Costuming "Science Sex and the Ladies": hoarding, intentions, constraints, and sizing super powers

I've been staring at vintage (and/or crappy old)clothes on hangers laying in large stacks on my garage floor. They are also in the office closet, in the "gray room" with all our equipment and until recently in the back of our van. They've been laying in stacks in various places since we finished shooting in August 2009. I am notoriously a person that does not keep things. I appreciate a card, but I generally read it and then throw it directly away. If I find something in the closet and I haven't used it in a year, it's gone. I can't seem to get rid of these clothes though.

It's not sentimental. I think what it is is that I was scarred slightly by the process of costuming that movie. I spent so much time (and a fair amount of money) on costuming. I was constantly either researching (albeit - thin web researching) period fashion, making Excel sheets of costume needs, searching stores - particularly thrift stores, organizing and tagging costume combos, lugging stacks of them around, making fits, and all the damn ironing and steaming - oh the ironing and steaming. And, it's not like I wasn't already in scheduling, prop, and shoot day hell. I guess my problem is that I am, for the first time, saying to myself something that goes through other people's heads all the time, "but I might need these some day." I won't. I know that, but I keep thinking maybe we'll use them in another movie, or maybe we'll have some sort of promotional event where the actors are in their costumes from this movie. Don't worry, I will eventually throw them out. The truth is if we make another movie the costumes I have will certainly not only be wrong, but not fit any of the actors we have, and let's get real - even when the actors were in them during the shoots, they usually only fit due to safety pins.

I think I also have a sense of pride about these costumes. I went into this thinking
I would be horrible and really hoped to get a person who was passionate, knowledgeable, and committed to do this aspect of the movie. Not the case - it was all me in the end, but I felt like I rose to the occasion. Considering my sewing, money and knowledge constraints, I think the costumes ended up being basically what I wanted them to be. My goal was to use costumes in the movie to add color, pep, interest, to contribute to the slightly homemade/amateur theatrical look of the movie's visual stylings, and finally, I wanted the period costumes to have a slightly unexpected look for the period. What I really didn't want was to use the most stereotyped look to exemplify the period we were discussing - for instance using a simple era sweater, skirt and hairstyle instead of a "hippie" outfit for a 60's campus scene - something more mainstream that people living during that time would identify with more. I know it's not that innovative of an idea, but I think it makes it look and feel a little more interesting - at least I hope.

I couldn't always do this because largely I had to use what was available. However, what was available was largely not the "perfect" recognizable costume for an era, because it was mostly actual everyday clothes from the era. Really, our constraint was sort of our advantage. Luckily, I had someone more knowledgeable on hand to help me be creative in putting together these old everyday clothes we had on hand - my Aunt Cathy (Aunt Faf). She loves herself some fashion, and she and my mother were with us on our big costuming day. We had tons of clothes organized into categories and actors were going through finding combos that fit them and matched their part. Aunt Faf and mom helped pick out and critique period ensembles with some sweet first hand knowledge, giving feedback about what kind of accessories would have been added, how the clothes were worn, and what kind of person would have worn them.

Like I said, everything was not exactly as I would have done it if I'd had unlimited funds, but I think it came out alright. Plus I got crazy good at being able to know whether a piece of clothing would fit a particular actor. Those old clothes can be deceiving, but by the end, I promise I could predict things like that a dress would fit the actress in her waist and arms, but needed to be kept open in the back to accommodate the bust. This might be strange,and i didn't set out to do this, but I learned this by trying on the clothes. Over time, I knew how things that did (and did not) fit the actors fit (or did not) fit on me. It was a strange superpower.

So there you have it...my thoughts on costuming Science Sex and the Ladies.

P.S. If there are any sentimental SSL actors reading this: There are some super sweet truly vintage costumes that I am keeping because they're awesome and possibly actually worth some money.

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