December 8, 2023

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Times Celebs Used Their Own Wardrobe In Character

Now we know why they were able to pull off these looks so effortlessly!

Film and TV wardrobes are such an important part of Hollywood projects — costume designers have to make vital decisions that set the tone for how characters are perceived by an audience.

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And there are lots of choices to be made.

Performers might also collaborate with the wardrobe department of a film or TV shoot. And sometimes, if a character’s taste in clothing aligns with an actor’s personal style, entertainers have opted to wear their own threads on set.

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Take, for example, Elizabeth Montgomery, who frequently wore her personal clothes for Sam’s iconic Bewitched ensembles due to a low wardrobe budget.

Here are 16 celebrities who brought their own fashion sense to the roles they played.


Lady Gaga as Ally in A Star Is Born

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In a 2018 interview with Fashionista, Erin Benach, the costume designer of A Star Is Born, said that Gaga’s wardrobe as she played Ally came from a mix of sources. Erin designed custom pieces and searched vintage stores in Long Beach and Los Angeles for certain items, and famous design houses also contributed to Ally’s ensembles. Additionally, some of the character’s clothing in the movie was pulled from Gaga’s own collection.

|”You know what piece is Stefani Germanotta’s?” Erin said. “When she’s [in the recording studio] and she’s got a multi-colored shawl on. That was from her closet.”


Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski

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Jeff appeared on Larry King Now in 2016 and was asked by Larry whether or not his Big Lebowski wardrobe consisted of fashion pieces that were taken from his closet. He explained that the costume designer of the film, Mary Zophres, visited his home and was shown his clothing, and together they selected certain items of Jeff’s that fit the bill for the project.

“Yeah, a lot of it was [mine],” Jeff said of what he wore as The Dude. “Those jellies were mine; those shoes were mine; some of those T-shirts [were mine].”


Bill Murray as Tripper in Meatballs

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When Bill was interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! during a 2015 taping of the show in Austin, Texas, Jimmy showed a photo of the actor in the 1979 film Meatballs. Bill stated that he not only styled himself while shooting the film, but he also acted as his own makeup artist.

“I wore all my own clothes on that movie,” Bill said. “They were all my clothes, and I did my own makeup, which, basically I got a sun tan.”


Barbra Streisand as Esther in A Star Is Born

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Over 40 years before Lady Gaga similarly incorporated her own clothes into A Star Is Born, Barbra used personal wardrobe items as she starred as Esther in the 1976 version of the film. This was revealed in the end credits of the movie, which stated, “Ms. Streisand’s clothes from…her closet.”


The cast of Euphoria

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Euphoria‘s costumer designer, Heidi Bivens, spoke to Fashionista in 2019 about the wardrobe worn by the actors of the hit HBO show. Heidi has styled for numerous films like Spring Breakers and Mid90s, and with a series like Euphoria, she was able to try out a variety of different fashion looks. Fittings with lead actors consisted of the cast “applying their input and ideas towards certain costumes and sometimes using their own personal clothing on set,” the publication wrote.

“With a film, sometimes you only get one fitting with an actor and one character could just have one look for the entire movie,” Heidi said. “There’s all this weight behind this one look for the film, and this was quite the opposite. We were able to explore and keep experimenting, and keep trying new things.”


Richa Moorjani as Kamala in Never Have I Ever

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While her Never Have I Ever character, Kamala, was originally going to “wear mostly American clothes,” Richa told PopSugar in 2021, the actor suggested she instead have a wardrobe reflective of Indian culture. Costume designer Salvador Pérez Jr. was open to collaborating closely with the actor to achieve these looks, which are true to Richa’s real-life style.

“I suggested that especially when she’s at home, [Kamala] could wear casual, flowy Indian pants or tops to incorporate her culture, which is also how I often dress at home for comfort,” Richa said. “It truly feels like a blessing to be a part of a show with such a synergistic environment and where I have the opportunity to add value and authenticity to my character by infusing my real-life cultural background.”


Diane Keaton as Annie in Annie Hall

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Diane’s style as she played Annie Hall launched a menswear fashion trend amongst moviegoers upon its release in 1977. The character’s wardrobe was true to Diane’s own fashion sense, which sought inspiration from women in New York City. Ralph Lauren provided items for the character’s attire and later said for Vogue on Ralph Lauren that Diane “had a style that was all her own” and “Annie Hall was pure Diane Keaton.”

“Annie’s style was Diane’s style — very eclectic. Oversized jackets and vests, floppy men’s hats, and cowboy boots,” Ralph said. 


Elizabeth Montgomery as Sam in Bewitched

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Since the series had a low budget for wardrobe, Elizabeth Montgomery often wore her own clothes as she played Sam in Bewitched, she said in a 1968 Leader-Times interview, per Shondaland. Furthermore, Elizabeth sported certain fashion items more than once throughout the show’s run to demonstrate the character’s circumstances.

“A girl like Samantha can’t afford a new dress every time she goes out,” Elizabeth said. “I’m not saying that I can’t afford it. But when I found a gown or frock that I like, I feel I should wear it as often as I want.”


Tim Allen as Tim Taylor in Home Improvement

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Tim chose to wear various merchandise of sports teams and universities from Michigan, his home state, as Tim Taylor in Home Improvement. Some of these were gifted to Tim from the Michigan universities themselves.


Aidy Bryant as Annie in Shrill

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When costume designer Amanda Needham took on the role of creating the wardrobe for the Hulu series Shrill, it was a challenge to find the plus-size fashion items necessary for the show.

“We never see women of size in fashiony pieces. I couldn’t even find anything for inspiration,” Amanda told Vox in 2019.

She subsequently decided to custom-make most of Aidy’s wardrobe as Annie for the series. The Saturday Night Live alum’s style offscreen had a strong influence on the clothing items Amanda created for the character.

“We just had to go back to the drawing board and make this world ourselves. It was absolutely a collaboration,” Amanda said. “Aidy has such incredible fashion sense, so I took a lot of cues from her everyday look and then added some moments where it felt more elevated in terms of colors and cuts, just to highlight and celebrate her body.”


Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor in Crazy Rich Asians

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Michelle personally contributed to the wardrobe of her character, Eleanor Young, in Crazy Rich Asians. This was revealed in 2022, when costume designer Mary Vogt was interviewed by Variety about Eleanor’s attire in the film. Mary stated that Michelle called up a jeweler friend to secure an emerald accessory for the outfit she wore while her character meets her son, Nick’s, girlfriend, Rachel.

“We got this giant emerald pin because Michelle felt like her character would never wear fake jewelry,” Mary said. “She would never wear costume jewelry, so that is real emerald. Michelle has lots of friends in the jewelry world. She said, ‘I’ll just call my friend and pick up something.’ We picked up this million-dollar emerald brooch for her to wear in this scene.”

In addition, Michelle also lent her own emerald ring to the movie, which is the ring that Nick uses when he proposes to Rachel.


Zendaya as Marie in Malcolm & Marie

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Zendaya starred opposite John David Washington in the 2021 film Malcolm & Marie, which was shot during the COVID-19 quarantine. To maintain safety regulations, a small number of crew members worked on the project, and Zendaya was very hands-on in creating her character’s wardrobe and makeup looks.

“We were able to workshop and rehearse together — it was very much like a play,” Zendaya told InStyle in 2020. “I did my own hair and makeup and dressed in my own clothes. And then we shot in black and white on film, so we’ll see how it turns out. I think we were able to create something really special. And I’m grateful that we learned how to do it on our own.”


Julia Roberts as Anna in Notting Hill

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In 2018, Julia won InStyle’s Style Icon award, and Notting Hill screenwriter Richard Curtis attended the ceremony, per USA Today. While introducing the actor, Richard revealed that Julia decided to wear her own clothes for the famous “Just a girl” scene when she felt the wardrobe selections didn’t suit her character.

“I remember when we made Notting Hill, we got to the most important scene in the movie, which is when she comes to try to win Hugh Grant over,” Richard said. “And at the beginning of the day, [Julia] didn’t like the clothes that had been chosen. She said, ‘This is meant to be a scene about someone who is just normal. And this is a costume.’ So she said, ‘I think what I’ll do is just wear what I wore into work.’ So the cardigan and the skirt and the flip-flops that she’s wearing are what Julia was wearing when she arrived in her car.”


Fairuza Balk as Sapphire in Almost Famous

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In the 2000 film Almost Famous, Fairuza Balk was the only cast member who wore personal fashion items during the film shoot. Fairuza donned her own jewelry as she portrayed the character Sapphire.

“I will say, all of Sapphire’s jewelry was courtesy of Fairuza Balk herself,” costume designer Betsy Heimann told Variety in 2020. “I thought it really worked for showing she’d been all over the world, she’d collected stuff, she’d been on the road and these were all her little trophies. She’s the only one that wore her own stuff in the movie.”


Vin Diesel as Ray in Bloodshot and Dominic in The Fast and the Furious franchise

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Muscle shirts have been worn by Vin while in character for projects like The Fast and the Furious movies and his 2020 film, Bloodshot. While these looks have stayed true to the parts Vin has portrayed, they also originated in his past job as a nightclub bouncer.

“Dom’s a pretty stoic, no-frills character who you can imagine under the hood of a car somewhere,” Vin told USA Today in 2020 of his Fast and Furious character. “And coming off the plane and shedding his fatigues for a minute is kind of who Ray Garrison [of Bloodshot] is … [But] the tank top predates Vin. It’s been a Vin Diesel thing before Vin Diesel got paid as an actor — that comes from a bouncer thing.”


Paul Rudd as Josh in Clueless

Paramount Pictures

A good amount of clothing items worn by Paul as he played Josh in Clueless were taken from his closet. This includes a University of Kansas baseball cap, which he wore in the movie to represent for his alma mater. Sadly, the wardrobe department lost the hat during the film shoot.

“Half of those [outfits] were my own!” Paul said at a 2019 Clueless reunion panel at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, per Us Magazine. “That was my own Amnesty T-shirt, my own KU hat, which they lost, by the way.”