EW talks to David Robinson, the film's wardrobe designer, about the outfits created for Watson and her costars

By Nuzhat Naoreen
August 31, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

Costume changes were an important part of telling the coming-of-age story in this indie film (out Sept. 21), set in Pittsburgh in the early ’90s. ”Sam is searching for who she is,” says wardrobe designer David Robinson. ”There’s definitely a [plot] arc in her closet.” Using mainly thrift-store finds, Robinson created more than 500 outfits for Watson and her costars. ”It was epic,” he says. ”The Ben Hur of high school movies.”

Perfect Fit
”[Emma] is tiny, so everything had to be scaled down,” Robinson says of tailoring pieces like this vintage silk frock to look like it was made for the diminutive actress. Why does shrinking violet Sam wear such a standout dress in this scene? ”Charlie [Logan Lerman] is in love with her, so making her look sexy helps the audience see what he sees.”

Back to School
For some, this pleated kilt may conjure memories of Watson in the role that made her famous, but Robinson insists the schoolgirl look is more Twin Peaks than Harry Potter. ”Sam wears hers with a sleeveless red cashmere sweater, which is not a Hermione move,” he says.

Varsity Blues
Robinson used Wallflower writer-director Stephen Chbosky’s own letterman jacket as the model for the ones worn by the film’s characters. ”Sam wears it throughout the movie,” says Robinson. ”[It] hearkens back to her earlier high school career, when she was aspiring to be the popular girl.”