Archive | September, 2013

Music Monday: A Farewell to Breaking Bad

30 Sep

“Breathe Me” by Sia, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Before the Devil Knows Your Dead” by Delta Spirit are three songs that accompanied the final moments of season finales that I hold in high regard.* The last episode can be controversial and divisive (see Lost and The Sopranos), all round hated (the Dexter swansong) or generally satisfying (Friday Night Lights30 Rock). As Julie Hammerle points out in her excellent Breaking Bad review the last outing is rarely the best episode of the show and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan even stated that the penultimate penultimate episode “Ozymandias” is the best hour of this show.

Breaking Bad last episodesFor me Breaking Bad falls into the generally satisfying category and yes the story was wrapped up neatly, but it felt fitting to what we have been watching; a show that has been chaotic and reckless, but has always had a strong structure much like the crystal meth that Walt has been making.

*Those shows are Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Friday Night Lights

The closing song choice as Walt lays down to die surrounded by meth equipment similar to what allowed to be a king is Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” a song which starts with the line “I guess I got what I deserved.” While this notion might be in contention as Walt got to die pretty much on his terms and as he told Hank he would die before he was convicted – from a gunshot and not the cancer as he predicted. The song title is also a not so subtle nod to the color of the meth that made Walt so famous and as he lays dying in a lab it is pretty fitting.

What a final song choice needs as we witness the last few minutes of a character, that we have not only watched but discussed for hours is some sort of finality and while something like The Sopranos refused to give that with its closing scene (a scene which I love) the end of Breaking Bad is not ambiguous in any way. Walt’s story is over and while characters like Jesse will be haunted by what has happened in the unseen hours of the show (fanfic time!) our protagonists tale is over. This neatness is not the ending that all will find satisfying but on this occasion I’m more than happy with the end result.

So long baby blue.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

27 Sep

It’s been a big red carpet week thanks to the Emmys (for all our coverage head here) and so Out of the Box is going to return its focus to the costuming that has caught our eye on TV this week. Featuring characters that are Out of the Box regulars and some new faces this is a snapshot of the week on TV and costuming that has caught our attention.

Breaking Bad hat and parka

The penultimate episode of Breaking Bad saw Walter White isolated and broken as he started a new life in a cabin somewhere in New Hampshire. It’s not much of a life as he has to spend $10,000 for an hour of company and two copies of Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is all he has to watch. His first attempt to leave the cabin begins with him putting on the Heisenberg hat; a symbol of the empire he had created and the elusive figure that was feared. Combined with the parka coat and the surroundings this takes any of the menace out of it and the trip is futile, with Walt returning to his cabin of solitude. The next time we see him venture outside he has ditched the Heisenberg hat and opted for a more sensible beanie and it appears as if Heisenberg has gone for good. That is until he sees the Charlie Rose interview with his former partners and for one last episode Heisenberg is set to return.


Oh Sleepy Hollow you are the most nonsensical fun that is on TV at the moment and the first two episodes have certainly squeezed a lot of mythology into them. The one thing that is grounding the show is the central relationship between Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane and Nicole Beharie’s Lt. Abbie Mills. The crazy story part isn’t necessarily what hooks people into a show; it’s the chemistry between the characters that increases the satisfaction of a journey like this and it makes the ridiculous moments easier to swallow. Ichabod is still dressed in the clothes he arrived in and it’s unclear whether he will get a wardrobe update. This helps with the notion that he isn’t from this time and I can’t quite picture him in jeans and a t-shirt, though I also really want to see the inevitable makeover episode when they don’t have witches and headless horseman to deal with.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is another new show that benefits from a strong central pairing with Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher playing two very different cops. Braugher is the new Captain at the precinct Andy Samberg’s Detective Jake Peralta works at and the second episode reinforced the conflict between Jake’s easy going style and Captain Holt’s by the book attitude. Uniform has been a point of contention in both the pilot and with their undercover surveillance this week; Jake is seeing how far he can push his new captain. Jake’s minivan disguise is Harvey Norgenbloom and Harvey wears sandals, not the best footwear choice for chasing after bad guys. This push and pull works because Samberg is so good at doing the goofy manchild role and Braugher has the perfect level of deadpan. I’ve been impressed with both of these episodes and how quickly these characters have been established.

NG_ep302-sc20_1080Jess got wasted on New Girl this week after Nick’s solid advice that drinking makes you cooler and her hangover outfit is wonderful; the plaid shirt she slept in – it looks like it could be one of Nick’s but it’s actually a woman’s shirt that you can buy here – the key is that it is baggy as you don’t want anything too tight after a night of heavy drinking and toilet bowl dancing. The sunglasses are an important addition as is the coffee cup that Jess is clutching (a can of Diet Coke is my preferred solution).

Parks and Recreation - Season 6It’s April’s yellow mustard hoodie that is top of my clothing wish list and you’d be surprised how hard it is to find something this simple. Parks and Recreation returned for season 6 yesterday with a double bill episode and a trip to London (and Scotland). April’s dress at the awards ceremony is the same Alice + Olivia dress that Gossip Girl’s Kelly Rutherford was seen wearing at New York Fashion Week. Along with this mustard hoodie there are other repeated outfits featured in this premiere of Parks and Rec that are on my most wanted list including Leslie’s mixed polka dot blouse and it makes sense to reuse costumes with these types of characters.

Jean Ralphio and Mona Lisa

Special mention has to go to the wardrobe of Jean-Ralphio and Mona Lisa; this more than double denim explosion is as amazing as Jean-Ralphio’s hair is huge.

Diane Kruger: Street Style and a Night at the Opera

26 Sep

Diane Kruger is a TV Ate My Wardrobe favorite and this week she shows off great street style and an incredible red carpet look. Kruger has reason to celebrate as FX renewed The Bridge for a second season and while the show hit some bumpy steps with the overall serial killer plot, the central relationship between Kruger’s Sonya Cross and Marco (Demián Bichir) has been brilliant throughout.

Now to the fashion and first up is Diane Kruger in Prabal Gurung at the Metropolitan Opera Season Opening on Monday. This is a whole lot of dress but as we’ve seen on countless occasions Kruger brings her A game to events like this and she never sticks to one style of gown. With a dress this fanciful she has dialed back on all accessories and opted for minimal makeup and a simple updo. The white pumps could be considered too bridal but as they mirror the top panel of the dress I’d say they work. The pocket detail is always a favorite of mine, both on the red carpet and with the dresses that I tend to wear – sadly there is nothing like this hanging in my wardrobe.

Diane Krugar Met Opera

After a big fancy pants event it’s all about dressing down the next day and Kruger did just this as she hit Bergdorf Goodman. This is why she is a constant fixture on “Best Dressed” lists because you know that however great Diane Kruger looks for premieres, her street style is effortlessly chic. Wearing a pair of purple pants, 3.1 Phillip Lim flats, black blazer and black top this is the perfect shopping outfit. There’s also the matter of the trusty Hermès shoulder bag and while an item like this is perhaps a tad out of my price range this is an easy outfit to recreate.

The pink lipstick is a nice touch and it’s a slightly darker shade than the one I have been experimenting with over the summer.

Diane Kruger Purple Pants

New Girl: Balancing Emotional Stories with the Absurd

25 Sep

When high school is over you can still end up in situations that mirror the awful not fitting in feeling and Jess ends up in this position on this week’s New Girl after she finds herself friendless in her new teaching job – where is Mary Lynn Rajskub? The adult version of the mean but cool clique isn’t anything particularly new, but it gives the Nick and Jess relationship a chance to breath and shows how they can make them work as a couple without losing the tension that made season 2 so much fun.

I’ve mentioned before how New Girl works best when it walks the line between the ridiculous and grounded emotional moments; this happens multiple times in this gag-packed Kay Cannon script (you can see the rapid fire approach of jokes per page from Cannon’s 30 Rock background at work). There’s a discussion between Nick and Jess about whether he would have noticed her in high school and this leads to Nick’s “Miller Sack Pack” revelation. This coupled with Winston’s big Daisy decision as he now wants to be exclusive and tell her that his “heart is a two man bike and I want you in the rear” demonstrates the many tawdry jokes that exist within the emotional framework.


This isn’t the first time Nick has tried to give advice to Jess*, the difference now is that Jess is “his old lady” and so the stakes for him are higher (though I’d argue that even if they were still just friends he’d offer free drinks at the bar to help out). Having Nick and Jess’ first real challenge as a couple not being about them is also a good start and while I suspect there will be other relationship drama around the corner it doesn’t need to happen this early. Nick’s original idea is to give some free school supplies to the cool clique, because who doesn’t want $15 and a halfie worth of stuff? Luckily Nick also works at a bar which doesn’t seem to have a problem with him giving away drinks so this alternate suggestion is a big hit.

*Kay Cannon also wrote the season 2 opener “Re-launch” which saw Nick comforting Jess after she was made redundant. On this occasion he gave her better advice than just drink lots telling her “Life sucks and then it gets better and then it sucks again and then it just sucks.”

Following on from Nick’s observation that this is like high school all over again, with Jess being a nerd in both scenarios she takes this to heart and gets wasted. Drunk Jess dances in toilet bowls, sings 4 Non Blondes and gets accepted by the other teachers. The drunk Jess singing moment is topped by the guys performing a rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly,” this is reminiscent of them singing “Time of my Life” in the pilot but under very different circumstances of course. This is where Zooey Deschanel gets to show off her excellent comedic timing as she pulls a good hangover face of pain and discomfort. The guys really should get the band together.

Winston points out that Nick is basically imprinting himself on Jess with his getting drunk suggestion and instead of sending Nick in a tailspin of doubt it spurs him on to rectify this. When Nick gets caught between Jess and Winston both acting impulsively it hilariously ends with Nick stuck in the middle between two potential crimes. When Nick is the sensible one in the scenario it adds another level of chaos as he yells in an exasperated fashion.

Nick is of course smitten with Jess and while her idea to break into her new bosses garden is not the best; this doesn’t matter as Nick tells her that “If you’re going to do something that’s obviously very stupid then I’m going to do it with you.” He’s also willing to take the fall for her and when she steps out from her hiding place the absurd kicks in as the Dawson’s Creek theme “I Don’t Want to Wait” begins to play – I will never not love a gag that features this song (see also Urban Legend).

The Schmidt love triangle plot is dragging along and because there is a short shelf life on Merritt Wever’s guest starring role it’s now entered slightly tedious territory. I think Wever is great and I liked how she reacted to Schmidt’s terrible role play idea, but I also think this whole narrative is tired. The one surprise is that Schmidt didn’t get caught and Max Greenfield played this moment well as it seems he really wants to get caught as this resolve this mess even if he ends up with no one. The 2/3 replica of Don Draper’s office gag worked like a charm as did the competitive chemistry with Beth, reprising a work rivalry from early season 1.

Winston is also having relationship drama and this is the episode where they have to write Brenda Song out because of her Dads commitments (giving me all of the sads). This was another play on the “Winston is crazy” angle but unlike last week’s puzzle adventure there was a point to the crazy even if it did involve potential cat murder. Now there is pet in the loft and the cats love Schmidt’s nipples visual only got funnier as the episode went on (yes there are already gifs).

Everyone being back in the loft gives a sense of familiarity that was missing last week, even if the dynamic has shifted. The scene in the elevator that turns into a relationship discussion between the guys is hilarious because they all forget to press the button; too preoccupied with their romantic entanglements. By the end of the episode Schmidt is still stuck in two-timing hell, Winston goes from having a girlfriend to having a cat and Nick is the only one who is content – this might be a first for him.

One criticism I would have with the Jess plot is that while the guest stars did the best with the material they didn’t really get all that much to do. This can be a problem with these small roles that are serving the central characters and so I hope both Angela Kinsey and Dreama Walker will return later in the season.

This is a much more cohesive episode even with the amount that is going on and while the season premiere was a bit of a disappointment I would say that this is more like the New Girl that was raved about last year.

And because it’s now stuck in my head it can be stuck in yours too!

Lydia’s “Breaking Bad” Blue Coat

24 Sep

Breaking Bad isn’t a show that I turn to for fashion ideas; a yellow hazmat suit is hard to pull off in everyday life. This isn’t to say that costuming and the colors these characters wear isn’t important and something like the Heisenberg pork pie hat is an integral part of the Heisenberg/Walter White persona divide.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Lydia’s blue coat and Lydia’s wardrobe is the most high-end of these characters. No one would suspect that a woman who dresses in designer labels is part of a global crystal meth operation – the same can be said for Walt and his unassuming look. Lydia always looks incredibly out of place when she has to deal with the folks who are running the ground operation and her skittishness adds to this vulnerability. This was abundantly clear when she used Uncle Jack and his crew to dispatch the substandard meth making team she had employed since Walt has retired.

Breaking Bad and Lydia's blue coat

Fancy office wear is not really appropriate for the desert, drug related massacres or meth labs. Lydia’s appearance could be one of the reasons why Todd is so drawn to her; she looks nothing like the people he is used to dealing with and so far we have seen him act protectively towards her. Jesse Plemons spoke to Vulture about Todd’s Lydia attraction and he thinks that Todd “might have some mom issues. It makes sense. She needs him and he’s misinterpreting that a little bit.” This is the polite way of saying that Todd is developing a Lydia obsession and I wouldn’t want to be the person to get in the way of Todd and his crush.

When Todd met up with Lydia in the most recent episode he ditched the scruffy look and went for a smart pale button-down shirt – nothing says I love you like a clean, ironed shirt. This is his way of signalling to her that he can help run a successful venture and he’s essentially wearing his best clothes to impress her and mirror what she wears. It also helps reinforce the success that Todd has had with manufacturing meth that is of Heisenberg quality and color.

Back to the blue coat in the photo above and I have found a similar looking cobalt blue double breasted wool coat from French Connection in their A/W ’13 collection. While the collar detail is different and Lydia wouldn’t wear those pants, it’s definitely a near match. We’re about to enter coat season and between this and Olivia Pope’s Burberry trench I’m getting a lot of ideas.

Blue French Connection Coat

The Best of the Emmys 2013: Amy Poehler and Tina Fey

23 Sep

There were probably more lows than highs during the 2013 Emmy telecast, particularly during the musical numbers and rushed thank you speeches. One highlight came early on after a very lackluster opening; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to the rescue. Heckling from the front row about how terrible the intro was (they were kidding, but there is truth in these jokes), they donned 3D glasses and had a twerking reference that didn’t feel stale. Bonus Hugh Dancy and Claire Danes laughing behind the pair.


They also presented the first award (that went to Merritt Wever, yay!) and took an interesting trip up to the stage.


Neither Tina Fey nor Amy Poehler won in their acting category and while I don’t begrudge Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning for Veep, it’s hard to believe that Poehler has never won in this category (same goes for Jon Hamm and all his Mad Men nominations/no wins). As Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur put on Twitter “I simply do not understand it. #Poehler

Tina Fey didn’t go home empty handed as she won in the comedy writing category with Tracey Wigfield for the 30 Rock finale.

Now to their dresses and Tina Fey is stunning in this cobalt blue Narciso Rodriguez gown. Fey has a habit of playing it safe with darker colors and this bold blue affair shows that she can work a more daring and confident look.

Tina Fey Emmys

Amy Poehler’s Basler dress is not as striking, but I do really like the pocket detail that makes this more than just another black gown. The orange Irene Neuwirth earrings are a nice touch, particularly when coupled with the simple ponytail.

Amy Poehler Emmys 2013

Amy and Tina need their own awards category for being amazing at all award shows.

Emmys 2013: Red Carpet Highlights

23 Sep

It’s a busy day of fashion and TV thanks to last night’s Emmys (for my brief thoughts on the show head here) and while monochrome was a big trend, bold color and the standard nude tones were also big players on the red carpet. This post is for those dresses that don’t fall into one easy category and this post features a couple of dresses that still has me pondering whether they’re a hit or miss.

Let’s get to it!

Zooey Deschanel Emmys

Zooey Deschanel has a habit of wearing princess type gowns with a 1950s influence so this Barbarella looking icy blue J. Mendel number is a huge surprise. You can’t see it in this photo but the dress had a huge sexy slit up one leg and I’m so glad to see Deschanel opting for something outside of her standard wheelhouse. She looks amazing which almost makes up for the lack of New Girl nominations. Almost.

Kiernan Shipka 2013 emmys

Kiernan Shipka continues to impress with her age appropriate red carpet looks and this floral Delpozo frock is perfect for the 13-year-old; yes at 13 Shipka has already outshone every good fashion moment I have ever had. This dress could come across as too fussy which is why the ponytail/minimal makeup works and I don’t think we’re ready for Shipka to go for the Taylor Momsen raccoon eyes approach – now or ever.

Kerry Washington Emmys 2013

Kerry Washington was top of my red carpet most anticipated list and I’m disappointed with the Marchesa gown. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it and while I like the floral embellishments, it’s also reading wedding gown. I think if my expectations weren’t so high I would like this fine, but considering all of the other exquisite dresses she has worn this year it doesn’t quite hit the mark. It does fall into the Olivia Pope color scheme though and as always she looks flawless. It’s just not the dress I was hoping for.

Claire Danes emmys

Following closely behind Kerry Washington on that anticipated list, was Claire Danes and this is another dress that had me wrinkling my nose in disappointment, especially after what she wore last year. I’m not a huge fan of blush tone gowns which might be why I’m finding it hard to get excited about either of these dresses and with Danes this Armani Privé number washes her out. I do like the change in hairstyle and her makeup is also a win, more accessorizes would help.


Danes does get red carpet legend status for crashing Lena Dunham’s E! interview and chatting about her Scandal obsession with the Girls star. A Romeo and Juliet reference was also thrown in regarding their Showtime/HBO standing; this has me reaching for those angel wings I’ve been holding onto for a Romeo + Juliet revival.

Christina Hendricks Emmys

Christina Hendricks doesn’t always get it right on the red carpet and designers inexplicably seem to have a hard time with her body shape, not so with Christian Siriano who always hits the mark with Hendricks. Hendricks described this gown as looking like a Sargent painting, a reference that was lost on Seacrest (Twitter quickly deduced that Madame X is the painting). Incredible from H to T (yeah I’ve been watching too much Top Model).

65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - ArrivalsMindy Kaling’s eggplant colored Edition by Georges Chakra dress is not the sparkly number that you might expect from Kaling and as with Deschanel I like this change up. Hair and makeup are understated and because of the embellished neckline accessorize beyond a cute clutch aren’t needed.

Carrie Preston Emmy 2013

Carrie Preston won an Emmy last weekend for her guest starring work on The Good Wife and she shone on the red carpet in this pale pink Romona Keveza gown with a touch of black detail. Preston’s incredible auburn locks instantly make her standout and this is another winning look.

Emmys 2013 Red Carpet: The Best of the Monochromes

23 Sep

Last night the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards took place in Los Angeles and the show was a mixed bag featuring unnecessary extended musical numbers, winners both predictable and surprising, a seemingly random dedication to 1963 and a band that played the winners off in record time (apparently a performance by Elton John is more important than the actual awards themselves). The direction felt all over the place and if it wasn’t for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler the awards opener would have been a huge dud (please host the Golden Globes again).

Luckily the fashion on the red carpet wasn’t such a shambles and first up is the women who are rocking the big monochromatic trend.

Anna Gunn Emmys 2013

Anna Gunn won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a drama category; a well deserved winner for that walk of despair into the swimming pool and her subsequent breakdown on the first half of Breaking Bad’s final season. Wearing Romona Keveza, Gunn looks stunning in a dress that is simple and elegant.

Merritt Wever Emmys

Merritt Wever! Another winner and not just for Nurse Jackie as she gave the best speech of the night that got straight to the point “Thank you so much! I’ve gotta go, bye.” While Wever doesn’t look all that convinced in the above photo, I think she looks incredible and I’m so happy that she won. Bonus points for an amazing lip color choice and for being generally awesome. It’s already been said on here countless times but can Elizabeth stay on New Girl please?

Elisabeth Moss Emmys

Breaking the “if you wear a monochromatic dress you will win” cycle is Elisabeth Moss and I’m pretty bummed out that both Top of the Lake and Mad Men went home with nothing. Moss is a vision in Andrew Gn and her blonde choppy cut continues to serve her well as this awards cycle is the best we’ve seen Moss yet. As with Wever, Moss has opted for a bold red lip color and is the key to setting off a great black and white ensemble.

Morgan Saylor Emmys

Now to one of the younger stars of the red carpet and Homeland’s Morgan Saylor; this Honor gown is perfect for an 18 year old as it’s not too prom but it also doesn’t age her up to 30. One thing I would change is her hair as it looks a little too casual for an event like this, nicely played with the red lips and makeup that isn’t too severe though. I’m hoping that season 3 of Homeland will give her a story that is less Kim Bauer like, she’s a really great young actress and I don’t want her bogged down in contrived melodrama.

Julianna Margulies Emmy 2013

Julianna Margulies was on hand to present because somehow she wasn’t nominated for The Good Wife and so this Reed Krakoff dress is a little more on the relaxed side. Yes it resembles a fancy bed sheet, but sometimes this can work too and maybe I’m just very excited by the return of The Good Wife next Sunday – yes on the same night as the Breaking Bad finale – but I think she looks fantastic.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

20 Sep

It’s the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday which means there are parties aplenty and with the earlier Creative Arts Emmys happening last Sunday we also have some winners looking fabulous as they pick up their accolades. So let’s get straight to it.

Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series - Dan Bucatinsky

Dan Bucatinsky plays Cyrus’ husband James on Scandal and he picked up the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series on Sunday night. It was a tough category that also featured Michael J. Fox (The Good Wife) and Rupert Friend (Homeland) and in a heartfelt speech he mentioned how wonderful it is that he can thank both his onscreen husband and real life husband. Wearing an amazing Alexander McQueen Dogtooth Jacquard tuxedo, Bucatinsky showed there are options for men beyond just the standard black tux and the Scandal cast is one of the most stylish both on screen and on the red carpet .

Carrie Preston Emmy

The Good Wife has a huge amount of excellent guest stars and Carrie Preston plays one of my favorite recurring characters; Elsbeth Tascioni. Tascioni’s quirks could come across as forced but Preston shines in this role and so I was delighted to see her win for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series on Sunday. I’m also a sucker for a cape and while most of the red carpet looks at the Creative Arts Emmys played it safe, it was good to see Preston trying something a little different.

Kerry Washington Emmy party

People magazine named Kerry Washington the World’s Best Dressed Woman this week and I’m definitely not going to dispute this title; who else could pull of this bubblegum pink ruffled Halston Heritage dress without looking like a Barbie doll?! The white shoes/clutch and matching lipstick to the dress color could be seen as accessorizing overkill but for some reason it works. All eyes will be on Washington on Sunday and she is high on my list of most anticipated red carpet arrivals. The Outstanding Actress in a Drama category is incredibly strong and my loyalty is split three ways between Washington, Elisabeth Moss and Claire Danes.

Tina Fey, Allison Williams

From last night’s Hollywood Reporter Nominees Night party both Tina Fey and Allison Williams have opted for the simple and effective black dress approach. It might be the similar outfit choices and natural makeup look but they could definitely play sisters in something. Along with Kerry Washington’s gown another thing on my Emmy anticipated list is what Amy Poehler has planned for the announcement of the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy category that Tina Fey is part of; previous years have included a silly glasses, mixed up speeches and a pageant approach. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are also slated to present at the Emmys this weekend.

Candice Accola

While The Vampire Diaries isn’t nominated for anything, Awesome Vampire Caroline herself Candice Accola attended the Hollywood Reporter party and looked, well awesome. This is another occasion where matching lipstick color to the dress actually works and while the nude shoes are not my favorite this is a really good look for a party that doesn’t require a full on gown. The dress is really cute with the bow belt and Rorschach like image (it’s definitely a butterfly).

Darby Stanchfield

As I’ve already mentioned the Scandal cast are just as stylish off screen as they are on it and Darby Stanchfield bookends this week’s Scandal filled post. This outfit could look a bit too business but as it’s a skirt and crop top this gives it a party edge. The clutch and statement ring add flare to the look and I love the belted detail that helps break up the grey tweed. Once again Stanchfield has avoided her Abby like super straight hair and opted for the wavy approach; as always I have long auburn hair envy.

For more photos from The Hollywood Reporter’s Emmy party head here.

TV Costume Designers and Impacting Fashion

19 Sep

TV Ate My Wardrobe isn’t surprised to read that TV costume designers are having an impact on fashion at the moment, as The New York Times proposes in an article today. This site was born out of an interest and passion for costuming on TV and while other avenues are explored on a daily basis this is still at the heart of what we do here. Costuming can aid the storytelling process, but we also look at trends on the runway that filter through to stores. What is featured in magazine editorials can impact what we see on screen, but as we have seen with shows like Sex and the City and Mad Men they can have just as much influence on style as the fashion houses themselves.

Olivia Pope leather gloves

One aspect this article from The New York Times discusses comes from Pretty Little Liars costume designer Mandi Line as she explains that in her interview she stated “If you let me make fashion the fifth character on this show, people will watch it just for the clothes.” This is something that can probably be said about a show like Gossip Girl which I have recently realized that I miss purely for the clothes. The way costuming can appeal can be dependent on the target demographic and with something like Pretty Little Liars Instagram reveals how fans of the show compare their clothes to the ones they see on screen. Costuming can help create buzz and a show like Scandal has benefited from these types of discussions, especially now that star Kerry Washington is covering major fashion magazines and landing on every best dressed list. Lyn Paolo has done an excellent job not only with Olivia Pope’s wardrobe, but with each character’s clearly defined look. In the pilot episode of Scandal the notion that they are “Gladiators in suits” was repeated and now both Olivia’s team and fans of the show use this moniker.

NG_Neighbors-Sc9_0017 The time between when a TV show is made and when it airs is often relatively short and so this immediacy means that the clothes we see on screen are still often in stores. While you might not be able to afford the Prada purse that Olivia Pope uses, the J Crew sweater that Jess wears on New Girl could be a more affordable option. Websites such as What Would Zooey Deschanel Wear? and its broader ranging sister site Worn on TV not only find where to buy the clothes you see on screen, but also cheaper similar looking alternatives.

Elementary costume designer Rebecca Hofherr talks about how “TV deals with realistic issues and more realistic clothing” as opposed to film which might deal with more fantastical subjects. While I’m not a proponent of any TV vs. film debates I think TV can have a bigger impact on personal tastes because shows air on a weekly basis and so we see style evolution over a period of time. Characters become familiar to us and so as viewers it can be easier to identify with them and their look. There’s also a variety so one week I might see Joan Watson wear a scarf I really like and another will have me adding an April Ludgate shirt to my always growing wish list. You can sample many different looks across many different shows.


This also covers period costuming and as I’ve mentioned Mad Men has influenced fashion in a major way and costume designer Janie Bryant has managed to create a brand thanks to her excellent work on Mad Men. Bryant has developed pieces with Maidenform (also a client of Sterling Cooper), Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers. There is also a reality show on the way from Janie Bryant that will give aspiring designers a chance to show off their skills by recreating classic Hollywood film costumes and celebrity signature styles.  Having just finished watching the Masters of Sex pilot I can confirm that there was a high amount of sweater and coat envy; as the colder season approaches I’m sure this will have some impact on forthcoming purchases even though it is set in the mid 1950s.

It’s not surprising to read that Good Wife designer Daniel Lawson is developing a line of clothes for professional women, or that Lyn Paolo is contemplating a book that will include Scandal related tips. Eric Daman whose previous credits include Sex and the City and Gossip Girl is now the costume designer for The Carrie Diaries and one of his non-TV related projects is a prom collection for Charlotte Russe. Girls and Orange is the New Black’s Jenn Rogien is currently one of Gap’s “Styled By” experts producing a series of style tutorials. For these costume designers they are diversifying their work and using their expertise on projects that relate to the TV work that we are familiar with. We have seen what these designers can do on screen so we know where their strengths lie and so there is already implied trust that they can produce excellent work outside of the TV show they design for.

A costume designer isn’t there to simply make the characters look good or to sell clothes; they help add another layer to the storytelling process and can inform the viewer to certain characteristics without a single word being said.

Julie Hammerle

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