outfit, say a plain suit and tailored blouse, it’s not as if they reached into
the closet and threw on whatever was handy. Costumers and actors discuss
outfits, and a small staff checks the tightness of each button, the sharpness
of each crease.
On ABC’s The Unusuals, Wednesdays, Amber
Tamblyn’s character, Casey Shraeger, could be wearing haute couture as the
daughter of an extraordinarily wealthy family. Instead, Shraeger is a
In the pilot, her mom (Joanna Gleason)
tells her that she looks “like a lesbian.”
“I’m not sure what a lesbian looks like,”
Tamblyn says while cameras move behind her. “It’s just real generic suits,” she
says. “She enjoys the simplicity of a suit, practical shoes. Even in scenes
where she’s off duty, she’ll wear a cardigan sweater and Converse. She doesn’t
have anything very luxurious.”
Shraeger’s closet — characters on shows
have closets from which their outfits are chosen — is in the wardrobe trailer
on the show’s set. There, a few Gap tags hang from shirts in cramped but
perfectly organized rows. Plain button-down blouses hang next to unobtrusive
blouses in muted colors.
“We are dealing with detectives here,” says
Victoria Farrell, the show’s costume designer. “It’s not a fashion thing; it’s
a little more relaxed.”
Farrell describes Shraeger’s look as “a bit
softer. I looked at real detectives to get a good idea. She has good suits — a little
better than most detectives would buy.”
Shraeger’s suits are from Theory.
“I like their fabrics and the cut,” Farrell
says. “They are cuts that work, a longer jacket and a shorter jacket. They also
stretch; they’re beautiful fabrics that hold their shape.”
Beautiful as they are, the linings of
Shraeger’s suits are filled with nicks, tears and runs — from her badge.
Cole and Zara. She has some scarves from Portolano.
Farrell, a Canadian, describes the show’s
palette as “New York for everybody — blacks, grays, blues, navy blues, plum.”
Many of Shraeger’s tops are from James
Perse, where the T-shirts drape beautifully. The costumer favors Madewell for
layering under the suits.
She buys the character’s shoes at Steve Madden.
“I try to sneak Aerosoles in there as much
as possible,” she says of the comfy footwear.
Shraeger’s jewelry is subtle. Her chain is
a rose-gold vintage charm of the number 13 by the jeweler Hannah Clark.
Farrell laughs as she ticks off all the
shopping she does, then points to her own tattered shoelaces, which her dog had
gnawed on. That was going to be her shopping spree — a pair of shoelaces. But
first she was off to find new duds for Shraeger.