Dressing the Delta Nu’s : “Legally Blonde”

Since I just wrote a post about costuming Serena, it seems like I may as well cover the other  Delta Nu’s.  This post is more illustrative of what I did . . no great upcycles here.

The Delta Nu Outfits

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I dressed the Delta Nu’s in shades of teal & coral.  They were obtained from a combination of clearance sale, thrift store and consignment store.

Kate is wearing the argyle sweater vest and pleated skirt.  The skirt was remodeled from a long 80’s era A-line skirt.  It has a simple elastic waist, yoke, and shallow pleats.  She wears an outfit that is a little on the “nerdy” side, including the socks, as she is portrayed as the “brains” of the Delta Nu’s.

She carries her “What You Want” supplies of books, timer & composition book in a tote bag with “DN” on it (simple applique of felt on a thrift store bag).

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The three main Delta Nu’s are dressed in solid colors, and in the main colors of teal & coral.  When we did Costume Preview Night I did not have this combination.  The coral was missing, and in its place was a paler mint green dress.  It looked good on the costume rack in that combination, but not at all on stage.  The style of dress was also way too conservative.  This coral dress was the result of a quick stop at a local consignment store.

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The girls are wearing a variety of shoes.  I told them that since they knew what their costume looked like, and they knew what they needed to do in their shoes, they could wear whatever of their own shoes they wanted (and a few borrowed character shoes).

The cost of the outfits ranges from $3 to $15, which the majority being in the $8-10 range.

“What You Want”

The Delta Nu’s follow Elle to Harvard to help her present her “personal essay” to the admissions board.  The Delta Nu’s joined her either as Cheerleaders, Dancers or “University” students.

 

Cost:  The cheer outfits cost about $6, plus $2 for the flag; dancers $8, yellow sweatshirts donated, heat press cut-outs were about $1 (pom poms were borrowed)

Greek Chorus

I chose to do the Greek Chorus in bright whites and silver sequins.  I had seen it done in shades of white including creams. as well as whites with shades of gray, and I didn’t like either of those.  Once I knew we would be doing this show I made a point to pick up summer clearance stuff as I saw it, knowing that it might be hard to find white clothes, especially pants and short skirts, in January & February.  I went with silver sequins because 1)  I like bling 2) my daughter likes bling and 3) I think Elle would like bling.

legally blonde thursday rehearsal 416 (1)

I was picky and only used sliver sequins on a white background.  I really liked how these costumes looked against the black curtain which was used as the backdrop for “Positive”.  A few of the white ensembles had no sequins on them, and I added a combination of silver string sequins and/or heat fix gems to give them a little bit of sparkle under the lights.    The girls wore whatever white or silver shoes they had, or tan character shoes.

The three main Delta Nu’s appear in several scenes without the rest of the girls.

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Cost:  This varied greatly.  The individual pieces ranged from 50 cents to $8.

In the song “Chip on my Shoulder” the Delta Nu’s make brief appearances to help illustrate the passage of time.

For the Thanksgiving themed portion I made assorted wreaths for their heads.  I found fall leaves, feathers, ribbon, and wire in the 90% off clearance section at Hobby Lobby.  I combined this with  some tulle and some Thanksgiving themed hats I happened to find on clearance at Walmart.  They carried a large calendar that said “November“.

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For the Christmas portion I collected a variety of holiday themed clothing items from thrift stores, including headbands, hats, a red satin jacket and a beaded vest.  I was lucky enough to have some red skirts left over from a Dance Team costume purge, and supplemented this with a red cheer skirt for Serena.  And of course, they carried a large calendar that said “December” as well as the Hanukkah flag.

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The cost for these Holiday add-ons was minimal.  The fall wreaths were around $10.  The Christmas items were around $25.

The final outfit for the Greek Chorus are white sweatshirts that spell out “ELLE WOODS” on the back.  These appear at the close of the first act in “So Much Better”.

I found an online source that had the sweatshirts for sale at about  $6 each.  We cut out large black letters out of felt and sewed them to the back.  We sewed these 1/2 on the hood and 1/2 below.

This way, when the girls turned around in the dance you couldn’t see the letters.

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In the course of the choreography they put their hoods up:

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And when they turned around, they revealed the words.

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Overall . .this worked really well.

 

“Legally Blonde Remix”

The last appearance of the Greek Chorus is in the “Bend & Snap”.   The next time they reappear they are as Delta Nu’s and are coming to support Elle following her incident with Callahan.  Our choreography for “Legally Blonde Remix” included dividing the cast into groups of “Parade Folk” and “Harvard Types”.  The Parade Folk group included many of the Delta Nu’s,  in their original outfits.

The three main Delta Nu’s join singing “We came to see, our President be ‘Legally Blonde'”.  I chose to initially costume these girls in matching traveling outfits . . sort of a stereotypical twist on sorority girls dressing alike.  Elle does not match them, and so I hoped this added to the impression that she has moved beyond “what [she] was before”.  Not only in clothing, but also in distance.  The DN girls also carry matchy-matchy Delta Nu bags.

 

I chose to costume the three girls in pink outfits for the closer to show support for Elle.  These three outfits were purchased on clearance and the dresses were all shortened.   The DN symbols are made with felt and outlined with string sequins.  I sewed them on, but they could have been pinned or glued.

The girls greet Elle:

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They join her for the Irish Dance.  Note the more professional length of Elles’ dress compared to the short DN dresses.

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The girls also stick out like sore thumbs in the court room (complete with their coffees) and irreverent attitudes.  “Oh Snap”.

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Cost:  Jackets $8ish, dresses $5-10, bags $4

Suggestions for a tighter budget than mine:

If I were costuming this on a tighter budget I think I would try and do “DN” sorority letter clothes.  You could find thrift store shirts or even cheap t-shirts in either one color or a couple coordinating colors, and add cut out (or painted) “DN” insignia.  Greek letter fonts are easily found online and some can be downloaded for free.   I had fully intended to supplement what I had found for the sorority girls with Delta Nu wear, until the cast list came out and there were fewer DN’s than I thought there might be.  If you have a friendly print shop in your town, they might cut you a deal for either exposure in the program, or just because you are working with the school.  The one in my town is locally owned and operated and extremely supportive and willing to help non-profits and volunteers do stuff on a reduced budget.

Of course, asking the cast members to provide their own clothes is another option.  I am always reluctant to let them use their own shirts due to the risk of getting makeup on them . . as it can be almost impossible to get out of certain fabrics.  It only takes one irate phone call from a hyped-up mom to stop the “wear your own clothes” option.

The most relatively expensive part of my Greek Chorus outfits were the silver sparkles.  I did have to purchase some pieces that were a bit more than I had hoped, just because I needed them.  The plain white portions were inexpensive.

It would also be cute to have white DN wear, possibly even making the “DN” in a color like light pink, or gray.  Craft t-shirts would be inexpensive, or thrift store men’s dress shirts and if you bought them large enough they could be transformed into tunics or dresses.

The “Chip on my Shoulder” accessories can be as simple or elaborate as you want.  Cheap holiday package bows would make cute headbands, or the girls could carry gift bags/wrapped boxes, or maybe carry a long piece of garland between them.  Cardboard pilgrim hats or collars would also work, and fleece/felt in either fall colors or Christmas colors could work for either Holiday to make, for example, scarves or mittens.

The “Elle Woods” on the back can be left out, or, the choreography could be planned so that the girls never turn around.  Then you could cut the letters out and attach them with pins or velcro just for that scene.

Obviously, the final outfits for the main three DN’s could be eliminated.

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The Delta Nu’s/Greek Chorus are a lot of fun to costume, and there are so many possible ways to do it!  Have fun costuming your show!

One thought on “Dressing the Delta Nu’s : “Legally Blonde”

  1. Pingback: Dressing Serena in ‘Legally Blonde’ | costumecrazed

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