As a print/commercial TV wardrobe stylist, we are hired by an agency/producer. The agency works on behalf of the client, i.e. Pepsi hires an agency for their advertising. The agency then hires a wardrobe stylist to dress the model/actors for the commercial.
Let’s use print advertising as an example.
Pick up any magazine and that advertisement for _____ (There’s at least 20 ads in any magazine you read.) As well as commercials on TV! You have a hair stylist, makeup artist and a wardrobe stylist behind the scenes making that model look a certain way the client wants the advertisement to look.
As a wardrobe stylist we hear a certain direction i.e. “trendy” or specific colors to use, colors to avoid, what it should feel like or be like.
We find out the model sizes. We call the models, receiving all of their information ( height, weight, sleeves, every size you can imagine.)
We shop. We shop a lot. Triple to four times the amount we actually need. As a wardrobe stylist we must have endless options (I am talking up to 10 pairs of pants for the one we really need.) Pleated, not pleated. We have a budget we are allowed to spend by the end of the advertisement ( let’s say it’s $3500.00 on all wardrobe for 7 models/actors/actresses.) We probably buy $15-21,000) worth of clothes.
Organize the clothing by sizes. And by character.
We have a fitting (sometimes not) which means we test out the outfits on the actors and actresses to decide the final 2 options of outfits. Make sure our sizes are correct and everything is pristine and fits well. Sometimes we try on 10 outfits before deciding on the final one.
During the fitting we may have forgotten something so we run out and shop for the item that is missing (the yellow is too yellow, it needs to be lighter..) that type of thing.
Once the final options are decided we take pictures to remember and send along to clients/producers etc. Get the a-okay.
Day of commercial/print job
Prep. We prep everything down to shoelaces if need be. We steam every garment to be used. We have not returned any of the $15,000 worth of charges racked up. We *may* need that white tee shirt with the one small design. We *may* need that jean in the one specific size.
Once we have all the clothing in our designated space ( RV if on commercial set) and we are in a room on location if on print. Typically there is a main stylist and assistant stylist.
Assistant preps all the clothes. Irons, steams. Whatever needs to be done so the wardrobe looks perfect (lab coats are the worst, so difficult to get crisp!)
Actor/ess brings their clothes as well. We try often to use their clothes/accessories etc to save money on overall wardrobe budget. But by now the final outfit is chosen. We can make tweaks last minute if need be. Remember we have all of our back up wardrobe somewhere (on another truck.)
Wardrobe stylist is on set with actors/actresses pinning. On set fixing and pulling. Making sure the collar stays. The skirt fits. Stylist jumps in between takes to re-primp wardrobe.
After the commercial or print job is complete is the most difficult, tasking part of the job. All the wardrobe needs to be separated by stores and their receipts. ( Think of sorting 60 pieces on two different receipts to Macy’s) it is a nightmare. And, it has to be done. Every piece needs to be accounted for. At the end of the job and wrap; every receipt and credit card (your statement) is shown. It can take up to 6 hours to sort all the wardrobe (it can be up to 10 different stores shopped at! and imagine if 6 of those 10 stores have different receipts. Each return must be separate per receipt.) Returning the wardrobe is no fun and it’s part of the job. We return every piece we do not use.
Remember, there is always a team behind every major advertisement you see. The model looks the way he or she does because we are behind the scenes doing our best to rock out the job!