Billy Eichner’s ‘Bros’ Costume Designer Gives Us a Lesson in Timeless Style


HE CAN COME as a surprise for some Brothers will be the first big-budget gay romantic comedy of its kind, starring Billy Eichner as the first openly gay man to co-write and star in a major studio production. For a movie like Brotherswhich features a main LGBTQ+ cast, including from the moment Luke Macfarlanemaking its way to the big screen is a brilliant time to celebrate not only for its portrayal, but also for its hilarious and heartwarming storytelling by great actors in great clothes.

Read more: Luke Macfarlane on Making ‘Bros’

TV shows and movies have the rare ability to visually capture moments in history. Film stills and their subsequent style seen on screen have the potential to be immortalized as references for future generations. Universal Pictures’ scale bringing a movie like Brothers lighting is a big deal when you consider the idea of ​​a cinematic moodboard, Eichner’s character Bobby Leiber alongside the studio’s other leading men, including Daniel Craig as James Bond in the year last no time to die.

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Emmy-winning costume designer and producer Tom Broecker has been at the center of the zeitgeist for decades, having worked with seemingly every celebrity and some of the most iconic characters you’ve seen on screen, from 30 Rock to Saturday Night Live. It makes sense that Broecker was tasked with equipping the world with Brothers, and in doing so, positioning it as a timeless and elegant cast of characters and films. In an interview with Men’s Health, Broecker talks about dressing authentically and getting the classic main man look. Brothers.


Men’s Health: Can you tell us how you approached costume design for ‘Bros’?

Tom Broecker: After having a long conversation with Billy, what’s interesting about this film is the inclusion of the scope of the genre throughout the lineup. If you really start breaking clothes, we as a society have given clothes a gender. We tend to say, “Men wear pants, women wear dresses.” Part of our approach was largely to find clothes from a neutral location. It was all about making people look elegant. These are not caricatures of things. There have been movies and TV shows in the past where the gay person tended to be a bit more flamboyant or became kind of a more comedic visual element. Brothers It was mostly about saying no. These people are real and this is how they dress.

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A dominant theme in Brothers is the appropriation of straight culture into gay culture, particularly gym culture and straight language. How gay people appropriated this on dating sites with things like backwards baseball caps, which were originally identifiers as straight. But I think as we go into the 2020s, it becomes less of that and more, “How do I feel today?” Especially because Brothers takes place in New York, there’s a lot more openness to, “We dress the way we dress. We dress to identify ourselves – not to identify sexuality.

I really felt like I was watching friends in New York on screen. Billy had the perfect version of key wardrobe pieces: the big white oxfords, the knit polo shirts, the coats and the really nice outerwear. There was something relatable and aspirational about it.

Exactly. And that’s what Billy originally said. “I want it to be modern gay like we were.” It’s a great rom-com and rom-coms look great. They are stylish people and interesting people who have interesting jobs. And this is New York and should reflect all its glory. This is what we have tried to highlight.

interview with the brothers' stylist


For decades, you’ve been at the center of so many culturally significant on-screen moments: SNL, 30 Rock.

I had some really amazing opportunities in terms of cultural touchstones and what they mean. It’s such a team effort, this company. Of course, when we started the projects, we didn’t really know what they were going to be in terms of landscape relevance.

On that note, people are calling this movie a historical romantic comedy. You had mentioned that when you got into other projects before, you weren’t really sure the answer would be what it was. I imagine it was a different story in ‘Bros’ with that cast and vision.

You have to say that it is very special. You must be present. Be in the moment. You can’t think about the future. Let people react to it as they want to react to it later. But I knew it was special for me, and I knew it was special for everyone who worked there. That kind of excitement permeated the whole experience. I can’t say enough about the actors. It was like magic to watch them and the warmth that reigned on the set. Luke is a dream boat. He’s such a charming and beautiful actor. Billy is just a dreamboat. Each person was special and unique and interesting that it was just a joy to say, okay, let’s highlight who you are.

Can you tell us how attentive your team was to the LGBTQ+ community throughout filming?

We had a list of LGBTQ+ support businesses with good community relationships. We were aware of certain things before filming, like talking with each of the actors about how they identified and how that identification showed up in the clothes. Were there brands that spoke to them in terms of representation? We had a lot of these kinds of conversations and the actors introduced me to creators that I hadn’t necessarily heard of or explored.

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Most actors know their bodies inside and out, don’t they? They look at it and feel it every day. Sometimes they would say, “Wait, let’s add this thing to this outfit.” I think it will be awesome. I love this kind of interaction with the actors and asking them how they feel. One of my great pleasures in this craft is to work with the actor and create a more fully realized character, to represent where he is in his own journey and where we are at right now.

Were there Easter eggs in the costume? For example, Billy’s glasses change throughout his career: he wears blue glasses and then at the end of the film he wears a turtle pair. Were there messages in these stylistic choices?

We played around with Billy’s character a bit in terms of coloring and season, with his emotional journey, stripping him of some of his color as he wandered off and then finding his way back. He and Luke started swapping colors the way couples do – both straight and gay. Suddenly you’re wearing your partner’s clothes and you’re thinking, “Oh wait, that’s mine. Why are you wearing my color? No, yellow is my color. We started to play around with it without getting too heavy. Each character has a path. It was more about What is their background? How do we reflect this emotional journey in terms of clothing?

bros movie interview stylist


You mentioned a subset of gays embracing gym culture and baseball caps. One of the pieces that stands out throughout the film is Luke’s Rhone hat.

lululemon has entered the scene. Rhone was a slightly more cheerful version. Rhone is attached – not by getting attached – but I was starting to see it more on gays than on straights. Besides, this hat fit Luke perfectly. We have been through so many and this was the winner.

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Are there any other brands you would like to thank?

Here is a short list of some of the designers we have used, all of whom have been very supportive of the film: Charlie Underwear, Gucci, Levi’s, NHL, Otherwild, Parke & Ronen, Paul Smith, Todd Snyder, Tom Ford and Wildfang.

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We need to talk about Billy’s costumes. Anyone who watches “Bros” would agree that he looked sharp throughout the film, but the costumes were incredible and ambitious wardrobe moments.

These are the times when you want the classic leader look. That really big moment when Billy comes out on stage and the audience says, “Oh my God, he’s a top man.” There is no reference to sexuality. There is none of that. They want to see it and say, “This is what a romantic lead looks like.” Her costumes were spectacular. I have the most brilliant tailor in the world, Lonnie, who spent hours and hours and hours altering these suits. It’s the same suit I had on House of Cards.

There’s an element of timelessness when people watch stylish movies – we’ve been looking back and referencing them for years. In ‘Bros’ you have most of the characters from the classic wardrobe items: perfectly fitted t-shirts and knits with nice outerwear. Do you have any tips on how people walk away and want to dress from this movie?

For me, there is a big difference between having style and being fashionable. The fashion is now, and the style is timeless. And sometimes you want to do both. Sounds cool now, but what will it look like in 15 years? What will we think?

Timelessness should always win.

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