25 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About 2000s Movie Outfits


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The “Dreamgirls” wardrobe designer memorized the ENTIRE script!

There’s a lot to love about 2000s movies, but one of my favorite parts is the iconic outfits.

Sony Pictures Releasing / Via giphy.com

I mean, who doesn’t remember Jenna’s “Thriller” dress from 13 Going on 30 or the pink set Elle Woods wore on her first day at Harvard in Legally Blonde? 

What’s even more interesting is how much thought the wardrobe department puts into each and every look.

So, without further ado, here are 25 behind-the-scenes facts straight from the wardrobe departments of 2000s movies:


Because Mean Girls was filmed a year before it released, wardrobe designer Mary Jane Fort looked to the trends in European fashion for inspiration.

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

She told Nylon, “One of the first things you do when you want to go to the future in this country is you go to European fashion and see what they’re doing, and then you take those colors and shapes and you try to modify it to fit a contemporary lifestyle.”


To get the right look for the outfits in Slumdog Millionaire, wardrobe designer Suttirat Lalarb and her team would often sandpaper, shred, stretch, and wash them up to 50 times.

Fox Searchlight / ©Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection

When that wasn’t enough, they’d resort to stamping the outfits in the mud.


Wardrobe designer Sharen Davis memorized the entire Dreamgirls script to help herself keep track of the hundreds of costume changes.

Dreamworks / ©DreamWorks/Courtesy Everett Collection

She plotted out each character’s story arc on posterboard and pinned fabric swatches and sketches next to the coordinating names.


In the final scene of The Princess Diaries, Julie Andrews wore $500,000 worth of diamonds.

Buena Vista Pictures / Via Disney+

Queen Clarice’s tiara and jewelry were on loan from the notable jeweller Harry Winston.


Director Marc Webb’s only specific instruction for (500) Days of Summer wardrobe designer Hope Hanafin was that only Summer was allowed to wear blue.

Fox Searchlight / ©Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection

She was only allowed to break the rule in the Hall & Oates dance scene to reflect the fact that Tom’s entire world had become a reflection of Summer. 


How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days wardrobe designer Karen Patch custom designed the yellow slip dress Andie wears in the party scene to showcase her 84-carat diamond necklace.

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

The necklace itself was created by jeweller Harry Winston.


Reese Witherspoon kept all of Elle’s clothes from Legally Blonde 2 because she had it written into her contract.

Mgm / ©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

She stores the clothes, along with her outfits from other major films she’s done, in a special closet inside her home. She had the closet professionally organized on an episode of the Netflix show Get Organized with the Home Edit.


In Bend It Like Beckham, Jess’s jerseys have the number 7 because it was David Beckham’s number when he played for Manchester United.

20thcentfox / ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Jules wears the number 9, which was worn by her idol Mia Hamm on the US national team.


Wardrobe designer Karyn Wagner visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to conduct research for the ’40s costumes in The Notebook.

New Line Cinema / ©New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

She told Entertainment Weekly, “Because of the war effort, nothing was flamboyant. It was a very businesslike time.”


Wardrobe designer Sharen Davis worked on the dazzling dresses for Dreamgirls and the dull suits for The Pursuit of Happyness at the same time.

DreamWorks / courtesy Everett Collection / Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

She told CBS News, “It actually expanded me. I got to do the balance of both worlds, this high-glam world to this very low-end world. It was inspiring to do both at once.”


Initially, the Mean Girls designers didn’t want to put Cady Heron in an oversized polo, but Tina Fey insisted because she wanted it to look like she was actually wearing Damian’s shirt.

Paramount / courtesy Everett Collection

“It was great to have [Tina there as] a sounding board, and it helped it all make more sense when you’re all there and you’re all together and you can look at it and talk about it,” wardrobe designer Mary Jane Fort told Nylon.


A trio of local girls came to watch when Slumdog Millionaire was being filmed in their neighborhood, so wardrobe designer Suttirat Lalarb traded some of her mock-up dresses for their clothes.

Fox Searchlight / ©Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection


13 Going On 30 wardrobe designer Susie Desanto used Jenna’s bright outfits and Lucy’s darker clothes to reflect their intentions.

Columbia Pictures / ©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

In the documentary about the movie, Susie said, “Jennifer’s character has a huge character arc and how she changes and realizes who she is, and the costumes have to tell that story.”


It was important to wardrobe designer Hope Hanafin that the characters in (500) Days of Summer only wore clothes they could realistically afford.

Fox Searchlight / ©Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection

She told Elle, “That whole Sex and the City approach, where everything in the scene is fashion fantasy — it looks great, but it can also be distracting. I wanted to avoid that.”


The majority of the outfits Andie wore in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days were authentic designer pieces rather than custom creations because the wardrobe designer wanted it to feel “more real.”

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Karen Patch told CNN, “It made sense to use things that were more recognizable.”


In Mean Girls, Karen’s outfits were designed to mimic Regina’s and Gretchen’s to show that she was “truly the follower.”

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Wardrobe designer Mary Jane Fort told Nylon, “They would tell her what to do and she would do it.” 


Tiffany & Co. rarely loans out jewelry for film productions, but they made an exception for Julia Roberts in Ocean’s 11.

Warner Brothers / courtesy Everett Collection

In the movie’s production notes, wardrobe designer Jeffrey Kurland said, “First, they sent photographs of various items, and then they would send the real piece so I could make a final decision. They sized things for us and altered the hang of certain necklaces, they couldn’t have been more accommodating.”


For Slumdog Millionaire, wardrobe designer Suttirat Lalarb had Lakita wear yellow in most of her scenes to give her a visual through line as the characters aged.

Fox Searchlight / ©Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection

She chose yellow because it would “pop” among the crowds of colorfully dress Mumbaikars.


One of the dresses Mia wears in The Princess Diaries was based on a dress worn by a real princess.

Buena Vista Pictures / Ibl/Shutterstock / Via Netflix

Princess Victoria of Sweden wore the original dress to the 1997 Nobel Prize gala.


The Mean Girls wardrobe designers took inspiration from the 1950s.

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Designer Mary Jane Fort told Nylon, “In the ’50s, your nails were done, your hair was done, and your dresses were impeccable. So it was a little bit of a combination of the future and the past and gave it a contemporary feel.” 


Reese Witherspoon asked her friend, Molly Stern, to create the dress for the scene where Warner and Elle break up in Legally Blonde.

MGM Distribution Co. / Via Netflix

The rest of Elle’s outfits were made by wardrobe designer Sophie Carbonell.


Kate Hudson and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days wardrobe designer Karen Patch met up in Paris to research and shop for Andie’s outfits.

Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Karen told CNN, “[In the movie], Kate wears a more sleek, urban look than I’ve seen on her before.”


Levi provided the magic pants for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in order to promote its jeans to young women.

Warner Bros / ©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

The brand used its partnership with Sears as leverage, promising to advertise the movie in retail stores. It also helped that Ann Brashares, who wrote the book the movie was based on, had always envisioned the pants in her story as Levis. 


In Dreamgirls, each of the lead characters’ signature styles was based on a different music icon of the past.

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images / CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images / Michael Putland / Getty Images / DreamWorks / courtesy Everett Collection

Jennifer Hudson’s wardrobe was based on Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé’s was based on Cher, and Eddie Murphy’s was based on Marvin Gaye and Prince.


And finally, all of the costumes from The Devil Wears Prada were auctioned off to raise money for breast cancer research, Equality Now, and Dress for Success — and it was all Meryl Streep’s idea.

20thcentfox / ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Anne Hathaway really loved the one-of-a-kind vintage green coat Andy wore at the start of the montage, so her then-boyfriend bought it for her at a promotional event leading up to the movie’s premiere.

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