'Suburgatory': Nailing Tessa's signature 'ballerina lumberjack' style

Why is it we love the proverbial fish out of water? They don't quite fit in. They don't particularly care for their surroundings. And they don't really care to change. But if you're as put together as Tessa ( Jane Levy) from "Suburgatory," airing Wednesdays on ABC, you're OK with that.

New Yorkers such as Tessa have a special way about them: a compassionate intellectual elitism that blends confidence with reluctant tolerance. And when costume designer Mynka Draper was tasked with dressing Chatswin's resident dissident, she knew things weren't going to go as normal.

"We wanted Tessa and her father to pop colorwise, but make them darker," Draper ( "Easy A," "CSI: Miami") tells Zap2it. "That's kinda the opposite from what you normally do for TV shows. So we've gone with more muted tones that are a bit edgier. After all, she's cute, young, intellectual, alternative with a tomboy edge."

She's used to identifying herself as a New Yorker and has no intention of letting go of that. She works the geek-chic angle and enjoys life as the outsider. And in Chatswin, that means avoiding all things pink and pop like.

"She is not assimilating with the Chatswin suburban teen look," says Draper with a laugh. "She likes things to have a little shrunken feeling to them -- giving it a tomboy touch. Tessa enjoys looking good by being a little off-center with her fashion taste."

Short skirts with motorcycle boots, striped shirts with printed skirts, etc. It gives Tess that "ballerina lumberjack" look, says Draper.

Draper discusses some of Tessa's fashion staples:

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"She really likes dark navy skinny jeans from both J Brand and Joe's, and here we've paired them with an olive jacket from Urban Outfitters, a plaid button-down also from Urban Outfitters and a maroon T-shirt from Brass Plum (from Nordstrom) -- their stuff really fits her well. And, of course, she's wearing those classic Frye motorcycle boots in black."

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"We got this sandstone army jacket at Opening Ceremony and recut it to give it that shrunken fit look. [Tessa] is so small in stature we try to make everything shrunken. The T-shirt is from C&C California."

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"This top is from Madewell. They make cute clothes for younger girls. A lot of their stuff is quirky and off and works great [for Tessa]. This particular shirt is a boat neck, which always looks really good on her. The skirt is from Opening Ceremony."

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"She was running for student body president, and this was her campaign look. We gave her a serious tomboy look with a sweater from Madewell, a shirt from J.Crew and J Brand jeans."
"The 3/4-length sleeve cardigan is from Madewell, while the muted-salmon, burgundy, white and beige T-shirt came from Brass Plum at Nordstrom."
Photo/Video credit: ABC
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