You would never call the Gallaghers the most stylish family on the TV block, but that doesn’t mean a lot of time and energy isn’t put into each and every one of their outfits. For most of the past eight seasons, Lyn Paolo has been dressing the Shameless cast and while she admits it’s not glamorous she loves that Fiona and her siblings can still look cool — on a budget.
“It’s easier to paint a pretty picture,” she told Life & Style exclusively. “The challenge of creating Fiona as this cool, fairly fashiony girl living in a world of abject poverty is a very interesting challenge to me. People say to me, ‘Why does Fiona have more than one denim skirt? or ‘How come she has three pairs of jeans?’ Well, she went to the thrift store. In your head, you come up with these reasons why and how these kids can have the clothes.”
Lyn, who also works on shows such as Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, reveals that while the clothing might look worn out everything is bought new and distressed behind the scenes. “You have to be true to the character, true to the story,” she added. “We buy everything new and then we put it in a sand washer or spend hours hand sanding and aging it — breaking everything down so it becomes part of the Gallagher world.”
The allusion of hand-me-downs is central to the styling theme of the show, and Lyn admits that there are still pieces from Season 1 that fans will notice popping up again and again. Cast members will also trade clothing because “that’s what big families do, they share,” she explained.
However, for Season 8 viewers should keep their eye out for subtle changes in Fiona and other family members’ style choices as they come into their own. “There is an evolution this season, and that is reflected in Fiona’s clothes. She has some things that are a little bit nicer because she’s making money… This season is my favorite season so far, it really is.”
Be sure to tune into Shameless Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST on Showtime!