high fashion icon Daphne Guinness as inspiration for Moira Rose’s unique, campy style.
The wardrobe team had a saying when it came to Moira’s outfits: More is more.
The show used the Rose family’s designer clothing in order to “continually [remind] our audience where these people came from.”
Originally, Dan Levy wanted Moira’s finale look to be a black dress, but Debra Hanson thought it wasn’t celebratory enough and looked for white and cream outfits instead.
The style aesthetic that wardrobe designer Debra McGuire created was actually the opposite of the baggy clothes that were considered trendy at the time.
She used some of her personal clothes to dress Rachel Green, such as her hot pink faux fur coat and Missoni trousers.
Executive producer Marta Kauffman told McGuire that the characters should be in jeans because they were hanging out in New York, but she disagreed and decided to go for looks that were aspirational instead.
A lot of Chandler’s outfits were custom-made and his style was inspired by the 1940s.
McGuire assigned each of the main characters their own palette — the women were divided into colors and the men were divided into textures.
In the first two seasons, the characters never wore reds or pinks in “the Good Place” because “the Good Place is green for good.”
The blue and yellow chevron pattern from the pilot episode is symbolic of the Good Place and its points system because, when combined, those colors make green.
After the original neighborhood dissolved, however, “all bets [were] off,” so the wardrobe designers tried to have “a more ordinary palette.”
In Season 3, when Eleanor was back on Earth, they began dressing her “like a cute student” to show that she was learning how to become a good person.
A lot of Jason’s costumes included teal, gold, black, and white to reflect his love of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Costume designer Carey Bennett had never worked in a traditional office so she found a local paper company in the phone book, called them up, and invited herself to visit so she could research.
She wanted to keep the characters’ personal styles realistic so she stuck to an imperfect, dated style.
The key to creating Angela’s signature look was taking fashionable clothes and putting them “in all the wrong combinations.”
Dwight’s iconic mustard shirt was a “good luck charm” carried over from Bennett’s work on Scrubs.
Bennett used Ryan’s suits to reflect his climb from intern to corporate manager, upgrading him from off-the-rack suits to custom-made designer ones.
In order to create period-accurate pieces, costume designer Analucia McGorty consulted with her close friend who’s an archivist at Condé Nast.
Elektra’s Marie Antoinette look from Season 2 was designed to be “something that we’ve never seen on television before.”
McGorty gave swatches of fabric from the characters’ outfits to the director of photography and the grip and electric departments to help them get the perfect shot.
For Season 3, McGorty used a few pieces from her personal wardrobe to dress Pray Tell because both she and Billy Porter wear the same size.
She included a red fringe heart in the outfit Candy wears in her final ballroom scene as a “love letter” to the character.
It took 5 months and 238 people to create all 5,000 costumes.
The style of the costumes was inspired by Regency England, but the color palette was borrowed from the 1950s and ’60s.
In order to modernize the dresses, the team “paid a lot of attention to the scooped necklines and how they fit the bust,” instead of sticking to the straight necklines that are typically seen in period pieces.
The Featheringtons wore bright, “overly citrus” colors because Portia “wants those girls to be seen.”
The color palette of Daphne’s wardrobe got darker over time to signify her aging.
Initially, Kamala’s wardrobe consisted entirely of American-style clothes but at Richa Moorjani’s suggestion, she began to wear “casual, flowy Indian pants or tops to incorporate her culture.”
The cosplay outfit that Kamala wore to the video game convention with her coworkers was custom-made by wardrobe designer Salvador Pérez Jr.
When Pérez was designing the clothes that Devi models for Rebecca, creator Mindy Kaling told him to “think like a 15-year-old teen girl.”
All of Rebecca’s designs were constructed from fabric that was leftover from Pérez’s work on The Mindy Project.
Poorna Jagannathan helps source clothes for Nalini’s wardrobe.
Costume designer Tom Broecker guest-starred as the TGS costume designer.
In the first season, Liz Lemon’s wardrobe reflected her struggle to find both herself and where she fit at work, evolving from jeans and blazers to skirts and heels.
According to Broecker, Jenna dressed “more like a sitcom actress” than a sketch comedy performer.
The chicken suit was initially a nod to an axed TGS skit.
When the show ended, Alec Baldwin “wrote a big check to NBC” and bought all of Jack’s suits.
At Cole Sprouse’s request, Jughead’s beanie was modified to be less slouchy at the top.
Costume designer Rebekka Sorensen-Kjelstrup sourced six different spider brooches from vintage shops and Etsy to make sure Cheryl had plenty to choose from.
Sorensen-Kjelstrup always focuses on the upper half of a character’s outfit, adding plenty of accessories, so that their individual aesthetics stand out in a close-up shot.
Each character’s look is based on “either a composite or a decade of the actual Archie comics.”
Sorensen-Kjelstrup’s daughter reads fan theories about the characters’ outfits on Tumblr and shares them with her mother.
After Sansa Stark arrived in King’s Landing, she traded in the blue color palette of her homeland for mauve to help her avoid scrutiny.
Daenerys Targaryen’s Meereen dress from Season 4 was “one of the most difficult dresses to make” through the series’s run.
The actors wore temperature-changing vests under their costumes to keep them comfortable.
Samwell Tarly’s cloak was made out of an IKEA rug because, in the beginning, the wardrobe designers didn’t have a lot of money to work with.
And finally, Daenerys’s complex white coat was meant to mirror the wardrobe of her vile brother Viserys.