How to Dress Like the Stars of The Vampire Diaries
The show’s designer shares the secrets of the cast’s killer looks.
Not only have you been dying to sink your teeth back into The Vampire Diaries, which returns with new episodes on The CW this Thursday, but we know you’ve also been itching to steal some of the hot styles from the show.
Thirst no more, fellow Bettys. We caught up with the series’ costume designer Jennifer Bryan, who has the majorly cool job of dressing Diaries’ hot stars, Paul Wesley (good vampire Stefan Salvatore) and Ian Somerhalder (his older brother, evil vampire Damon). With the siblings inhabiting both the 1800s, when they became vampires, and the present day, their styles span two centuries of fashion.
“I wanted you to know they are brothers and vampires, but I had to be careful I didn’t dress them alike,” Jennifer says. “Ian told me he wanted Damon’s wardrobe to have a sense of timelessness. So I put him in things that existed back then but have a modern interpretation.” That means lots of collared, button-front shirts. “They’ve basically stayed the same for 80 years,” Jennifer says. As for Damon’s jeans, “I put Levi’s on him. You couldn’t ask for anything more classic.”
For Stefan, who’s chosen to live a more normal life among mere mortals, it’s all about his wardrobe allowing him to blend in. “He’s trying to fit in the high-school environment,” Jennifer explains. “He’ll wear plaid prints and hoodies with color to make himself just a little more palatable.”
To pull together the styles for the 1800s, Jennifer turned to books, the Internet and collections of period clothing and her own sense of style. For the show’s first flashback episode, she designed the billowy cream- and peach-colored gown worn by the brothers’ romantic interest, Katherine (Nina Dobrev).
She also had to give her stars a crash course on how to wear nineteenth-century styles. “The dresses from that time are much more restricted,” Jennifer explains. “The fabrics and cuts were designed to constrain the body. Because sometimes you can pass out in a corset, you have to change your posture and breathing,” Jennifer says. (But no matter how painful it is, she says, a corset does give “incredible cleavage.”)
Walking in a hoop skirt doesn’t come easy, either. “Stand tall and hold your head high, and when you walk, take smaller steps and kick the hoop out of the way in front of you,” Jennifer advises. “You have to be in sync with it when it rocks back and forth or you might fall on your face.”