Outfitting Aria, Emily, Spencer, and Hanna might seem like all fun and no work, but Pretty Little Liars costume designer Mandi Line confesses that its harder than it appears. Sure, she incorporates her style into all the characters' clothes, but her job requires her to always understand what each girl is going through and to absolutely not stop shopping. This doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, there's a lot of responsibility when it comes to dressing the characters for every scene and impressing thousands of viewers. Line tells Gofugyourself.com about where she shops, especially for Aria since she wears one of a kind items like the infamous feather pictured below! (P.S. - We know where to get it!)
While other fashion-oriented shows like Gossip Girl focus on high end pieces, Line strives to dress the little liars in more affordable attire. She gets into the characters’ heads and picks clothes at a variety of price points. Take Aria for example. She’s the edgiest and quirkiest of the bunch and this has to be reflected through her wardrobe. Mandi explains that she often deconstructs pieces in the way she imagines Aria would. Aria’s character buys clothes at thrift stores and was influenced by her to trip to Iceland, so Mandi has to create looks that convey this. Once she took out a panel on a pair of boots and replaced it with lace since she imagined Aria wouldn’t just wear basic brown boots.
Line also has to understand how the characters’ styles grow along with their stories. She explains that Hanna is the glamour girl and her style has evolved from pink and flowery to edgy chic. Spencer’s style has also become more sophisticated. Line explains, “if you look at the pilot, she’s got an argyle sweater. That’s easy for anyone to do. But now Spencer’s my favorite. I mean, they’re all my favorite, but she’s so different.” Over time Spencer started dressing “preppy with a twist.” Line adds, “As long as you keep her in creams and not too many blacks, she stays Spencer, but we’ll add like a Polo belt, riding boots, leggings, and her hair in a bun.” Even Emily’s style will change after she comes out about her sexuality. Line reveals that she had Shay wear leather beats and a linen coat in the second half of the season.
As the girls have gotten closer to their characters, they’ve started to give input on their outfits. Line and Lucy Hale are really close and text each other ideas. Shay always jokes that Emily should wear heels, but she’s a good sport about it. Shay dresses differently than Emily but she says “the whole process of getting to really be in someone else’s shoes, literally, kind of throws me into her character.”
Hearing about the creative process is awesome but we’re guessing you're eager to know where to buy the clothes. Well the first place to shop is Free People. Line explains that “the designer is genius” and it “works for all of them.” But if you want to dress like a particular character, you have to mix and match. For Spencer's style, try J.Crew and asos.com. Fashionistas like Hanna should go Alice + Olivia and Foley + Corinna. If you like Aria’s style, head to All Saints, but know that some of the pieces are one of a kind constructed by Line. Emily is more laid back, so opt for jean skirts, striped sweaters and pieces from American Apparel. Line also browses Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Rachel Roy, and Betsey Johnson.
Sound like a lot of shopping? That’s because it is. It usually takes seven days to prep the looks for each episode. But sometimes she’ll put together outfits on the spot. Line takes clothes off her back and gives them to the girl. She has to have an eye for style, but more importantly, she has to know the little liars.