With the exception of Cher, because she is the exception to all fashion rules, most women just don’t look great in super-skimpy outfits once their high-school reunions start with the numeral 2.
Carrying off short shorts works for those still in pigtails, the very well-toned and many women in their 20s, and that’s what wife No. 3, Kate (Malin Akerman), often wears in ABC’s “Trophy Wife.” And given that she is in her 20s and athletic, it works well for her.
The wives, spanning a few decades, dress appropriately. Incidentally, they are the consecutive, not concurrent wives of Pete (Bradley Whitford). The look of the show is “kind of warm,” says costume designer Susan Michalek to Zap2it. “It is California. It is here. It is L.A.”
The thinking behind Kate’s look is that she is a “little rock and roll,” Michalek says, and the character’s signature look is leather shorts. She also wears skinny jeans, jumpsuits, tank tops and jean shorts.
“The idea is she was just going out to clubs and doing all this stuff and maybe in a band before she met the character Pete. And, she wants to retain that and not be an actual trophy wife,” Michalek says.
Even though Kate is a bit rock and roll, she’s not the sort who wears all black. “There is a lot of color because it is ABC,” she says.
Michalek shops for the character at Planet Blue, Barneys and Ron Herman. She wears jewelry by Jacquie Aiche, which was lent to the show. Akerman wears the same designer off set.
Pete’s second wife was Jackie (Michaela Watkins), a loopy, high-maintenance woman. Jackie, says the costume designer, is “whatever the modern version of New Age would be. She’s flowy and flowery and spiritual. She goes though different spiritual phases.”
The look doesn’t come cheap. Her long Indian-print dress is from Barneys Co-Op, though the cloth purse was from a Tibetan store. Jackie wears L.A.M.B. sandals and maxi dresses.
Diane (Marcia Gay Harden), Pete’s original wife and the mother of his two teenagers, is a successful physician. She brooks no nonsense and dresses like a serious, successful woman.
“It’s sleek lines, tailored,” Michalek says. “It is a little sexy without being overtly sexy and darker colors.”
The character wears pantsuits, skirt suits and quietly authoritative dresses. Michalek has built her wardrobe from Tahari, Theory, and Helmut Lang.
Pete, besides being a serial husband, is also a lawyer and a pretty laid-back dad. “His style is somewhere between J. Crew and Rag & Bone,” Michalek says. “He wears Hugo Boss suits to work and relaxed J. Crew knits at home, and Rag & Bone T-shirts. His casual is sort of appropriate for his age.”
“They are all kind of age-appropriate,” she says. “It is kind of a happy show.”