15 Costumes of Movie Characters That Contain Lots of Hidden Hints and Meanings
Characters’ clothes are a powerful cinematic tool. Costume artists use clothes to tell us more about the personalities of characters, hint at the events of their future, or pay tribute to other movies. These little messages may be hidden in the smallest details that are hard to notice during the first watch. We think it’s never too late to find out new facts about your favorite movies and series.
And Just Like That...
Carrie Bradshaw’s maxi dress in one of the episodes made a big splash in the media. Social media users were surprised that the stylish city girl had started wearing fast-fashion outfits. One of the costume designers, Danny Santiago, explained that he had bought the dress for $5-6 a long time ago, and it had been sitting in his archive since then.
He doesn’t think that cheap clothes contradict the image or personality of Carrie. He explained, “She can do whatever she likes. It would have been the same if Carrie found that dress at a thrift store — she would have bought it, just because of the fact that it was a dress that she loved. Whether she paid $5 or $5,000 for it, she equally appreciated it for what it was and enjoyed wearing it.”
For the flashback scenes, Edward Norton wore the same clothes as Tom Cruise in Magnolia. The director of the new film had no idea Norton would do it. Rian Johnson remembers, “He and Jenny Eagan, our costume designer, came up with the look, and I had no idea. I started cracking up. But then I thought, ’Is this too much?’”
Later, the producers of the film decided that Norton’s clothes in that scene would be a subtle hint that his character lacks original ideas.
The viewers might have noticed that Eloise’s outfits have elements and details that are more normal for men’s clothes — double-breasted jackets, collars, and neck scarves. The costume designer wanted to highlight Eloise’s free spirit and rebellious nature.
The color scheme of the clothes in the iconic horror film was inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream. Costume designer Cynthia Bergstrom says, “That’s where I got a lot of the brights, oranges, yellows, and reds.”
In season 3, the creators of Stranger Things left a reference to another iconic series. In episode 8, Lucas and Max wear the same clothes as Eric and Donna in That ’70s Show.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
In Olaf’s home, you can see a photo of him sitting on the stairs, dressed like Hamlet. It’s a reference to an actual photo of John Barrymore playing Hamlet.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Steven Spielberg really wanted to direct a James Bond movie, but the Eon studio said “no”. When the director told his friend George Lucas, they came up with the idea of Indiana Jones. In the second part of the franchise, Harrison Ford’s character is dressed like James Bond.
The Good Place
In the series finale, when Tahani becomes the architect, Michael gives her a bow tie, exactly the same as he wore in the first episode.
Spencer Reid always wears different socks. The thing is, Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays the main character, is convinced that identical socks bring bad luck. He explained, “I’ve occasionally worn them matching, but something strange always happens on those days, whether it be spraining an ankle or messing up a knee.”
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
In one of the scenes, Marv grabs the wrong kid because he’s wearing Kevin’s hat from the original Home Alone.
Cheryl’s signature color is red. She only wore white in the episodes when something big was going to go down.
The dress Penny Pingleton wore in the final scene was made from her bedroom curtains the viewers had seen before.
At the start of the series, Alexis is a spoiled, selfish star. Even when her house is confiscated, she’s more worried about her clothes than her family’s reputation. But over time, her character grows and develops, giving up her narcissistic nature and habits.
Alexis gives Twyla a bag of her things. So, at David’s wedding, Twyla wears the same black gown Alexis had worn on Moira’s birthday in Season 1.
At the end of the film, when Rose meets Jack on the stairs, she’s wearing the same dress she had when she met him at the grand staircase clock earlier in the movie. This time, her outfit is white. It subtly connects the scenes and her decision to “make it count, meet me at the clock” in more ways than one. Everything comes full circle, marking the fulfillment of a life promise she made.
13 Going on 30
Susie Desanto, the film’s costume designer, said that the clothes the characters wear, including Jenna’s and Lucy’s, reflect their personalities and growth. The main character wears light and bright clothes with decorative elements and jewelry, which is a return to her teenage self.
Lucy wears dark clothing, which reflects her cutthroat tendencies toward achieving her goals.
Do you pay attention to the details in the characters’ clothes? Have you ever been able to decipher a hidden message costume designers left for the viewers?