We Tracked Down Where to Buy Almost Every Outfit From 'Sweet Magnolias'

Elizabeth Fallin
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix

From Country Living

If you, like everyone else it seems, have been watching the Netflix hit show Sweet Magnolias, which is set in the fictional Southern town of Serenity, South Carolina, chances are you've been struck by the spot-on wardrobe choices for Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue (not to mention they're equally colorful Southern expressions!). Because we simply needed to know where Maddie (Joanna Garcia) gets all of her dresses, and that cute pink jumpsuit, like, immediately, we tracked down Cameron Dale, the show's costume designer, to talk about what it's like working on the wildly popular series, how she develops each character's looks and outfits, and—most important—where we can buy those pieces for ourselves. (By the way, if you're curious, or short on time, Episode 5 is our favorite when it comes to the fashion.) Here, some fun facts about Cameron, the series, and how she worked her way up to what sounds like an absolute dream job.

This isn't her first Southern series.

While studying at Parsons School of Design in New York City, Cameron landed an internship on The Nanny Diaries, which she says opened a lot of doors, including, eventually, a job as costume designer on the last two seasons of Hart of Dixie, another show set in a fictional Southern town (in this case, Bluebell, Alabama). Because Sweet Magnolias is set in Serenity, South Carolina—a fictional town near Charleston—Cameron spent ample time people-watching in the coastal Southern town. "It's such a cute stylish city, and it really dictated the direction of each character's style," she says. "Southerners love their pastels, florals, and bright colors—and so do I!"

She has a real weakness for dresses.

Cameron admits she has a soft spot for this wardrobe staple, and with so many Sunday-after-church scenes, there are plenty of dresses to be found in Serenity. (Mary Vaughn Lewis, the mayor's wife, is also a dress enthusiast.) Some of the dress brands seen on the show include Antonio Melani, Rebecca Taylor, Tender Loving Care, Love Shack Fancy, Diane von Furstenberg, and DUBGEE by Whoopi Goldberg. (Don't worry, we'll get around to some of the nitty gritty specifics below.)

Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix

She knew about that season finale from the beginning.

"With so many shows I've designed, you get the script the week before you shoot it and it's a gigantic crunch to wardrobe everyone—from the lead actors to every single background actor," says Cameron. "I was insanely lucky to know the key plot elements of the entire season from the get-go, and knowing the story points in advance allowed me and my amazing crew to prep in advance and thoughtfully plan out the character's arcs. I was spoiled."

Clothes help move the story forward.

As Cameron notes above, you can see how characters develop through their clothing choices. Maddie, for example, initially lives in jeans, because "first and foremost she is a busy mom, says Cameron. "But we see her style blossom as she falls in love with Cal." (Think more flirty dresses and flouncy tops.) Cameron worked with show runner Sheryl Anderson on Helen's "city chic" aesthetic. "We talked about Helen picking up much of her wardrobe on her travels to big cities," says Cameron of the high-powered lawyer's looks. "Helen also has a weakness for designer shoes, which was so much fun to shop. Hearing that a character has a thing for designer shoes is pretty much a dream for a designer like me." Finally, Cameron notes that Dana Sue's wardrobe hints to her "wild child past" with edgy belted dresses paired with booties. "She's also a car junkie and a badass chef, so giving her an edgier style made sense." The actors "absolutely do" get to weigh in, by the way. "It's a complete collaboration," says Cameron, who says generally she has a phone conversation with each actor prior to a fitting and sends along their character's mood board before discussing ideas.

She's partial to certain looks.

It should come as no surprise that the costume designer's favorite look for each character involves—you guessed it!—a dress. "I really loved Maddie's short and flirty dress for her date with Cal. She really brings it for that date! It's so sexy and flirty and a huge departure from her go-to jeans and T-shirts," says Cameron. Her other two favorites come from opening night at the spa. "I loved Helen's striped dress with mustard headband. Her shoes were bedazzled Dolce and Gabbana heels that I still have dreams about," she says. As far as Dana Sue, it's the brown polka dot number from the same night. "Those sleeves made a fun fashion statement—and she looked 6 feet tall!"

She'll spill the beans!

No, not about who was in the car. (Sorry!) We asked Cameron to share the specific brands behind some of our favorite looks in Season One—and, lucky you, some of the clothes featured in the show are still in stores! (Still, if your favorite item is sold out most places, don't forget to check out the brands for similar styles, as well as popular resale sites like PoshMark, eBay and The Outnet.)

Here goes:

Episode 1, aka "The One with Helen's Tomato Red Shirtdress"
Helen's colorful silk dress is the Avery tie-front by Diane von Furstenberg and you can add it to your wish list here. In the same episode Maddie wears a peach tie-dye-looking T-shirt by Monrow.

Episode 2, aka "The One with Maddie's Cute Striped Sweater"
The orange- and red-striped sweater with vintage-y charm is by Mother. (Her other striped sweater in the episode is by Joie.)

Episode 3, aka "The One With Maddie's Ruffle Top"
When she and Bill discuss a baseball custody agreement with Cal, Maddie is wearing a ruffled "Tilda" top from LoveShackFancy.

Episode 4, aka "The One With Helen's Other Orange Shirtdress"
Helen's striking dress is the Ashley Tie-Waist by Cremieux. Maddie's blue embroidered blouse from the episode is the "Letters to Juliet" top by Free People.

Episode 5, aka "The One Where Every Character Really Brings the Fashion"
Where to start?! There are so many good outfits in this episode. As the friends prep for the spa opening—remember that "I'm-not-chainsawin'" scene?—Maddie's cute chambray skirt-eyelet top combo is a blouse by dRA and a button-down skirt by Madewell. (It's sold out, but this one's similar.) In the same episode, Mary Vaughn sports a colorful checkered dress by Gal Meets Glam (shown above) that we've seen on a few resale sites. Later, for the spa opening party, Maddie's floral asymmetrical dress is by Likely, Helen's striped dress is Alice and Olivia (with bedazzled Dolce and Gabbana heels!), and Dana Sue's polka dot dress is the "Lucienne" dress by Maeve by Anthropologie. Over at the baseball fundraiser, Mary Vaughn wears a dress by Antonio Melani.

Episode 6, aka "The One Where Maddie Brings It On Her Date with Coach Cal"
The smoke-show of a mini dress—also known as "Bill Who?" is by LoveShackFancy, a brand known for its flirty floral styles.

Episode 7, aka "The One With the Adorable Button-Down Blue Dress"
When the Townsends and Lewises meets with Coach Cal to talk about his, ahem, new conflict of interests, Maddie's blue dress—those pockets! those buttons!—is by HVN Label.(For the record, this dress—see below—is the very dress that inspired us to go down this whole show-wardrobe rabbit hole in the first places.)

Episode 8, aka "The One With the 'Damn, Girl' Navy Dress"
When Maddie preps for another date with Cal with her friends by her side, the inky blue dress that makes Dana Sue say "Damn, girl" and Helen nod her head and say "That poor man" is the Tous Les Jours Alix Dress by Cinq a Sept.

Episode 9, aka "The One with the Cute Pink Jumpsuit"
Can't you just feel Maddie regaining her confidence when she sports that don't-mess-with-me pink jumpsuit by Frame? This one's also pretty cute.

Episode 10, aka "The One with the Romantic Ruffled Blouse"
When Maddie sends her son Tyler off to prom, she's wearing the Poppy Fields blouse by La Vie by Rebecca Taylor and jeans by Madewell.

More Ways to Sweeten Up Your Wardrobe

Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix

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