L-A: We put a call out for guest posts to help me out a bit while Ally is off sipping her G&T, reading Vogue, and eating Digby scallops (I’m not kidding. She has already posted photos on facebook). I could have managed on my own, but it’s always fun to see what other writers have to say about the fashionable people and questionable things of the world. Our first guest correspondent of the summer is Jill, of Couchtime with Jill, which happens to be one of our favourite non-fashion related blogs. Since I’m a TV junkie who is in summer withdrawal, Jill’s take on TV fashion is helping to fill the void as I wait to figure out what happens next on The Vampire Diaries (don’t judge. I’m sure you watch TV you’re not proud of).
Jill: I love TV, I love clothes, and I love this blog. So I suppose it made sense that while Ally is on vacation, I would write a guest post for you guys about TV and fashion.
Fashion is all over TV. There’s even a channel devoted to it. There’s so much fashion on TV that I can’t possibly cover everything in one post, so feel free to tell me what shows’ costume department you’d like to raid, or which character’s closet you covet. I decided to divide TV fashion into three groups: Sure Things, Surprisingly Stylish and Reality TV.
The heavy-hitters in the world of TV fashion are shows like Gossip Girl or Sex and the City. Shows where the clothes are more important than the plot and outfits are often so over-the-top that you can only borrow bits and pieces from each look, but can’t pull off the whole thing – unless you live in New York City and have lots and lots of money, anyway.
I don’t watch Gossip Girl, but I’ve caught enough episodes and I read enough magazines to know that the show has some of the best fashion on TV right now. I love to drool over Blair’s outfits, but if I got to raid a character’s closet it would probably be Serena’s. When I think of Blair, I think of headbands, preppy looks, beautiful coats and bright colors. I would sell my soul for the nautical dress on the far right.
Obviously, Blair cleans up pretty well too. Her prom dress was one of my all-time favorites.
Serena’s look is cooler and a bit more laid back. There are lots of cool jackets and amazing boots. And that hair. Always that hair. Serena’s formal looks always compliment her, too – although that’s probably not so hard when you’re thin, tall and gorgeous.
One of my favorite characters to watch used to be Jenny Humphrey, before she (and the actress who plays her) decided that ratty extensions and raccoon eyes are a good look. See the before and after shot:
Ick. But once upon a time, Little J was adorable and wore cute mini-dresses and tights. I’m not sure during what point in the tramp-sformation she decided to pair a leather jacket with a sparkly mini-dress, but I think it’s a great combination.
You also can’t talk about Gossip Girl without talking about Chuck Bass. He’s a bit of a legend. And how couldn’t he be, with those bright blazers and bowties?
But that’s enough about Gossip Girl.
There are a couple of shows I hate to actually watch, but will occasionally turn on just to drool over clothes. One is 90210. The girls dress a little outlandishly for high school students, but they’re rich Californian teens. And it’s fun to pretend that rich Californian teens wear large hats and dresses instead of denim minis with Ugg boots.
Melrose Place’s Ella Simms had great fashion throughout season one, so it only makes sense that actress Katie Cassidy is upgrading to Gossip Girl next season. Ella wore a lot of sexy, bright dresses – I still can’t get over that orange dress and hat get-up. Love.
Glee is another show filled with fun fashion. My favorite character is Emma Pillsbury, because of her prim cardigans, cool jewelry and completely fantastic shoes. Bows and ruffles galore, I can’t get enough.
Another show that’s a fashionable sure-thing is Mad Men. I only recently started watching the series, but I have followed its fashion since it began.
My personal favorite is Joan. I love her curve-hugging jewel-toned dresses, and I really want to know where I can find her gold pen necklace.
Mad Men is set in the sixties and I eat up the retro style, but The Mary Tyler Moore Show is even better. The show aired from 1970-1977, and the lead character Mary Richards shows the best possible side of 70s fashion. All you need to do is watch the opening theme song to see how stylish she was:
The coats! The hats! Mary Richards had one of the best working girl wardrobes in television history.
There are also some television shows that display an unexpected amount of great fashion. I’ve heard the clothes can be great on Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and Samantha Who? Personally, if I could claim one TV character’s closet for my own I think it would be the Gilmore Girls’ Lorelai Gilmore. Lorelai wore some fantastic clothes over the show’s seven-year run, and they were the kinds of clothes I could believably see myself wearing. Because as much as I love the fashions of Mad Men, I’m pretty sure I could only pull off those clothes if I were attending a Mad Men party. Lorelai wore funky T-shirts and jeans for everyday, flirty dresses for dates, work attire that actually had personality and lots and lots of pretty coats. And her never-used wedding dress was beautiful.
I always loved how Veronica Mars dressed. Veronica’s clothes were usually casual, but she seemed to have an unlimited supply of cute, casual jackets. She also had the world’s best accessory – Logan Echolls.
Another surprisingly fashionable show is Chuck. I know, I know, the titular character spends most of his time in a pair of Converse sneakers and a Buy More Nerd Herd uniform. But his CIA handler and love interest Sarah Walker has worn some pretty fantastic clothes over the years. Whether she’s dressing for a date with Chuck or to attend a ball undercover, Sarah wears some great gowns, cocktail dresses and casual looks with bad-ass leather jackets. She’s always wearing sexy underwear, and there’s something about a woman in a gown with a gun in her clutch that says “edgy”.
TV sitcoms and dramas provide all sorts of fashion to feast your eyes on, whether it’s the designer duds, the retro looks, or laid-back wardrobes. There’s something for everyone. But there’s also another, and sometimes more accessible place to find fashion on television: Reality TV.
No, I’m not talking about the parade of bikinis and tribal buffs on Survivor, or the matching sportswear teams wear on The Amazing Race. (Though I do give credit to Survivor contestant Sugar for bringing her pin-up style with her to the jungle.) Over the years, I have seen some fantastic outfits on America’s Next Top Model, The Bachelor(ette) and American Idol. And if you watched The Hills and considered it “reality programming”, you might say that show belongs in this category too.
Yes, Tyra dresses like a drag queen 75% of the time and wears a jumpsuit the other 15% of the time. The wannabe models make fashion mistakes as well – wearing silver lamé onesies from American Apparel with their jeans, or putting on every single piece of jewelry they own before meeting with the judges. But I put up with all of that, because it means that I get to see pretty, pretty dresses like these:
On American Idol, sometimes you have to watch a talent like Jennifer Hudson perform in a crime against fashion like this:
But you also see the likes of Katharine McPhee, Jordin Sparks and Carrie Underwood perform in some dresses that are actually very pretty.
The last great place to see fashion on Reality TV is on The Bachelor, or The Bachelorette. Not right now, though. Don’t expect to tune in on Monday night and see Ali Fedotowsky wearing anything flattering, because she won’t be. And you’ll just get mad at how messy her hair is. And sure, we had to suffer through Vienna Girardi’s trashy cocktail dresses last season. But other girls like Gia, Tenley and Corrie brought a lot to the table. Since the girls don’t have stylists or a wardrobe budget, I appreciate their outfits more because I know it’s their own style.
So unless you turn on your TV and flick right over to Deadliest Catch or the tragically unfashionable Big Love (lots and lots of conservative, Little House on the Prairie style dresses), odds are you’re going to see someone wearing some great outfits. Who is your favorite televised fashion icon?