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Wardrobe assistant

Wardrobe assistants help to make, find and look after clothes and costumes used in theatre, film and TV productions.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

41 to 43 variable

You could work: freelance / self-employed; flexibly

Future employment

There will be 0.5% fewer Wardrobe assistant jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a wardrobe assistant, you might:

  • hire or help to create costumes and accessories
  • check, clean and iron garments ready for use
  • dress performers and help with costume changes between scenes
  • alter and mend items
  • store costumes and deal with returns once a production has finished

Working environment

You could work at a film studio, on a film set, in a theatre or at a TV studio.

Your working environment may be cramped and hot.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can take a higher national diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification to work as a wardrobe assistant. Subjects include:

  • costume design
  • fashion
  • textiles
  • costume construction

These may give you an advantage later if you want to become a costume designer.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You could start by doing a college course to get some of the skills needed for this job, such as:

  • fashion and textiles
  • art and design
  • T Level in Craft and Design (Textiles and Fashion option)

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level
For more information

You could take one of the following Advanced Apprenticeships to get into this role:

  • Costume Performance Technician Level 3
  • Garment Maker Level 3
  • Fashion Studio Assistant Level 3

These can take up to 2 years to complete.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information

You could start out as a production runner with a stage or screen company and get the experience and contacts you need to move into wardrobe and costume work.

You could also work for a theatrical costume hire company to get into the industry.

Volunteering and work experience

Volunteering is a great way to build up your skills and to make contacts with people in the industry. Your contacts can be a good way of finding paid work later on. You can get volunteering experience through:

  • student theatre and film productions
  • amateur or community theatre
  • dressmaking
  • casual work as a costume 'daily' or temporary helper on film and TV sets

More information

Career tips

Many wardrobe assistants work freelance and their rates can vary widely. The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has information about recommended daily pay rates for wardrobe assistants.

Further information

You can learn more about being a wardrobe assistant from Get into Theatre.

You can get further details about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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You may specialise in theatre work, film or TV, but you could cross over between areas once established.

With experience, you could become a wardrobe manager or move into:costume design; set design; stage management

You can find more details about how to become a wardrobe assistant through Creative Choices.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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