If you're a die-hard Teen Wolf fan like us, you've spent nearly three seasons staring at Stiles' wacky tees, Lydia's on-point heels, and Allison's bohemian-chic frocks. But you know what? We. Want. More. We're sure you'll agree that sometimes just staring at the clothes just isn't enough. Like, we want to hear ALL the deets behind their on-screen ensembles. Lucky for you (and us!), we got a chance to catch up with the costume designer, Barbara Vazquez, who dished on the ins and outs of working with such an amazing (and seriously fashionable) crew.
MTV STYLE:Thanks so much for talking with us! Tell us how you got hooked up with this amazing gig.
Barbara Vazquez: I worked under a costume designer named Keith Lewis for many, many years and then branched out on my own. I was with Tyler Perry for six years when he first started in the business, and I was Burt Reynolds’ personal dresser for a while. When they approached me with Teen Wolf, I was really interested because of Jeff Davis, the creator of Criminal Minds, and I’m a huge fan of his work. Then I met the cast and fell head-over-heels in love with them and knew that I needed to stay on this show because we are a very close-knit family. The cast and crew on this show, in 12-13 years, I’ve never seen anything like it; the dynamic from the people that work on this show. So it’s really nice to have that.
That is so sweet! Before the series started, did you take any style inspiration from the original '80s Teen Wolf film?
I’m an '80s baby, so I’ve definitely seen the original and loved it. I also knew from the way that Jeff writes and what Jeff was going for on the show, that we wanted to really do a darker, edgier version of what they had done in the '80s. However, I did keep some stuff with style. If you’ll notice, Stiles, you see him wearing a T-shirt with something ridiculous on it, or has a funny image, which is what the original styles had in the original movie. Other than that, we’ve changed it up a lot.
So, how do you think the Teen Wolf cast's style has changed over the course of the seasons?
I think the style has really evolved from the first season until now. Especially with Scott, you see him more grown-up this season that we did in the first and even in the second. He’s becoming an Alpha and he’s really coming into his own. You know, it’s very important for me when people watch this show to look at them [the characters] and say, “They look like high school kids.” You know, you watch some shows and they look like they’re in their thirties. They dress cutely, but you don’t believe that they’re in high school. And so we did that very much in the first season, especially with Scott and Stiles. And now when you see Scott this season, he never before wouldn’t have worn sneakers, now he’s got some cool boots and a more fitted jean. No more hoodies. Stiles, I think, is the only one who has stayed the same.
And the ladies?
With Lydia, she’s the “it” girl in school and what she looks like is very important. She wants everybody to look at her, and she doesn’t want to look like a high school girl. I mean, she’s in heels all the time which is absurd, no high school girl is, they usually throw on sweat pants and call it a day, go to school. But for her, she doesn't want that. She needs to be noticed and she needs people to look at her, all eyes be on her. So that’s what I tried to do with her. You almost never see her in pants, she almost always in some kind of a dress and heels and a great bag. In one episode she has a Chloe bag, and it’s my favorite bag and it’s actually Holland [Roden’s] personal bag. It’s a $2,000 bag and I was like, huh, let’s use this one. I was like, I don’t have the budget to buy it, but I really want to use it. We kept it in a safe in the wardrobe trailer for the whole block. But it’s such a great bag and a great color, Lydia would absolutely have something like that.
Where did you get the high school style inspiration from?
I was going past different high schools just to kind of see what they were wearing. At one point I said to Jeff, "We have to get permission for this. People are going to see me and think I’m this creepy lady who just hangs out outside of a high school."
Haha! Not creepy at ALL.
I went around to about ten different high schools just to see what everyone was wearing. Also, my nieces are in high school, so I would talk to them and my friends’ kids, just get inspiration from real life and what these kids wear. And then when the process starts, I make mood boards. I take a character photo and different fabric swatches and color palettes for what I’m thinking for each character.
So, what did you learn from your drive-by high school sightings? Anything?
They dress so much better than we did when we went to high school! It’s really kind of incredible, the fashion sense that these teenagers have now. I mean, I’ve done shows at fashion week in New York, so I mean these kids are unbelievable. And it’s a lot of their own twists on stuff. It’s really, really inspiring.
What stores/boutiques/thrift stores do you pull the Teen Wolf wardrobe from or is it custom made?
I pull clothes from everywhere and anywhere. I usually get a very specific idea in my head. If I read the scene or we’re in a production meeting and we’re talking, I feel like I see it. Then I send my shoppers to find this imaginary piece of clothing, whatever it is. It could be thrift stores, it could be Bloomingdales, anywhere. I’m also notorious for ripping things up and making them something else. Or adding pieces to something if I can’t find what I want, then I have no problem making it. Upcoming, there is going to be this gorgeous, periwinkle blue dress that Lydia wears and I loved it on her, I loved the color but I couldn’t… there was something that I didn’t like, so I just said, “Oh, she needs to have a sleeve. So, ten minutes before we shot, we made sleeves for the dress and changed the length.
So most of the clothes aren't straight off the rack from the stores?
A lot of the clothing on the show is altered. I pretty much alter anything that goes on their body. I feel like even in life I do that. I’ll get a dress from Target, and if I alter it, if you alter something to your body, it just changes the whole look completely. Even the boys, I alter all of their T-shirts. We take them in, take the sleeves off. It really enhances the way the piece looks on your body. So I would say 98% of their clothes are altered.
Wow, no wonder they all look so good. Custom-fit duds! Is there one piece of clothing that Teen Wolf fans just CAN'T seem to stop talking about?
I’m hearing a lot of buzz about Scott’s jacket from the third season, when he pulls up on the motorcycle. Everybody loved that jacket. It’s a Ralph Lauren jacket, and I think we got it from Macy's. I remember when that jacket came in, I knew it had to be for Scott. He’s never worn anything like that and it’s a little bit tough and a little older, so that’s now his signature jacket from this season.
So, how does the process for picking out each episode's ensemble work?
We block shoot. So that means we shoot two episodes simultaneously. So we’ll get two scripts, you read them both, you have a big meeting with all of the department heads to discuss, for example, if someone is being murdered, I say, “How many shirts do we need for them? How much blood do we need?” Make-up, special effects, everybody has their questions. I put together a list for Jeff and tell him what I’m thinking, and sometimes he will have a really specific vision for something. And he’ll say, “Barb, can we do this for Scott?” or “Can we do this for Lydia?” For the most part, he lets me do my own thing. But again, he writes it, so if he sees something in his head, I will try to make that come to fruition for him. Like, when they go to set, and he’s like “Yes, that’s how I wrote it. That’s what they look like.” I feel like it’s a really collaborative effort, too, with the actors. I like for them to be really involved and we do fitting constantly to make sure everything fits well. I like to have them really involved. Tyler Posey will say to me, “I don’t know, Barb, maybe he would have a jacket in this scene.” So I like it to be collaborative. A lot of designers don’t allow that, and I feel like it works better like that. I want them to put their clothes on, go to set, and never think about it again. And just feel like they’re that character when they get there.
How do you think each Teen Wolf character's style relates to the actor's real life personal style? Let's start with Tyler!
Tyler Posey’s personal style relates to his character style: Now that he has a motorcycle, and he’s dressing differently, he is dressing a little more grown up. But there are certain things Tyler will not let me do because it’s his thing in real life, and he doesn't want Scott doing it. Now he comes in and has the great motorcycle boots and his jeans cuffed and a fitted tee. And I said I kind of wanted to do this for Scott, because Scott rides a motorcycle now, and he’s like, "No, that’s my thing! I feel like they mirror each other a little bit.
Dylan is just a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy. Even when there’s awards shows and stuff, he wants to wear whatever’s clean. Stiles wears a lot of layers, and Dylan’s just in a T-shirt or sweatshirt and jeans.
How about Holland?
I feel like Holland’s style is different all the time in real life. She goes through these phases where she’s really into something and then next week she’ll really into something else. I know she loves Brandy Melville. We also went through a Mad Men phase in her real life. She loved those clothes and was buying pieces like that.
Crystal is very fashionable in real life, but she always looks effortless. She always looks like she didn’t try. But super cute. She reminds me of a model that lives in New York. I’m from Brooklyn, and I remember seeing girls in New York and thinking they looked so good. That’s Crystal. Allison’s style is a little bit off because she’s moved around a lot. I love to mix different patterns together, and stuff that wouldn’t normally do, I do on her. But in real life, she’s a fashionista, definitely.
Three words to describe each character's style. GO!
Stiles: Typical teenage boy.
Scott: Evolving into more of a leader.
Lydia: Pretty, very girly, “it” girl.
Allison: Bohemian chic, crazy patterns, just wants to fit in.
What's one piece of clothing that we'll never see on the show? Is anything off-limits?
There is something about studs that just drive me insane. You will almost never see studs on the show because I can’t stand it. My shoppers will always hide one piece when they bring racks in, and it’s usually because it has studs. That and glitter. Also, if there’s a pattern in which the lines are too close together, it strobes on camera and it looks like the shirt is moving on camera, so we can’t use anything like that. There were a couple of pieces for Stiles, but it would have danced on camera.
Are there any special effects you have to work around when creating the ensembles?
Tyler Posey has a lot of tattoos, so that takes a long time to cover, so I have to accommodate that sometimes. In 301, there is a scene where he is reading a book and doing pull-ups, originally he was just supposed to be shirtless and wearing boxers, but it would have taken too much time to cover all of his tattoos up, so we put him in sweatpants and a tank top. We love a shirtless boy here on Teen Wolf, but sometimes we just don’t have the time to cover those tattoos up, and you never know when you’re going to have to re-shoot a scene. Sometimes I have to accommodate for stunts, too. I’ll have to add a jacket to a costume to cover a harness. We all have to work together to get that kind of stuff figured out.
Whoa! We had no idea Tyler had so many tats. Does anyone else?
The twins also both have tattoos.
Iiinnteresting. Speaking of the twins, tell us about how you are styling them for the show.
For Charlie, he’s a little bit more preppy, so you’ll see a little bit more color for him. Sweaters layered with button-downs. Sometimes they dress alike, and that’s a very strategic move from Jeff. A lot of times they’ll mirror each other: they’re not dressed alike but it will be very similar. But one is definitely more preppy than the other. The outfits reflect the story lines.
So, we have to ask—where are all these iconic outfits stored?
All of the clothes are kept in one space, it looks like a department store. And then I have an office where I keep the stuff I’m looking through for the episode of the week. We have all of season one, season two in there. If there was a specific item that got bloody, for example, we keep that in a plastic garment bag, and it’s never cleaned because if we for some reason have to revisit that season, we’ll have the shirt exactly as it was that day when we filmed it. Every single outfit that went on camera already is tagged and labeled with character name, scene, episode number, and the actor’s name. We just did reshoots the other day and I was so thankful we had everything catalogued.
Finally, what sort of ensembles should we look forward to for the rest of the season?
What to look forward to: For the girls, I have some favorite outfits of Allison’s that’s a little bit out of the box. Lydia is always going to look pretty, always going to have some kind of a cool coat or bag, great dress, great shoes. With Scott, he looks a little bit more sexy and grown-up this year.
What are some of your favorite and least favorite outfits on the show?