Where to shop for wardrobe. Part 1 – Know Your Demographic

23 Aug

This is a start to a 3 part series that goes behind the rationale of deciding where you should shop for wardrobe.  There are a lot of reasons I’ll shop at particular stores for certain jobs.  A big consideration for me is thinking about the character I’m trying to represent.  For example, the video project I worked on last week contained actors playing jet set business executives.  Therefore, I shopped where it is feasible with the budget allowed at places business executives would shop.  If you’re portraying a character, I think it helps to think like the character.   Everyone identifies themselves with particular stores.  Granted, you don’t always have the budget to support this, in fact you never have the budget to dress executives with the expensive clothes that they’d probably wear, but you can find ways to cut corners.  For example, I would go for the expensive suit because that’s tough to fake, but since the jacket isn’t touching skin, it’s returnable.  Keep the pants, buy a button up shirt and tie at a discount retailer like Filene’s Basement or TJ Maxx and call it a day.

This also goes in the other direction for talent that are meant to be represented in a less fortunate manner.  It wouldn’t make sense to go to Hugo Boss and deck the talent out.  The nicer fabric and slicker cut is apparent.  A good example of this is the difference between network television and HBO.  On network TV, everyone looks damn good because they want each actor to appeal to the masses.  There is one particular show that I really like where one of the characters is from a broken up home in rural Texas, yet she wears Seven jeans.  This particular actress is especially tall and probably is tough to fit.  The quick solution was to go designer because you have more options, but for me, the recognizable stitching on her jeans throws off the character.   Also, the fact they fit her like a glove throws off her character.  The reality is that she would shop at a mall chain or Target and would buy the jeans that emphasized and fit the feature she likes the best, but hit her ankles at an awkward length.

I know that this may be overlooked by a majority of the audience, but I think the most successful projects are the ones that look at the minutia and makes sure those elements make sense in building the big picture.  The cut and fabric plays into the character because they may only be sold at a particular level of store.  That is why it is important to know your demographic and where they would shop.

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