ALSO: Here’s the show I’ve been hard at work on for the past 5 months!
Publish date:
February 15, 2013
shoppables, style, what's in a costume designers kit, tools of the trade

The past 5 months at work have been busy, busy, busy. I’ve been working on a new sitcom for Nickelodeon’s Nick@Nite channel called "Wendell & Vinnie," starring the lovely Jerry Trainor of iCarly fame. (Yes, he was Spencer Shay. I KNOW. I died a little bit, too, when I got the gig!) Jerry is handsome, hilarious, dreamy and so kind.

Some of you figured out what I was working on already via the few hints I've dropped, but now I'm finally allowed to tell you for real. I AM SO BAD AT SECRETS. I can't believe these people trusted me even for a minute! I am totally my father's daughter -- he comes home from the mall at Christmas and just CANNOT keep from telling you what he got you.

The show’s storyline goes that Jerry’s character, confirmed bachelor and lovable goofball Vinnie, suddenly gains custody of his 12-year-old nephew, Wendell, played by the adorable Buddy Handleson. Of course young Wendell is basically raising man-child Vinnie, and hilarity ensues. "Wendell & Vinnie" premieres this Saturday, February 16th at 8/7central on Nick@Nite, with an encore showing again on Sunday night. (Bonus points if you can spot the voice of Homer Simpson making an appearance in the first episode!)

I have been really friggin’ busy helping to get the show off the ground, so all I can manage to do for you today is lazily open up my kit box and tell you what’s inside of it that you can use to solve your wardrobe malfunctions. (How did we ever live before Janet showed the world her nipple and "wardrobe malfunction" entered the public lexicon? It so beautifully encapsulates that moment when your clothes let you down, HARD.)

1. Re-string It:

I have spent my whole life solving the problem of a hoodie that lost its drawstring in one of 2 ways: either throwing said item away, or trying to shove it back in using this stupid safety pin contraption I made myself that almost never works. Then the kind people at the Re-String It company sent me their invention, the most genius thing since Thin Mint Lip Balm.

2. Pocksie Temporary Adhesive Pockets:

For someone who has spent a disgusting amount of money on purses, I sure hate to carry one in real life. I'm always on the lookout for clothes that have pockets or I'm busy begging my dude to shove my stuff in his pockets when we go out.

I have pocket lacking problems at work too -- the writers are forever writing "And then she pulls her phone out of her pocket!" or some such junk at the very last minute. Of course the garment the actor is meant to wear NEVER conveniently has a pocket. So we just pop in a Pocksie!

3. Brah! Extender:

It's amazing how many people are wearing the wrong bra. I just read that up to 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra! A bra extender helps solve half of the world's bra problems instantly. Many bras dig into the flesh, causing unsightly back bulges.

I actually found out about the bra extender after dressing dozens of male actors in drag -- we can never get our hands on a bra with a big enough chest measurement in the small turnaround time between prepping and shooting a show!

4. Artist's Color Wheel:

The color wheel is a useful device that I totally used to teach myself about color theory on my very first TV show. It's no secret that I am a completely self-taught costume designer. I skipped fashion school, art school and college in general. Referring to the color wheel also taught me what I consider to be the cornerstone of a great outfit: The 3rd Color Secret.

Most people pick 2 complimentary colors for an ensemble, base their shoes and accessories around the main 2 colors, and call it a day. They are missing out on what could become a next-level outfit by the careful introduction of a 3rd color. The color wheel can teach you how! There's a very thin line between complimenting and straight out clashing.

5. Zipper Wax:

I always wondered where the term "rusty zipper" came from. Zippers have been plastic for as long as I can remember. Now that the visible metal zipper is a popular fashion detail, I suddenly have all these garments with metal zippers that stick and are a pain to zip up. Enter a lowly tub of zipper wax!

6. D-Fuzz It Sweater Comb:

Every sweater I love to death ends up pilling like crazy. This is most likely due to the fact that I eat, sleep and live in my cashmere sweaters. The pilling is their way of committing slow suicide.

But don't you dare spend $20.00 on one of those ridiculous battery operated sweater trimmers! They don't work even half as well as the simple $3.70 D-Fuzz it. No-tech is the best tech.

7. The Clever Clasp:

Yes, we use "As Seen On TV" items on our show all the time. (You already know I love a good infomercial!) When actors are in a rush to change in between takes and a live studio audience is waiting, trying to fiddle with the tiny clasp on a necklace is a level of frustration that I prefer not to experience ever again. The magnetic Clever Clasp is a godsend. It's really the little things that bring me joy at work.

8. White Collar Grime Collar Protectant:

If you are a prolific sweater, you are quite familiar with "ring around the collar." In the past, the only way to get it out was to pre-treat the stain before washing or to bleach the crap out of your garment. But now you can prevent ring around the collar before it even happens. Just cut the desired length of adhesive backed cotton tape, stick it in place, and sweat to your heart's content. It also works brilliantly in hats.

And now, 2 wardrobe tools you may find kinda disgusting. (I sure do.)

9. Knicker Stickers Adhesive Underwear:

You may be asking yourself, "Why would ANYONE need disposable, stick on underwear?" Because sometimes even a thong is visible underneath a really skimpy costume! (Especially when white pants are involved.) I laughed myself silly when I saw these for the first time, but they are a good insurance policy in certain situations.

However, it is a little stomach churning to be the one writing up laundry at the end of the night and having to remove a used Knicker Sticker with your bare hands.

I believe that a Knicker Sticker may have prevented Mandy from writing the funniest article of all time, so I'm pretty glad she doesn't know about them.

10. PAM:

Yes, PAM. The classic non-stick cooking spray. This is actually the most genius wardrobe fix I've ever heard of, and it was taught to me by one of the funniest actresses working in Hollywood today. She must have broken a bunch of her toes at one point, because they are all sorts of mangled -- making the high heels she had to wear every day on my last show a NIGHTMARE to get into.

Her personal solution? Spray her feet with Pam so they popped right into even the highest, tightest stilettos. I could not BEAR having my feet disgustingly greased up like a suckling pig, but it works, period. Actors know the darnedest things!

(P.S. In case you missed the previous installments of "Tools from a Costume Designer's Kit," you can read part 1 here and part 2 here!)