Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Worked With Seinfeld's Costume Designers To Create Elaine's Look

What would "Seinfeld" have looked like without Elaine Benes? Julia Louis-Dreyfus's beloved character defied expectations for women onscreen at a time when most were expected to fit one of a few predetermined stereotypes. Her presence on the show elevated it above what it otherwise would have been: a bunch of men yelling opinions nobody asked for. She provided a crucial counterbalance that kept the show on its toes.

Partially, Elaine was such a dynamic character because of the input Louis-Dreyfus had in developing her. Having already worked as a cast member on "SNL" by the time she landed the part, Louis-Dreyfus was more than used to fighting for her ideas in the context of creative collaboration. And one element of Elaine she exerted control over was the character's wardrobe.

In a 2019 interview with Vogue, the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" star said, "I'm afraid I did have a lot of influence on Elaine's outfit." Pointing to a photograph of Elaine in a long-sleeve, mauve sundress with white floral patterning, she continued, "I mean, we had a costume designer for sure, but I mean, for instance, that's the typical floral pattern with the socks and the shoes. I just thought that at the time, I thought, 'There is nothing groovier than this look.'" Perhaps second-guessing the outfit in retrospect, Louis-Dreyfus laughed hysterically.

Louis-Dreyfus picked Elaine's clothes to accommodate her pregnancies

Speaking about Elaine's outfits, Julia Louis-Dreyfus told Vogue that the character's outfits eschewed a showy style in favor of a down-to-earth fierceness, saying, "She definitely dictated her own style, and I think she was not somebody who dressed super sexy. That wasn't her vibe, man. She was kind of didn't need to do that. She was a little tougher." After all, Louis-Dreyfus considered Elaine to be one of the guys.

Additionally, the "Seinfeld" alum noted that those less revealing outfits helped her when shooting the show while pregnant. Louis-Dreyfus has two sons, both born while "Seinfeld" dominated American airwaves, and Elaine's sartorial choices helped to conceal her pregnancies from viewers. "And frankly," she said, "I was pregnant twice during 'Seinfeld,' so all of these oversized clothing — this clothing was very helpful to me as a pregnant person."

While there may have been practical motivations behind some of Elaine's style, the character undeniably had an impact on fashion. Manhattan, the show's setting, is one of the world's fashion capitals, and as noted by The New York Times in 2010, Elaine Benes had a profound impact on women's fashion on the streets of New York City during the '90s, even inspiring designs from Prada and Rebecca Taylor.