The Costumes of Stranger Things (Steve, Nancy, Eleven, Lucas, Barb, Joyce)


Welcome to another episode of Costume
Cinematographico. I want to thank everyone because we’ve just hit a
thousand subscribers and I couldn’t have done it without you! In this episode I
look at the costumes of the hit Netflix American science fiction horror series
Stranger Things. I’ve had this video on the back burner for several months.
I’ve been waiting to release it and here we’re going to do it it’s actually the
first contemporary show that I’ve attempted to do but I really wanted to
do it because I thought the costumes were such a blast at being a nostalgia
piece and it really reminds me of my own teen years growing up in Winnipeg. So
want to let you know there are spoilers for the entire first season of Stranger
Things. Stranger Things is a series writte, directed and co-produced by the
Duggar brothers and was released as a Netflix original series airing on July
15th, 2016. The show takes place in Hawkins, Indiana in 1983 where a young
boy named Will Byers disappears into thin air.
Netflix has since renewed the series for a second season of nine episodes which
are set to be released on October 31st, 2017. Matt and Ross Duffer, known as the
Duffer brothers, are actually twin brothers who write and direct science
fiction and horror shows for film and television and they’re best known for
their 2015 horror drama feature “Hidden” and have also written episodes for the
Fox series “Wayward Pines”. So critics and fans of the show have stated that they
don’t find that the show is as much of recreation of the eighties genre but it’s
more of a bit of a memory of watching these types of 80s genre films. I
couldn’t help but see the influences of science-fiction favorites like Goonies
and ET Extra Terrestrial. But it’s also a bit of a tribute to many
of the 80s Stephen King adaptations like the movies Firestarter, Catseye, Silver
Bullet, Children of the Corn, Stand by Me, Cujo and Creepshow. As
a side note, if Stephen King owned the science fiction genre, then Drew
Barrymore was its rising star. Stranger Things is clearly also a nod to John
Hughes style coming-of-age comedies like or brat pack films like Sixteen Candles,
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club.
In keeping with these genres, Stranger Things have set about creating a homage
to the eighty stylings of the era. I just caught the horror movie “It Follows”
and you have to see it it so great and like Stranger Things that has this
vintage vibe to it especially with the clothing. “It Follows” uses the same tropes
of vintage teen slasher films like John Carpenter’s Halloween. Costume designer
Kimberly Adams created a look and set the tone for the first four episodes of
Stranger Things. Adams has a large body of work and is known most recently for
her work in Halt and Catch Fire which is a series capturing the essence of the
80s computer boom. Largely known for her indie work, costume designer Malgosia Turzanska, seen on the right finished off the series other four
episodes. The pair were both nominated for a costume designer Guild Award but
lost out to Michelle Clapton for the crown. Kimberly Adams has stated in an
interview with Tyranny of Style, “So the Duffers, it was so important to make the
characters real and not feel like caricatures in the 80s. I really scoured
images to put together the mood boards to figure out how to distinguish each
character’s look. The research I culled ranged from film characters of the period
to catalogs, magazines, family photo albums and especially yearbooks from
Midwestern states 1983.” Adams says, “We’ve built up a stock of period clothing to
cover all the categories we had to dress so
school, middle school, town folk, agents, government workers, scientists. Everyone
speaking or background was dressed in period clothing. The background talent
was dressed with the same care as a speaking part they are all active
playing a part and we dress them according to character. They are all part
of the sets that create the world being filmed so unlike the other shows that
I’ve done previously to this one Stranger Things is actually considered a
contemporary show even though it’s actually set in the 80s. What
makes it different is that it would be considered more of a shopped show. So how
they would gather the costumes is either they would be purchased outright or they
would be rented from a wardrobe house and they would pull costumes for each
character and assemble the actors look and during the fittings they would take
a digital picture of each costume and then present that to the director for
approval. So Kimberly Adams has created a unique
look for all of the boys through the four boys and this grouping of boys
might be considered nerdy. You know they play Dungeons & Dragons so they won’t
wear clothes that are necessarily designer and they look like they might
be shopped at places like department stores such as Kmart and Sears. It’s
funny looking at these kids because I actually went to school with a couple of
guys who dressed in this way, played Dungeons and Dragons and would also play
Star Wars with wooden swords; It was sort of funny subbing in for their
lightsabers. Costume designer Adams has also said, “The clothing helps to tell the
story and the right closet enables an actor to feel true to the character. They
are playing because the story took place over a weekish. I knew we would need
to create closets for the kids that would need multiples for not only photo
doubles and stunts but growth of the kids over five months of shooting. So of
course with multiples, it was important to make all the clothing look like it
was not brand new. So we aged things according to how long
we felt they had it.” Just to let you know a closet is a wardrobe term to
describe a character’s collection of costumes for a given character in
differentiating between the four boys and what had to be a cohesive look
Kimberly Adams stated, “It’s always a challenge with a group of characters
that are often together to find a nuances to make them unique yet keep
them real. As I laid out the board’s I created, I kept that in mind, you can see
it if you look at those boards, how each of the boys have their own look and then
use that as my springboard to gather clothing to fit on each of them. 1980s
clothing fit can be challenging. In Will Byers mood board, seen here, you can see
that Adams used Henry Thomas’s costume from ET as inspiration. Mike and Will’s
clothes show their class division. so Mike’s clothes are all new, a series
of ringer Ts and rugby shirts because his family are upper-middle class.
Meanwhile raised by a single mom, Will wears what look like hand-me-downs from
his older brother Jonathan so they have to be more of a 70s vibe
with the long sleeves Henley plaid shirt and ski vest seen here. Adams confirms
this saying, “So Will’s clothes being more hand-me-down
clothes were aged more than Mike’s whose clothing could have been something mom
got him new for the school year. Will’s ski vest looks a bit like Marty McFly’s vest
from Back to the Future. Here is a vintage 1980s Woolrich goose-down ski vest
that’s similar to the one worn by Michael J Fox in Back to the Future. But it’s
this vintage 1980s Ralph Lauren Polo goose-down vest
that’s more in keeping with Will’s I think. Here is Dustin Henderson’s
mood board. Kimberly Adams has incorporated a
picture of Sean Astin from the movie Goonies and as a side note after Sean
Astin will be joining the Stranger Things cast in season 2.
I think Dustin’s fashions stand out amongst the group. He tends to wear
townie type clothes combined with a series of graphic tees like this
reproduction Grass Valley Guest Ranch t from Redbubble and this red white
and blue trucker hat from eBay. This hat’s not exactly correct as the back of the
hat is actually mesh. Dustin wears this kelly green hoodie and that’s a most
definite 80’s color with an Explorer Graphic. Here is another reproduction T
also from Redbubble. Dustin wears another graphic T. This is another
reproduction of the Drama Club T-shirt found on eBay. Here’s another one of
Dustin’s t-shirts a Castroville Artichoke Festival T-shirt also a reproduction
found on eBay. The original appears to be in a soft yellow color. I managed to find
Dustin’s denim and plaid jacket seen here. This snap front vintage denim jacket
by Valley Co has orange, yellow and navy check flannel detailing. Here is Lucas
Sinclair’s mood board. Lucas is often seen wearing a variety of plaid
shirts similar to this vintage Levi’s 1980s red Western plaid shirt. He also
wears Raglan baseball jerseys, football style jerseys and ringer Ts. Lucas
wears this vintage Levi’s red label jacket with light brown Sherpa lining
and collar. Sherpa fleece is a popular outerwear garment
made from polyester and cotton. Here’s the same vintage Levi’s button-down
corduroy jacket except without the sherpa lining and Lucas’s engineer
stripe or ticking fabric as it’s sometimes called backpack. Unfortunately,
I couldn’t find a date for this backpack. Lucas also wears a hooded tan nylon
jacket lined with brown sherpa lining. Here is Mike Wheeler’s mood board.
Throughout season one we see Mike wearing a series of long-sleeve rugby
shirts buttoned all the way to the neck. This was an unfashionable way of wearing
the shirts which normally would have been left unbuttoned with a collar
slightly up so it sort of shows Mike isn’t about fashion. Rugby shirts were a
type of sports shirt worn by players of a rugby league. It usually has short
sleeves though long sleeves are common as well. A traditional design of rugby
shirt consists of five or six horizontal stripes or hoops and alternating colors
and a large V around the neck, short collar and rubber buttons. Rugby shirts
were traditionally made out of cotton but later cotton/poly blends were
popular too. Here is a vintage 80s Levi’s polo shirt with a rugby style collar in
a poly/cotton blend. Another look for Mike is the ringer
T-shirt which was a popular fashion item from the 70s.
Ringer T-shirts are usually made from a jersey shirt fabric in one color with
ribbing on the collar and the sleeve bands in a contrasting color. This
particular ringer T pictured here on the right is from Etsy. Here’s another
shot of Mike and Dustin’s jacket while Dustin’s jacket looks like cotton canvas.
It looks a bit like this vintage 70s bomber jacket seen on the left in brown
corduroy with a hood with faux shearling lining. Mike’s jacket looks a bit like
this early 80s nylon jacket on the right. The sleeves are removable to convert to
a vest. Here is Eleven’s mood board and an artist rendering of her hospital gown. It
appears that 11 was originally intended to be bald; it also looks like Drew
Barrymore’s character Charlie in Firestarter, featuring a child possess
psychokinetic powers, was a bit of an inspiration for Eleven. I think that Eleven’s work
jacket looks similar to this vintage Barracuda style Harrington jacket except
without the vents. Harrington jackets, just to let you know, is a lightweight
waist length jacket made from cotton, polyester, wool or suede and designs
often incorporate traditional Fraser tartan or checkerboard pattern lining. Mike
borrows a smock girls dress from his sister Nancy. Kimberly Adams says of the
dress, “I tried various period girls dresses from the 70s to find the right
shape and we built multiples so it would carry over to be aged as the episodes
progressed. Millie who plays Eleven brought so much emotion to the character with
virtually no words, like a silent star.” Here’s a similar style of dress, this
vintage cotton polyester blend from the 1970s by Polly Flinders. Polly Flinders
was a brand name of children’s clothing popular in the 1960s and 70s and known
for their hand smoking. Joyce Byers portrayed by actor Winona
Ryder is seen here with her oldest son Jonathan. Joyce’s clothing is a riot –
it’s like she’s just dressing from clothing has been lying at the foot of
her bed all this time. Some of them she might even have borrowed from Jonathan’s
wardrobe or maybe she took them from her ex-husband. In this image she’s
wearing her work uniform. Of Joyce’s look Kimberly Adams has said, “I gathered
period clothing and we discovered what felt right for Joyce. She is a divorced
mother of two boys trying to make ends meet. Her closet reflected the reality
and it was important that she’d be real like all of the characters.” Here’s Joyce
Byers mood board with a few pictures of Meryl Streep from the 80s biographical
drama Silkwood. Reportedly Winona Ryder modeled her hair after Meryl Streep’s
character Karen Silkwood. I just thought I’d throw this picture in here.
This is a picture of me from the 80s what I thought was kind of a similar
haircut. In keeping with what I was saying about Joyce borrowing from her son
Jonathan’s clothes or maybe her ex-husband’s clothes,
Joyce wears this men’s green army surplus style shirt. We know this because
the buttons left over right and she wears it over a burgundy crewneck shirt.
Not the most stylish of choices but considering that her son is missing
it does seem appropriate. Ryder’s look can be achieved with this vintage army
shirt jacket and this vintage 80s Hang-ten long-sleeve knit top. Dr.
Martin Brenner’s clothes say very little about him except that he is very
practical and understated. His suit gives very little information although it
appears to be very good quality, perhaps even tailored. His shirts look like this
Brooks Brothers Oxford style dress shirt with a button-down collar, an innovation
that was developed by the Brooks Brothers company. Dr. Brennar’s suit
looks a bit like this 1980s Christian Dior men;s heather gray two-piece
polyester blend suit that I found at Trusty Zipper, a vintage online clothing
store. The hazmat suits in these mood boards are
not unlike the scientists featured in both ET Extra Terrestrial and Firestarter.
Here is Chief Jim Hopper’s mood boards with images of Roy Scheider, who
portrayed chief Martin Brody in both Jaws and its sequel. Here’s Chief Jim
Hopper and his staff and like in Jaws, Hopper wears a khaki shirt and pants
while his officers Powell and Callahan wear blues and they all wear matching
Ranger hats. I discovered through social media that the stripes on the US flag
patches of Hopper’s uniform are out of sync – the patch on the top corner is
actually the correct one. Callahan wears vintage horn rimmed JFK style glasses like
these ones seen here. Here are Ted and Karen Wheeler’s mood boards, you know
they’re the parents of Nancy and it’s inspired by Craig T Nielsen and Jobeth
Williams portrayal of Diane and Stephen Freelings in Poltergeist. Ted Wheeler’s
sitting on the left, he sort of dresses a bit like a pencil pusher of a
middle-class family looking as though he’s just come home from a day of work,
maybe auditing or adjusting insurance claims, something really boring. His
character is less significant and therefore he dresses very nondescript
allowing him a bit to blend into the background. These vintage glasses
are pretty good likeness to his by the way. Karen Wheeler on the other hand is
more of significant character than Ted. She dresses in a similar fashion to her
daughter Nancy, so her clothes are good quality, classic garments in muted pastel
colors and conservative styling. She’s really no trendsetter. I thought this is
a good likeness for her hair, this flip style achieved with a really good
curling iron. Nr. Clark, being a science teacher, his outfits are a bit cliche.
He’s dressed in muted tones, wears cable knit sweaters and vests
that are paired with neckties. I suspect he might be inspired by this guy here. My favorite part of this entire series
are the teens. I was born a year after these characters and even though I grew
up in Canada, their wardrobe feels so authentic to me like something that my
friends and I would have worn back in the 80s. Here are Kimberly Adams mood
boards for Hawkins high school. Adams drew from her own high school
experiences as inspiration for the students wardrobe. For preppy inspiration
look no further than Making the Grade, which is sort of a really bad 80s teen
comedy starring Judd Nelson with some over-the-top fashion. Here is Steve
Harrington’s mood board with Tom Cruise as inspiration from his role in All the
Right Moves, Steve even wears the same leather Nikes as Tom Cruise’s character.
Here’s a modern take on the classic Nike leather shoe. According to Kimberly
Adams, “Steve comes from a wealthy family and was what we called a prep in high
school, preppy and cool: polo shirts, Levi’s
khakis and Brooks Brothers basics worn with attitude.” A polo shirt, also known
as a golf shirt and tennis shirt it’s a form of a shirt with a collar a placket
with typically two or three buttons and an optional pocket. The Lacoste brand
of shirt, which was the most popular in the 80s, has a tennis tail and was
invented in 1926 by French tennis champion Rene Lacoste. It was a
staple of 80’s preppy culture and available in a wide range of colors. It
was the little crocodile crest on the left breast pocket that set it apart
from its competitor. Unlike Clint Eastwood, preppies always wore their collars
up, initially designed to prevent sunburn. Here are two examples of Ralph Lauren
striped rugby shirts on the left from the 1980s. They were modeled after Polo
shirts but intended as casual dress. Ralph Lauren shirts were part of his
Polo collection with their very own version of the crocodile emblem but
in this case it was a little teeny tiny polo player and on the right is a pair
of 80s polo pants in kakhi and they’re made of cotton twill
and no preppy look would be complete without a pair of leather deck shoes.
This pair by Timberland but without socks of course. I’m not sure if Joe
Keery was cast for his acting talents or for that amazing head of hair just look
at it. Maybe Judd Nelson or Rob Lowe offered
some influence. One of my favorite pieces of clothing in this show is Steve’s Navy
jacket. He wears it in several scenes. It’s reminiscent of this vintage Members
Only jacket in Navy or this Izod Lacoste jacket from the 1980s in royal blue or
it might be an American version of this Herrington jacket or barracuda jacket as
seen here on the coolest of cool guys, Steve McQueen. Here’s Nancy Wheeler’s mood
board with some inspiration from Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character in Fast
Times at Ridgemont High. Adams says, “Nancy was such fun to fit. Natalya [who plays Nancy] enjoyed trying
on period clothing and discovering her character. I took some inspiration from
my high school years but in the context of a Midwest girl as opposed to West
Coast girl that I was. Her family is upper-middle class. She is smart and
sweet and feminine and her closet needed to reflect that.” Nancy has this
girl-next-door look of 80s actress and back to the future star Lea Thompson and
Karen Allen who plays Harrison Ford’s side-kick in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The
girl next door was a popular trope in 80s genre movies.
Nancy wears a cropped cable-knit sweater with some dark corduroy pants. I
couldn’t find the same sweater but I here is a really cute vintage sweater in
pastel shades that I thought was in keeping with Nancy’s palette and if you
add it to this pair of 1980s Ralph Lauren’s sport corduroy jean-cut pants on
the right, I think the entire look would be complete. In this scene with Jonathan
doing target practice, Nancy is wearing a men’s jacket here
indicated by the left of a right buttoning pattern. Here’s an example of a
similar woman’s vintage Levi’s snap corduroy sherpa line jacket. This jacket
has the correct right over left formation.
Here is Jonathan Byers mood board with Adams using Elliot’s older brother
Michael from ET for inspiration. Is it me or is Charlie Heaton who plays Jonathan
channeling late actor River Phoeni. Seen on the right, Jonathan wears this
Sherpa lined denim trucker jacket. Here is a vintage Wrangler denim trucker jacket
that I found on eBay. Here is another one of Jonathan’s
trucker style jackets. It appears to be a good likeness to this vintage Levi’s red
tabs denim trucker jacket again from eBay. Here is Barbara Holland’s mood board. I thought it was so funny because Barb looks just like my best friend from
high school. She was a redhead just like Barb except she was rather than being
overweight she was just really tall like six feet tall and of course I was
nothing like Nancy. I was actually five seven myself. Kimberly Adams says
of dressing Barb: “I believe it was Shannon’s [who plays Barb] first role so fittings were
new to her but she enjoyed the process of discovering the character. So we tried
on lots of clothing but when she put on that first ruffle plaid blouse we both
looked at each other and knew we’d found her. Again, when you see the actor become
the character in the mirror, it’s really rewarding.” BarB wears a series of what
are referred to as secretary blouses so here’s a selection of vintage blouses
that I found online making Barb’s look complete are a pair of stone washed or
acid washed jeans. Here’s a pair of acid washed denim jeans from the 80s by a
company called Bonjour Mode. One of the best aspects of Barb are her oversized
eyeglasses of course. Here are some 80s vintage tortoiseshell
style in red amber. Okay and again for fun I thought I’d throw in a few
pictures of my glasses. So the ones on the left they’re actually from the late
70s while the ones on the right are from the mid 80s and you can see that the
frames got bigger as from decades it’s a firm one decade to the next.
Barb also wears this quilted look jacket with matching toggles [buttons]. I couldn’t find
anything that matched this completely but here’s a pretty close version
although this Burberry Lissa diamond quilted coat jacket is actually modern
and not vintage. Tommy H, seen on the left, is dressed in a sporty preppy look
while Jonathan in contrast is dressed down in more ways than one. Jonathan’s
shirt looks similar to this vintage Levi’s dark grey denim shirt. Tommy’s
jacket meanwhile looks similar to the either of these on the left a vintage
Lacoste navy blue track jacket or on the right this vintage Polo windbreaker
jacket. I think Tommy’s jacket seen here, it looks like it might be a Melton
wool school jacket with elastic cuffs waistband and a collar and while I
couldn’t find something like that I thought this vintage 1980s Jordache
track jacket is a pretty good likeness. Finally, a reunited Nancy and Steve
wear these adorable little outfits. I especially loved Nancy’s denim skirt. I
looked for something similar and discovered this Zara denim snap front
skirt – it’s not actually vintage but it has that 80’s look to it. Here is a
very close likeness to Steve’s Christmas sweater. This Polo by Ralph Lauren hand
knit reindeer sweater can be found at F as in Frank Vintage. So I’m pretty jazzed
and excited to see what will come in season two of Stranger Things when
Netflix airs all 9 episodes on Halloween this year. What are some of your favorite
costumes from Stranger Things. Are you looking forward to season 2? If so, let me
know in the comment section below and if you enjoyed this video, please like and
share this video and don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss more of
my costume analysis. Thank you so much for watching!

25 thoughts on “The Costumes of Stranger Things (Steve, Nancy, Eleven, Lucas, Barb, Joyce)

  1. Great Work. Please do a video on the new costumes for Game of Thrones especially the Starks. Pretty please.

  2. Wow, I love how your analysis of these costumes, especially because they're more contemporary. Can't wait for the next one

  3. I am so glad I found this channel! I am steadily going through all of your videos. Would you ever consider analyzing the costumes in The Handmaid's Tale (the Hulu series)? Can't wait for the next video!

  4. Are you going to still do the costume for doctor strange? Would love to hear what you think!
    Plus, thanks for all your hard work 🙂

  5. Great Vid. You should do the costume of Riverdale. I found it satisfying and I love that each families/character wears a significant colour that kinda represents what they are. Like Betty and the Coopers wears pastel pink and blue, that explains they're more sweet, light and kind (?) Veronica and Hermione Lodge's colours are black, dark blue and violet, they are more daring, sensual and fierce. While the Blossom's signature colour is red and black, they are more villanous, wicked and kinda freaky (but ofcourse they are human characters, they have good and bad sides). Lastly are the Jones, they mostly wear olives, black, and kinda dirty clothes, that explains that they're quite part of slums. Barb's actress is also there too.

  6. A fellow Winnipeger!!! Though I was born in 1990, I would love to see a video about the costumes for Marie Antoinette or the Tudors series.

  7. Really great work! Have you considered to do a video about the "outlander" series? I'd love to see a video about that.
    Thanks for your work 🙂

  8. No one seems to address a film/TV show costumes in deep and it makes me feel as though costume design is highly underated and that makes it really hard to find information about how to become a costume designer, so I'd love, love to see a video about how can I archive this, or some of the best costume designers since I'm currently a fashion design student and I'd love to hear your opinions/advice on this matter.

  9. I'm such a sucker for modern period set pieces. American Hustle, Four brothers, etc. There is something I find special about doing an homage to the way things were a mere decade or three ago.

  10. I found Will’s exact jacket on google

    Just look up red vintage 70’s 80’s zip up puffy vest

    Ps. 6:59 is Will’s clothes if anyone keeps trying to find that section of the video

  11. About Chief Jim Hopper's costume, his hat isn't similar to the hats of the other Hawkins Police officers nor does it resemble any State Trooper or State Police hat. It's purely civilian, and based on the style of a vintage Stetson Open Road. Hopper's hats for the show were made by Worth & Worth in NYC. Basically a C-crown Fedora, with an up-brim
    . The closest Stetson makes now is the Stratoliner. Hopper's shirt is still in wide production, here it's used by the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. Identical shirts are made by several makers including Flying Cross who call the colour "Silver Tan". The matching pants, with wide belt loops and rear pocket flaps, are also made by Flying Cross. Hopper wears an undershirt, a Hanes Henley 3-button. Hopper's belt changes between Season 1 and Season 2. His boots are 8 inch Redwing Classic Mocs No 877. His holster is a brown basketweave Border Patrol style similar to a Don Hume H216. His watch is a Timex Atlantis 100 with a small compass attached to the wristband. Yes the all the flag patches seen worn on the shirts and jackets of Hawkins Police are incorrectly made with the blue field going one stripe too low. I do believe that it's an anachronism for Hopper to wear a US flag patch.

  12. FYI- All uniforms portrayed in any visual medium are required by law to have small imperfections so they can be easily distinguished as fake.

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