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Career profile Wardrobe Assistant

Also known as Costume Draper, Costume Seamstress, Costumer, Draper, Dresser, Wardrobe Assistant, Wardrobe Attendant

Wardrobe Assistant

Also known as Costume Draper, Costume Seamstress, Costumer

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
  • Artistic
Pay Range
$24,730 - $93,400 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Fine Arts
  • Design
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Create worksheets for dressing lists, show notes, or costume checks.
  • Provide dressing assistance to cast members or assign cast dressers to assist specific cast members with costume changes.
  • Arrange costumes in order of use to facilitate quick-change procedures for performances.
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What does a Wardrobe Assistant do?

Wardrobe Assistants select, fit, and take care of costumes for cast members, and aid entertainers.

In addition, Wardrobe Assistants may assist with multiple costume changes during performances.

What kind of tasks does a Wardrobe Assistant perform regularly?

Wardrobe Assistants are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Create worksheets for dressing lists, show notes, or costume checks.
  • Provide dressing assistance to cast members or assign cast dressers to assist specific cast members with costume changes.
  • Arrange costumes in order of use to facilitate quick-change procedures for performances.
  • Design or construct costumes or send them to tailors for construction, major repairs, or alterations.
  • Examine costume fit on cast members and sketch or write notes for alterations.
  • Distribute costumes or related equipment and keep records of item status.
  • Check the appearance of costumes on stage or under lights to determine whether desired effects are being achieved.
  • Clean and press costumes before and after performances and perform any minor repairs.
  • Collaborate with production designers, costume designers, or other production staff to discuss and execute costume design details.
  • Monitor, maintain, or secure inventories of costumes, wigs, or makeup, providing keys or access to assigned directors, costume designers, or wardrobe mistresses/masters.
  • Purchase, rent, or requisition costumes or other wardrobe necessities.
  • Return borrowed or rented items when productions are complete and return other items to storage.
  • Study books, pictures, or examples of period clothing to determine styles worn during specific periods in history.
  • Review scripts or other production information to determine a story's locale or period, as well as the number of characters and required costumes.
  • Inventory stock to determine types or conditions of available costuming.

The above responsibilities are specific to Wardrobe Assistants. More generally, Wardrobe Assistants are involved in several broader types of activities:

Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

What is a Wardrobe Assistant salary?

The median salary for a Wardrobe Assistant is $42,910, and the average salary is $51,780. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Wardrobe Assistant salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Wardrobe Assistants earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Wardrobe Assistants earn less than $24,730 per year, 25% earn less than $30,370, 75% earn less than $63,600, and 90% earn less than $93,400.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Wardrobe Assistants is expected to change by 42.6%, and there should be roughly 1,600 open positions for Wardrobe Assistants every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$24,730 - $93,400
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Wardrobe Assistants?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Wardrobe Assistant are usually higher in their Conventional and Realistic interests.

Wardrobe Assistants typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Wardrobe Assistants typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Wardrobe Assistant tend to value Relationships, Support, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Wardrobe Assistants very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Wardrobe Assistants somewhat value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Wardrobe Assistants somewhat value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Wardrobe Assistants must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, cooperation, and concern for others.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Wardrobe Assistants, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

What education and training do Wardrobe Assistants need?

Working as a Wardrobe Assistant usually requires a high school diploma.

Wardrobe Assistants need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Wardrobe Assistants

  • 6.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 27.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 26.8% completed some college coursework
  • 8.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 24.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 5.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.9% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Wardrobe Assistants

Wardrobe Assistants may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as fine arts, design, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Wardrobe Assistants might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Important Abilities needed by Wardrobe Assistants

Wardrobe Assistants must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Wardrobe Assistants need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Wardrobe Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Fluency of Ideas
The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Critical Skills needed by Wardrobe Assistants

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Wardrobe Assistants frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Wardrobe Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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