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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fashion and Care Tips from The Good Wife's Costume Designer, Dan Lawson! (Dryel Ambassador/Sponsored Post)

One of the coolest things about being a Dryel Ambassador was the opportunity to submit interview questions to Dan Lawson, the costume designer for the popular CBS TV series "The Good Wife!" Not only did he share some fabulous tips on how to stay chic and trendy for work, he also had excellent advice on how to take care of your clothes - for instance, by using Dryel like they do on set! {This post is sponsored by Dryel as part of my participation in their ambassador program}








  • Tell us about your trend-setting workday designs.
On “The Good Wife” I create looks for my women that are elegant, powerful and feminine. It’s important to me that the women, as well as the men, look believable as lawyers with an extra little something. They need to look neat and clean and well put together.



  • How can we select the best office attire for our own wardrobes?
You need to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself about what looks good on you. What shapes work best on you? Are you good in a pencil skirt or better with an A-line? Do dresses flatter you more than a suit? Pants or skirt?

You also need to build a strong closet of staples that support your look. These staples will be the workhorses in your closet: the perfect skirt that goes with everything; that blouse that is the perfect compliment to your suit; a good pair of pumps that are comfortable and have a heel that give you a little extra stature and good posture; a well maintained bag that carries your important papers and personal items without looking stuffed or like a backpack.

Remember, these good pieces will probably cost you more in the initial purchase because you want them to last. They need to be cared for properly and stored properly, i.e., don’t put a knit on a hanger. Things like that.

You need to set aside part of your clothing purchase budget for alterations. I’ve said it a million times. The most expensive garment will just look so-so or worse if it doesn’t fit and an inexpensive garment will look a million times more expensive if it fits you well. Find a good tailor and make him or her your best friend. Once they get to know your body, alterations will be a snap and you’ll look great.

I also would like to say that it is important to not go head to toe trendy with your looks. Certainly, current trendy pieces are great and can become useful pieces in your closet, but you should avoid making a full outfit out of them because it will end up just looking thrown together and, oddly enough, not relevant.


  • How do you keep the clothes you work with on set looking their best?
Our actors at TGW wear a lot of clothes as well as wearing the same outfit for days. Quite often they will have to wear a costume until the end of the day on day and then the first thing again in the morning. Everything gets steamed or ironed daily. We always run a lint roller over the clothing. We check for any small repairs that might need to happen. We check the buttons to make sure they are tight and perky - nothing worse than a drooping button on a suit, blouse or coat. Using the proper hanger is also very important. I usually like to have pants hang long rather than folded over a hanger to avoid creases right at the knee. We will also turn garments inside out to allow them to get air to the inside which helps freshen them up. We depill the knits. We also dry-clean but try to dry-clean as little as possible since the process can be quite wearing to clothing. We use Dryel a lot in the dryer to remove daily grime from all day wearing or stains. We also use it for freshening up blouses, dress shirts, skirts. It’s a great product too for rejuvenating vintage pieces or already worn pieces we pick up from the second-hand stores.




  • Are there any alternatives when it comes to garments that are dry-clean only?
As I said above, Dryel is actually an excellent alternative to dry-cleaning. Besides the terrific smell you are left with when you are done, it removes stains and body oils as well as freshens up the garment while letting the garment maintain it’s shape and color. Financially, we find that using Dryel decreases our cleaning budget and allows us to keep pieces “in-house” more which is great since our shooting schedule changes regularly and my department looks amazing when there’s a change and we’re asked if we can provide wardrobe for a scene not originally scheduled for the day and we can! Keeping the day rolling is key for any set - much like at your home. You have to keep the day moving along and not going to the dry-cleaner all the time really saves time and makes you the master of your own schedule rather than the dry-cleaner’s schedule.




  • How do you keep the various fabrics you use from fading, shrinking or stretching?
Certainly proper hanging/storing/folding are key. Keep the knits off the hanger!!! And remember, the less cleaning you do helps keep away “the evil three” - fading, shrinking and stretching! Whether dry-cleaning or washing, your clothes suffer the consequences of regular cleaning. A product like Dryel keeps your clothes from suffering the effects of “the evil three” while saving you time and money.




  • If you could only pack 5 items in your fashion survival kit, what would they be? 
Female: the perfect skirt (pencil or “A”); a versatile blouse; a well-heeled pump that is comfortable (not an easy thing to find, but well worth the effort of looking!); a nicely maintained bag - not a backpack; a simple, elegant earring that goes with everything


Male: a well fitting suit; a white dress shirt with a nice crisp collar; a good leather belt; a classic dress shoe that is comfortable; and, like the ladies, a nicely maintained bag - not a backpack.

I don't personally work in an office environment, but I really appreciate a lot of these tips - I immediately went to my closet and pulled all my knits from the hangers {I store them on shelves in my closet now}. It was also interesting to think about the fact that the actors on the show are often wearing the same outfits for several days, so Dan's tips on maintaining the cleanliness and appearance of the clothes is really valuable. Most of all, I appreciate that a famous Hollywood costume designer uses something as accessible as Dryel to take care of all those fine garments! What did you take away from this informative interview? My inquiring mind wants to know! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Until next time...


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