'The Neighbors': Representing New Jersey fashion beyond mobsters in tracksuits

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It's been 15 years since "The Sopranos" put New Jersey style on display. And please don't be snide and ask, "What style?"

Beyond mobsters wearing tracksuits that make it only to tracks with horses, and the summer shore crowd, which has never met an animal print or bikini too outrageous, TV now gives us another highly stylized New Jersey group - aliens in golf duds.

ABC's Friday sitcom "The Neighbors" has aliens settled in a gated community in New Jersey, and their preferred attire is golf clothes.

The aliens have been on a steep learning curve.Initially, they feared Halloween and set up a barrier at the gates of Hidden Hills, hoping to keep children in costumes at bay. After the Weavers (Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito) explain the American custom of costumed children begging candy from strangers, the aliens relent. Above, Jackie takes on Effie Trinket from "The Hunger Games" in a custom-made costume.

Costume designer Karla Stevens has fun with the wardrobe, and much of it is based on golfing.

"What is funny is they are all different shapes and sizes and ethnicities, and having them in matching golf attire, it bonded them as a group and gave them a uniform look," Stevens tells  Zap2it

"We saw our alien family in matching golf attire. It has been so much fun getting into the world of golf attire."

"I wanted there to be a fun element to the costumes," Stevens says. "It is a little bit out of left field. It was fun for me researching other alien shows - 'Mork & Mindy,' '3rd Rock from the Sun' - and trying to give our show an individual look and make sure we do our aliens justice."

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In this gold dress, Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye) has decided that she should be a real New Jersey housewife like those on the Bravo show. Here she wears a lame Bebe dress and Christian Louboutins with spikes.

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To look at the photo below of Jackie and Larry Bird (Simon Templeman), one would not assume they were at a funeral. But Juan, the gardener at Hidden Hills, died, and "they mistook the celebration of life, and instead of wearing all black, we did all Hawaiian," Stevens says. "It is so beyond fun."


Since the show shoots in California, buying Hawaiian shirts and dresses just meant hitting a store and buying enough for the cast.

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And when Larry was invited to an Indian friend's wedding,  he and Jackie dress appropriately. Stevens shopped in local Indian stores for kurtas, the tunics for men and the saris for women. She accessorized with bracelets, turbans and scarves.

Stevens admits she cheated because saris require elaborate wrapping, and given that the actors had to dance in the costumes, and the wardrobe department had so many people to outfit, many were sewn into their costumes.
Photo/Video credit: ABC