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.
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.
The Wardrobe: Everyone's favorite news anchor, although "kind of a big deal," always seems to be living a far more lavish lifestyle than he can likely afford. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is indeed a legend in San Diego, but his luxury suits and stylish jackets (all housed in what appeared to be a mega-fancy home) never quite reflect his local news anchor status.
The Income: Reports show that the average salary for a news anchor in San Diego in 2018 is just above $60,000 – meaning it was likely significantly less in the days of Ferrell's memorable character. The high-end celebrity lifestyle portrayed in Anchorman is likely too unrealistic for what a local news anchor would be making, no matter how popular they are.
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.
The Wardrobe: Annie (Kristin Wiig) in Bridesmaids is a struggling former business owner who somehow manages to maintain a stylish wardrobe, though it's reasonably priced. The movie's costume designer, Leesa Evans, told the New York Times' Carpetbagger blog that Annie's wardrobe consisted of "anything ranging from Urban Outfitters to Forever 21."
The Income: Though Annie shops on the inexpensive side, the truth is that Urban Outfitters alone isn't necessarily cheap and is often criticized for being overpriced. Women's clothes there start in the range of $40. For someone who works at a jewelry store and can't afford to fix her taillights, it seems unlikely that she could afford even this budget-conscious wardrobe.