‘Gilmore Girls’: Chilton’s School Colors Were Picked for a Very Specific Reason

Gilmore Girls showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino was serious about attention to detail. Fans of the famed series have noticed that Stars Hollow was picture perfect, as was the home that Richard and Emily Gilmore shared. While fans rarely discuss the show’s wardrobe, Shelly Cole, the actor who portrayed Madeline Lynn during the first four seasons of Gilmore Girls, recently explained that a lot of time went into the costumes, too. She said that Sherman-Palladino picked Chilton’s school colors specifically to match Rory Gilmore’s eyes.

Shelly Cole revealed that Gilmore Girls creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, wanted Chilton’s uniforms to match Alexis Bledel’s eyes

Gilmore Girls fans may remember that Rory donned a uniform every day to attend the Chilton School. The prep school’s uniform requirement was nothing out of the norm. Rory’s uniform was reminiscent of uniforms worn by thousands of prep school students in the early 2000s. Shelly Cole, the actor who portrayed Madeline Lynn for three seasons, revealed deep thought went into the uniform.

Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore and Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore stand in Luke's diner
Rory Gilmore and Lorelai Gilmore | Warner Bros./Delivered by Online USA

Chilton’s female students wore a blue plaid skirt, a light blue shirt, a crisscross bow tie, and a blue blazer or sweater vest. Male students wore business attire, including a navy sport coat and a necktie. The blue was picked specifically to match Alexis Bledel’s eyes, according to Cole.

Cole, who sat down with Scott Patterson for his new podcast, I Am All In, recalled that Sherman-Palladino was on hand for uniform fittings. She remembered that Sherman-Palladino wanted to ensure the school’s colors matched Bledel and Lauren Graham’s striking blue eyes. Bledel spent seven seasons playing Rory. Graham took on the role of Lorelai Gilmore. 

The Chilton School’s inspiration doesn’t have a uniform requirement

Sherman-Palladino didn’t merely dream up the Chilton School. Prestigious prep schools dot Connecticut and the surrounding states. According to The Best Schools, 12 of the country’s 50 best preparatory schools are in Connecticut. Still, Sherman-Palladino used one school in particular as an inspiration for Chilton.

(L-R) Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham sit next to each other on 'Gilmore Girls'
(L-R) Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore, Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore on ‘Gilmore Girls’ | The WB/Mitchell Haddad/Getty Images

Choate Rosemary Hall, a private, co-ed boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut, was the primary inspiration for Chilton. The school is best known for its famous alumni. John F. Kennedy, Paul Giamatti, Glen Close, and Jamie Lee Curtis all graduated from the school. Choate Rosemary Hall is markedly different from Chilton in one big way. The school does not require its students to wear uniforms. They must adhere to a dress code instead.  

How much does a school like Chilton cost?

Chilton had a reputation for helping students get into Ivy League schools. The entire reason Rory wanted to attend Chilton was to better her chances of getting into Harvard. Feeder schools are far from cheap. Today, parents can expect to pay upwards of $50,000 a year for their child’s spot at the high-end schools. Choate Rosemary Hall’s current tuition is $53,000 per year.

Rory Gilmore stands in front of a class of Chilton students in 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'
Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore in ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ | Netflix

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Still, that doesn’t mean Chilton would be similarly pricey. Chilton would likely cost less than Choate Rosemary Hall. After all, Chilton was not a boarding school. Lorelai probably paid closer to $25,000 per year for her daughter’s education when you factor in the year of Rory’s graduation and her day student status.