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On many commercial, film & TV sets, you’ll get to work with a special person designated to make you look appropriate on camera. It’s the wardrobe stylist. This person is not simply picking items off the rack that make you look good. This person is an expert in choosing clothing, shoe and accessory options for your character that fit the needs and goals of the production overall.

Before you arrive on set (again), here’s a friendly reminder from Houston-based stylist Rebecca Stacey on some things for actors to avoid unless they wish to face the wrath of the expert in charge of wardrobe. I really like her straight talk here. She doesn’t sugarcoat it one bit. 

Actors and models! When you are in a fitting do not dig through your stylist rack asking if they have certain things or looking at the pieces they pull out and saying that would look terrible on me… Because once you put it on it actually looks good… And we, as the stylist, have been given specific instructions on what the client wants to see as a whole. Pretty please keep your mouth shut and let us do our job… I will not let you go on screen looking awful but I would truly appreciate not being made to look like I don’t know what I am doing because you are impatient and do not know the whole story! Our job is to make you look good so please trust in us because I do have the power to make you look like a freakin clown!

I find another reason to trust the stylist on set is we may not know ourselves as well as we think we do. I spent a long time wearing a shirt size larger than necessary because I thought I was a “large” instead of a “medium” during that time. I also avoided selecting lighter colors for myself when shopping and dressing myself. So one definite benefit of turning over the responsibility of dressing you to someone else is getting a chance to see yourself through their eyes.

What you learn from each expert, you will take with you to the next set. Arriving early and paying attention to each department head will make you a more valuable professional as it provides lessons you can use when you get to a smaller set that may not have the same number of experts or ones as experienced. Let me know how that works out for you.

 

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One of several shoots I’ve worked on with Rebecca turned me into a doc for the day.

 

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On the set of HBO’s Temple Grandin and dressed for the 1960’s

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