TV characters have a way of getting under our skin — as do their wardrobes.
Take Reese Witherspoon’s dazzler designer dresses and cardis on HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” Téa Leoni’s smart white blouses and sleek trousers on “Madam Secretary,” Robin Wright’s body-con sheaths clinging to every criminal curve in “House of Cards” or Taraji P. Henson’s bold coats, bolder jewelry — aww, c’mon, Cookie’s whole closet has fans drooling — on “Empire.”
“I love clothes and Paolo (Nieddu, the show’s costume designer) keeps Cookie dressed to the nine,” Henson says on a behind-the-scenes video posted on YouTube. “I mean, I don’t know where he finds this stuff.”
Ah, where indeed?
That’s the bone of contention that many a fan has with the TV closets they’d love to raid. Even if you can spot a telltale label or logo, items that costume designers snagged from designer collections half a year ago, when they were shooting, are likely sold out or in short supply by the time episodes air. Which means you have to look closely — and act fast.
There are apps like TheTake, Spylight or ScreenShop (which boasts Kim Kardashian West as an adviser and launched last fall) yearning to become the Shazam of fashion.
Instead of naming a song that’s playing, they identify clothes you see (and tell you where you can buy them, or similar looks, online). But these require taking screenshots, which may work if you’re watching your favorite TV show on your phone, but otherwise can be awkward.
For simpler, more comprehensive coverage, websites like WornOnTV.net, ShopYourTV.com and Pradux.com do all the work for you — grabbing shots of your fave characters, hunting down the looks (or similar, more affordable facsimiles) and providing links to buy.
You’d think networks might want to get in on the act, but their websites generally offer paltry fare (mostly branded mugs and hoodies), although BravoTV.com offers “The Lookbook,” a section dedicated to fashion and beauty tips related to their stars.
In general, be prepared for sticker shock. Cookie’s designer duds — Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Lanvin and the like — are clearly pricey, but even Gina Rodriguez of “Jane the Virgin,” on Jane’s waitress paycheck, somehow manages to afford both Forever 21 sundresses and, say, a Boss sleeveless number that went for $545 at Saks Fifth Avenue.
“I guess that is the fun of TV fashion,” WornOnTV founder Linda Wilks told Glamour magazine last month. “It doesn’t have to be like real life.”
We’ve surfed the channels — and sites — for some affordable alternatives. Once you get the clothes, get ready for your close-up.
Savannah Guthrie of 'Today'
The on-camera wardrobe of NBC's "Today" show co-host Savannah Guthrie is routinely chronicled on websites that specialize in identifying where outfits seen on television can be purchased.
Guthrie isn't the only one who wore this on TV
Savannah Guthrie recently wore Equipments slim signature silk top on NBCs Today show (also seen on Francia Raisa on Grown-ish and Melissa Claire Egan on The Young & the Restless); $248 at Bloomingdales.
"Jane the Virgin" dress
The CWs Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez (as Jane Villanueva) has an unending supply of perky, Miami-perfect attire, like this Floral Ruffle Print wrap dress by Aqua, seen on an episode; $78 exclusively at Bloomingdales.
'Modern Family' shirt
Ariel Winter (as Alex Dunphy) was seen in February on ABCs Modern Family wearing this Lucky Brand floral-print flap-pocket shirt; $79.50 at select Macys.
Camila Mendes as Veronica on The CW series Riverdale heats up high school with this Kate Spade leopard-print velvet bow sweater, from a January episode; originally $248, now $149 at select Kate Spade stores and katespade.com.