Screen Style - (500 days) of Summer

Posted by Hayley Barraclough on

Screen Style – 500 Days of Summer 

Costume Design: Hope Hanafin

 500 Days of Summer  poster 2

I’ve long been a fan of costume design; I love the thought process that goes into building these characters wardrobes and looks. I’ll happily admit I’m not a real film buff, for me to like a film and for it to really grab my attention there are several things I must enjoy and the wardrobe for me is the most important part.

So, I’m going to do a few posts around some of my favourite films, characters and discuss the costumes and how the costume designer put the looks together and the process.  

Firstly – (500 days) of Summer.

If you haven’t yet seen 500 Days of Summer – why on earth not? / I don’t think we can be friends anymore

Make sure it’s the next thing you watch! I mean we’ve got plenty of time at the moment.

 A bittersweet rom-com, with an amazing soundtrack; it finds you rooting for Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s character Tom, a hopeless romantic making any attempt to bowl over Summer (Zooey Deschanel)- his alluring love interest. Enigmatic and interesting, it’s apparent from Summers character that she’s something different, and her effortless fashion of retro cool and modern slick really shouldn’t work as well as it does.

(500)Days is overall visually stunning. The actors, the sunny L.A. skyline, the quirky shops, that park, her apartment. Even the scenes that break your heart—and whether your heart actually breaks depends on whether you're a Tom or a Summer sympathiser—you still can't take your eyes off these two twenty somethings.

As well as the characters and the story line I think what makes this film so special is the soundtrack (look it up on Spotify etc) and the wardrobe of both characters.

Tom looks every bit the self-effacing creative type in his shades-of-prep-hipster shirt / jumper combos, sleek leather trainers, skinny trousers, and even skinnier ties; Think of a more grown up version of Seth Cohen from The OC

And then there is Summer – her all blue, mostly vintage, affordable and wearable numbers.

500 Days of Summer denim skirt

I mention that Summer wears a lot of blue – this isn’t a coincidence. Costumer designer Hope Hanafin was told to coordinate the entire wardrobe in accordance to Zooeys eye colour. Zooey has the most amazing blue eyes, so he wanted her character to be in blue. So she wears it, but more importantly, nobody else does. Everybody chooses colours dependent on personal taste and characteristics but Hope and director Webb take this to the extreme, with almost every single outfit Summer wears being a tone of blue – the exception being a mere one or two shots.

Vintage, vintage, vintage! Hopess meticulous detail to the costumes creates an interesting collaboration of retro-modernism. “I Have Great Respect For These Romantic Comedies Where Secretaries Are Wearing Prada, I Wanted [“500 Days”] To Be Kind Of The Anti- Sex And The City.” 

Summer‘s costume is abundant in elegance and sophisticated cuts, with styles taken from the 1950’s. Knee length A-line skirts, loose blouses, bows and floral prints add to Summer‘s carefree and girlie style.

 500 Days of Summer ikea blue dress


The peacock print dress comes with a genuine vintage tag, with Hope having sourced it from specialist vintage clothing hire company. The shades of blue throughout the film reflect the mood and emotion at that part of the story. The frosty blue and the dress’ flirty sway and lively confidence makes Tom’s disappointment even more crushing to see.

500 Days of Summer party dress

The audience believe what she is wearing are pieces she can afford. Summer is inventive, the kind of woman who reuses clothes that are out of date, and scours thrift stores and urban craft markets and ethnic stores they add to her uniqueness and maybe that’s why we fall in love with her even more. We can relate to Summer; we want to be Summer or want to be her friend. And that’s when costume design is clever and it makes you fall deeply in love with the characters, the film ends up holding a special place in your heart and you will watch it repeatedly.

 500 Days of Summer collage 2

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