Credit: Universal Pictures

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July 17, 2015

Valli Herman

The line between a lovable mess and just a mess is a thin one, sometimes decided by a hemline.

For the new comedy “Trainwreck,” Costume Designer Leesa Evans found that dressing comic actress Amy Schumer to portray her out of kilter life was an exercise in restraint.

Directed by Judd Apatow, “Trainwreck” stars Schumer as Amy, a commitment-phobic men’s magazine writer who acts on the belief that monogamy is impossible. Then she meets Aaron (Bill Hader), a sports surgeon and good guy who isn’t afraid of commitment.

“The thing about Amy is, she is such a charming and intelligent and funny and honest actress. I just wanted the clothing to portray all those things I knew about her,” Evans said.

For the movie concept to work, audiences have to connect with Schumer.

As Schumer and Evans discussed the character, thoughts quickly turned to tone. “Initially, it was talking about what portrays a girl that, to be true to the title, is a train wreck,” Evans said. “If that girl is too much of a train wreck in terms of her clothing, do you love her?

“That’s the thing we had to figure out. We want to love the character and if she is always dressed inappropriately, I don’t know that you do love that character,” Evans said. “Finding that vulnerability and an honest quality to someone is a very subtle thing.”

Evans found ways to make the look just a little “off.” The skirts were an inch too short for a professional setting; maybe the size is a bit too big, or the sleeves a bit bunchy.

“She was not perfect in everything she wore, or perfect in everything she did. It made it feel just a little bit sloppy and that sloppiness is endearing,” Evans said.

Yet, she is a successful professional. Evans’ favorite outfit was a gray ensemble that Amy wears when she first meets Aaron: a Prada cardigan, a Michelle Mason leather skirt, a Giada Forte camisole and Christian Louboutin boots.

“It’s elegant and pretty on her,” Evans said. “But it’s just a little too short. She still looks incredibly attractive. What’s most attractive about her is that there is this honesty to her that you see in the film. That’s why Bill Hader falls in love with her. She’s not always trying to be perfect.”

“Trainwreck” is now in theaters.

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