‘Seinfeld’ Had a Safe for Elaine Benes’ Jewelry

Seinfeld debuted before TV shows set in New York such as Sex and the City and Gossip Girl were wowing viewers with fashion. The iconic comedy sitcom centered around the minutiae of everyday life. 

Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, and Jerry Seinfeld as himself on 'Seinfeld'
Michael Richards, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld | George Lange/NBCU Photo Bank

The characters’ wardrobes had to look more suited to a New York City street rather than a runway. But that doesn’t mean Seinfeld’s costume department didn’t spend money on dressing George (Jason Alexander), Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Kramer (Michael Richards). 

Elaine Benes wore real jewelry on ‘Seinfeld’

Seinfeld costume designer Charmaine Simmons spoke with the Los Angeles Times about the wardrobe on the show when Seinfeld ended in May 1998. 

Elaine’s look on the award-winning series was described as “Manhattan somber.” While her clothes might’ve been a costume, the same couldn’t be said for Elaine’s jewelry.

Simmons pointed out that Louis-Dreyfus never wore costume jewelry in her role as Elaine. She wanted the character to have only real jewelry. So any time Elaine’s wearing a brooch or earrings walking down the street with Jerry, George, or Kramer, it’s real. 

Kellie Waymire and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on 'Seinfeld'
Kellie Waymire and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld | Joey Delvalle/NBCU Photo Bank

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Simmons said Elaine wore Wendy Brigode pearl and stone necklaces, drop earrings, and gold or platinum chains from Cathy Carmendy. 

The costume designer also made the claim that Elaine’s valuable baubles led to Seinfeld being the only show on network TV with a jewelry safe.

The whereabouts of Elaine’s impressive jewelry collection is unknown. It’s likely most of it went to NBC for safekeeping. However, there’s a chance Louis-Dreyfus got to keep some as a Seinfeld keepsake. 

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Elaine Benes is a style icon

According to The New York Times, people emulate Elaine’s Seinfeld looks. They pair floral dresses and floral skirts with a blazer or boots reminiscent of the character. 

Louis-Dreyfus told the publication she often collaborated with Simmons on Elaine’s outfits. During the filming of Seinfeld, she thought Elaine’s outfits were trendy. 

“At the time, I thought people were wearing this look,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “Either that or just me and my four friends were. That is a possibility.”

Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on 'Seinfeld'
Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld | NBCU Photo Bank

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Now it’s not just the actor and her friends wearing what’s become known as Elaine’s signature style. And it’s just not just Elaine. Jerry, George, and Kramer are part of the “normcore” fashion trend.

As The Cut said, normcore is “the kind of dad-brand non-style you might have once associated with Jerry Seinfeld.” 

Kramer wore 2 pairs of shoes on ‘Seinfeld’

Elaine had expensive jewelry and a wardrobe that evolved but Kramer’s style remained unchanged. As Simmons told the LA Times, Richards wore two pairs of black Doc Martens for all nine seasons of Seinfeld.

“Every day for rehearsals he wore the shoes and usually grabbed one of his flecked wool blazers,” Simmons said. 

At the time of publication, Seinfeld is streaming on Hulu. In 2021, Seinfeld will become available on Netflix.

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