Archive | April, 2013

What Lipstick is She Wearing?

17 Apr

It turns out I am not alone in this dilemma and several of you sent me messages about this unwritten article that is mentioned in the introduction to TV Ate My Wardrobe. We live in an age where style blogs tell us exactly what clothes your favorite TV character is wearing so you can either buy the exact item or a more affordable alternative (my bank balance would be in trouble if every time I saw something I liked on New Girl or Parks and Recreation I went out and bought it). It’s wonderful that I can read an episode by episode guide of the costuming that features on The Good Wife but I would also love to know what shade of lipstick Alicia is wearing in court. This type of blog don’t exist in the same volume for the make-up that is used and it can become an endless Internet treasure hunt to try and find the exact color you have seen on screen.


When I went to see Shame at the cinema, one thing that distracted me (other than the obvious) was the shade of lipstick chosen for Carey Mulligan’s troubled character Sissy. Luckily the brand and color used got a mention in Stylist magazine and I popped to my local MAC counter and purchased Barcelona Red (to my horror I’ve just found out that it has been discontinued). It’s not always this easy and sometimes you just have to go to whichever make-up specialist you prefer with smart phone in hand and ask for the nearest shade to the one in the photograph. I can testify that this doesn’t always yield the best results.

All is not lost though and InStyle has a lipstick finder on their website and while this is helpful, it only appears to deal with red carpet enquires. My quest doesn’t stop here though and this is where you have to go into detective mode as the make-up artists who work with these actors are often mentioned in the “What Lipstick is She Wearing?” blurbs. I decided to look up Zooey Deschanel’s make-up artist Jorjee Douglas and found both her Twitter and Tumblr pages. Douglas also contributes to Deschanel’s website HelloGiggles and has previously answered questions about the make-up featured on New Girl. Social media has given a platform for experts such as Douglas to respond to fan enquiries relating to their work and the products they use.


With a show like Mad Men every aspect is scrutinized and analyzed; costumes and make-up can signify almost as much about the mood of the characters and the storylines as the words spoken. This also gives an opportunity to find out what products are being used and even tutorials to find out how to achieve a similar look (I’m no expert so this is appreciated).

The Cut spoke to Lana Horochowski, Mad Men’s head make-up artist and she discussed her work in the season 6 opener “The Doorway” and how she uses current cosmetics to give the right look for the late 60s. Horochowski also mentions how she approaches each female character so for Peggy her make-up “is always a little messy or rushed because she’s so focused on work. You’ll see it’s kind of crooked.” This type of character detail is why Mad Men is revered and even though it was lipstick that gave Peggy her big break back in season one, it’s how Peggy can sell the product not how she wears the product that is important. Also thanks to this article I now want the Nars Bolero Velvet Matte Lip Pencil that Megan is wearing on the beach.

While I do enjoy a good Internet treasure hunt, it would also cut down on the time I spend online if a database like IMDb existed for make-up products in movies and on television. This would work on several levels; first it would be a boost to the beauty economy and in this climate what industry doesn’t need a cash injection. Secondly it would showcase the work of some really talented folk who don’t always get to be in the spotlight for their talents that are on screen. Thirdly it would help the not so savvy (like myself) in this department and mean that I don’t have to take a photo to a beauty counter in a department store and get an “it’s almost kinda like that one” shade.

Is there a character on TV or film whose make-up bag you would love to sneak a look at?


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.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

12 Apr

This is a new feature where I pick some of my favourite looks from this week of television. There isn’t a set list of requirements when it comes to picking a winner; it might be because I appreciate how a characters costuming reflects a storyline or simply down to how striking it is. This week’s inaugural picks are for a variety of reasons and the winner is a character whose costuming I admire on a weekly basis (if you’ve ever read my Twitter feed when I’m watching Parks and Recreation this will be very clear).

Winner: April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation “Animal Control”

April look of the weekApril Ludgate is still the dry, sardonic character that we met at the start of Parks and Recreation but it would be boring if this was all she is and this character has come far since her intern days. April prefers animals to people (“I hate people”) and so the decision to utilize this into her career progression is a smart move as we still get to see the April who gives Jamm a threat to “train a crow to fly up your butt.” The eye rolls are still there, but they have a clear purpose now. April’s clothes have also undertaken change as we have been seeing more shirts and skirt combos this season; they’re still not the pantsuits that Leslie favours (“I don’t know who Ann Taylor is but I hate her and want to kill her”). My favourite mustard hoodie still makes regular appearances and April is on the more casual end of office wear; but her evolution in terms of costuming and April’s importance to the success of their department is enough to warm the heart of even a “dark tortured genius.”

Runner Up: Nick Miller in New Girl “Bachelorette Party”

NG_ep221_sc1_0613Nick decided to his dead dad pass on New Girl this week which meant that he spent the entire episode in this wonderful orange tracksuit that belonged to his recently deceased father. Schmidt said he looked like a “homeless pencil” but that was not enough to deter him from wearing it. This is the guy who spent a whole episode wearing a woman’s coat. It might not be as alluring as his suit from last week, but he still somehow manages to pull it off.

Runner Up: Stan Rizzo in Mad Men “The Doorway”

Stan's beardOne of the most stylish shows on TV returned this week so it would be remiss to not mention Mad Men and particularly Stan and his new amazing beard. Stan has competition on the facial hair front (Ginsberg and Abe have moustaches, Harry and Pete have sideburns) but nothing beats this grizzly look. Stan is as far removed from his predecessor Sal in terms of styling as you can imagine (we still miss you Sal).

Who would you choose as your look of the week?


The Why of it All

12 Apr

A long time ago (ok in 2009) I started writing a blog that focused primarily on TV and since then I have been lucky enough to start writing for several other websites, that also mostly focus on TV. The amount of words that are typed daily on this subject continues to grow and so I thought I would add a few more. The other sites I primarily write for give me opportunities to write about current shows including Mad MenNew Girl, The Good Wife and The Vampire Diaries (for TVOvermind) and I also get to dive into the past for This Was TV where teen shows such as My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks have been my focus.

So why start up a new blog? The simple reason is that I want to write more and quite often I’ll have an idea that I will either jot down it down in one of my many notebooks or start a word document and only get to the end of the first paragraph. To demonstrate this ultimate procrastination here is a sample of titles that are on my computer:

Friday Night Lights– why this show is important

I have learnt nothing from all the crimes shows I have watched

Sarah Lund as McNulty

The Comedy of Optimism

What Lipstick is she Wearing?

Some of these titles are self-explanatory (Friday Night Lights) and others seem more random – guess which one I wrote after my phone was stolen. Going back and reading these pieces (or intros to articles forgotten) I felt guilty for not having followed through, even if some of the ideas weren’t all that great to begin with. As I’ve mentioned above, I am quite the procrastinator and a lot of this is achieved by reading great work by other writers, writers that I admire and want to emulate but half of the time I should focus on what I am doing rather than wistfully working my way through half of the TV criticism online.

This is what I am going to and these half written ideas, that sometimes don’t even have titles will become fully fledged and live here. Why name this blog “TV Ate my Wardrobe?” Someone close to me has observed that a lot of my Twitter TV observations and Tumblr posts revolve around fashion and costuming in television and while this won’t always be the central theme of this blog, it felt like a good place to start. There will also be some jazzing up of the blog as time goes on and rather than let my procrastination get the better of me (like it often does) I wanted to launch this site before I talk myself out of it.

So enjoy and any feedback would be much appreciated!

Julie Hammerle

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