FitzSimmons Style on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

By Joe Kucharski - March 4, 2014

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is one of the hottest new shows on television, and FitzSimmmons are a huge part of that popularity. The nerdy duo of Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), engineer, and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), bio-chemist, are new to the field, work in sync, and rock some incredible style. Costume designer Ann Foley brilliantly layers small patterns and interesting pieces, expertly dressing the two best-dressed geeks of this generation!

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Iain and Elizabeth about the role of style for their characters and in their own lives.

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "Seeds" -  ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE [Shirt - Sea, Jacket- rag & bone]

IAIN DE CAESTECKER [Shirt- Barneys NY, Tie- Alexander Olch, Cardigan- Ted Baker]

Tyranny of Style: How would you describe your own personal style?

Iain De Caestecker: “I'm not the sort of person that puts on new clothes every day; I'm quite happy wearing the same t-shirt for several days. I'll get attached to something and wear it to death, then get rid of it. I prefer something that's worn-in: even if I buy something that's brand new, I'll usually shove it in the wash before I wear it. I usually buy a lot of vintage stuff because I like something that feels like it's got a bit of history.”

Elizabeth Henstridge: “I guess I'm quite classic in the pieces that I like. I think fashion is made to express yourself, but also to just have fun with it so I don't like to take things too seriously. My recent obsession is gold sneakers; for some reason I just gravitate to them. I don't necessarily like to dress too provocatively; it's just not really my thing but I like anything with classic lines and a bit of personality to it. I think the main thing is to have fun, because what's the point otherwise?”

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "Seeds" - ABC Television Network. (ABC/Justin Lubin) ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE

T/S: Can you tell me a little bit about working with costuming at the beginning of the series and how it helped you create your character?

Iain: "I quite liked the idea at the start of him not being very aware of his own style - being a bit of a mismatch in some ways as if there's an intent where he's been dressed by his Mom or by Simmons. There's a certain level of smartness they adhere by, being in a S.H.I.E.L.D. unit. They also weren't dressed like some of the other characters, in tactical gear, because they weren't really supposed to be out in the field. The word “quirky” is used a lot for the two of them: I suppose Fitz and Simmons are colorful characters. They're quite excitable and they've got a lot of energy and in that way the costumes help inhabit that.”

Elizabeth: "It's a huge part of how Simmons expresses herself; I think it's a big part of how anyone expresses themself, whether they realize it or not. It was definitely a work in progress from the beginning; it took us a while to find her style and to find her character. When you start any new job, especially on a Pilot when all of the characters are new, the writers and costuming are trying to find the characters at the same time you are. You can go through some very winding roads, but I think we definitely got there in the end. Costume is so important- it dictates how you move, how you feel, what position your character stands in. The difference between wearing heels and wearing boots is huge for an actor in how you feel grounded, and how you would walk. It's an enormous part, and really it dictates how people react to you as well. That process with Ann was just really fun, because she’s so creative and has such a high level of style intelligence. She puts things together in a way that just you would never think of. We'd be in the room for hours trying on loads of different combinations.  She’s a perfectionist: she didn't stop until we were all happy and we all felt like we had found Simmons as a character. As an actor, that’s incredibly comforting to know that she really cares about these characters and about us as actors being comfortable too.”

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "Yes Men" - ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

IAIN DE CAESTECKER [Shirt- Theory, Tie- Nieman Marcus, Cardigan- APC]

T/S: How has FitzSimmons’s style evolved over the course of the season?

Elizabeth: "I think that we've been allowed to take more risks. I think that everyone's slightly tentative at the start of the season. You don't want to scare the audience. We're all excited about these characters, but we've known them for longer. By the time we start shooting, we've all auditioned with them, we've all written a history for them, but the audience is seeing them for the first time, so you can't come out with something too extreme. I think looking at her outfit from the pilot to what we're shooting now, Simmons has become a lot more expressive. I just love the fact that she's a woman and she wears a tie, which doesn't seem like a big deal, but, if you look back you just don’t see many female characters who can wear traditionally masculine ensembles, so that was a huge kind of win for us and for Ann. Simmons is allowed to show a strong feminine side that's usually seen as masculine, without drawing attention; that's just what she likes to wear. The show is getting darker, and that is reflected in the costumes with a lot of darker colors.”

Iain: "The great thing that Ann's done as we've gotten into the show and the characters have matured and experienced many different things, is she’s found a way to mature the costumes along with us, which has been very useful. Even in terms of Fitz being in tactical gear, he has his own style, because really he's not in the field on the same level as characters like Agents Ward or May. That's been a really big help.”

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "T.A.H.I.T.I." - ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

IAIN DE CAESTECKER [Jacket- RLX, Pants- G Star]

T/S: How would you describe working with Ann?

Iain: "It's great. She's very open to my opinion. If I don't like something, she won't use it, so there's a lot of safety there though I think Ann just knows better than I do a lot of the time. I get quite nervous sometimes about my wardrobe and she just says 'trust me' and it all works out. It's a collaboration every time you go in and she knows how to get everything going. It's been a bit of a process, to fade a bit of a mature side in and she's done that without me being very aware, but it shows. We've been very lucky. I've been very lucky.”

Elizabeth: "She’s the best at what she does. We are so lucky to have her and to be able to work with her. Some people speak in very high fashion; it's all about the clothes and it's not really about the person in the clothes. Ann somehow manages to mix the very high fashion labels with High Street stuff, and communicates with us as actors on a level that we understand. She's a real team player. I absolutely love costume fittings to see what new outfits she has put together. It is just fascinating watching her work, seeing all the different combinations though I also hate it because I feel the need to go buy all the things that she puts Simmons in because it is so cute! Luckily I don't have too much time to go shopping!”

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "T.A.H.I.T.I." -  ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE [Dress- Alice + Olivia, Cardigan- Kate Spade]

IAIN DE CAESTECKER [T-shirt- James Perse, Plaid shirt- J.Crew, Jacket- rag & bone, Jeans- Levi's]

T/S: So, then, are their elements of Simmons’ style that have bleed over into your own wardrobe?

Elizabeth: "Oh, for sure, yeah. I think the great thing is that Simmons does wear a lot of really accessible pieces, but sometimes the way she puts them together are what make her kind of quirky. I would say that my style definitely differs from Simmons in some of the ways she puts it together, but there are individual pieces I would definitely wear. I think my favorite blouse she's worn was in an episode called "The Well:” an Equipment floral collared blouse that I'm obsessed with. I’ve learned what jeans fit me now: an American brand called Paige is my current favorite and then Rag & Bone make great jeans that Simmons wears as well as the J. Crew stuff she puts her in – I could go on forever! It's definitely an education every time I go in for a fitting, which is great, because different designers suit different shapes of women.”


PAIGE Women's Jimmy Jimmy Skinny Jean

(Worn by Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, various episodes)

rag & bone - High Rise Skinny Stretch Jeans 

(Worn by Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, various episodes)

Alice + Olivia - Dani Drop-Waist Dress

(Worn by Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, Episode 13 - "T.R.A.C.K.S.")

Kate Spade - Sofia Cardigan

(Worn by Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, Episode 13 - "T.R.A.C.K.S.")

T/S: Have you felt Fitz’s style carry over at all into how you dress?

Iain: "I suppose not. I don't really dress that smart day to day. Maybe I should be a lot better? (laughs) There are things like some of the jumpers and sweaters and cardigans and things that I would wear, but for me it is quite nice to be able to separate yourself from the character as much as you can. In general, Fitz's dress sense is a bit different than mine which is nice because then when you put on the costume, you feel like it enters you into that world a bit more.”

Ted Baker - Jowalk Cable Knit Cardigan

(Worn by Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Episode 12- "Seeds")

rag & bone - Lightweight Utility Jacket

(Worn by Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Episode 13- "T.R.A.C.K.S.")

J.Crew - RUSTIC MERINO V-NECK ELBOW-PATCH SWEATER

(Worn by Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Episode 14- "T.A.H.I.T.I.")

rag & bone Woven Silk Tie Port 

(Worn by Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Episode 14- "T.A.H.I.T.I.")

rag & bone - RB15 - INDIGO SELVAGE

(Worn by Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Episode 14- "T.A.H.I.T.I.")

Theory Plaid Sport Shirt - Slim Fit

(Worn by Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Episode 15- "Yes Men")

T/S: Do you have certain costume pieces that have helped you most in becoming the character?

Iain: "We've had some very cool cardigans and jackets that I quite like wearing. I think they suit Fitz. There's quite a few of them actually which I think are quite cool.”

Elizabeth: "A huge part of Simmons as a character is she wears these little Marc Jacobs boots that are almost like wingtips. They are a huge part of how she moves, because they're kind of clunky and heavy. They really help me to feel grounded if it’s a nervous day on set or there's a lot going on; I put her little boots on and I feel like I could climb a mountain! I think as an actor, footwear has a big part because it dictates how grounded and secure you feel. Simmons has worn so many cute things, like this big houndstooth turtleneck sweater. I mean, I hadn’t worn a turtleneck since I was probably 8 years old and Ann picks out this turtleneck and I think to myself 'Are you sure about this?' Then, when I put it on, it just looks so chic and comfy. I just like that Simmons isn't afraid to go properly old school, but kind of quirky yet classic at the same time. I just really like how the clothes Ann puts her in are very clean and simple, but then they've got little twists. For example, she'll have a shirt and tie on, but the shirt will have polka dots on it and the tie will be conservative navy blue, and then she'll put a little jumper over it that's got a rose on it. It's got a lot of personality to it without trying too hard.”

 

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "The Well"-  ABC Television Network. (ABC/Danny Feld)

ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE [Blouse- Equipment, Necklace- Karen Karch]

IAIN DE CAESTECKER [Shirt- Band of Outsiders, Tie- Alexander Olch, Sweater- Gant]

T/S: What has been the most enjoyable part of working on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Iain: "This sounds made up, but it's probably just that everyone gets on so well on set. Everyone comes in always says 'wow, it’s strange how well you all get on' and we really do. I think Clark very early on set the tone for being on set: no egos or arguments or tantrums. We have a lot of good fun and we work really hard. We want to do our best for the fans of the show. The crew work way harder than they have to, but everyone goes that extra mile. It's been a really great environment to work in. We all hang out off set as well with the producers and the writers. I've been very very lucky to make so many friends.”

Elizabeth: "I think the team atmosphere. I love anything where you feel connected to your cast mates. I think my favorite aspect of the show is that the characters have each others’ back. Even though they have their differences, they really love each other. I think especially with Simmons and Skye- I think it's easy to make two young women in a show dislike each other and they don't! There's no bitchiness between them and that's something that's refreshing as a young woman to be able to play a character that doesn't need to dress provocatively or be rude to a girl just because she's another girl."

Check out the incredible style, acting, and action on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. every Tuesday night at 8/7c on ABC!