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Movie Characters Who Can't Afford Their Wardrobes

Updated July 12, 2018 439 votes 93 voters 1.9k views10 items

List RulesVote up the most ridiculously well-dressed characters.

Movies aren't always supposed to be a direct reflection of our reality, but there are some things they get wrong that completely destroy the suspension of disbelief. There are continuity issues and even historical inaccuracies that can ultimately ruin the audience's experience.

One of the most overlooked faults in film, though, is poor movie characters with nice clothes. It's been done on the small screen, too – sometimes TV characters wear clothes they can't afford, given their assumed income or their career. Even characters' overall lifestyles just don't sync up with their supposed financial situations.

Matching allegedly poor characters with the most expensive movie wardrobes can be seen as deliberate Hollywood fantasy, or an oversight on the part of the costume designers and other experts on set. Whether it's Penny Lane's high-end fashion sense despite her groupie lifestyle in Almost Famous, or Bridesmaids' struggling lead Annie Walker and her modest but pricey closet, there are plenty of examples of wardrobes that just don't make sense in films.

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  • The Wardrobe: Carrie Bradshaw's (Sarah Jessica Parker) wardrobe is maybe the most legendary aspect of her character in the long-running HBO show and subsequent movies. In the Sex And The City film, Carrie – a freelance writer – sports high-end dresses, a Tiffany bracelet, and Dior shoes

    The Income: Let's face it, Carrie just cannot afford her expensive taste in clothing on the show or in the movie. The median salary for journalists in New York City was $38,000 in 2016, and given inflation, it was probably slightly less during SatC's first movie in 2008. Those Dior shoes she sports in the film cost $1,200 out of the box. Combined with NYC's insane rent, there is no way she can afford all of these designer clothes. 

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  • Photo: Breakfast at Tiffany's / Paramount Pictures

    The Wardrobe: Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) in Breakfast At Tiffany's is renowned for her incredible fashion, from a double-breasted orange coat to the incredibly famous sleeveless black Givenchy gown Hepburn wears in the movie's opening scene. The gown is complete with a Tiffany pearl necklace and sunglasses.

    The Income: The film was intentionally ambiguous about Holly Golightly's profession, and Truman Capote – the author of the original novella – refused to acknowledge definitively that the character was a call girl or sex worker. Theories have abounded for decades, but regardless of whether or not she is jobless or indeed a call girl, it's unlikely that Holly could afford those Tiffany pearls. 

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    Mia And Sebastian In 'La La Land'

    The Wardrobe: La La Land's costume designer, Mary Zophres, dressed Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as if money were no object. Mia, a struggling actress, and Sebastian, a toiling jazz musician, are dressed in stylish dresses and suits to reinforce the film's old Hollywood feel. Zophres explained she didn't feel Gosling's character would embrace a t-shirt or casual look, no matter what his financial situation. 

    The Income: In reality, a struggling actress and musician living in Los Angeles could never afford the wardrobe they were given in the film, even if those clothes were thrifted. La La Land was both praised and highly criticized, and although the fashion was mostly commended, it was certainly a bit unrealistic given the characters' career paths. 

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  • The Wardrobe: Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) in Almost Famous is almost as well-known for her fashion as she is for her status as a "Band Aid" – a fancy term for a groupie. Penny's wardrobe includes an infamous suede coat (modeled after opera coats of the 1920s) with a white fur collar, Levi's 501 jeans, and platform wedges. 

    The Income: Truthfully, Penny Lane's career as a groupie can't afford her such a stylish collection of clothing unless her lifestyle is being funded by the musicians with whom she associates. Considering the fact that she often goes band-to-band and is (at one point) sold to another band for $50 and some beer, it's unlikely her wardrobe is being paid for. 

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