EXCLUSIVE: Costume Designer Jenn Rogien Talks Dressing a Curvy Body

EXCLUSIVE: Costume Designer Jenn Rogien Talks Dressing a Curvy Body
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Jenn Rogien is one of the industry's hottest costume designer's! Rogien's wardrobe curations can be seen on hit series like Orange is the New Black and Girls. The wardrobe expert recently teamed up with T.J. Maxx to show how the power of style can help tell a woman's story.

"Style is a powerful visual expression of a woman, her best traits and the aspects of her life that matter most to her. Each woman, just like every character, has her own story," Rogien said.

"I'm fortunate enough to bring some truly memorable characters to life using their wardrobe as a visual storytelling element. That's why a store like T.J.Maxx is a great resource because they carry items that let every woman's personal style shine through, no matter what her storyline is."

MORE: OITNB: From Prison Garb to Totally Glam!

We spoke to the costume designer about what it's like to dress the cast of OITNB, snag tips for curvy Latinas, and more. Check it out in our exclusive interview below:

You’re working with various body types on different shows, including Orange is the New Black. What’s your mindset when going out and finding items for them?

The best part about the shows we work on is that we have such a range of body types. There’s so much diversity in both my casts and real women who are real sizes, which I actually really love, because I find that it really helps to tell the story. Honestly, it’s not even really a consideration. It’s like, this is her story, this is what we’re trying to tell, and these are the things that are going to work to make that really come to life for our audience. So whether she’s tall, short, slim, curvy — that’s all part of the character’s story and we want to embrace that when we actually go out shopping for them.

What are some of your biggest challenges with Orange is the New Black? They’re all prisoners, so that has to prove to be difficult.

The uniformity is certainly one of the challenges in realizing individual identities, when you only have six or eight pieces when they’re inside the prison. So we really capitalize on the flashback moments to tell that story. The volume of clothing we go through on that show, even if it is inmate uniforms, is mindboggling. There’s so much laundry. There are so many racks down the hallways when we’re getting ready to prep an episode. The other challenge on Orange is the flashback research. Research is one of my favorite parts of the job — I love it. We do so much research to make sure that we’re getting the right information to then tell the story in a way that is right for the show.

Is there any one character that you would say you have the most fun with?

Every time I get a script there’s something surprising about whichever character’s backstory we’re telling or whatever the journey is that’s happening inside of the prison. That’s why I love the show because it’s got all those facets to it.

Yes, definitely. What are your top tips for curvy girls?

Fit. Fit, fit, fit. Fit is one of the biggest things that I have really learned in my work in television. And it doesn’t necessarily mean clinging to the body — that’s not necessarily fit. One thing that seems kind of counterintuitive, and that’s actually kind of surprising, is that sometimes going up a size will look slimmer to the world and to your audience than trying to stay true to a size on a tag. There’s no standard sizing and sometimes, you know, trying a few sizes on around the size that you typically are, can really improve the fit of the garment. I like things that come in at the waist, for TV and for life, because I feel like that is really figure-flattering overall. Whether it’s a built in waist, because the silhouette of the shirt or the dress is cut that way, or by adding a waist detail in the form of a belt, or even just a color block — I find that that’s very flattering to curvy figures across the board. And it just looks great whether you’re curvy or not.

There’s a visual element to it that’s really striking. Have fun with it — embrace that. I would say that for any shape. Embrace the things that work for you; embrace the trends that work for you. That’s why T.J. Maxx is brilliant because if you want to tie into a trend you don’t have to overhaul completely. You can grab a few of the colors of the season, you can grab a few of the accessories of the season, and really feel that you’ve gotten an update without actually jumping on a trend that may not be the most figure-flattering for you. We had a joke at work that like, skinny jeans aren’t for everyone. I like the look of a skinny jean, but I actually, in my life, got that look by going to a very slim straight jean because as it turned out, skinny jeans were just not for my figure. I’m a bit of a curvy girl as well and it took a bit of trial and error and experimentation to find a pair of jeans. I was like, oh these look like skinny jeans, but they actually don’t fit me like a skinny jean does — which was not great.

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