Fashion lessons from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

I’ve been hooked to The Hunger Games series since I first read the books four years ago. Fashion has played a key role in the films, highlighting the contrast between the impoverished District 12 folks and the privileged Capitol dwellers. Jennifer Lawrence’s costumes (she plays Katniss Everdeen) make a significant and often startling statement about her background, her situation and her firebrand nature.

Mockingjay poster

In Mockingjay Part 1, the rebellion is gaining strength and Panem is on the brink of civil war. The costumes in the movie contribute greatly to the mood of the film and there are plenty of style inputs for everyone, if you watch closely. Here are my top fashion lessons from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

Androgyny can be good.

Everyone in District 13 (where most of the action takes place) has to wear standard-issue grey shirts and pants, so the women seem devoid of curves. But there’s a pragmatic touch here. The multiple pockets add a functional element, the outfits are designed for practicality (a woman wouldn’t want to get evacuated while worrying about her flying skirt), and the high-waisted pants are flattering and comfortable. So ladies, why not give androgyny a serious shot?

Mockingjay Gael

Always, always, always personalise your look.

Personalising doesn’t always mean adding your initials to cuffs or ripping your jeans. It could mean a small detail that only you notice or a noticeable accessory. For example, the cold and calculating rebellion leader Alma Coin (played by Julianne Moore) wears her standard-issue ensemble with her top button fastened, while Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) keeps it unbuttoned. Effie (Katniss’s stylist- Elizabeth Banks) is dissatisfied with the military-style clothing (she calls the outfits “jumpsuits”), but she personalizes her look with a printed turban, or by wearing long shirts as dresses. Cressida (Natalie Dormer) has a half-shaved head with a tattoo snaking down her scalp, shoulder and arm. What could be more striking than that?

Natalie Dormer Mockingjay

Effie Elizabeth Banks Mockingjay Part 1

Develop a memorable trademark look or style.

While appearances are often deceptive, they are also the most impactful. If you show consistency in your look, it reinforces your personality and your public image. For instance, while on the brink of war, President Snow speaks to the nation looking well-groomed, calm, composed, and dressed in his luxury suits. While Caesar (TV host played by Stanley Tucci) asks questions about violence with his trademark backcombed hairdo and flamboyant styling intact. People will always remember how you’ve been dressing, so even a slight deviation is likely to be noticed and can lead to confusion or doubt.

Caesar Mockingjay Part 1

Accessorizing is crucial.

Accessorizing is not just about jewellery. The Mockingjay (Jennifer Lawrence) in action is never seen without her bow and arrow, while her close friend Gael is always with his crossbow. Effie ensures she is wearing at least one of her accessories, such as hand ornaments or cuffs, while Philip Seymour Hoffman is always with a messenger bag. Whatever your tools are, trade or otherwise, you need to make them visible so people can identify your personality traits. For example, at a job interview, would you rather be seen carrying a dark leather folder or an Angry Birds file?

Film Still 1 Mockingjay Part 1

Most important: What you wear says a lot about who you are.

For Katniss, the key accessory of her exclusive outfit is the Mockingjay pin-it is what makes her the Mockingjay. President Snow’s granddaughter looks up to Katniss and so wears her hair in a plait (like her heroine), and Effie (Katniss’s stylist) feels misplaced without her grandiose wigs. So even if you don’t realize it, your “personal” statement may have a larger impact than you think. You can show your solidarity with a cause, express anger, or protest an ideology with your clothes. Think of ordinary people wearing Modi jackets or caps that state “I am Anna (Hazare)”- they are making a very strong public statement about their ideological choices. So whatever you wear, you are saying something. Choose carefully and wisely.

President Snow Mockingjay Part 1

May the odds be ever in your favour!