I’m in the midst of three and a half days on the same shoot in Houston for a giant oil company. Judging by the number of days, the amount of actors (10), and the size of the crew, it’s safe to say a chunk of cash is being spent on this project. One thing missing from this week’s shoot is a wardrobe stylist so that responsibility goes to each actor.
On the first day, each actor brought a variety of options. The only instructions we got in advance told us to bring “business casual” attire so I packed button-down shirts and slacks. My shirt colors are blue, red, and yellow. The color options for slacks are gray, dark brown, and light brown. The director chose the gray slacks and the red shirt, partially because he chose a blue shirt for the other actor in my first scene and that actor started shooting his part of the scene before I did.
Whether you feel comfortable in the role of personal stylist or not, it’s a job most actors have to take on from time to time. I enjoy being dressed by the real wardrobe experts on big film, TV, and commercial sets, but I also pay attention to their choices for me and what items in my own wardrobe catch their attention. My Royal blue shirts tend to be a hit everywhere I go.
Now the lack of a wardrobe person on this particular set creates an added responsibility for the actors. My gray slacks/red shirt combo on the first day must be brought back on the second day to ensure continuity in the scenes we’re shooting. This is noteworthy because it’s a multiple day shoot and the director yesterday told us how the scenes would be integrated. I also took note of the mention by the crew of an additional set-up for my role today in the same space we shot yesterday.
No one needed to tell me to come back with the same wardrobe; I just knew after many years of experience on all types of sets. Newer actors may not grasp this concept right away, especially if they have only worked on projects for a day at a time. If you’re unsure, ask someone in charge. If you forget to ask before you leave the set, reach out to the contact person by phone or email. If he or she doesn’t reply, bring back everything. You’ll never cause a problem bringing back too much.