{Costume Design: Glow}

This week is an insanely busy week for me (The Little Mermaid is in just TWO DAYS!!), so I’ve opted to do a repost of a Glow costume review I wrote shortly after the first season came out, just slightly updated with the second season. Some of the grammar might turn out strange since I wrote this post over a year ago, but I’m leaving it as it for the most part.

I am completely addicted to Glow.

That came out wrong.  It totally sounds like I’m owning up to a drug addition when in fact all I’m talking about is the new Netflix show that premiered last week.  I binge watched it in record time as soon as I could.  I was extremely entertained when I saw that they had made a show about the original Glow (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) since just a few weeks ago I stumbled upon this trailer (well, a very similar one to this anyway), which I found absurd and fabulous:

I was immediately fascinated by the 80’s splendor, but I didn’t really think anything of it until I saw the show. The show is not a remake of the original, but rather a show about the original. There is wrestling, but overall the show is about the backstories of the women wrestlers who were a part of it. As far as I know, most of it is completely fictionalized with some throwbacks to the original but I would have to do some research to know the real answer to that.

In any case, I had already watched the show and was crazy jealous of Beth Morgan (the costume designer) for getting to have so much fun playing in the 80’s. A few days later I read an article that said she got her inspiration from the cast’s own awkward family photos, and I loved that little detail.


The costumes are fantastic, from the flashy fantasy wrestling wear to the everyday wear of the characters. Morgan had the challenge of dressing a number of very different women who all come together to create this ridiculous soap opera of a women’s wrestling show. Not only did she need to create their personal personas, she also had to create their wrestling personas.


Alison Brie (of Community and Mad Men fame) is Ruth, the main character. She’s a mostly out of work actress who can’t get a part that she respects. Because of this, she had little funds and her wardrobe is simple. Her pieces tend to repeat, particularly her formal wear, which she is seen in at her audition in the Pilot and at a fundraiser in a later episode. Debbie, her best friend-turned-enemy (watch to find out why), is more successful and has a higher-end wardrobe. The rest of the girls are somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, but they all have a very distinct style. I can imagine the costume room for this show as a place where every costume piece is immediately identifiable as belonging to a certain character.

One of my other favorite details from the article was the discussion about the final episode’s costumes. The characters had to look like they put together their own costumes, since they were low on funding for the show. I absolutely love details like this, because they are things that I don’t think an audience considers when they are watching it, but they should feel the costume designer’s decisions subconsciously as part of the story.

For example, the image on the right is the fantasy version that Sam has of the characters when he envisions the show – glimmering, shiny, sparkly (yes, that’s redundant but it’s also an accurate description), and on the left we have costumes that the characters created for themselves. You can see the difference it the simplicity of the designs for the latter. Everything about the fantasy designs needs to be over the top, and also contrast with the “real thing” since the show, for the most part, revolves around the struggle to actually get the show made in the first place.

A great scene in the show is when all the girls head into the producer’s costume closet (cause yes, the rich boy producer has a costume closet at his Malibu house!) and begin to create their personas, and give the audience a taste of what’s to come later.


I can only imagine how much fun it was to scour vintage and thrift stores to find the uber-80’s wardrobe used for the show.

This show is completely worth watching for the costumes and the absurdity, and I highly recommend it.

Season two brings the girls a little more fame. Their show is on tv and they even have a weird fan base. However, their struggles are not over. The show still runs fairly low budget, and their wrestling costumes are more or less the same as the first season, with a few additions (Debbie/Liberty Belle, for example, adds a flouncy skirt to her costume).

Season two pulled out all the ridiculous stops, and it was amazing. They played with 80’s fashion both in and out of the wrestling ring, particularly with Debbie, Bash and Sam as they become partners-in-crime running the show. The show focused a bit more on the personal lives of the characters, and as such needed to dress them all for their everyday lives.

While 80’s fashion is always a blast, and the costume designer nails all the looks for each character, the fun is really to be had in the wrestling outfits. One of the best scenes this season was when the ladies went to the mall to film their little commercial, running around in their 80’s workout gear-turned-wrestler costumes! They even managed to have an set of bridesmaids dresses, complete with big 80’s sleeves!

Even with the fun of season two, my secret desire in life is still to be Liberty Belle from the season one finale for Halloween:

I am eagerly looking forward to finding out what happens when the ladies hit Vegas in season three! And sidebar: whoever is in charge of the soundtrack is also a genius.

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