I had posted on the Wrecked Stellar Facebook page that the Pretty Little Liars’ winter premiere is tonight on ABC Family at 8/7c. My Baltimorean friend, Megan, commented, “Thanks for the reminder!”. From Baltimore to everywhere else, fans have been anxiously awaiting the hiatus’ end.
Aesthetically, there’s a lot to await. With four, well, pretty girls, there’s an assortment of looks to admire, replicate, and perhaps most importantly, respect.
The respect part comes in large part from appreciating the characters’ vastly different styles from our own. Each girl has a strong identity dressed in the perennial in-trend- the one that reinforces and enhances that identity.
Mandi Line, the Costume Designer, plays the lead in stabilizing the quality control. And she has a control that seems to come with ease- as well as in her engaging rapport. I experienced this during my visit to the Warner Bros. set, where Mandi shared her process in playing truth or dress-up with a few liars.
Mandi said, “I love hats, I love bags, I love crap. I always say more is more.” And the beauty is in the “more”. The clothing racks were jam packed with pieces I would wear and had points of inspiration to pull from and incorporate into my own style.
For example, I’m inspired by Spencer’s look to pair one of my turtlenecks- albeit a cropped one- under a blazer. The look is clean and classic and something I haven’t done yet.
Mandi said she wanted to step up Spencer’s preppiness. While Spencer’s parents always need to approve, Mandi ensures there’s a twist mixed into her look. Troian Bellisario (Spencer Hastings) is a minimalist hipster who doesn’t wear much jewelry off-set so Mandi adorns her in little pearls. Mandi said Troian can pull off anything, including big bell bottoms. She dresses her in prints and tries to put foods and animals on her- but only on one half of her body.
Along the whole of this half idea, when Mandi dresses Hanna in a “super-flowy” top, she keeps the “bottom half thin” because the silhouette and proportion are important. Ashley Benson (Hanna Marin) flows between super-feminine and edgy in Proenza Schouler shoes to “super-tranny” heels. She wears pinks and blues and also shows off the color blocking trend. While Hanna is a “big bag girl”, she doesn’t wear as many accessories as Aria. The designers she does wear include Karen Millen, Alice + Olivia, Foley + Corinna, H&M, Zara, BCBG, and Rachel Roy. Mandi added, “I love Betsey [Johnson] so much.”
She also stressed that “it’s easy to go to Neiman Marcus and Barney’s and grab”, but that it’s about the “cheap, cheap, expensive- that’s the balance.” Mandi said, “It’s about having that one expensive piece.”
While I was wearing my cheap (but much-loved) American Apparel baseball t-shirt, Mandi pointed to me and said that the “baseball tee is so Emily”. Mandi “keeps Shay Mitchell (Emily Fields) really real and comfortable.” She added, “she’s chill” and that “vests and boots are awesome” on Emily. And in contrast to Hanna, Emily does not appear in too many feminine colors. The labels she does appear in are All Saints, Splendid, Alternative Apparel, Sam Edelman, Vincent Caputo boots, and Guess (she said that “their plaid shirts are super-tailored and the jeans fit like a glove”). Mandi also said, “I love Marciano and Bebe”.
Generally, Mandi said she “tries not to use too much high-end so we can buy it”.
The notion of accessibility is unique and much-appreciated- just like the thought of original, vintage pieces. Mandi buys from local Los Angeles shops like Wasteland, Una Mae’s, Squaresville, and Confederacy. She said, “I like to put money back into my city” and works with a lot of independent designers.
Mandi shared, “A lot of Aria’s stuff is mine, but made down.” She said, “Lucy Hale (Aria Montgomery) lets me do whatever I want. She’s concerned about the fit.” Mandi added, “Aria wears whatever she feels like wearing when waking up.”
While on the classroom set, Ian Harding (Ezra Fitz) strolled in like the crush you want to stroll down the hall with hand-in-hand.
While my heart was still doing flip flops, I flipped over to the bedroom sets, led by Set Dresser, Aaron Robberson. As true as the wardrobes are to each character, so are their well-dressed bedrooms.
Spencer’s room is an over-achiever’s trophy case with every cranny in its nook.
Hanna’s bedroom is indicative of a trophy wife in the making- with a beautiful vanity table to keep up with pretty appearances.
As I exited down the hall, the activity signs took me back to my high school days- the ones that have me cringing at some of my fashion choices….
(If only I had Mandi looking out for me back then.)