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We make no secret of the fact that Hopper's pink and green patterned shirt is an actual obsession of ours. You can now buy a version of it at Hot Topic, but the one from the show was custom-made.
"We found the fabric kind of buried in an old fabric shop in Los Angeles called International Silks and Woolens and bought the rest of their yardage, and then made the shirts," Parris says. Another shirt that already fit David Harbour was used as a template, and five different shirts had to be made due to all the various levels of distress Hopper and his shirt go through during the season.
"There's definitely a moment that we knew we could run out (of fabric), but luckily we didn't," Parris says.
Out of all the many, many shirt fabric choices the team had, this one was chosen for those bright colors.
In terms of colorful outfits, Eleven was perhaps the brightest of all after she gave herself a little bit of a style makeover with help from Max. Eleven's new look, a major departure from the hand-me-downs and flannels she was wearing before, carried through the rest of the season, giving us some of the best looks of all. That new style was a collaboration between Parris and Millie Bobby Brown.
"I really relied on Millie's opinion for that, because we both didn't know what [Eleven's new style] would be, you know? And she has lived the character for two seasons already, so I really relied on her input and I really relied on her telling me how she feels, so if it felt like Eleven we'd continue on with that style or that shape, and if it didn't feel like Eleven we'd move on."
For example, they tried skinny jeans and found that Eleven needed a little bit bigger and bolder silhouette.
"The shirts really worked to give her those bold patterns, because I think a girl who was used to getting hand-me-downs from Hopper and Mike would want to go in the opposite direction of like the dark blue, brown, plaid colors and go into like, bright shapes and patterns."
The best rejects from those fittings with Millie went into the shopping montage at Starcourt Mall, so we could kind of see the process that went on behind the scenes as they tried to perfect Eleven's look.
"There were things that I didn't really like in the fitting that we put in the montage, because it would be fun to see [Millie's] reaction if there were things that she didn't like," Parris says.
The Glamour Studio photoshoot also allowed the team to pull out "the brightest, weirdest, wildest '80s pieces" that wouldn't make sense to use otherwise, since people in Hawkins are not yet the most fashionable, despite the recent arrival of the mall.
"So the pieces that we knew wouldn't work for the show and for the background became the pieces for the montage and the glamour studio...so you can kind of see what it's really like when they're trying on clothing in the fitting, as well."
That Gap store was not, however, exactly accurate to a Gap store in 1985.
"It was a little bit simpler," Parris says of 1985 Gap. "It wasn't as bright and patterned, not as puncy. But to do a montage of Gap clothing back then would have been kind of less exciting."
Parris says they went "super bold" for Eleven's big end-of-the-season look with a shirt they made from scratch and then had to recreate multiple times. This look is a good example of the bigger silhouette they found worked best for Eleven.
Steve got a new job this season, and with that came a uniform that he wore for all but one scene. Parris and her team designed those Scoops Ahoy uniforms from scratch, after Parris did a bit of research on sailor imagery. She said the Duffer brothers were "very serious" about those uniforms.
"They knew they wanted the outfit to be goofy-looking, but something that was appealing to look at it the whole season," Parris says. "So I think we really did a good job of bridging the gap of like, making him kind of embarrassed in the Ahoy hat, but Steve Harrington makes it look really cool. So it's a good mix of like, sexy and embarrassing."
Robin's uniform is different mostly so we didn't have to be staring at two people wearing the same outfit for the entire season.
"I didn't want them to look exactly the same. I didn't want it to be the exact boy vs. girl version, so we gave Steve the red-striped shirt under the blue, Robin gets the vest, her stripes are skinnier and blue instead of red. Her shorts are a little more voluminous and they're also a pleated front, so those little subtle differences make it so you're not bored looking at the same outfit the whole time. And it's just fun to give her the puff sleeve, which was very '80s, very uniform of the time."
You can now buy this swimsuit from H&M, but this is another piece that was made from scratch.
"We had a couple of fittings with Karen Wheeler (Carla Buono) and we kept going a little bit higher, a little bit higher with the leg...because in the '80s, they were so high cut and so we'd have a fitting and then we'd go, I think we can go a little bit higher and then we'd have another fitting and then go, I think it can go higher."
Parris says they worked closely with Buono to make sure that she felt comfortable, but also that the suit was the right shape for the time period.
"Nancy is sort of like a Molly Ringwald, Breakfast Club type, you know," Parris says. "And her and Jonathan are getting into like, new age music and leaning more into the '80s and less of the '70s. So I spent a good two hours combing through Etsy to find that purple dress."
Parris says she added the teal to the top and bottom of the dress to go with "those great teal shoes."
And just like everything else, the dress had to be recreated multiple times, since it's the dress in which Nancy fights those evil, possessed newspaper guys.
"Nancy was fun to get to dress, and it was really nice to see her be a strong kickass girl in a dress," she says. "At one point, I asked, do you want her to be in pants for the fight scene? And they were like, we think it's cooler if she's still in the dress, and I think that was a really good choice.
A few looks this season were bought from current stores, but most had to be altered, like the boys' shorts.
"Some of the boys' shorts are from Target, and then we shortened them so that they feel like they're more from the '80s, so there were times we'd have to rely on purchased items that feel like they could be '80s or made to look more '80s, but ideally you want to use the real thing, and when we can't use the real thing we make it.
The very end of the season takes place a couple of months later, when summer is over. The Byers are moving, and everything's gone a little dark and rusty again.
"You can tell the leaves are changing and it's a little bit after, and so the boys are back in pants, you can tell it's almost fall," Parris says. "So it's starting to get a little chillier, the clothing is less bright, we kind of knocked it all down a bit more, make the colors more muted, just to make it feel a little more similar to the first two seasons, just to connect it back to what we've been seeing...So it was nice to have a shift change completely in the clothing, and just the feel of the show."