The costume designer behind Dazed and Confused’s ‘spiritual sequal’ Everybody Wants Some!! talks outfitting the film’s gang of guys
Music critics argue ad infinitum about what will be song of the summer – the one that you lip sync to for your loyal Snapchat followers from your beach blanket. People are already starting to make embarrassingly uneducated guesses. But what about a movie of the summer? A film with a scene that we can’t stop quoting, a sun-drenched flick that sends us sprinting to the shop to dress like our favourite characters. Everybody Wants Some!! is that movie.
The t-shirts were tight. The nips pridefully perked. The prints a carousel of migraine-inducing madness. Richard Linklater’s “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused is the bro-off of the century, but these bros had style, man. (That’s how they would say it, I think). The film follows a university baseball team in the few days leading up to their first day of uni in the 80s, as they settle into a shared house and chest bump in cropped jerseys like only sexually secure males can. The gays have already claimed Everybody Wants Some!! as their own. I actually tweeted about how homoerotic the film was and one of the actors in it threw me a fav. And it wasn’t the sensual shoulder grabs, the crotch-to-crotch confrontations or the constant pitching and catching. It was the costumes.
“All the guys were all a little nervous about the shorts being so short to begin with,” laughs Kari Perkins, who was tasked as costume designer to swaddle these meatheads. “The make up artist had to come in and put a little bronzer on their upper thighs, because they were used to longer swimsuits or shorts.”
Twenty-three years after designing the iconic looks for 1993’s Dazed and Confused, Perkins was asked to create a new legacy for the big screen. Or a new chapter, at least. She pulled it off, throwing belts on bootcut jeans and ignoring the mooseknuckle. What she’s most proud of is how accurate her sartorial tableau turned out. There’s not a legwarmer in sight. How did she do it, and more importantly, how can you?
INSPIRATION CAME FROM OLD YEARBOOKS
“I looked through yearbooks from the time period and from small town Texas. It was loosely based on a combination of colleges in Austin and also Rick (Linklater’s) alma mater, which was Sam Houston State University. So we just pored over those yearbooks and used a lot of references from that. Rick had provided a whole list of films from the era, and we had a big library so we could go through and just watch these old movies because he was really trying to recreate that feeling of the early 80s.”
FILMS WERE A GO-TO REFERENCE
“We watched Breaking Away, a film called Foxes. Fame was really great. There was a film called Little Darlings, Caddyshack, Urban Cowboy, and Airplane! Urban Cowboy lent itself to perfectly that one scene with that little country farm. And at that time Urban Cowboy came out, all of the sudden country was kind of cool. So that film was pretty influential in our movie.”
THE CAST WERE CLAD IN VINTAGE CALVINS
“We went all over Texas and found true regional vintage clothes. We used a lot of Calvin Kleins. We did a lot of Levi’s 501's – the vintage ones are cut differently. My favourites were the vintage Calvin's, though. They are just so great. They have such long zippers – like you don't even see that any more. The guys were all like, ‘These zippers are so long, you’re gonna pinch something in there.’ They had to be really careful (laughs).”
NIPPLES WERE FREED
“We went really natural with the girls, so I asked a lot of them if they would be comfortable not wearing a bra with their costumes. Most of them were like, ‘Woohoo!’ Through a lot of the research I saw too a lot of them were kind of all nippley and natural. I was just like, ‘That is so great. Free the nipple!’ They were so into it. We put together so many great outfits for all the background people, especially for the disco scenes.”
SHE CONTINUED THE LEGACY YOU STARTED
“I did Dazed and Confused. I was brought on as an additional costume designer and redesigned half the show, so I really helped to give it that iconic look. I did almost everything in the whole second chapter of the story, when everybody started to get up and go out and party. Rick and I have worked closely for many years on a lot of projects so it wasn't daunting at all for me to do this ‘spiritual sequel’. In fact, it was very exciting and challenging. We made a bunch of stuff too for Dazed, but there was so much stuff at the thrift store that was 70s and nobody wanted it. It was so awful, everybody (in the film) was wearing baggy 90s stuff and it was so hard trying to talk the kids into putting on these tight clothes. But then when we started to talk to them about the time period and everybody wanted to wear skin tight stuff. They started to see the research and they were able to really get into it. Eventually they got into it and they were able to rock it. And then of course all the 70s stuff disappeared at the thrift stores.”
Everybody Wants Some!! is out in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below: