So, a couple weeks ago I was watching the TV show “Happy Endings” (which, if you’re not watching it yet, please stay tuned for my vaguely threatening 10,000 word essay about why you should be), and the super stylish character Jane made a brief appearance in a cobalt blue toggle coat. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was my coat soulmate. I had to have it. After an hour of frantic Googling, I randomly found it on the Victoria’s Secret website (victory!), but it was sold out in my size (tragedy!). Unable to accept the reality that my dream coat was gone, I called their customer service hotline and told them my sob story. Guess what? They had one left in the whole country, in my size, for half price. Bought it. Boom. Best day of my life.
Since Amelia also acquired her dream coat after seeing it in a movie and obsessively tracking it down online, we thought we’d join forces and offer our best tips for others who are attempting to hunt down coats/dresses/shoes/jewelry/whatever from movie and TV wardrobes. Your quest will require patience, diligence, and a shit ton of Googling. Ready to get started? Check our step-by-step guide, after the jump!
1. See if someone’s already done the work for you. The internet is an amazing thing. Want proof? There’s a shockingly good chance that some random blogger has already hunted down that pair of striped socks Jennifer Aniston wore for 30 seconds in a 1998 episode of “Friends.” Google combinations of the character name, movie/TV show name, and the type of garment and see what pops up. In the case of my “Happy Endings” coat, my initial searches brought me to an awesome site called “Worn On TV,” which had already posted a good quality screengrab of Jane’s coat. They hadn’t found the identical coat, but I used the photo to zoom in on certain details as I continued my quest.
2. Consider the budget of the show/movie where you saw the item you want. Big budget Jennifer Aniston rom-com? Might be a more high-end designer brand, with more limited production. An indie with a no-name cast? Chances are the costume budget was minimal or the stars brought their own clothes for the film, so, good news for you, the brand is probably more attainable for your price range. This is how Amelia figured out the coat she saw in the movie “Newlyweds” (an indie movie directed by Ed Burns) was from J. Crew.
3. Google creatively. Try every possible variation of character name and the name of the show/movie. Sometimes including details about the specific scene you saw the garment in will yield a screengrab or another clue you can use. Try describing the garment in every possible way. In my search, it was switching out “toggle coat” for “duffle coat” that eventually led me to the right garment. Check Google Image results as well as the web results. Whatever you do, just keep Googling!
4. Look up the costume designer. If the item you want was worn by a regular character on a TV show, look into what brands are popular with that show’s costume designer, or what other brands that character has worn before. Perhaps one of those previous brands will have made the item you’re coveting. If not, try other brands in the same price range and style.
5. Use shopping aggregators. Online shopping sites like ShopStyle automatically search a bunch of stores for the type of clothing you’re looking for (example: “blue toggle coat”) and collect all the results in one place, so you can scroll through options much more efficiently. Check Polyvore and Pinterest too.
6. Don’t take “sold out” for an answer. Finally found your dream garment, but it’s sold out? Ugghhh, that’s the worst, but don’t give up! In the case of my dream coat, it was tragically “out of stock” on the website, but when I called the customer service line, they were able to find one still available. If that doesn’t work, head to eBay, and repeat your creative Googling strategies. Hopefully your desired item will pop up–for a fraction of the original price.