It’s not our habit to lust after U.S. marshals, but we’re making an exception with Mary Shannon of In Plain Sight, airing Sundays on USA Network. There’s just something about a girl packing heat. They tend to be all about function over fashion.

That’s certainly true with Mary, played by Mary McCormack. Thanks to gritty realism and a real female marshal as an on-set adviser, costume designer Michele Rede (Boston Public, The Pretender) has Mary looking ready to kick butt and take names — not necessarily in that order.

“Mary is very narcissistic,” Rede says. “She’s all about her work and not very emotionally available. … The reason she dresses that way is because she works with men — she has to be one of the boys. That’s just the nature of being a woman in a man’s world.”

Of course, there’s no denying that Mary stands out among the boys: The blond tresses, the mile-long legs and the filled-out tank tops don’t let anyone confuse her with her boss, Chief Inspector McQueen.

“Her work clothes are her life clothes,” Rede says. “There’s no real distinction. … Sometimes she might have to go under cover — like for the ‘Never the Bride’ episode where she was a bridesmaid, and we went over the top — but most of the time it’s tank tops and jeans.”

The exception to that rule is when we see Mary head to court or to an important meeting with colleagues. During those stretches Rede puts her in suits from Theory, which work with her style and have enough give in them for her action scenes — of which there are many.

But, as Rede says, Mary’s uniform is a standard-issue combination of layered tank tops, jeans and a leather jacket.

“For tank tops we choose from Express and Splendid,” Rede says. “We were looking for rich jewel tones for her because we didn’t want her to blend in with the desert — deep emerald green, the red you see on all of the publicity shots — we bought a lot of tanks and dyed them to get just the right color.”

They then layer multiple tanks to add some depth and to contrast it with the color on top of a white — or lighter-colored — tank. Another trick employed by Rede is to shorten the outer tank by one inch to show off that layering effect.

And while McCormack wears Hudson Jeans‘ Supermodel cut, for the character, they chose a more versatile pair from Lucky Brand Jeans. They’re held up by a perfectly distressed smoky brown leather belt with a dull brass buckle from Fred Segal.

Her other trademark feature is the brown leather jacket that has had a few incarnations. For the pilot they chose a beautiful Prada jacket. But because they needed multiples, they bought and tweaked a bunch of Andrew Marc leather jackets and dyed them cordovan.

Posted by:Michael Korb