Age-appropriate is not a word that registers with Cynthia Summers. As the costume designer for Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, she dresses four stunning 30- and 40-somethings every week for new challenges—babies on board, custody battles, bakery problems, hookup issues, and territorial exes—which is no easy assignment.
The last time we saw a group of four fabulously dressed women, it was for Sex and the City. GG is similar in that it stars four very stylish women, yet it’s also so very different: The setting is Los Angeles, the wardrobe includes more color than ever, and the approach to clothes is wearability.
So, we had to steal some of Summers’s tricks.
We caught up with the costume designer this week, just as season two is reaching its max—Abby’s weird breakdown about Becca not having Jake’s baby?! Jo and her promiscuous baker?! Phoebe and that weird art guy?! Delia and her crock of a wedding!—to learn all her down-and-dirty secrets for looking stylish at any age.
“I am lucky that I can dress four main characters who not only gorgeous, but also mature women who know their bodies,” said Summers. “This is not a show about what’s age-appropriate and what’s not. It’s more about showing what’s best for you, no matter your age.” If that’s the case, let’s get right to it. Scroll down for her top four tips.
1. Let Your Personality Shine Through Your Wardrobe
“Delia (Necar Zadegan) proves that just because you are a lawyer and you are the only female lawyer in the firm, you can really give the men a run for their money by challenging the norm,” said Summers. “This Roland Mouret design is actually very conservative, but she doesn’t compromise who she is because the color is still bold. You don’t have to lose yourself just because you’re covered up.”
2. When All Else Fails, Rely on a Classic Silhouette
“Fortunately this season, Abby (Lisa Edelstein) got a job and has to go out of the house to go to work, so my first thought is what does she wear?” said Summers. The costume designer didn’t want to restrict her to wearing tight, form-fitting or fitting dresses like Delia, so after countless searches, she settled on a full-skirt reminiscent of Dior’s New Look of the ‘40s and ‘50s, like this red and white floral design by Sachin & Babi. “This is a timeless, feminine look that really suits her,” said Summers. “She can still move in these skirts and dresses for all her situations. Plus, it’s got so much range, so you see this on her in many colors and prints. It’s so easy, yet put-together, that any woman can aspire to wear this silhouette.”
3. Never Say Sorry for What You Love to Wear
Phoebe (Beau Garrett) wore this deep-V Anthony Vaccarello LBD on a date. To a museum. Needless to say, it was completely inappropriate, but as Phoebe displayed, she didn’t care. “She had so much confidence in the wrong direction, but she didn’t apologize for it,” said Summers. “She goes out into the world as she feels herself and didn’t sweat it, even if she did make a mistake about the dress code. It just goes to prove you can’t always be right fashion-wise in what you do, but if you feel comfortable to step out of your house in it, then you should just own it. There is nothing worse than watching someone feeling uncomfortable in what they are wearing.”
4. Flaunt Your Best Asset
“I love this Balmain dress on Jo (Alanna Ubach) because her legs are to die for,” said Summers. “She’s got these amazing Rockette legs. Having one feature, like with Jo and her legs, proves she is the walking example of ‘rock it until you can’t.’ Or 'rock it until you don’t feel it anymore'—then throw on black opaque tights.”