"Everyone had to look sexy," says Susanna Puisto, costume designer for Reckless. "That was the direction that I was given." But it couldn't just be sexy, she had to mix Charleston style with appropriate office wear in a sultry way.
But what does that mean? For Cam Gigandet's character Roy Rayder that meant slim-cut suits in neutral colors and using his shirts and ties as ways to add pops of colors. "He had like 12 suits that we would recycle — like a real person," Puisto says. "I had one of his suits in doubles because of the heat in Charleston, he would sweat through the entire suit. There's a fine line between looking sexy and sweaty and not."
Roy's counterpart, Northerner Jamie Sawyer's (Anna Wood) wardrobe instead had to be more serious — and in contrast to Roy. "I wanted her to be in primary colors, mostly reds, blacks, and whites. But that's not enough color for a full season, so we added emeralds, sapphire blues, even magentas," explains Puistro. "One of the most important things about Jamie was her shoes. On page one, it said high-sky heels. I got to live vicariously through her, and luckily I'm the same size so I got to try them on. I call it shoe porn. People would just come into the office and salivate."
While some of the shoes are Guccis and Manolo Blahniks, not everything on the characters had such a steep price tag. "We want people to admire them but still be inspired," says the costume designer. "I went to the outlet mall. I'm not a snob. If it's the right thing, I'll buy it."
She also shopped along King Street and found inspiration from locals. "It's really good eye candy there," she says. "I found some really cool stuff. It was a little more work. We couldn't buy everything from one store so we had to drive to another store, which took time. And when you're working with those TV girls, they're teeny tiny. We needed size zeros and couldn't find many of them."
Even the clothes from outlet stores or King Street wouldn't be worn as is. One of the shirts Gigandet wore was a slim fit from Banana Republic, but they still took it in. "There was no room for wrinkles," the costume designer explains.
And while for many people shopping for a living sounds like a dream. It's not as simple as that. "Everything is really planned and thought out — especially for the first seasons," she says. That meant weekly meetings and approvals. Every eight days they had to be prepared to shoot another episode, with multiple costume changes and accessories.
Still, shopping for beautiful people on someone else's dime — and getting to try on some of the styles yourself — is a job we'd take.