If your personal life has an alternative, downtown edge and your work life is mainstream, uptown conservative, wardrobe adjustments are needed.
Such is the case with multifaceted Margaret Cho, tattooed over 40 percent of her body. She plays Teri, assistant to a lawyer, on Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” Sundays.
“Teri’s look is very funky,” Cho says. “She wears a lot of ethnic jewelry, and a lot of prints, and a lot of color.”
Cho loves fashion, and for her personal style, shops when in London, Paris, Rome and Marrakech, Morocco.
“There are a couple of great designers in Marrakech who have their own lines, and Beldi is one, and he is a wonderful tailor,” she says. “He takes traditional Moroccan clothing and makes them really wearable for women.”
“I like personal tailoring,” she says. “That, to me, is really important. It has to fit right. That’s why I don’t buy that much from the mall or off the rack. Sometimes I will go for Free People or American Apparel. I love their lines, and can put together (separates) with stuff that’s exotic.”
Her character, though, needs to be more traditional.
Teri’s blouses are DVF, Joie, Tory Burch, Tahari, and Elizabeth and James. She also wears pieces from Rebecca Taylor.
Her slacks are Theory and Z Spoke. This season she wears more skirts, including one by Robert Rodriguez.
“She almost always wears some type of vest, which she wears like a corset to pull everything in, and make (her look) more professional,” Cho says.
Her vests are a great example of what separates a costume designer from most of us: She looks at a garment and sees what it can become rather than what it is. In the case of a Jenny Han vest, Riley “took off embellishment and changed the buttons,” she says.
Teri also wears a Rachel Roy jacket.
She’s usually sporting eye-catching necklaces, made from recycled leather, from Sweet Evie. She also has some bold Anthropologie necklaces and others from Esther Design of vintage chains and semiprecious stones.
Left to her own devices, Cho enjoys some outrageous accessories including ultrahigh heels.
“It’s all about Jeffrey Campbell shoes,” she says. “They are very comfortable and not too expensive. I love a really high heel, 6- or 7-inch heel.”
Those shoes are perfect for nights when looking edgy is part of the experience. But for those who need to go to work and look not quite so flamboyant, Riley has some simple advice for toning it down.
“l’d say anything that’s tailored,” the costume designer says. “Tailored, solid, and a jacket over a tattoo.”
“She still looks eclectic and interesting and fun,” Riley says of Cho, “like she has an alternative lifestyle that we always hear about.”