Wardrobe Supervisor | Kids Work!

What is a Wardrobe Supervisor?

The wardrobe supervisor selects and fits costumes for cast members according to the types of characters to be portrayed. Depending on the size of the show, the wardrobe supervisor may hire and manage assistants or dressers to help with the production. Organizing and maintaining the costume inventory is also the responsibility of the wardrobe supervisor. When different styles are required, the supervisor rents costumes from suppliers or orders new ones from a costume designer. The wardrobe supervisor takes measurements and makes minor costume alterations or repairs. When major alterations, repairs and cleaning are needed, the supervisor contracts out to vendors who provide these services. Learn more about some of the show props.

Real People Profile

Name: Roberta Souder Langhofer
Workplace: Disney's Beauty and the Beast U.S. National Tour  
Education: Bachelor of Arts in dance,
Butler University
Favorite Subject(s) in School: Physiology, geography and all dance classes
First Real Job: Dancer at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera
Dream Job: This may be it!
Interests: Raising Iris, reading mysteries, physical exercise of most kinds

Real People Q&A

Advice for students interested in my job: 
Learn to sew and develop common sense

What subjects in school will students need to do my job?
Public speaking, math, theater and music classes

What I like most about my job?
That applause you hear every night after a show when the cast is out on stage. Of course the applause is for their performance, but their performance wouldn't be as beautiful without our costumes.

What is the biggest challenge in my job? 
With this particular show, the biggest challenge is to try to predict when a costume is going to need to be replaced. In other words, how long is it going to take a costume to, as we call it, die. Sometimes that is six months and sometimes that's up to a year. It takes up to six months to make a costume, so I have to look into the future and think how long it's going to last and when I should think about asking to have one made. They are rather expensive, some of these costumes, so it's not just pick up the phone and say, "I need a new costume." It's not that easy.

How do you get a job like mine?
I feel that I was lucky. I really was a dancer in a previous life and I was able to transition into this field. I'm still working in live theater and working with dancers. I'm just behind the stage instead of on the stage. I had a friend who was a dancer, working as a dresser on a show in Los Angeles and she said, "We need more dressers." I said, "I can put costumes on and off a person." So, that was my first job in the wardrobe department. I sent my resume out to become a wardrobe assistant. After I did that job, I sent my resumes out to be a wardrobe supervisor and I got one.