If you chose Girls over the Oscars last night, then you picked a good one: Jessa and Hannah go upstate to visit Jessa’s estranged father (played by Ben Mendelsohn) and his girlfriend Petula (a fabulously ratty-looking Rosanna Arquette). As always, costume designer Jenn Rogien talked us through the wardrobe choices, which included lots of dirty T-shirts and a painfully terrible pair of denim shorts worn by Petula’s son, Frank.
Jessa starts the episode in a loose brown robe thing. She looks very much like someone on the lam.
It’s a caftan. We just went for it. She’s also wearing a scarf, which we haven’t really done with her yet. We wanted to dress her in something she could hide in a little bit, because of the emotional journey she’s headed into. And she’s carrying that Louis Vuitton suitcase, which she had in the show’s pilot, so that was a repeat of something we’ve seen her with before.
And Hannah wears another rust-colored dress. Where is that from?
It’s a vintage piece from Amarcord, and it has jute twine trim on the button loops and the pockets. She’s worn that deep rusty orange a few times this season. She’s also wearing a pair of navy canvas boat shoes, which are her version of country shoes. She’d also wear this outfit to work at Grumpy’s, or out in the city. It’s not like she’s getting herself put together to go to the country, because that’s not something Hannah really does. We knew we’d be filming outside a lot that day, so I wanted to dress her in colors that wouldn’t blend in with the greenery.
Jessa’s dad is just so gross-looking. How did you put his outfits together?
We did a lot of thrifting for him to get shirts that looked like they were from another era. And even though all his shirts were already old, we then stained them and distressed them to give him this disheveled, lived-in, totally-unconscious-of-his-clothing look.
Jessa’s dad’s girlfriend, Petula, also had a very weird vibe, and I really appreciated her Jefferson Starship T-shirt.
She’s actually wearing that T-shirt over a dress, and it’s such an odd combination that seems very organic with what she’s doing — like taking care of rabbits, and going to strange conferences. Jefferson Starship seemed like the right choice for the kind of music she might have been into at some point. We got it at What Goes Around Comes Around — it’s actually really difficult to find vintage music T-shirts, because a lot of people collect them so you don’t find them in many thrift stores. And all her jewelry was sort of mystical, with stones and talismans.
I loved that Frank’s turtleneck had such an important role in his character.
Yeah, that was written into the script. And it’s summer, so we paired his turtleneck with shorts to really express the oddity of his character.
Is he wearing denim shorts?
He sure is. And they’re not even skinny jeans that have been cut off. They’re old-fashioned, awkward denim shorts.
Tyler is an amazing character — he’s this all-American lacrosse player, and sort of a foil for everyone else in the episode.
He’s that kid we all went to high school with. We all know a guy like that. So we tried to signify that with all his clothes. I think the T-shirt is American Eagle, and I can’t remember where the shorts are from, but we shopped at Gap and Old Navy and all the places where real guys like him would probably shop. And he was wearing flip-flops the whole episode.
What kind of flip-flops? I feel like you can tell so much about a person by their flip-flops.
I can’t remember, but they were real guys’ guy flip-flops.
The next day, Jessa wears that long silk pink dress, which seemed like a very unlikely piece for the country.
We wanted her to be in a completely different color world than her dad, because we knew they’d be having this difficult conversation. Having her wear pink in that scene where she’s talking to her dad on the swing really makes her stand out from the greenery around her.
Hannah’s second outfit is really cute, almost suprisingly cute for her.
She’s wearing real shorts, not a romper, for once. It was also a nod to what Hannah might consider a more “country” aesthetic.
And finally, Frank’s morning-after outfit is pretty extraordinary. There’s a lot going on with that shirt.
It’s pretty tough to follow a turtleneck in mid-summer, but that second shirt has a lot going on, it’s true. We wanted to find something that was equally as odd, and it’s a bit of a mess, which reflects where he’s at in that moment.