TV Fashion: Shirley Schmidt from 'Boston Legal' (ABC)
No doubt there's a lot of Bergen in Schmidt with her taste, grace and spark going a long way toward defining her likability. But Emmy-winning costume supervisor Loree Parral also had a big hand in creating Schmidt's signature look. "When you get a script that's written by David E. Kelley, the characters are so well-defined and so multidimensional that it makes them very real," says Parral, who's worked on other Kelley shows such as L.A. Law," "Picket Fences," "Doogie Howser, M.D.," "Ally McBeal"> and "The Practice." "Then, when you know it's Candice Bergen playing the part it becomes even more elaborate and more real because she brings so much to the table. Most of the hard work was done for me because it is so clear who she is. And then you put that layer of whimsy and tongue-in-cheek humor onto somebody who is so beautiful and strong and feminine, and you have to go with it without making it broad."
The key to the look is to do the unexpected. Take a good, classic black pantsuit, "something every woman should have in their closet," says Parral, and mix it with an unexpected shirt, perhaps with a lace cuff, or go without a shirt altogether if you are in a business that allows for something a little sexier. As for jewelry, go for something that wouldn't immediately come to mind. Think foreign, think ethnic, think eclectic.
"Where there are some rather strong dress code rules, (Schmidt) doesn't necessarily break them," says Parral, "but rather turns left where everybody else is turning right. I think that is what makes her distinct - she doesn't wear the uniform ... she doesn't have to and she wouldn't want to."
As a senior partner in a Boston law firm, clearly Schmidt can afford to start with high-end classics and does; Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren are springboards to which Parral might add some Etro or Tory Burch for a textural and colorful mix. Perhaps a contemporary blazer with a traditional shirt and slacks or something more tactile and feminine coupled with a strong, white shirt collar - Bergen's signature look.
"And then we add Michael Kors or Yves Saint Laurent, which are more classic but have such a contemporary, sexy kind of feel to them, to throw in that little sparkle now and then," says Parral.
Then accessorize with something personal.
"It has to have some history and some emotional tie," adds Parral. "I think that is the key because then there is a story behind it. I think that is what people react to."
Personal and professional. No wonder Schmidt made partner.