'White Collar' look is 'upscale and fashiony' but 'not very realistic,' admits costume designer

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We all know really smart guys who don't care much about what they wear, and few of them look as good as Mozzie ( Willie Garson) on the USA Network series "White Collar."

"I like the idea of our show," costume designer Karen Malecki tells Zap2it. "It's really clean and upscale and fashiony. It's a lot of fun to dress the characters in that regard. It's not very realistic; everybody looks perfect all the time, and we have a really good time with that."

The only challenge is getting great clothes for a decent price and staying within the budget -- something most of us can relate to.

"I find great things for Mozzie at Barneys and the Gap; it really runs the gamut for him," Malecki says. "Whatever I think is good for his character.

"He's very jack-of-all-trades. He is a criminal mastermind who can do anything and is very intelligent, but he doesn't put a lot of thought into his wardrobe. The way I think of people like that is they like to be comfortable. I always want to make him look like he threw on whatever was laying there and it looks cool."

Some of Malecki's favorite brands to use are Paul Smith, Band of Outsiders, Rag & Bone, John Varvatos, and Save Khaki.

"We love Save Khaki because they are really soft clothes that look really worn in," she says. "We like to keep Mozzie high-end but casual and relaxed. We're always striving to make sure that comes across."

Here are some examples of Mozzie's laid-back look complete with vintage sunglasses:

This is from last season when he was in the woods camping. I don't remember where we got that shirt, but the pants were Club Monaco, and the shirt was Save Khaki."

"That is a Paul Smith shirt, and the pants are Save Khaki."

"The navy blue jacket is Club Monaco, the gray shirt is Paul Smith, and the pants are Band of Outsiders. We use a brand of shoes called Blackstone. They make these really awesome boots that are like brand-new and look worn and aged down. They are really great."

"The pink shirt is Paul Smith, and the navy pants are Save Khaki. He always wears his silver ring and his beaded bracelets I got at a vendor at St. Mark's Place (a street in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan)."

"That was in Puerto Rico. The shirt is Bleecker Street, the hat I got in Puerto Rico, the pants are Save Khaki, and his shoes are John Varvatos."

Malecki acknowledges that options are a lot more limited with men, but that suits Mozzie just fine.

"I like the idea to be he has had his clothes forever and everything is his favorite," she says. "I like him to look like that all the time in every costume."
Photo/Video credit: NBC