Red carpets and high school are probably the two places where outfits are most scrutinized, ridiculed and occasionally praised.
MTV’s Thursday comedy “Awkward.” shows a range of high-school fashion — from geeky sophomores to inappropriate parents. Costume designer Nancea Ceo tells Zap2it that she aims to give each character a signature piece.
“She is very clean lined,” Ceo says of Jenna (Ashley Rickards). “I tend to put her in bell-bottoms and Vans sneakers. This piece has little flowers and is very feminine.”
Jenna always wears a butterfly necklace and ring, which Ceo designed and had made for the show. “She is the girl who is a bit awkward, but she is liked by one of the most popular guys in school,” Ceo says.
Jenna, whose clothes come from surf shops, “is more concerned with doing things internally than outwardly,” Ceo says. “She wrote some sayings on her Vans sneakers because she blogs and would write there.”
Thick, black-framed nerd glasses became popular a few years ago, but Ming (Jessica Lu) probably would have worn them when everyone else wore tiny metal frames. She always wears a hat resembling an animal of undetermined species. “I had a little old lady knit that for me,” Ceo says.
Though street vendors hawk animal hats everywhere, being homemade makes this one different. “Then you don’t look like everybody’s show,” Ceo says.
The top Ming wears here is a T-shirt, and the yoke is a disassembled scarf sewn onto it. The shirt underneath is also cut up.
“Her particular character is that she is sort of sheltered by her parents,” Ceo says. “My particular thought was she puts her frustrations into cutting up her clothes, and that is her way of handling who she is.”
Lacey (Nikki DeLoach) was a teenage mom and can’t quite accept that she’s in her mid-30s and not the school’s sexiest girl anymore. She’s always flashing more cleavage and more leg than seemly.
“She obviously has a wonderful body,” Ceo says of DeLoach. “She is this character who tries so hard and how she can never quite get it right but her intentions are so good.”
In this, she wears a plunging neckline and flouncy ruffles at the skirt’s hem with high heels. “She still has a young vibe to her,” Ceo says.
Valerie (Desi Lydic) is simply misguided — as a guidance counselor and in fashion. Ceo admits she based Valerie’s look on “a teacher I had in school who always wore baby-doll dresses and clogs.”
Here, she accessorizes with a leather fanny pack. “Valerie takes a fashionable item and makes it not fashionable,” Ceo says. “She takes it and then hangs a rape whistle off it. [In] the blue print dress with the jacket, she becomes a little more professional. That particular jacket there is knit. We put an American flag and a unicorn vintage pin from the ’80s.”