Exclusive Interview with 2 Broke Girls Costume Designer, Trayce Field

Photo by Kessia Embry

As the 7th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition enters its final weeks, we caught up with Trayce Field. The FIDM alumna is the costume designer for the hit series 2 Broke Girls, now in its 3rd season. The costumes have been an audience favorite and we were delighted to learn more about their creation and creator.

Halloween is at the end of the month. Your 2 Broke Girls waitress uniforms are again top selling costumes. How does that feel?

Great! I love seeing so many people dressed up as the girls. The uniforms have become iconic, kind of like the ones on Laverne & Shirley. It is a huge compliment to have people choose to wear your designs.

We know you that you designed the waitress uniforms from scratch. What were your design inspirations?

The vibe of the 70s and the colors of mustard and catsup. I was able to find some closeout fabrics from the 70s, which made them more authentic. It was really fun to create them from start to finish.

How did you get into costume design? Was that something that you always knew you wanted to do?

NO! When I was a Merchandise Marketing student at FIDM, I had no idea what career I wanted, but knew I would figure it out as I went along.

While I was in college, I worked in retail stores in the mall. I had always wondered where actors got their clothes, so when people from the different costume departments came into the stores where I worked, I would ask them all kinds of questions. I met someone from Sabrina the Teenage Witch who hired me as a wardrobe PA. So I quit working in retail and started on my career path. I am a lucky, grateful girl who woke up one day wanting to know where actors got their clothes, then I found out, and here I am!”

Fantastic! Is that a good way to get into the business?

Yes—the best way to learn about something is to start at the bottom and work your way up. Be in it, experience it, and learn all the different jobs and skills. I have so much respect for every level of costume design, because I have done them all.

Sounds like you created the opportunity by talking to your customers when you were in retail.

Definitely. It’s all about networking and meeting like-minded people. And it is really important to be open and have a positive attitude.

Looking at some of your recent projects, there is quite a wide range. From Will Ferrell’s Casa di Mi Padres, to national commercials and print ads for top brands like Target, MAC, AT&T, to the Academy Award winning film, Precious.

Working on Precious, directed by Lee Daniels, was an intense experience. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever worked on, and I learned a lot. It took place in the 80s, and Daniels pays attention to the smallest detail. He wants everything to be real. I went to a lot of thrift stores looking for pieces for the characters.

Cannot imagine that you just buy clothes in thrift or vintage shops and then just put them on the actors.

Oh no—we recut and sew everything. We alter and fit each piece. I really think that in life, everyone should have a tailor—or know how to sew. It makes such a difference when your clothes fit just right.

Photo by Kessia Embry

Besides 2 Broke Girls, what else have you been working on?

I did costume design for Will Ferrell’s upcoming limited series, The Spoils of Babylon. Michael Sheen, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, Jessica Alba, Kristen Wiig, Tobey Maguire, and Haley Joel Osment, are in the cast, along with Will Ferrell. The time span is from the 1930s to the present and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever worked on.

You mentioned the importance of a good attitude. Can you say more about that?

That is the first thing I look for when I am hiring someone. A positive attitude is half the battle. And you have to be pleasant and nice to everyone from the PA to the executive producer. I appreciate all the people around me and in return they appreciate me. Look, we often work 12–16 hour days. If you are happy and positive in life, you will be happy and productive at work.

Speaking of work schedules, how much time do you have to create the costumes for each episode?

Like 2 days. Seriously. Tuesday night we get the script. Wednesday morning we have a meeting. Then we shop, make everything, fit the costumes on Friday and make alterations. Then on Monday they shoot the episode.

Any particular costume challenges come to mind?

Oh yes—Michael Patrick King, the producer, told me he needed 2 walk-about cupcakes in 24 hours. I never say no to my boss—I just figure out how to get it done. They turned out great and I really wanted them to be in this exhibition. BUT—I used real bubble gum for the sprinkles, so that didn’t work. Now I know!

That sounds like a challenge—good thing you have a positive attitude.

Luckily, I thrive on challenge. I was glad I had 24 hours and not 4.

As a costume designer, what are your Magic Moments?

Sometimes actors come in for a fitting and they are concerned about the clothes. They aren’t sure if they are right. I will ask them to just try it on and then you see their attitude change. Then they say, “I can feel my character now—these clothes are really going to help me with my character.” That’s when I know I got it right. I love when an actor says that…it is a magic moment.

Trayce Gigi Field featured Costume Designer for 2 Broke Girls (FIDM Alum) and April Dunlap, Key Costumer for 2 Broke Girls

You have some amazing accessories in 2 Broke Girls. Speaking of getting into character, what part do accessories play in that process?

Even a small ring that does not show up on camera can help a character feel unique. Favorite earrings that you wear every day help make each character feel their personality.

I am in the process of creating a jewelry line based on the one-of-a-kind pieces that the girls wear in the show. Of course, Caroline has her statement necklace, and for Max I have made earrings out of wall décor. Jewelry really helps a character—or a person—define and express themselves.

What about the jewelry that the Sophie character wears?

It is so much fun working with Jennifer Coolidge…her character is big, bold and over-the top. Every week we try to out do what we did the week before. It is all about layers of big bobbles, sparkle, and glitz.

It seems that being a costume designer is like being a gypsy. You go from job to job. You work on a movie, and then it is over. You design for a commercial, and then it shoots. How does it feel to have a regular job?

It’s great, because it means that we are one of CBS’s top shows. We just started our 3rd season, which is really exciting. It is nice to have a steady job and still do a variety of projects during the summer. Plus, we really know our characters, and the entire cast and crew have become a family.

Photo by Kessia Embry

Is there a dream project or time period you would like to work on?

Sci-Fi! With that genre there is no precedent. You are free to be inspired by anything or just use your imagination. I would also love to do something set in the 80s and the 90s.

When you need to recharge your creative juices, where do you look for inspiration?

Real life. I live on the east side of LA, so there are lots of hipsters and wonderful people walking the streets. I love to watch kids. They are not self-conscious and they put amazing and crazy outfits together. I love looking at old catalogs, like Sears and JC Penny, photo books, fashion books, and I like to go to museums, but ultimately life inspires me.

Any advice for students interested in getting into costume design?

Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up. Know your craft but keep pushing yourself. Learn from every experience, good and bad. Be positive, kind, and say “yes” to challenges.

2 Broke Girls costumes by Costume Designer and FIDM Alum Trayce Gigi Field (L to R) Costumes worn by actors: Kat Dennings as Max Black, Beth Behrs as Caroline Channing, Kat Dennings as Max Black, Beth Behrs as Caroline Channing, Jennifer Coolidge as Sophie Kachinsky

See the costumes from 2 Broke Girls and 15 other top shows before the Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design closes on October 19. Admission is Free.

Exhibition photographs by Brandon Clark/ABImages


FIDM Museum Shop

The FIDM Museum Shop is delighted to feature merchandise inspired by 2 Broke Girls. Here is a selection of products that are popular with broke and not-so-broke girls everywhere.

101 Things to do with Bacon and 101 Things to do with Ramen Noodles:

There are great recipes in these books! Discover Tuna Noodle Casserole, Beer Noodles, and Pork Chop Ramen. If bacon is your thing, then you are sure to love Bacon Reuben Sandwiches, Apple Bacon German Pancakes, and Peanut Butter Bacon Cupcakes.

Udon Bowls

Fun, elegant, and ergonomic, these bowls are handmade in the USA and Canada and perfect for Ramen and any number of yummy dishes.

My Cuppa Coffee

Get the perfect cuppa coffee every morning by using this clever, color-matching mug. Options include everything from a standard “regular” to an extra-strong “builder’s brew”.

*Coink! Key Chain Piggy Bank

Saving money just got easier and cuter. Silicone Mini Key Chain Piggy banks from Japan provide the perfect place to stash some extra coins.

Flight 001 Eye Masks

A must after working the night shift, these soft and lightweight eye masks block out light and feature a comfortable wide elastic strap with a Velcro closure.

Studio Manhattan Wallets

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere…it’s all about urban survival. One of the other things you learn is the value of a buck. For whatever little cash you do carry, you can store it stylishly in these one-of-a-kind wallets featuring photographs by Ayhan Kimsesizcan. Printed on leather and handcrafted in NYC.

The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex

No matter what city you’re living and dating in, it’s a jungle out there! Luckily, the authors of the bestselling Worst-Case Scenario series have created the most comprehensive handbook for surviving the wilds d’amour.

The 7th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design is nearing the end of its run, but these books continue the experience of our favorite shows.

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era By Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis

The world is changing and so is life at Downton Abbey. An evocative combination of story, history, and behind-the-scenes drama, brings fans even closer to the secret, beating heart of the house.

A History of Weapons: Crossbows, Caltrops, Catapults & Lots of Other Things that Can Seriously Mess You Up by John O’Bryan

Comedy writer and weapon nerd John O’Bryan relays the freaky highlights of man’s centuries-old obsession with weaponry. Perfect for fans of Game of Thrones.

Liberace: Your Personal Fashion Consultant by Michael and Karan Feder

FIDM alumna, Karan Feder with husband Michael Feder examines the style of Liberace, the globally renowned pianist.

Picturing Las Vegas by Linda Chase

Through colorful photographs and firsthand narrative detail, Picturing Las Vegas tells the story of a city whose history mirrors that of America itself: a tale of the frontier, of corruption and greed, of beauty and loss and ineffable hope.

My Country by Melanie Dunea

My Country features fifty great country music icons, from old-timers to the new generation, revealing their thoughts about God, America, and their favorite songs. Great for fans of Nashville and Ring of Fire.

The World of Department Stores by Jan Whitaker

Mr. Selfridge, on Masterpiece Theatre, offered a fascinating view of the origins of the finest department stores the world has ever seen, and the flamboyant entrepreneur and showman founder.

For these items and more, visit the FIDM Museum Shop for a fabulous selection of one-of-a-kind jewelry, amazing treasures, and exclusive gifts. See why we have won Downtown LA’s Best Unique Store for three consecutive years.


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