Hot in Cleveland stars Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves.
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We’re interviewing Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter each week to get a behind the scenes look at how she styles each of the fabulous Hot in Cleveland ladies.  Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.

Tell me about tonight’s finale. You’ve got two special guest stars, Regis Philbin and David Spade.

Yes. I had to make Regis look like Charles Nelson Riley. So, I put him in pink Brooks Brothers pants with a matching belt and white bucks. We paired it with a pastel Robert Graham paisley shirt.

It takes courage for a man to wear bright colors. You see it a lot in the South, but not in other places.

You don’t see it much in L.A. or New York. Davis Spade is also dressed in salmon colored pants and a bright purple, floral Robert Graham shirt.

What do the ladies have on?

They’re dressed up a little bit because they’re going to the hairdresser. Betty has on a really pretty Alfred Dunner quilted jacket with navy slacks. Valerie wears a really pretty Rebecca Taylor purple top, and Jane is wearing a pretty floral dress that’s pink, purple and orange.

That’s a lot of color. Do you have any favorites from this week’s show?

I really love Wendy’s dress. It’s an orange Tory Burch tunic dress. It has this big, gold zipper on the front and on the pockets. It almost looks like jewelry.

A zipper adds a little edge to a piece of clothing.

It does, and you can find them on everything from bags to shoes, to dresses and pants right now.


- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.

We’re interviewing Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter each week to get a behind the scenes look at how she styles each of the fabulous Hot in Cleveland ladies.  Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.

This week’s show has a soap opera theme?

On Hot in Cleveland Wendy’s character, Victoria Chase is former soap opera star, Honor St. Raven. This week she gets inspired to reunite the old gang from her soap. So, she goes to meet the show’s creator played by Cybill Shepherd. Wendy’s character is based on Cybill’s character so I dressed them fairly similar.

How was it working with Cybill Shepherd?

I’ve worked with her before, so I know how she likes to dress. I was using a cream and white color palette. I brought her three outfits and they all worked. She’s so beautiful it made dressing her easy.

Women on soaps tend to overdress.

They really do. I have Wendy sitting around the house in a gold poncho, and she’s not going anywhere.

Did you shop in different stores for this week’s episode?

I went to the same stores. I just bought different stuff. Wendy’s always dressed with bare arms and this week I have her in flowing, wide-legged pants and a poncho. She’s also wearing tons of pearls. Usually her accessories are very minimalist.

Betty appears in the soap as well.


She plays the matriarch in the flashback so she’s dressed like a dowager. She’s got on a high-collared, velvet dress and she’s just sitting around the house doing nothing.

The women on the show each have a very definite style. How would you describe each of them?

Wendy’s clean and classic. Valerie’s soft and romantic. Jane is completely trend-following and Betty is a track suit wearing, distinguished older lady.


- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.

We’re interviewing Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter each week to get a behind the scenes look at how she styles each of the fabulous Hot in Cleveland ladies.  Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.


Valerie has on a beautiful, blue shirt in this week’s show. Color has been so big this spring. Will that trend continue on into the fall?

We’ll still see lots of color but it will be deeper and richer. You’ll see colors like burnt orange, eggplant, teal, royal blue, mustard yellow and deep reds. Color works so well on television, so I am always looking for it.

You love one particular collection of clothing right now.

Yes. Kate Spade is doing some of the most beautiful prints you have ever seen. They’re really springy and happy in colors like hot pink, turquoise and yellow. Wendy is wearing a black and white print dress. It’s a classic lady-like dress and really beautiful.

You’re out shopping a lot more than the average woman. Are there any trends you’re spotting in the higher end stores?

It’s different these days. It used to be you would go into the expensive stores and see things knocked off a year later. Now it’s a week later. You can get anything at any time from anywhere.

That’s nice for the consumer.

Absolutely. I was shopping menswear last week and I went to H&M. They had suits for men close to $100. There is no reason for people not to look good anymore. These stores sell great things for women as well.

As baby boomers flood the fashion market, will clothing options get better for women of a certain age?

I think designers are now catering towards us. But you have to be careful what you buy. There’s a fine line between dressing age appropriate, looking matronly and dressing inappropriately.

I have to ask you. What track suit have you got Betty in this week?

She’s wearing a magenta track suit. We had to buy multiples because she gets wet when Joy’s water bra explodes in the car.

- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.



We’re interviewing Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter each week to get a behind the scenes look at how she styles each of the fabulous Hot in Cleveland ladies.  Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.

Kristin Chenoweth guest stars on this week’s show. She’s so petite. Did that pose a challenge?

I believe she’s the most petite actress I’ve ever dressed. But she has an incredible body, curvy in all the right places. Not everyone can wear such a tight, tight dress but she looks fantastic. The dress is a tomato red Herve Leger so it looks perfect with her blonde hair.


 

This week you’re using some great pieces you’ve been saving all season.

Sometimes I hoard my favorite outfits to use later and I pulled some things out this week. I put Jane in a really pretty bold, striped Trina Turk top. She doesn’t wear a lot of classic clothing in the show and so having the stripes running vertically instead of horizontally make the outfit much more unusual. It’s also very flattering.

Wendy has on a great dress this week. It’s actually a snakeskin print.

It’s a snakeskin pattern but its periwinkle blue and white. It’s nipped in at the waist with a fuller skirt. Romantic clothing like that is very big right now. This dress is soft and pretty.

You put Valerie in a shirt this week you’re calling one of the best shirts that’s ever been made. What makes it so terrific? And where can people get it?

Towards the end of the show Valerie is wearing a James Pierce top. It buttons up the front and is very stretchy. It’s made of a ribbed fabric, so it hugs you in all the right places. Converse actually made a knock-off version that sold at Target. Ribbing is a great wardrobe trick. It sucks you in without being too tight.

 Lookin’ good ladies!

- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.


We’re interviewing Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter each week to get a behind the scenes look at how she styles each of the fabulous Hot in Cleveland ladies.  Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.

Jane Leeve’s (Joy) wears a wedding dress on this week’s show. Was it hard to find?
We tried going in two different directions with the wedding dress. I got some really cute, white, dresses from Saks and Neiman’s. They were not wedding dresses.  I actually found the dress she wears at David’s Bridal. It was under $400!

Are there any tips to making a less expensive wedding dress look its best?
The key is getting impeccable alterations. Buy a simple dress and then alter it to look perfect. It’s all about the fit.

What shoes did you put with it?

Jane actually wore her own silver, sling-back Manolo Blahnik’s. They were perfect.

Joan Rivers guest stars on this week’s show. Did you dress her?
She actually wore her own clothes. Her stylist sent over a few outfits and I selected from that. She’s wearing her signature look of a black, silk tank and black slacks with a bright jacket over it.

Is she wearing anything from her jewelry line on QVC?She is and it’s fantastic. They are very big, “statement” pieces.

Do you have any favorite wardrobe pieces from this week’s show?
Wendy wears a really nice Trina Turk pink shift dress with a pretty flower detail at the neck .Florals are so popular right now.

What’s the best way to wear them at any age?
I would stay away from floral pants. For grown women I think they’re a little garish. I have seen some really pretty floral cardigans from J. Crew, Milly, and Trina Turk. They’re really bold and look fantastic when you pair them with solids. Too much and you end up looking like a walking tablecloth!

- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.

We’re interviewing Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter each week to get a behind the scenes look at how she styles each of the fabulous Hot in Cleveland ladies.  Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.

“Find a Great Blouse”

What are the women wearing this week?
Lori: Valerie is on a date and she’s wearing jeans tucked into boots and this really pretty geo-print Joie top. It’s loose-fitting and really pretty. Wendy has on a beautiful, apple green, sleeveless Kate Spade top. It’s her normal silhouette, except it’s a top, not a dress. She’s wearing it with a pair of black trousers.

Kate Spade does a great job with color.
Lori: She does and she’s a good designer for Wendy’s character because her clothes are so classic.

There are so many great blouses out there this year. Where can women find them without spending a week’s paycheck?
Lori: There are many stores out there that cater to women who want to achieve a high end look without spending a lot. These stores stay current with the trends and if you look very carefully you can get almost every look that’s happening right now for much less money.

What stores do you recommend?
Lori: I think ZARA makes really beautiful blouses, tops, coats and jackets. I think their tailored stuff is really up to par with lines like Theory and Diane Von Furstenberg. It can be really well made. H&M does a great job staying up with the latest trends and Forever 21 has really great t-shirts. You just have to look.

Sometimes fit can be a problem in less expensive stores.

Lori: Occasionally you have to go up a size depending on the store. You also have to know what works well on your body. If you try lots of things on you’ll come to know what works well and what doesn’t.


One of the biggest trends for spring is floral. Can it be tough to wear?

Lori: Not if you do it right. This week Valerie is wearing a really pretty capped-sleeve Dolce and Gabana floral dress. It’s got navy, taupe and gray. It’s really soft and feminine. I know floral jeans are big right now, but I would not use them on the ladies in the show. You have to wear the trends in a way that suits you and is appropriate. They should not overpower you.


You had Georgia Engel, Rhea Perlman and Rick Springfield guest starring on this week’s show. That presented some wardrobe challenges.
Lori: Rhea Perlman started out playing Wendy’s manager and then the script changed and she became a cleaning woman. The part was originally written for Liza Minelli, but she broke her leg and had to cancel. Rhea is very petite and finding clothes that fit well was a challenge.

Rick Springfield was pretty simple. I put him in a John Varvatos Henley shirt for the whole show. They make really fantastic and unique, “Rock Star” style clothing.

Georgia Engel needed a sweater that could be “seen from outer space”. I had to go to three or four rental houses before I found it. When I first started in this business you could find things like that in less expensive department stores, but now all fashion is so current. It was like finding a needle in a haystack.

But it was awesome.

- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.


We’re interviewing Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter each week to get a behind the scenes look at how she styles each of the fabulous Hot in Cleveland ladies.  Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.

This week the ladies are heading out to the Firestone Country Club. They’re attending the, “Rubber Ball”. I’m assuming they’re wearing gowns, so in true Hollywood fashion, “Who are they wearing”?

Lori: Well as you know this was shot during awards season so it was tricky to find gowns at that time of year. Our go-to stores are Neiman’s, Barney’s and Saks. Unfortunately our Saks has quit carrying evening gowns, and I couldn’t find anything at the other stores. I ended up calling on friends who have those PR product placement companies. They put outfits on actors for awards shows. There’s a designer we use all the time named David Meister and he let us borrow gowns for Jane, Valerie and Wendy.

Is that how stylists typically get clothes?

Lori: Some get them from the different designers. They borrow and return them. Depending on what the event is and who the actor is you may get to keep them.

When it comes to awards shows there are a lot of actresses wearing black, but also many choosing color. What’s a current trend in evening wear?

Lori: My biggest challenge this week was putting everyone in a different color because I didn’t want everyone in black. Betty’s in lavender. Val’s in a pretty bright blue. Wendy’s in a really pretty garnet red and Jane is in burgundy. There’s a ton of color right now in the stores. I would say color’s the big thing right now in all clothing.

Betty likes color.

Lori: She really does. For this episode, I showed her two dresses. I had a really pretty gray dress and she didn’t like it. She doesn’t like gray, black or brown. The lavender did look really pretty on her. It’s actually two piece with a long skirt and a little wrap jacket.

Fabulous!

- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.

We’re interviewing Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter each week to get a behind the scenes look at how she styles each of the fabulous Hot in Cleveland ladies.  Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.

Is there a stand-out outfit from this week’s show?
Lori: I think the showstopper this week is worn by Jane. At the top of the show she has this Alice and Olivia mini dress on. It’s a hot pink, purple, and lavender dress in a geometric print. It looks amazing on her. Seven men on the crew came up to me and told me how great she looked in it. Its one men go gaga for. The dress was not very expensive, but she’s wearing a pair of fluorescent pink Jimmy Choo strappy sandals with it. They make the outfit.


Color is very big this year. What are you seeing when you’re out shopping that you like?

Lori: There are lots of really cute, colorful jeans. They’re great because you can pair them with a simple t-shirt. There’s printed jeans as well. Some of the jeans are a skinny cut and some are wide. There’s really something for everyone.

I think they’re a great investment for people because it makes your wardrobe special rather than the typical blue jean we’ve all been wearing for ten years.

The girls end up going to different support group meetings. What does Valerie wear for it?
Lori: She’s wearing a little silk, flowing tank top by a company called A.L.C. It has black, hand-painted feathers on it. It’s very beautiful and softer and prettier than a wife beater. She’s wearing a black Vince cardigan over it.

- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.

We’ve interviewed Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter about each characters style. Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’.

Melanie: She’s “Every Woman”

Valarie is remembered for her portrayal of Barbara Cooper on the sitcom, “One Day at a Time”, is Melanie Moretti Barbara Cooper all grown up?

Lori: I don’t think so. The thing about Valarie is she’s the sweetest character, the nicest. She’s the one that’s the most down-to-earth. I wanted her to look like a good version of every woman.

She seems the most approachable.

Lori: She is, and her character is. She wears a lot of knits which are very soft. She dresses sweet. I think she still looks sexy and great but it’s not overtly sexy like Jane is.

You say she’s a version of every woman. Does that mean you can spend less on her wardrobe?

Lori: I don’t really do that because I feel like people tune into TV shows to see how people look and I shop for the wardrobe a level above that. I want them to be current, and they’re still actresses. They’re used to wearing things at a certain level.

Where do you shop for Valarie’s clothes?

Lori: I usually shop at Saks or Neiman’s. She wears a lot of Tahari, Joie, and James Pierce. I also mix in a little Tory Burch.

Does Valarie’s character follow trends?

Lori: She’s wearing those nice, wide leg jeans right now that are trendy.

Speaking of jeans, women are always looking for a great pair. Are there any brands you like to put the women in?

Lori: Yes. There are two brands that I think are the best right now. AG and J Brand Jeans. We love, love, love those.


- Josephine

Josephine Bennett is an award-winning public radio reporter with an extensive cardigan collection.

Style Profile: Elka, Played by Betty White
“It’s All About the Track Suit”

So, I have to ask. Where do you get Elka’s track suits?
Lori: We get them from this lovely woman up in Seattle that makes these great track suits, Christine Alexander. They give us her track suits for the most part.

They’re almost iconic.
(Laughs) And they’re also beautiful colors. Betty’s all about color. She does not like black or brown and if she has to wear it she gets kind of miserable.

Betty’s favorite colors are; turquoise, pink, yellow and green. So this woman makes up the track suits for her. We probably have 25 to 30 of them.

How closely does Betty’s personal style mirror Elka’s?
Lori: It doesn’t. Betty doesn’t wear track suits. She’s such an animal activist that most of her clothing has an animal theme to it. We had Christine Alexander make her a bunch of track suits with cats and dogs on them, but for the most part she wears animal prints that are colorful.

Is Betty easy to dress or does she fight you on anything?
The only thing she fights me on is color. In one episode of the show she was volunteering in a zoo and she had to wear a khaki colored jacket. I ended up putting a bright t-shirt on her to make her happy.

Betty is the sweetest person on the planet, she would never say anything. But, I can tell when she likes her clothes and when she doesn’t. I consciously stay away from black and brown for her. She’s happiest when she’s in her colorful track suits. They’re comfortable for her and she gets to wear sneakers with them.

For women in their 80’s and 90’s are there fashion rules?
I think as far as Elka’s concerned there are. You don’t show your arms and you don’t wear things that are too trendy. I try to dress her classic older lady.

We interviewed Hot in Cleveland Costume Designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter about each characters style. Lori has worked on many movies and TV shows including ‘Will and Grace’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘Boston Common’. Watch Hot in Cleveland Wednesdays at 10PM/9C on TV Land.