'Pretty Little Liars' Suit Up in Orange for Tonight's Season Finale
We checked in with the show's costume designer to see how the 'Liars' maintain their style while in uniform.
Tonight's season finale of Pretty Little Liars may just be the most shocking one yet. While we're dying to learn who A is, we're even more anxious to see how the liars pull off orange—inmate uniforms, that is. We checked back in with the show's costume designer Mandi Line, who recently attended the MAGIC apparel trade show in Las Vegas, to get the scoop on staying stylish while in uniform.
What are some of the girls' go-to labels? "I try to do high-end and low-end, but I'm horrible because I don't look at name brands. As a costume designer, you pick what looks good. I don't look at tags; I just know what I want that looks good with the fabric and cut."
What is the difference between designing for television characters and real-life customers? "I can go a little over the top when it comes to television, but my customer wants that. When I did my line [for Aeropostale inspired by the series], they let me have a more character-based line, and it wasn't just geared toward the public demographic. It was closer-related to designing a television show than I thought it would be. Number two would be time crunches and how ahead of the season you have to be. I'm used to being on the seasons that you're in, so learning that whole process of the retail game kind of reminded me of college."
Every week, their fashions are so unexpected, but for special episodes their attire has to be a little more uniform. How do you select basics that still fit their different personalities? "You attack it. If it's uniform, you have to make sure that Aria's [played by Lucy Hale] is edgy, that there's some kind of rips or tears or safety pins; Spencer [Troian Bellisario] is more classic and conservative; Emily's [Shay Mitchell] sexy, shows off the legs if at all possible; and Hanna [Ashley Benson] is form-fitting, doesn't really listen to what anyone says, just wants to look hot all the time. When I say anyone, I mean her parents—not me, she listens to me. I think it's just remembering that: you're going to wear the version of what is necessary but with your twist on it."
Aside from personal aesthetic, how do you communicate how the girls are feeling through their attire? "Well if it were up to me, they would be dressed for the club every single day! When they're somber, they have to be in loose-fitting, casual clothing. You do want to be a little more subtle with what you're doing, say if there's a breakup. I remember Lucy Hale said, 'Mandi, I love you, I love my outfit, but the gloves that you put me in are connected to my shirt. I can't hug Ezra and tell him goodbye.' So it takes me to a conservative side of the wardrobe world, which I hate."
How do you see the girls' fashions evolve as they grow and mature? "That's the unfortunate thing; I want to keep them as true to character as possible, [but] they're growing up in real life. They like more sophisticated things, but I have to keep them young. I constantly go back to seasons one and two when they were developed. I go back to the roots of Aria, who made her own clothes. For me, it's keeping the character and not varying too far from it because it's not like my characters to follow trends—they set trends. So you just have to remember what you did that got you here. I think they're just going to be better versions of themselves. I don't want them to ever get more tame because I think that's when we lose who they are."
The Liars are only in high school yet already have such defined personal styles. How can our readers develop their own aesthetics? "My biggest thing is, just because it's trendy doesn't mean you have to wear it. Be honest with your figure and who you are. If you feel lost and don't know what your style is, go online—on Pinterest—and look at someone that reminds you of you. That'd be like me looking at Eva Longoria and saying, 'Oh, I love her style.' Well, her style isn't going to be that attainable. Look at who reminds you of you and then at what they do best for their shape and figure. If all else fails, throw a bunch of accessories on and it will save your outfit any day."
Tune in to the season finale of Pretty Little Liars tonight at 8pm CDT on ABC Family.