TV Fashion: Barney Stinson from 'How I Met Your Mother' (CBS)
A wolf in wolves' clothing
Those are qualities most men have in spades but try to keep under wraps so as not to scare off potential conquests. But that's not exactly the approach of Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) from "How I Met Your Mother." Good old Barney wears his narcissism on his sleeve - his $400 Prada dress shirt sleeve to be precise. And that's just how the show's costume designer, Julie Bennett Block, likes it.
"His clothes give him the edge and the power of who he his," Block says. "He always wants to be dressed, to be on, to be slick - after all, there is always the opportunity to meet a woman and have a conquest. His clothing helps sell his mystique."
Though the character's line of work is fairly vague - entrepreneur - one thing is for sure: It's lucrative. Which makes life a little easier for Block as she can legitimately shop the hottest and priciest labels available to sheath television's biggest player.
"Barney is very label-conscious," costume supervisor Sandra Jensen says. "Marc Jacobs, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Paul Smith. He is dressed to kill at all times."
In fact, Barney is one of the few characters on television who is defined by his clothes. He's a shark - able to go from a business meeting to the hottest club or the fanciest restaurant.
"We never see him dressed down," Block says. "That is the juxtaposition about him - he never lets his guard down, he never has that edge taken off."
Block likens Barney's look to that of a modern day Rat Packer, which explains her choices in suits. The aforementioned labels tend to cut slim, and Barney looks great in fitted, single-breasted two- and three-button suits with fairly narrow lapels. Block updates the Rat Pack look by embracing colors, patterns and textures that Frank, Sammy and Dean never got around to.
"If there is a nice subtle pinstripe in the suit, I'll pick that up with the shirt," Block says. "I might have a gorgeous gray suit with a purple pinstripe, and I'll do a lavender dress shirt with a solid tie. Or I might go with a striped shirt - stripes are so contemporary - then mix it with a patterned tie."
And speaking of ties, Block - who oddly enough also dressed the actors on "The King of Queens" - further embraces the Rat Pack by going with skinny ties exclusively.
"That's his trademark," she says. "We use a lot of Prada and Dolce & Gabbana ties. But if I can't get a lot of skinny ties, I alter them and make them narrower and give them that thin look. It's edgier and shows off the shirt a bit more. That's why I like the two-button jacket - you can see more of the shirt. Speaking of which, for this look, go with a classic pointed-collar shirt. Never a spread collar - it looks too bankerish."