Jennifer's Body costume designer interview.
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Fashion

Jennifer’s Body Costume Designer Reflects On The Film’s Fashion, 13 Years Later

From the heart-printed hoodie to Jennifer and Needy’s prom dresses.

Jennifer’s Body wasn’t an instant hit when it came out in theaters in 2009, but thankfully in the decade-plus since, fans new and old have helped give it its proper due. Written by Diablo Cody, directed by Karyn Kusama, and starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, the film is about two best friends who have to deal with one of their sudden demonic possession. It’s also super stylish, too.

“Diablo Cody confirmed that it wasn’t just about horror, but it’s more about the death of a friendship, and having a really sh*tty friend in school and how horrifying that is, versus the bubble gum and rainbows of still being a kid,” explains Katia Stano, the film’s costume designer. “It’s the juxtaposition of those two worlds.” This informed much of Stano’s overall design for the characters’ costumes, as she put the cheerleader-turned-succubus in candy-colored, cropped cardigans, micro shorts, and mini skirts — not the goth-type of clothing one might expect a boy-eating demon to wear when she’s hangry.

The movie has inspired countless Halloween costumes and horror-themed cosplay, and a few clothing brands have even made replicas of Jennifer’s favorite looks, including a particular pink, heart-printed hoodie that was copied by Dolls Kill, Shein, and smaller clothing brands, like Fine and Underground Costumes. Clearly, Jennifer’s sartorial powers are unmatched.

Below, Stano shares 13 hidden meanings and costume details from Jennifer’s Body that might even inspire you to invest in some vintage Juicy Couture — or Ed Hardy, if you dare.

Jennifer had stricter fashion rules than The Plastics.

From the get-go, we learn quickly that there are certain rules Needy (Seyfried) has to abide by when she’s out with Jennifer (Fox). “I could expose my stomach but never cleavage. Tits were her trademark,” Needy’s voiceover says in one scene. Stano explains: “It was OK for her to wear that tank top when she’s making out with Chip, but because there was that rule, she had to put a T-shirt underneath. She was Jennifer’s rag doll and was taken advantage of until she took the power into her own.” Curious about brands? Needy wore Marc Jacobs cardigans, and her knit beanie was from Anthropologie.

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A lot of inspiration came from Japanese and Chinese street style.

For Jennifer’s overall vibe, Stano looked at street style books, like 2001’s Fruits, which was based on the monthly magazine by Shoichi Aoki that featured trendsetters hanging around Tokyo’s Harajuku district. “I was looking at fashion from the streets of Japan and wanted to make it really cool — knee-highs, leg warmers, and tiny little micro shorts, but with a lot of blood and a lot of gore and messiness,” she says. Other reference books Stano used, such as Fashion Tribes: China and Fetish Bubble Girls by the French graffiti artist Tilt, still have her tags from Jennifer’s Body bookmarked between the pages.

The film’s fashion mood boards had some familiar faces on it.

Mood boards can be a major part of the planning process for costume designers, and Stano went all out to illustrate the contrast between Jennifer’s girlish outfits and her demonic prowess. Some inspiration imagery included a box of chocolates with boys’ heads on them, representing Jennifer’s voracious appetite for her male classmates, as well as My Little Ponys and Francisco Goya’s painting Saturn Devouring His Son. There were also some celebs of the 2000s era, such as Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson from the reality show The Girls Next Door and Sabrina Bryan from The Cheetah Girls. Another familiar face? NYLON tear sheets from none other than NYLON magazine were also featured on the boards.

Photos Courtesy of Katia Stano

Jennifer’s famous heart-print hoodie was from Gap Kids’ Valentine’s Day collection.

One of the standout pieces of clothing is Jennifer’s heart-print jacket. It’s seen briefly when she’s walking down the school hallway, glowing and looking gorgeous after her latest kill. Stano found the terry-cloth jacket during one of her shopping trips to the Gap. (The mall store was a better option than small boutiques because it was important to get multiples for shooting, though she says the jacket was one of the rare pieces that didn’t get destroyed.) “There was nothing in the adult section, and because the two stores were connected, I happened to walk over to the Kids. And I'm like, ‘This is it,’” she says. “We added that kitschy keychain that was dangling off of her, and then on purpose, everyone else was super dark and gray so that when they revealed her it was like one of these things is not like the other.”

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The more girly that Jennifer dressed, the creepier she got.

As Jennifer’s murderous appetite progresses, her clothing doesn’t get more dark or sinister; in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s obvious with the heart-themed hoodie, but there were other outfits that depicted this, too, like the scene in which Amanda is having sex with Chip and she thinks she sees Jennifer crouched beside a dead Jonas. “It’s so sad that [the outfit] doesn’t really show, because we had these amazing, tiny shorts with denim suspenders, and her socks had little hearts and flowers on them,” says Stano. “The more bubbly and poppy we made her, the creepier she started becoming — like a gargoyle.”

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There was special meaning even down to how they tied the shoes.

Shoes can be the cherry on top of an outfit, and the pink espadrille wedges Jennifer wears in that famous hallway scene had importance. “It gave us a little bit of a goosebump when we did that in the fitting,” explains Stano. “She put on the jeans, and I was like, ‘Oh, we forgot the espadrilles.’ So, we tied the bows over the top of the jeans and it was such a new look for the time. It was kind of odd, but at the same time, it was perfect for Jennifer, because she’d want to show the bows, but do things a little bit [different]. It was wrong, but for all the right reasons.”

Jennifer’s white jacket outfit represented her as a sacrifice.

At the bar, Jennifer wears a denim mini skirt, a gray leopard-print henley shirt (by Gwen Stefani’s brand L.A.M.B.), red lace tights (from Urban Outfitters), and a white hooded puffer jacket. According to Stano, the idea behind the jacket was that it was something that every girl has in their closets. “Because it was white and was down-filled, by the end of it she would look like a plucked chicken,” says Stano. In the flashback scene where Jennifer arrives at Needy’s house, there’s a low angle shot where you can see feathers falling from the jacket. “She was sacrificed, and it showed the gore,” explains Stano. “Movie spoiler: Anytime somebody wears white, gore is about to happen, because they don’t want to pay for squibs and blood if you’re not going to see it. So every time you watch a horror movie, just check who’s wearing the lightest shirt and they're usually going to be the first to go.”

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Needy’s Evil Dead shirt is a special reference.

Needy has a small poster of 1981’s The Evil Dead hanging in her room, and even an Evil Dead baseball tee (which Jennifer puts on when she sneaks into her bedroom and they have a makeout sesh). It wasn’t an accident; Stano says Cody wanted to put in references to the horror movies she loved to watch. After getting legal approval, they got shirts from American Apparel that were cut and then printed with the graphic. You’ll also notice that Jennifer’s leg warmers and micro shorts (which were also from AA) are reminiscent of some of the brand’s infamous ad campaigns from the time.

Also, at one point during filming, Kusama had the cast over to watch Evil Dead 2 in her hotel room. “I think it was Amanda; Megan; Johnny Simmons, who plays Chip; and Kyle Gallner, who played Colin,” the director told Variety in 2019. “I was able to have my nanny with me so she put my son (who was not even 1 yet) to bed while we opened a six-pack and watched Evil Dead 2.”

Unsurprisingly, many popular 2000s-era fashion brands were used for costumes.

Aside from American Apparel, which was also used for emo kid Colin’s striped hoodie, other famous early-aughts clothing brands were used throughout Jennifer’s Body. For example, the hoodie that Jennifer’s wearing when she jumps on Needy’s car is from Ed Hardy. Citizen Jeans, a popular denim brand at the time, were used because they were really low-cut (cue: Chip saying, “I can see your front butt!”).

Meanwhile, Juicy Couture was the brand of the yellow-and-white striped short-sleeve jacket she wears when she devours Jonas. The coveted L.A. fashion label also played an important part during the movie: “Because the tracksuits were so cozy, we would always get a set of tracksuits for the actresses to wear on set,” says Stano. “If they were filming a scene all morning and then cut for lunch, the suits would be fabulous because they were super cozy and still stylish with a pair of Uggs. And if they got blood on it so be it, we had multiple ones that we could clean for them.”

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Needy’s pink prom dress was supposed to be hideous.

In the script, the gown that Needy wears to the spring formal is described as a “f*cking afterbirth of a dress.” Stano’s team designed a few options for the pink dress and says that when Seyfried put the final version on, she requested “more puff.” “As soon as we did, she would be running up and down the stairs and puffing it up and on the floor rolling, so you could see the transformation right away,” says Stano.

In a 2009 interview with Gizmodo, Kusama explained that Cody had always wanted it to be a really bad dress: “By the time I was working with the costume designer I had shown her a lot of reference material, a lot of pretty terrible ’80s prom dresses. The worse they got, the better the look became. I always wanted her hair to be big and poofy and her makeup to be a little over-applied. I think our costume designer nailed it.”

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Jennifer’s white gown was made by the quintessential prom dress designer.

The script called for Jennifer to have a white gown, and Stano put her in one with black lace ribbon by none other than Jessica McClintock, the designer famous for her prom-friendly frocks. “She's pretending to be this virginal good girl, but that there was this darkness in her,” says Stano of the look. “Then we did the white gloves, so that we were able to add a texture to show the blood and the horror of what was happening.”

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Stano has a huge costume regret from the film.

There was one costume-related blunder in Jennifer’s Body that Stano regrets to this day. They were filming the scene where Jennifer and Chip meet in the park in the spring, but, in reality, was extremely cold Canadian weather.

“You can see their breath when they’re talking to each other. Needy had her Cowichan sweater, which I love because they’re kind of kitschy Canadian, and Chip had his tuxedo, so we could put layers underneath him, and then he had his nonscarf, but Jennifer had nothing, she just had these little straps,” says Stano. “So poor Megan Fox, she couldn't keep warm, and it was sub-zero temperatures over here.”

Stano’s team had made a tulle shawl for Fox to wear over the gown so she would appear ethereal and ghost-like as she walked through the park to seduce Chip. “We had packed the tulle so that it would sit beautifully, like a halo around her, but she was so cold that she scrunched around her neck and made it more like a scarf,” says Stano. “You can see all the stitching around her, and it looks like a tulle sausage. I was like, ‘Arrrgh! The one time I wasn’t on set to set the look.’”

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Diablo Cody’s cameo outfit was a sweet tribute to her mom.

Cody has a cameo working as a bartender at Melody Lane on the fateful night when Jennifer gets sacrificed by Low Shoulder. In a scene before she serves 911-themed shots to Jennifer, you can see her holding a beer, wearing a short-sleeve plaid shirt, heart-shaped earrings, and what appears to be a nameplate necklace. “She wanted to do it for her mom, so she had an ‘I heart mom’ necklace,” says Stano. “It never showed, but it's all the details, right?”

See more behind-the-scenes photos from the costume designing in Jennifer’s Body, below.

Photos Courtesy of Katia Stano