Comedy Central’s hilarious hit show Broad City centers around the lives of two broke Brooklynite BFFs, Ilana and Abbi (played by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, both co-creators of the show), as they deal with ridiculous situations in their everyday lives. Imagine the show as a way more believable answer to Sex and the City or a gut-busting alternative to HBO’s Girls.
As BC’s popularity has catapulted, so has the interest in the show’s fashion — you’ll catch the cast members wearing trendy pieces like crop tops, snapbacks, mesh jerseys, and bodycon. The costumes are often a large part of the punchline, but thanks to the show’s costume designer, Staci Greenbaum, the stars’ effortlessly cool style is not only totally relatable, but highly covetable. In honor of tonight’s season finale, we caught up with Greenbaum to discuss the ridiculous fashion moments over the show’s past three seasons (and duh, we asked her to dish on what it was like to work with Hillary Clinton!). Read the interview below.
Ed. note: This post contains mild spoilers and has been edited for length and clarity.
Obvs, we’re obsessed with Ilana’s “Latina” nameplate earrings (and kudos to Jaimé for calling her out on cultural appropriation). Where can we score those?
"I originally found those earrings from a costume stock that we pull from and thought they were perfect. We then had them re-plated at Sackowitz Jewelers in NYC. You can also find similar styles on Etsy."
When Abbi needs to dress for a special occasion, it’s so funny that she always ends up in the same blue bandage dress. Who’s the designer, and how many of those dresses do you have on hand in the wardrobe closet?
"We adore that blue bandage dress! Everyone finds it so hilarious, so Abbi and Ilana scripted it back into multiple episodes. I think repeating clothing is one of the most real things we do on Broad City. The dress is from a site called HotMiamiStyles.com. We originally had three, because if you remember the “The Last Supper” episode, where Abbi carries Ilana out of the restaurant after going into anaphylactic shock, we had a stunt woman there to help out — two for Abbi and one for the stunt. I wish we had more!"
Ilana’s bicycle “hair helmet” is hilarious! What’s the story behind it?
"That was Ilana’s crazy genius at work! The prop and hair department collaborated to put it together. The helmet has different velcro strips of hair to interchange between episodes."
What’s been the hardest episode to dress, and why?
"Episode one of season 3 (titled “Two Chainz”) was really difficult because we shot 60 costumes in one day for the opening montage. I would say it was the biggest hurdle for us to prepare for and execute, but in the end it looked great."
As a costume designer, you often have to create garments from scratch. Is there an original design you’re particularly proud of from the show?
"We make garments when we can, but sometimes we have to create things to work for the script. My favorite would be the white and gold dress that we made for the season’s opening montage. Remember “the dress” where no one could tell if it was black and blue or white and gold? The white dress didn’t exist in real life, so I was really proud with how well it turned out when we made one!"
What are some fan favorites that you’re always asked about?
"Ilana’s fringed fanny pack from Mollypacks (get a similar one here) and her Lego baseball cap from Brick Brick Gear. People also like Abbi’s awesome footwear."
What was working with Hillary Clinton like? Did she show up with her own wardrobe? What was the fashion or approval process like in working with her for BC?
"Hillary has an incredibly busy schedule and was in the midst of campaigning when we shot that scene. Since she was playing herself, I requested that she bring a brightly colored pantsuit and statement jewelry, since that’s her most recognizable go-to look. I love that she opted for Kelly Green — it really stood out and I thought she looked amazing."
In the hysterical nude scenes, the actors' private zones are covered by those blurred censors. Are they really naked under there?
"No, they’re never completely naked on set. We have a menagerie of nude gear and modesty wear so they can be completely comfortable on set. We use nipple petals, skin-toned bandeaus, and thongs, or a Shibue (a strapless, adhesive thong). It’s not the most comfortable, but it does the trick!"
When Abbi accidentally takes too many painkillers in the “Wisdom Teeth” episode, she hallucinates that her Bingo Bronson doll has come to life. Where the hell did you find such a humongous costume?
"We had Bingo Bronson built. I worked with Izquierdo Studio, who built both the stuffed animal and the eight-foot-tall Bingo Bronson for us. He’s made out of fleece and corduroy, and he’s extra snuggly! He’s currently on display at Broad City’s production company offices, JAX Media."
If Vivala readers wanted to dress like Abbi or Ilana, what shops would you recommend to get their look?
"We like to keep their clothes both accessible and realistic for women on a budget. I’d suggest stores like Urban Outfitters, H&M, Topshop, Uniqlo, and Old Navy. We also source local designers in New York and Brooklyn who make special pieces that we feel are “splurge-worthy” and add some individuality and uniqueness. MessQueen New York made some vibrant digitally printed leggings and a custom bathing suit for Ilana. Catbird is an amazing brand that makes beautiful jewelry — Abbi wears their earrings in almost every episode."