Teen Beach Movie Fashion: Inside Mack & Lela’s ’60s Style

Teen Beach Movie Mack Lela Costume Fashion Ruth Carter***UPDATE IN JULY 2015: Are you looking for fashion details from Teen Beach 2? Click here for Mack”s looks. And click here for Lela’s costumes!***

When she first surfed aboard Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Moviecostume designer Ruth E. Carter (pictured far right) immediately turned her sartorial clock back in time in search of inspiration for the decade-set summer flick. And though most of her biker and surfer looks were pieced together from vintage finds, Ruth did stock the costume closet with some modern day threads.

Below, the wardrobe maven takes OSS readers back in time to explain how she brough Maia Mitchell‘s McKenzie (a.k.a Mack) and Grace Phipps‘ Lela to life.

1. When you were first approached to outfit TBM, what was your initial research process? Did you research 1960s movies for inspiration? 1960s magazines? Where were the specific places you found the best info on 1960s wardrobes?

My first instinct was to run to the costume collectors — like Palace Costumes and The Way We Wore — and took a look at REAL swimsuits from the early 60s! I took a few to my interview, and after I go the job I wanted to see more. After that, I looked at movies, like Beach Blanket Bingo and Beach Party. I broke open my collections of old SEARS catalogs and began to design the movie.

Teen Beach Movie Lela Grace Pearl Necklace2. Where did you go shopping or hunt down most of the cast’s wardrobe for the movie? 

I went to Palace Costume Company in Los Angeles first. They have the biggest collection of this era. And it was a treasure trove! Not only did they have swimsuits, they had most of the clothing you see in the movie. I went to fabric stores and bought tons of fabric for the biker look. Then, when I got to Puerto Rico, we set up a workshop. There, I recreated my favorite pieces for the cast. I also went shopping at vintage stores but mostly shopped at the mall! Abercrombie & Fitch had great horizontal striped t-shirts for guys. J Crew had capri pants. We went to the GAP for skinny jeans with stretch. Dancers need a little stretch in their lives!

3. Where did you get the Hawaiian friendship necklace that Lela gave to McKenzie (pictured above, left on Grace)? Was it already on the pearls or was that you idea?

That makes me really happy to hear you ask that! The charm came from the art department because it was the same [design] as the one on the surf board. But is was my idea to put it on the pearls. Pearls are classic. They come from the water. They are soooo Lela. And I like it because it made them stand out.



Teen Beach Movie McKenzie Mackenzie Maia Yellow Floral Hawaiian Print Dress

This was a vintage pick by Ruth. “The fabric is one of those fabrics that feels spongy like an old swimsuit,” the costumer recalled. “I think that this dress in the 1960 would be bought along with a matching swimsuit and headscarf.”
1.) Bernie Dexter Orange Poppy Swing Dress
2.) French Connection Casablanca Vine Halter Dress
3.) Brilliant Splash Aloha Sun Dress
Teen Beach Movie Lela Grace Polka Dot Dress

“Polka Dots are back! Again! And they will continue to dot in and out of the fashion scene,” Ruth said. “We all love polka dots, but Lela’s red and white dress was real vintage. I purchased it from a collector in LA.”
1.) Delia’s All Over Polka Dot Printed Dress
2.) ModCloth Getting Dot in Here Dress
3.) Unique Vintage Red Polka Dot Flirty Swing Dress

Teen Beach Movie McKenzie Mack Maia Green Crop Top

This was one of Ruth’s original designs for TBM. “We made them right there in Puerto Rico. So, they are truly one-of-a-kind pieces. However, they were inspired by the styles that I observed in the Sears catalogs that I used to research the movie.”
1.) Lilly Pulitzer Gardenia Top
2.) Chelsea & Violet Polka Dot Tank
3.) Delia’s Crop Lace Short Sleeve Top
Teen Beach Movie Lela Grace Plaid Bathing Suit Bikini Swimsuit

“Lela’s red,plaid bathing suit was a real vintage ‘romper’ suit that I found at a collector in LA called The Way We Wore.”
1.) Betsey Johnson Atomic Hottie Gingham Two-Piece Bikini
2.) Burberry Brit Two-Piece Bandeau Bikini
3.) ModCloth Snack Bar Beauty Two Piece in Red
Teen Beach Movie Lela Grace Pink Leather Jacket

Ruth faced the peril’s of online shopping when she ordered the girly piece of outerwear for Grace. “The jacket was ordered in an XS and when we recieved it it was 5 sizes too big. So we cut it down to her size!” The stylist also said she used the character Pinky Tuscadero from the 1950s-based TV show Happy Days as inspiration for the character.  “Pinky always wore pink boots. So in the spirit of PT, I gave Lela pink boots and a pink jacket!”
1.) Forever 21 Zippered Faux Leather Moto Jacket
2.) Dorothy Perkins Blush Stud Leather Jacket
3.) Sara Berman Edie Leather Jacket 

***UPDATE IN JULY 2015: Are you looking for fashion details from Teen Beach 2? Click here for Mack”s looks. Lela’s are coming soon!***


Check out more on movie style on OSS by clicking right here!

Got an item you want to track down? A movie set you want deconstructed? Email me (findit@onscreenstyle.com), send me note via the contact page, or send me a Tweet

Latest Comments
  1. Macie
    • lucy lake
      • Tammy
    • christiana
      • christiana
      • Anonymous
    • christiana
      • christiana
      • Starr
    • christiana
  2. Anonymous
  3. Anonymous
    • isabel
    • allie
  4. Anonymous
  5. Caroline
    • Anonymous
  6. Anonymous
      • gabby
  8. Chloe
  9. kim
    • Olivia
    • Clara
  10. joann
  11. Anonymous
  12. Anonymous
  13. Anonymous
  14. Anonymous
      • maialen
      • maialen
      • maialen
  15. Anonymous
  16. Anonymous
  17. Anonymous
  18. Anonymous
  19. Anonymous
  20. Anonymous
  21. Anonymous
  22. Anonymous
  23. Anonymous
  24. Wendy
  25. zaria
  26. Ainsley Brewer
  27. Stephanie
  28. Stephanie
  29. mackenzie
  30. marissa
  31. Laura Leigh
  32. Laura Leigh
  33. brianna
    • christiana
  34. isabella
  35. Laura Leigh
  36. Anonymous
  37. vic
  38. vic
    • maialen
  39. shelby
  40. molly
  41. Clara
    • maialen
  42. Anonymous
  43. maialen
  44. maialen
    • maialen
  45. maialen
  46. maialen
  47. maialen
    • maialen
  48. Grace Phipps
  49. Grace Phipps
  50. maialen
  51. Grace Phipps
    • maialen
    • maialen
  52. liberty
  53. liberty
  54. Anonymous
    • Anonymous

Leave a Reply to google adsense alternatives Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Animated Social Media Icons Powered by Acurax Wordpress Development Company