Period pieces are the best. That is one of the many reasons why we love ‘The Americans’. So much detail is put into the set design, the props, the wigs, and the clothes. I’m always wondering how the people behind this great show get the things they need to make the show so authentic. For the fashion part, it’s all thanks to Jenny Gerring, the show’s costume designer.
Ms. Gerring has used her talents for outfitting people in different movies like ‘Limitless’ and ‘The Lucky Ones’. Now, she is responsible for finding, creating, and deciding what the actors wear in ‘The Americans’.
For her inspiration, she empathizes with the characters in the show. She spends months in reading the characters and getting to know how they may fashionably react in every situation. For example, when the Jennings are having a bad day, consciously or unconsciously they choose clothes that reflect what they feel.
The real challenge in the job is the countless outfits that Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys have to wear. Aside from their normal mom and dad clothes, they have to wear costumes for different sets of missions. Jenny always thinks of “self-preservation” when coming up with ideas for clothes. The goal of spies is to not get recognized and that’s what Jenny thinks of when she’s trying to come up with good get-ups.
If you want to nab some fashion tips from the show, Jenny suggests that you look at shops that sell vintage clothes. She buys them sometimes in bulk because the stunts in the show damage the garments. Vintage dresses and attires are really the way to go as they present authenticity in design, color, and texture. Elizabeth’s jeans are authentic Lee jeans that sometimes come in dead stock. Dead stock are pieces that have never been worn and still have the tags on. They are a bit stiffer because they don’t have any elasticity, but Keri Russell pulls them off anyway.
Jenny Gerring’s favorite costumes include Keri Russell’e get up from episode 11 when she seduced Paterson, the man who was responsible for Zhukov’s death. Clark’s suits are always entertaining to see as we get to see Matthew Rhys playing a dorky character.
All I can say it that Jenny Gerring is doing excellent work in the show. The costumes are not only believable, they are also fabulous!