Don Jon Movie Fashion: Inside Scarlett and JGL’s Jersey Style

Don Jon Costume Fashion Scarlett Joseph JoeJoseph Gordon-Levitt gave Costume Designer Leah Katznelson clear instructions when it came out outfitting his film Don Jon: Look at that MTV reality show about Italian-Americans and do the opposite.

“Joe and I talked a lot, and we really didn’t want it to look like the Jersey Shore,” Leah told OSS in an interview. “It wasn’t meant to be a spoof or a Saturday Night Live skit. It was meant to be about real people. It was a fine balance between keeping the authenticity of the area — where these people were coming from — and also not making it a broad comedy.”

Below, the stylist opens Jon’s and Barbara Sugarman’s (Scarlett Johansson) closets to give you an inside look…

ON JGL’S INVOLVEMENT IN COSTUME PROCESS:
“This script was very close to his heart, he worked on it a long time. He had a lot of ideas in his brain when I first met him about who these people were. So we worked very closely together to craft all of this. These are people who he’s had swirling in his brain for a couple of years. … Joe was very involved, very hands on, but also extremely respectful of your aesthetic and your ideas.”

Don Jon JGL Joseph Tony Danza White Tank Top Wife BeaterON JGL’S VISION FOR JON’S LOOK:
“Joe, as an actor, has been seen many different times with a completely different physical appearance. So we wanted to really transform him into being this character, to being Jon. So we talked about, like at church, he would still have some level of respect when he goes every Sunday, but when he gets home and he’s watching football with his dad [played by Tony Danza], they always sit down with their undershirts on. That’s a family tradition that the two of them have. We tried to put in a lot of repeats. In contemporary film, I think it looks a lot more believable — especially from the socioeconomic level these people are coming from — to repeat things. So Joe only had two pairs of pants that we switched around so every time he went to church. He only had two pairs of jeans. He had a couple of more pairs of sneakers because he’s the kind of guy that would do that.

Proportions were [also] really important — how tight everything was. All of his clothes were very tailored. A lot of things have stretch to them. A lot of that, and the silhouette, helps you to identify where they’re from. The shape is as important as the clothing itself.”

Don Jon Scarlett JGLON JGL’S VISION FOR BARBARA’S LOOK:
“He just wanted her to be beautiful, a woman who thinks she’s sophisticated… Scarlett obviously is a sophisticated person herself,  so we had to be careful not to make her too elegant. Not to look like she’s dressed for the red carpet. That’s also where hair and makeup helps. With her nails, and her wig, all those details really help sell.”

ON COLLABORATING WITH SCARLETT:
“My approach is very collaborative. I had a conversation with Scarlett before we began anything. We were very much on the same page on the kind of look we were going for. That repeating some of the jewelry — like big earrings — was very important. One that she really wanted to do was a big hoop. So we did spend a lot of time finding different kinds of jewelry because we repeated all of that as well.

Don Jon Scarlett Barbara Fashion CostumeShe’s open to ideas. Her workout outfits that she wears when she goes to the gym with Jon is not something Scarlett would ever wear in real life, so sometimes you have to get someone to step away from the thing that they’re comfortable with as themselves and be OK with wearing it as a character. It can be a challenge, but she was up for it. She was totally game for becoming Barbara.”

ON BARBARA’S ACCESSORIES:
“Her accessories are very important. All of her bags — we tried to put a a metaphor with them — all of her purses have a chain attached to them, and she tries to chain her man, so to speak. So she always has her metal with her. [And] she always wears heels, she’s not a girl who’s ever seen without them.”

ON CHOOSING THE DRESS FOR BARBARA’S ENTRANCE:
Don Jon Scarlett Joseph Joe JGL club dance scene“The red dress was a point of a lot of conversation because it’s the first time we see Scarlett. We landed on red because, you know having conversations with the DP and the production designer, we all kind of agreed about what the club’s space was going to look like, and knowing how they were going to light it, I needed to find something that in darkness can really pop and separate her from the crowd. She was the only person in this sea of a couple of hundred extras wearing red. So we were just trying to find a way to separate her from everyone else.”
 [EDITOR’S NOTE: scroll below for more info on her red dress!]

ON KEEPING NEW JERSEY FEEL AUTHENTIC… NOT GAUDY :
“[I drew] from my own New York references, [looked] online, and just [had] a feel for what goes too far. There’s something about when you’re doing stories about real people that you put one thing together that makes you slightly uncomfortable that actually might be a good thing for that character. And make it not look like a costume designer styled them, and make it look like that’s something in their closet and they put that together and they think that looks good. Then that helps your story.

My goal for the most part in this film was that nobody notices the clothes, that they just believe these people exist in this world. You want to just be like, oh yeah totally, that’s that girl.”

 

Don Jon Scarlett Red Dress Barbara

BARBARA’S RED DRESS:
Bebe Peplum Power Knit Dress (no longer available)
{“We changed the silhouette of it,” Leah said of the fierce dress. “It used to have a peplum that was part of waistline that we removed and then altered it to fit her.”}

GET THE LOOK:
Vince Camuto Bodycon Dress
London Times V-Neck Peplum Sheath Dress

 

Don Jon JGL Joseph Gordon Levitt Leather Jacket Brown Red

JON’S DARK MAROON/BROWN LEATHER JACKET:
Scotch & Soda Leather Biker Jacket in Dark Rum
GET THE LOOK FOR LESS:
Kenneth Cole Reaction Faux Leather Jacket in Wine
ASOS Leather Biker Jacket in Brown
Don Jon Scarlett Barbara Pink Coral Strapless Dress

BARBARA’S STRAPLESS CORAL DRESS:
Cynthia Steffe Brynne Dress in Hibiscus
{It was a vaguely inappropriate dress for meeting someones parents,” Leah said of the scene in which Barbara gets introduced to Jon’s parents.  “But for her, it was like the dress you wear when you meet the parents.”}
Don Jon Scarlett Barbara Lace Sleeve Moto Jacket Cardigan

BARBARA’S GREY LACE SLEEVE BIKER JACKET:
Rebecca Minkoff Lace Moto Jacket (no longer available)
GET THE LOOK:
Victoria’s Secret Lacie Bomber Jacket
Brigitte Bailey Colleen Jacket

Don Jon Scarlett Barbara Leopard Print Dress

BARBARA’S LEOPARD PRINT DRESS:
Dolce & Gabbana Lace-Neck Leopard Print Dress
GET THE LOOK FOR LESS:
Velvet by Graham & Spencer Leopard Print Tank Dress
S.Y.L.K Mara Leopard Dress
Don Jon navy blue sweater v neck joseph gordon levitt jgl
 

JON’S NAVY BLUE, V-NECK SWEATER :
Leah couldn’t remember where she got this sweater but she thinks it could’ve been either H&M or Scotch & Soda
GET THE LOOK:
1. Van Heusen Men’s Long Sleeve Basic V-Neck
2. Calvin Klein Merino Wool V-Neck Sweater in Navy
3. Everlane The Cashmere V-Neck in Navy
Don Jon brown tan belt joseph gordon levitt jgl

JON’S TAN BELT :
Unfortunately, the costumer’s memory couldn’t be jogged on where she got this melt, so for now it remains a mystery!
GET THE LOOK:
Wrangler Cut to Fit Tan Belt


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