Many fans associate Mister Rogers with the trademark ties, sweaters, and sneakers he wore on each episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. So to recreate the iconic look for Tom Hanks's starring role as Rogers in the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the production's costume designer, Arjun Bhasin, turned to Rogers's real-life wardrobe for inspiration. And some of Rogers's original pieces even made it into the film, Yahoo! reports.
Bhasin worked with Joanne, Fred Rogers's wife of 50 years, to choose the clothing items that would bring the children's entertainment icon to life. As Bhasin tells Yahoo!, Joanne opened her home to the filmmakers and invited him to look at family photos and items from Fred's closets. He also reviewed old episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and museum exhibits dedicated to the show for his research.
To make Rogers's cardigans—arguably the most famous items in his wardrobe—Bhasin collaborated with a knitter in New York. Fred Rogers's original sweaters were knit by his mom, Nancy, so Bhasin made sure that the new pieces had that same homespun look. For other elements, the costume designer didn't have to try very hard to make them look authentic. The neckties in the film were taken from a box of Rogers's old ties that his wife had planned to donate to a thrift store, and the original varsity jacket Rogers wore on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1993 also makes an appearance.
According to Joanne, her husband had been a big fan of Tom Hanks and would have been thrilled to lend him his clothes for the role. You can see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and spot Mister Rogers's real clothing items when it hits theaters today, November 22.