Nick, Jess and Style Evolution on New Girl

15 Apr

In a recent interview with InStyle magazine New Girl star Zooey Deschanel declared that “People are more affected by how I look and dress myself than I think anyone would care to admit.” Image and how someone is perceived is a construction of many things and in this discussion Deschanel talks about her career progression from being seen as “tough, sardonic, deadpan” in films such as The Good Girl and this changing to “adorable.” Along came New Girl and this evolved into “adorkable” and this tag has been hard to shake thanks to it being used in the marketing of the show. For Deschanel detractors it gives the perfect excuse to talk about the maturity level of her character, but the show and Jess have come a long way from not being able to say the word penis at the start of season one. While a lot of this has been driven by the story, there has also been a subtle shift in some of the costume choices when it comes to Jess.

The bright, bold hues are still on display and there is a girlish quality to a lot of what Jess wears. The dresses are still vintage looking in design and the waist-cinching look is a Jess staple. There have also been plenty of whimsical prints, stripes and a lot of polka dots that also featured in season one, but hemlines have shrunk on certain outfits and the high waisted shorts that Jess loves (and both Nick and Schmidt have raised separate issues with) have made more appearances this year. New Girl’s costume designer Deb McGuire spoke to Entertainment Weekly about this new look for Jess saying “the sexier costumes are due to the storyline, there seems to be more sensuality and sexuality going on.”

NG_ep221-sc8_09C3769Jess has become more confident with her sexuality this season; first there was what started as a casual fling with Sam and now they are exploring the dynamic between Jess and Nick. The chemistry between this pair has been apparent since the start of the show but the writers have wisely allowed their friendship to grow so there is a sexual attraction coupled with emotional depth. So far there has been several hot hook-ups (the first kiss set my twitter feed alight), but now they are at a point where neither character is making a move or expressing how they really feel. Cece called Jess out saying that for two single adults they’re both regressing to 7th grade relationship antics (Jess has also implemented middle school dance rules).

This might be considered as the show taking a step back in terms of character growth as both Nick and Jess have progressed this season, but structurally this emotional obstacle feels necessary to build towards the season finale. Cece’s big truth bomb also helped deflect some of the attention off her own relationship fears with her upcoming nuptials. The big two romantic dilemmas for the finale are “Will Cece go through with the wedding?” and “Will Nick and Jess admit how they really feel?” Aside from general sitcom conventions that would suggest the answers are “no” and “yes” I’d say that both of these propositions don’t have a clear answer. Whereas last season it seemed clear that Nick wouldn’t move in with Caroline and so the stakes in that finale weren’t high.


Jess isn’t the only one who has had a slight wardrobe update and Nick Miller has been more than just hoodie this season (ok he’s still worn a lot of hoodies this year). In an attempt to impress Jess on their first date, Nick let Schmidt dress him for the occasion. The desire to dress up could be a reaction to what Jess said in “The Cooler” that “Some basic grooming, Nick, and you’d be smoking hot.” The above photo is proof of this (though I’m all for the hoodie look, see also Cary from The Good Wife). I’d say don’t get used to Nick in a suit, especially after last week’s orange tracksuit but if there is going to be a wedding in the season finale I think we can expect to see Nick in formal wear once again.

One aspect of Jess’ wardrobe that won’t be changing any time soon is her vast collection of pajamas (of which I am very jealous) and this was a point of contention in Jess and Cece’s argument in “Bachelorette Party”. This isn’t the first time that Jess and her pajama wearing ways have been used against her in this way and last season during a raging argument with Nick he yelled “Then throw some dumb pajama outfit on and then tell other people how to live their lives.” So what have the pajamas ever done to anyone? They could be seen as a symbol of this idea of Zooey Deschanel and Jess that some people view negatively; all of the cute/adorable/quirky qualities that have caused detractors to roll their eyes at this show. Or they could just be pajamas.

New Girl returns Tuesday, April 30 on Fox.

2 Responses to “Nick, Jess and Style Evolution on New Girl”


  1. French Connection Autumn Preview: Dressing Jessica Day | TV Ate My Wardrobe - June 12, 2013

    […] designer Debra McGuire has been fantastic at subtly evolving  Jess’ look during season 2 telling Entertainment Weekly “that the sexier costumes […]

  2. Zooey Deschanel’s Ready-to-wear Collection with Tommy Hilfiger | TV Ate My Wardrobe - January 28, 2014

    […] has long been up for discussion and so she might as well get something positive out of it. In an InStyle interview last year she said “People are more affected by how I look and dress myself than I think […]

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