'The Mindy Project's' costume motto: 'If it's cute, that's all that matters'

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Costume designer Sal Perez's favorite part of his job on Fox's freshman series "The Mindy Project" is working with the woman at the center of it, creator and star Mindy Kaling.

"I love the collaboration," he tells Zap2it. "Many times actors don't have an opinion, and Mindy is so specific. It's the most collaboration I've ever had with any actor. I get email from her at 2 a.m. in the morning that she found a cute sweater online."

Mindy's character, Mindy Lahiri, is a New York obstetrician who makes good money and loves clothes, so Kaling's input makes Perez's job easier.

"Mindy shops voraciously, and every boutique in L.A. knows her," he says. "It's really fun that she loves clothes as much as she does. She is very specific about designers and fits."

Kaling's character is loosely based on her in real life, which leads to some crossover -- but not a lot -- when it comes to fashion.

"Mindy Kaling is a little more sophisticated, and Mindy Lahiri is a little more fun," Perez says. "Mindy mixes it up -- you never know what she's going to show up in."

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Mindy Lahiri spends quite a bit of time in scrubs, which viewers may have noticed fit a lot better than the ones typically worn in real life.

"The way costume designers fit scrubs and lab coats is completely different for a TV show," Perez says. "We take in scrubs and cut them to make them fit fabulously because they basically are like pajamas. ... When I go to the doctor, they know what show I work on, and they say, 'Your scrubs are really tight.' "

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Some of Perez and Kaling's favorite designers for her character are Rebecca Taylor, Tracy Reese, Diane von Furstenberg, and Alice & Olivia. They also love online shopping at such sites as Shopbop and ModCloth.

"If it's cute, that's all that matters," he says. "She doesn't care where it came from; it's really all about style as opposed to brands. There's no brand snobbery."
Photo/Video credit: FOX
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