We are so excited to announce that Jenn Rogien, costume designer for the hit HBO show GIRLS, the new NETFLIX series Orange is the New Black, and the 2012 Style Awards TV Costume Designer of the Year, will be joining aerie as our Style & Fit Expert. Between her unmatched taste for style and her breadth of wardrobe wisdom, we couldn’t think of a more perfect fit for our brand. Not only do we love her, but Jenn is creating a buzz all over the web in the New York Times, Refinery29 and more. Read on to learn about how Jenn began her career in the fashion industry and check out her tips for finding the perfect intimates.
1. What was your start in the fashion industry and as a costume designer?
I started as an assistant buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry on some level but I didn’t know if that would be in retail, editorial, design or some other capacity. After a few years at Saks, I went to Parsons and segued into costume design from there.
2. How did you get into costume design for television?
While studying at Parsons, a roommate referred me to a film director who was looking for an assistant while he worked on a new script. I worked for him while I was in school. When his film went in to production he recommended me to the costume designer as a production assistant for the costume shop. It was a combination of being in the right place at the right time and being willing to take whatever position was available and do that job really well in hopes of connecting with a team that would want to take me along.
3. What is your signature as a costume designer that you apart from others?
I think my signature traits are fit and naturalism. For me, the costumes are a reflection of the character and the more specific and real I can make the clothes, the better it helps tell the story.
4. What do you love about Aerie?
I’ve loved Aerie for years. The bras and undies fit amazingly well, they all come in the prettiest colors, prints and details…they’re naturally sexy. It’s intimates for the girl next door and they help me tell the stories of real girls, pretty girls, fun girls…all girls! When the opportunity to collaborate with aerie came up, it seemed like the perfect fit.
5. Who is your style icon?
I don’t have one style icon. There are many things I look to for inspiration –Brooklyn, the Rocky Mountains, beautiful art and architecture, sundresses my mom made in the late 70s, Alexander McQueen. And then there is inspiration for each specific project – street style and The Flea and Brooklynintes for “GIRLS,” photos of Federal inmates and vintage JC Penny and Sears catalogs for “Orange is the New Black.” That wide-ranging inspiration is one of my favorite things about my job as a costume designer.
6. How involved are the actors in collaborating with you on their outfits?
It depends – some are very excited by costumes and the transformation that happens in the fitting room. Some are very open to the clothes on the rack and want me to guide the process. At the end of the day, the actor is the one wearing the costume and it’s important to me that they feel that the costume is supporting them in the scene and is not distracting or uncomfortable.
7. Describe the process of selecting the costumes for the characters; How do you shape their wardrobes?
There is a lot of research, swatching, shopping, fitting, tailoring, ageing, dyeing, distressing, and accessorizing that goes into any character’s look. Getting all those elements to come together is magic.
8. What role do undergarments have in costume design? How important is fit and fabric?
Undergarments play a role in every costume I design. Sometimes the undergarments are unseen, truly serving as the foundation of the look to achieve bust shape, lift, smoothing, or shaping of the silhouette. There are other moments were the underwear becomes an accessory – a peek of a strap, lace at the décolletage, color underneath sheer fabrics. And then there is the moment that is the most fun for me where the underwear IS the character’s look in a scene. That’s when we go high and low for just the right piece that will carry the look of that character all the way into their undies.
9. What is your favorite aerie piece?
The Vintage Lace collection is my favorite.
Tip 1. Aerie girls… remember, the most important thing to remember when shopping for new bras and undies it to make sure you are wearing the right size! If you don’t know or haven’t had a bra fitting in a long while, go for a bra fitting! See an Aerie bra fit expert in stores and let them hook you up with a free fitting. Super important. Super easy.
Tip 2. Don’t be afraid to size up. No one likes to go up, but often the fit is better and the overall look is more flattering. You have to let your girls have some room and feel comfy.
Tip 3. Just because intimates are basics, doesn’t mean they have to be basic. Have fun! Express your personality. Let your bras and undies help tell your story.
11. What are the biggest mistakes women make when it comes to their bras? (IE, wrong size, exposed bra straps, etc.)
Mistake 1. Wearing the wrong bra size is a big one. That includes choosing cup sizes or shapes that are too big or too small for their bust.
Mistake 2. Style wise – exposing a bra under a sheer top can be a gamble. When done well, it’s chic and fun. When not, it can be inappropriate.
Don’t forget to check back throughout the upcoming months for great bra & undie tips from our new BFF! In the meantime, stay connected with Jenn on Twitter – @jennrogien.