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Movie Characters Who Can't Afford Their Wardrobes

Updated July 12, 2018 439 votes 95 voters 2.0k 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: 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. 

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    The Driver In 'Drive'

    The Wardrobe: Ryan Gosling's turn in 2011's Drive was just one factor that made the highly-praised film a success, and a small part of that had to do with his wardrobe. Gosling's stunt driver character is known as "The Driver," and he moonlights as a getaway driver. The fashion in the movie is notable, particularly Gosling's scorpion souvenir jacket and highly stylish leather gloves. 

    Costume designer Erin Benach explained the thought process behind that unforgettable jacket in an interview with HighSnobiety:

    We felt like Driver was really buttoned-up, clean and streamlined and we didn’t want there to be much billowiness to him. So we built it piece by piece. We knew the collar had to be able to pop up, we wanted the knit around the wrists and waist to be 100% wool as opposed to stretchy nylon. We wanted every element to be perfect. We went through 15 or 20 iterations until we got it right. Which was down to the wire — about an hour before shooting!

    The Income: Though the salaries of stunt drivers and stunt coordinators vary greatly in film and television, the starting salary can be pretty low. And considering that Gosling's character had to moonlight in crime just to make ends meet, it's likely his taste in fashion didn't quite match up with his bank account balance.

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