I’ll admit it, making a film was tough. Not in the mystique-driven, angst-ridden, idea of the “auteur” bleeding for their vision. This is a bit OTT in my mind. You’re just dressing people up, getting them to say lines and cursing bad weather. Anyone can do it (especially women) but it does take a rambunctious amount of pre-planning from the night shoots and crane shots to, you guessed it, what the hell to wear every day.
When faced with five weeks of round-the-clock focus on my cast and crew, I knew my 15 minute morning musing over my threads would be out the window. Thus follows the five pieces that not only kept me warm, covered and comfy but that literally saved my arse in a myriad of different ways.
(SIDE NOTE: Perhaps my being a female filmmaker and focusing on a preoccupation traditionally thought of as ‘girly’, I am somehow setting feminism in film back 30 years. But, you know what, I disagree. There shouldn’t be shame in relaying all the intricacies of life on a filmset – the high brow discussion of lenses to the low brow discussion of my shoes. Ok, lecture to my inner critic over, resuming service.)
1) Rag & Bone Black Skinny Jeans
It was three weeks before we started filming. I found myself in Selfridges slack-jawed, wide-eyed starring at my bum in a pair of black plush leggings. I had to stop staring at this new perky posterior, stop ogling my once-depressed-now-on-Prozac backside, I didn’t have time for all this gaping, but I couldn’t stop. These jeans were miracle workers. They also had this deliciously soft denim feel, yet they were stretchy; a piece sometimes referred to as ‘jeggings’ had never felt so damn classy. I bought three pairs on the spot. They were expensive but I banged down my credit card with all the self-deluded flourish only a millennial can pull off. These sacred jeans were the perfect base ingredient to my on-set dressing. I sprinkled whatever I wanted on top but these guys would always, quite literally, have my back.
2) Black NY Yankees Hat
Anyone else wear one of these without supporting the team? Am I a heathen? I don’t know if I’m totally sure whether the Yankees are baseball or basketball to be honest (off to Google). Oh I know! I’m the worst! I also don’t care! They make great caps. I wish the team the very best, mainly because I’d like to continue buying their caps. Come rain or shine or when crew members would make terrific retching noises at the sight of my greasy roots, my cap was there for me. I could spend a night pulling my hair out trying to rewrite a scene to accommodate a weather change, it didn’t matter, my cap would be there to cover the bald spots. I didn’t have to worry about vital pieces failing to turn up on set and giving me stress dandruff, my cap would cover it. Bless that baseball team (bless Google), bless their seasons and trophies and athletic prowess, but most of all bless TopShop for ripping off their memorabilia.
3) Red Fred Perry Shirt
I had around seventy five people to manage and move about during filming. It was a little daunting and on the odd occasion I felt some serious imposter syndrome seeping its way into my psyche. This is when I’d turn to the boldest colour on the painter’s palette to inspire some good old-fashioned hutzpah. There’s no denying the empowering, buck-up, kick-ass, potential of a good strong red colour. It was especially edifying when the colour in question covered the most gloriously well-fitting Fred Perry classic shirt. Perhaps just a little bit of the mindset and determination of the label’s tennis champion’s namesake has permeated through to the designs? Whatever it was, it always helped me ditch dumb debilitating thoughts and concentrate on the work at hand.
4) Lily Aldridge for Velvet Utility Jacket
When I was chained to my desk and trying to frantically pen the script that was to become our film (You, Me and Him out soon, go see), my fashion friend was kind enough to buy me a little something – this jacket. It was my go-to whatever the weather when it came to filming; versatile enough to be worn under heavy coats when the heavens opened on us, or as a light cover when the sun gods were smiling on us. It also had a great number of nook and cranny pockets that could fit all the lip balms, script notes, and props I cared to steal at the end of each day. It made me feel tough and cool when I felt vulnerable, wretched and in a deep cavernous hole of uncoolness.
Ballet pumps, loafers, trainers, fur-lined ugg boots straight out of the noughties, it was flat all the way. This is not to say it’s impossible. I am sure there is many a director, who likes to hoik herself up and enjoy the view from above but my leg muscles could barely manage an upward slant in the pavement, let alone a five inch heel. The days would be long, the lighting set ups and location moves draining, and all the while whatever flat sole graced my feet that day would have been blessed a hundred times over before lunch.
So, there you have it. Whether downing a vat of cheap red wine after a day filming or quietly weeping whilst travelling in your 3am transport and realising your alarm was going off at 4am. My uniform kept my schedule in check, my look in check and most of all my head in check.
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