'The Good Wife' costume designer Dan Lawson tells us how to look great at work on a budget
To gear up for the mid-season premiere, we spoke with 'The Good Wife' costume designer Dan Lawson, who, in addition to being charming and hilarious, dispensed some key tips on looking like Alicia on an everygirl budget. Read on for tidbits from our interview with Dan.
"I really want to play up the femininity of the women on the show. I want them to be feminine in a man's world -- they can be strong women and feminine. We've done that with all the characters. We really wanted to play up being strong and feminine, and wearing appropriate business wear.
I'm sort of the king of high-low. As long as it's appropriate for the character, I don't really care if it's really expensive -- it's just important that it looks good on the performer and it's telling the story we want to tell. We do a lot of department stores -- Saks and Bloomingdales have been wonderful staples for us, and we go to those stores practically every day. We also go to boutiques, We do online shopping, and we do vintage stores in Williamsburg. We do shop at Kohl's and Penney's sometimes. I love me a little Zara! We go to the outlets too.
There really are a lot of places (to shop on a budget). The thing is, they can go buy the most expensive suit in the whole world and it's going to look like it cost $5 if they don't go get it tailored. Getting things tailored is key, and when someone who is on a budget is putting together a business wardrobe, they need to budget at least 20-30% for alterations. You also have to be careful of the fabric you pick -- you don't want to go too trendy. You want to get those pieces that are going to last from season to season. i think places like the Premium Outlets is a really good idea. Also, one needs to be aware of the value. If you're going to a store like YSL at the outlets, you're going to get great designer pieces at a fraction of the cost. It's important to be aware of when they have sales. Brands like Tahari and DKNY are really key -- they're doing some really beautiful things. If you take those pieces and get them altered, you're going to have a beautiful look. Add a little tailoring to it, and you can look very smart and modern.
Also, be aware of the whole package -- 'what does my hair look like?'. Don't overdo the accessories! Have a clean, smart bag that goes with each outfit and one pair of excellent, classic business pumps that you can wear from outfit to outfit. Julianna wears Gucci pumps on the show because they go with everything and they're comfortable. Keep your eye open for a great bag and great pump."