See What HBO's 'Girls' Have Up Their Sleeves This Season
Find out how to apply costume designer Jenn Rogien’s on-screen style expertise to your own closet.
There was so much fashion to feast our eyes on last night, we didn't know where to turn. Over at the Golden Globes, we saw countless actresses stunning on the red carpet. Four of our favorites even managed to be in two places at once, as the season four premiere of Girls also aired on HBO. Fortunately, we managed to bounce back and forth (with a little help from our friend TiVo) to find that while the Girls (still) might not have it all figured out, they sure have nailed their wardrobes—both in and out of character. We got the scoop on their upcoming on-screen fashions straight from the show's costume designer Jenn Rogien. See what she has up her sleeves, plus how to apply her stylish skills to your own closet.
Both of your shows, Girls and Orange is the New Black, were up for Golden Globes last night. How did you feel when you found out? “Fantastic and stunned and so pleased—I don’t know how often that happens in a lifetime; it feels pretty magical.”
In the season premiere of Girls, also last night, we saw Hannah (played by Lena Dunham) move to Iowa. How is this going to impact her fashions this season? “It’s a moment where she’s really excited about the decision she’s made, and she’s really embracing it. I’m hoping to show a touch of academic inspiration in her wardrobe as she starts off on her journey—of course, still using her closet from her previous life, incorporating so many of those pieces and adding in a couple of great vintage pieces.”
And the other Girls, how will their styles continue to evolve this season? “It’s very much reflecting where we left them at the end of last season and where they are starting out: Marnie (Allison Williams) is definitely embracing her music, and her style reflects that—she pursues an indie vibe in her looks. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) wasn’t graduating, so she starts with a little bit of confusion; she’s a more casual and less put together than we saw her when she first started out, then she starts up her job search, so we found a very youthful, professional Shoshanna take on a working girl’s wardrobe—for at least her interview process. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) we left at sort of a weird spot, and that’s very much reflected in her wardrobe going forward; she’s developing this relationship with the artist but not really sure what she’s doing in a lot of other areas of her life. Her wardrobe is a little more all over the place, if you will: still signature Jessa, eclectic-glamour looks."
It feels like we always see the Girls facing uncertainty in their lives, yet their unique styles are always so certain and distinguishable. What are some of the main themes you try to convey through each of their wardrobes? “For Hannah, there’s a lot of reflection of her emotional state. When she’s feeling confident in her job, we try to add belts, low heels and [clothes] that are better fitted—things that would move her into being professional like she was in the GQ advertorial offices. With Shoshanna, it’s a lot about her personality and her take on life, how self-aware and optimistic she is, and that’s [shown through] her color palette and accessories. Marnie seems to be a bit more of a contextual dresser, if you will, [and] very much about her situation. In season one when she was working in a gallery, it was what she thought a girl who had a job should wear. And then in season two, when she was going through the emotional dramas of her love life and not having a job, it was much more casual. In season three, when she starts to follow her music path, it was committing to a Marnie version of a creative, ambitious look. Jessa’s been the most consistent in that it’s a reflection of what the character would want to wear at that time. In some cases, it’s very self-consciously—on my part—inappropriate. A good example is wearing a velvet gown to a steak house to meet her new husband’s parents, just not at all what I think what those parents would have accepted of their investment banker son’s new wife. It’s very much what Jessa feels comfortable and confident in and not at all about the context that she finds herself in."
For our readers who are in the same stages of their lives, do you have tips for both developing their own style personas and doing so on a budget? "I approach that just like I approach developing a character’s look and that is through lots of imagery, whether I’m actually pulling pages out of magazines or more and more I do everything digitally—saving images to a folder, using Pinterest or Instagram, etc. Just grab the images you like and respond to, put them aside for a week or two and then go back and see what the common themes are. Sometimes it’s a color, pattern, an overall silhouette or grooming—less about wardrobe, more about [beauty] or accessories. Then, find a buddy. I bounce ideas and looks off my team all the time to get their feedback. I think we all, hopefully, are lucky enough to have a friend with a great eye. The second thing is when you’re actually going out into the world, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on clothes. If you can, investment pieces are actually really worth it. With a bit more money, often times you’ll get a better fit [because] there’s more time put into the development of the garment. But I love going to H&M and Zara and shopping for myself as much as everyone else. The trick is tailoring: an extra $10 to have things properly hemmed for your proportions makes all the difference between a great $50 pencil skirt that fits you and a badly fitted $600 pencil skirt from a designer."
Catch more of Rogien's handiwork on Girls, which airs Sunday nights at 9pm PST on HBO.