A ‘Selling Sunset’ Stylist Explains Why Everyone Dresses Like... That

Who wears a sequin bra top to their real estate job? The Oppenheim girls, that's who.
Emma Hernan from Selling Sunset in a mini skirt
Emma Hernan from Selling Sunset. Photo: Netflix

Selling Sunset is comfortingly predictable. Sure, there have been cast swaps, Jason periodically rotates girlfriends, and new identical glass houses (eesh) come on the market. But, in the four years since the show first aired, what’s changed most is the sheer number of outrageous designer fits in a 30 minute episode.


The first time we met “the kick-ass women of Oppenheim”, they were wearing plain jersey dresses and tops that looked like they could have been taken off the rack in Zara– and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Even Christine Quinn, the show’s most famous fashion queen, had two black hair ties on her wrist. This season, however, fans noticed they looked like they were dressed for Revolve Festival or a fashion week party – not, in other words, like they were selling houses. 

If you’ve never watched Selling Sunset before, an important bit of context is that they spend a good third of each episode in an office. Instead of comfy workplace cardigans, however, they wear sparkly bra tops and strapless mini dresses, sometimes with a neon blazer thrown over the shoulders to fit the boss babe aesthetic. (I’m not hating – I basically refused to wear any skirts longer than my underwear for quite a long period after I started working for VICE.)

The clothing on Selling Sunset is to office wear what uniforms are to Gossip Girl. Sure, they’re kind of there, but if you actually wore that in the real world you’d be sent straight to detention, or, depending on your place of work, HR. But this is a fantasy, babes. You’re never gonna show a rapper round Harry Styles’s old mansion wearing head-to-toe Versace, OK? 


So who exactly is masterminding the fashion development of Selling Sunset? Most of the show’s main cast now work with stylists to pick out their outfits for each scene, as well as glam squads to do their full hair and makeup. Sammie M is an LA-based stylist who works with Mary Fitzgerald and Amanza Smith from the show, as well as the other girls if they’re having a “fashion emergency”. 

Selling Sunset estate agents dressed in outlandish outfits

The women of Selling Sunset. Photo: Netflix

“They’re all like, in competition,” said Sammie, discussing how the girls are looking to build their personal brands on social media. “Basically, all the girls are out for themselves, and they're just trying to step it up because now, the way social media is, you have to step it up.” 

And even one of the girls he says is really into fashion has reached out asking to work with him if they get commissioned for future seasons, because she wants to “take it up a notch.” 

“It's becoming a show where everybody watches the clothes, pretty much,” Sammie explains. “Some people now, instead of watching for the houses, they’re watching for the fashion.”

He points out that reality shows with wealthy, independent women like Selling Sunset have plugged the gap left by Sex and the City, which ruled supreme as the most popular fashion TV show for decades. 


“Ever since I started [on Selling Sunset], Instagram meme pages and closets have reached out to me asking ‘What season is this outfit that they're wearing? Where is it from?’ so they can add it to their Instagram post. I put Amanza in Ivy Park and Adidas reached out asking to send me more stuff for the show.

“And the girls want to coordinate their look with the type of brands they want to work with, because brands will pay a client $20-30,000 to post one Instagram in one of their outfits to generate sales.”

Chelsea Lazkani from Selling Sunset in a pink latex trench coat

Chelsea Lazkani from Selling Sunset in a pink latex trench coat. Photo: Netflix

The girls are given little direction by the producers about what to wear and are told only the occasion to dress for before filming, “so everyone develops their own style of how they want to dress for the show”, Sammie adds.

They’re also only given a budget for outfits used in promotional photos and videos – they pay for everything else out of their own pocket. “I’m not going to name names,” Sammie says, “but some girls will pay between $5,000 to $10,000 for a custom-made outfit. Sometimes more. But we’re in Hollywood, and there’s a lot of access to rentals.”

The girls are also now competing for views with rival shows like Buying Beverly Hills, Million Dollar Listing and Million Dollar Beach House (these are two different shows, FYI). Bringing flamboyant fashion, huge Instagram followings and drama (duh), helps Selling Sunset stand out in a busy marketplace. 

But they don’t actually wear all that when they’re not filming, right?

“I'm not going to lie. They do dress like that,” Sammie says. “People in LA are very colourful, very fashionable. It’s bright, you’re living in the sun. It’s like that. And they're selling these million-dollar homes, working with celebrity clients, TV personalities, people working in fashion. So it is over the top, but still very much into what they’re characterising on the show.”

And those sequin bra tops in the office? “Well,” Sammie laughs, “LA is hot.”