By Mandi Bierly
Updated December 12, 2012 at 08:28 PM EST
Credit: Alan Markfield/Warner Bros

The clothes can’t take all the credit for making us see Zac Efron as a sexy leading man. He did put on 18½ pounds of muscle for his role as a returning Marine in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Lucky One. But those T-shirts and jeans definitely helped. The film’s costume designer, Dayna Pink, is also responsible for making Ryan Gosling swoonworthy in Crazy, Stupid, Love. “My passion is men’s fashion. So I go to the men’s fashion shows in Paris, I don’t go to the women’s. I just love dressing men. I think that certainly helps me get the films that I have done,” Pink says. “And then there’s the scripts, which I fall in love with when it has to do with dressing a guy. When you’re talking about doing a makeover on Steve Carell from a schlumpy guy to this sophisticated, elegant dresser and taking Ryan Gosling and making him this edgy, fashiony guy — that’s something that I would always want to do.”

Pink reteamed with Carell for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, hitting theaters in March 2013. Carell, Steve Buscemi, and Jim Carrey play Las Vegas magicians, so it could be the craziest thing she’s ever done, she says. But taking a break from her current project — dressing Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline for the bachelor party-themed Last Vegas (they get “super fun and super swanky,” she promises) — Pink was happy to talk about the magic of dressing Efron down.

As told by: Dayna Pink

There’s a whole different dynamic to dressing him, which I found really interesting about that project, because, of course, everybody knows and loves Zac and he’s so handsome, but this was a whole new twist for him. The character’s not a boy, he’s a man. And he’s not just a man, he’s a very strong guy who’s getting out of the military. He’s a little bit rough and tumble, in a way. What would that guy really wear? He’s not gonna have a skinny jean on, he’s gonna have a real old school look to him. He would wear Levi’s — classic cut Levi’s. So we went T-shirt and jeans for him, and let me tell you, there isn’t a man on earth that looks better in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt than Zac Efron, right? [Laughs]

Some of the T-shirts we made ourselves. Even though it’s a T-shirt and it’s simple, you make things fit the way that they need to fit. So it was like, the tighter it is, it doesn’t matter, because he does look good in it, but what would that guy really where? He’s not gonna wear a T-shirt that’s too tight, and he’s not gonna wear a real oversized T-shirt. It was the simplest of costume for him, and yet, at the same time, it was very specific because it was all about fit, and drape, and fabric. His whole wardrobe for that film had to fit into a backpack, because this is a guy who comes back and is traveling and walking across the country. So he had two pairs of pants, he had two pairs of shoes, I think, and he had like four shirts. Usually, you build a closet for a character. Well, his closet has to fit into a backpack, so the pieces were limited, but they were all old, worn, and softened and sort of simple, classic pieces that he looked amazing in because he’s Zac Efron and he looks amazing in everything.

[For the love scene that starts in the outdoor shower], when someone’s gonna get wet, you do consider, “Well, what’s that gonna look like when it’s wet?” because there are things that look good wet, there are things that won’t show water, there are things that will just repel water. You have to think of everything — especially for a woman [Taylor Schilling], because she’s gonna be undressing, so every layer matters.

[The sexy boxer brief shot made the trailer] — how could it not? [Laughs] We didn’t show too much, but because he looks the way he looks, it’s just a sexy shot. It just is. I don’t think there was anything about it that was inappropriate or too much. I think it’s just him wearing something like that is gonna look amazing. I can’t take credit for anything. It’s all Zac. It’s just all what he looks like in clothes. And he is as kind and lovely as you would hope that he would be.

[As for his ability to unsnap a bra with one hand], I would say that it’s a talent that he already had. I don’t know where he learned it, but there weren’t any lessons that were taking place on set, so it was something that he clearly brought to the table along with the rest of his talent. [Laughs]

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