NYC Style: Prime Time Costume Designer Jenn Rogien

August 2, 2010 3:14 PM

jenn bw e1280713745147 NYC Style: Prime Time Costume Designer Jenn Rogien

By Kimberly Rae Miller

Name: Jenn Rogien
Borough/Neighborhood: Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Profession: Costume Designer

Jenn moved to NYC from Idaho (via undergrad in Connecticut) 10 years ago.  She started in the buying offices of Saks Fifth Avenue, developing a deep appreciation for menswear in her 3 years there. After a brief but influential stint at Parsons School of Design, Jenn joined the film director Steve Shainberg (Secretary, Fur) as a research and personal assistant and then as a member of his costume crew on the film FUR: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey, jr and costume designed by Oscar Nominee Mark Bridges. Jenn continued as a production assistant in movies for a couple of years before transitioning to television to assist Emmy Nominee Daniel Lawson on the first season of NBC’s hit LIPSTICK JUNGLE. She assisted Daniel on NBC’s KINGS and HBOs BORED TO DEATH.  She continues her relationship with Daniel, working as an Emmy Nominated assistant costume designer on CBS’ hit drama THE GOOD WIFE.

How would you define your personal style?
I’ll take a dress over jeans any day. One zipper and I’m done.

When working on a show, how do you create a character’s style?
I start with the script and the characters on the page.  I look at the story being told, the world being created and choose the look and the pieces that best help support that story while trying to tread lightly on quick answers or stereotypes. Of course, practical elements are always at play – where is the story set, what season are we working in, what time of day is it, where is this character i.e. at the office, on a date, at a club, etc?  And then there are the production elements – how much money do I have to make this happen, how much time do I have to produce the look, do we need multiples for rain or blood, or stunts.  Those are the questions that really make the design work challenging! But it really does all come back to making the actor feel and look like the character and underscoring the telling of the story with the wardrobe.A quick side note – the basis in the script and in the character is the most significant difference between costume design and styling.  Costume design is about the character.  Styling is about the clothes.

What should those of us without a stylist take into consideration…?
First of all, be realistic about your assets. I’m not saying that you should focus on covering your flaws, but you should acknowledge and celebrate your shape.  Second, FIT FIT FIT.  You will be 80% of the way there if the clothes you buy fit.  And third, it doesn’t take a ton of money to find your personal style.  Here in the costume shop, we’re all about high and low – something from Saks worn with something from Century 21.

Any trend you wish would just disappear?
1)Leggings as pants.  THEY ARE NOT PANTS.  Cover your [butt] if you intend to leave your house.  2)Skinny jeans. Skinny jeans are for skinny people.  The rest of us should go for a slim leg or matchstick jean to get the look.

Trends that should make a comeback?
Wide leg trousers.  We could all use a Katherine Hepburn moment.
Favorite Five:
1) Bergdorf Goodman (Manhattan) – what’s not to love? Even if you’re not there to spend money, you’ll find the most beautiful clothing in the world.  The people watching is amazing. Plus the catalog is a day-dream vacation.

2) Daffys (Manhattan, particularly the Herald Sq. and 57th/Lex stores) – they have the most random and most fantastic European closeouts.  They carry things you absolutely will NOT find anywhere else.  You will have to slog through a lot of crap to find a gem but it leaves you feeling like you hit the jackpot.  The menswear is always fab.

3)The Clay Pot (Park Slope Brooklyn) – really beautiful jewelry and gifts often from local designers.  It’s interesting, tasteful and won’t break the bank.

4)10Ft Single by Stella Dallas (Williamsburg Brooklyn) – it’s a vintage shop with REAL vintage but they also have really great used clothes.  The stock is almost curated – you can tell the owners are specific about what they will and will not allow in the store.  The fact that you can find 50s and 60s cocktail dresses makes the whole store amazing. Plus, the rock tee collection on display is mind blowing (tho not for sale).

5)Pearl River (China Town Manhattan) – they do have cool Chinese and Asian clothes, but the crazy gifties, Pocky selection (chocolate covered biscuit sticks)  and cocktail drink decoration selection are what really make Pearl River fantastic.

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