The Good Wife and a Tale of Two Suits

12 Nov

The Good Wife made a bold move at the end of last season as Alicia decided to start her own law firm with Cary. Instead of opting for a time jump a la Mad Men the tension has dramatically increased as we watch the tumultuous process play out. The Good Wife doesn’t have a habit of disappointing (I’m pretending Kalinda’s ex didn’t happen) but this storyline has taken the show to new heights and it has been one of the most compelling shows of the year.

Last week Anne Helen Petersen wrote an excellent piece about the evolving costumes on The Good Wife and what meanings can be derived from the uniforms these characters wear. One of Petersen’s comments that really helps emphasize why I find costuming so fascinating is because “Wardrobe matters because wardrobe communicates.” This leads me to two of the trips that Alicia makes to Lockhart/Gardner in the most recent episode “The Next Week.” It’s the first time Alicia has been back to her old firm since she was escorted from the building by security and her outfit upon her return makes a statement.

Alicia Escada Tuxedo JacketThis is not the face of someone who regrets her decision, even if Florrick, Agos & Associates have hit a number of speed bumps in their first week as a firm – the time frame of the last 4 episodes has covered just over a week in their time. Alicia is not attempting to blend in or wallflower this situation in this midnight blue (it reads black on the screen but costume designer Daniel Lawson refers to it as blue) Escada tuxedo blazer that stands out thanks to the contrasting white panels that sit under the lapels.

Alicia The Good WifeWhen Diane stalked the corridors of L/G a few weeks ago when she was having her own dispute with Will (which has now been resolved) she did so pretty uninterrupted. Diane was also dressed in a dark color and at the time I remarked there was something predatory about those scenes. Alicia represents a different kind of danger and the reaction of the L/G employees is to not enter her sphere as if she has some kind of plague. This is probably thanks to Will’s “destroy the competition” mantra and no one wants to be seen anywhere near Alicia. I’ve been writing about Scandal a lot recently and so the light and dark contrasting elements on the blazer combined with the white cowl neck blouse is giving me all kinds of Olivia Pope associations. Like Olivia, Alicia might have a confident demeanor, but there is still much conflict at play.

Alicia and the opposite sidesIt’s not going to be easy to get a rise out of Alicia as she sits on the opposite side because at this point she has leverage over them. Diane might be wearing the bold red that is generally associated with Alicia – Diane has previously worn this color but there are strong associations that tie Alicia with red clothing – but in this scene Alicia has the upper hand. Diane asks if Alicia has always been like this giving Alicia the opportunity to flip it around as she “had some of the best teachers in the world. I couldn’t help but change.”

Alicia grey pant suitThere is one notable person missing from the first meeting and that’s Will. When returning to L/G for a third time Alicia’s costuming makes her look less self-assured. Alicia is back in grey and while this Ferragamo pantsuit is more tailored that her season 1 outfits, it still harks back to a time when Alicia’s confidence wasn’t particularly high. In the scene captured in the photo above Will and Alicia share a moment; neither speaks a word but the penetrating stare between them could fill volumes with betrayal and heartbreak. Last week saw Will enjoying this personal sparring match with Alicia, this time they are both caught off guard and because they are back at the scene of the crime it feels incredibly fraught all over again.

Alicia Florrick and a different kind of exitLater Alicia is blindsided by the actions of Anthony, who with endless moaning about bonuses and terribly executed schemes has always been the weakest link in the FA&A chain. Alicia’s expression here as she exits Lockhart/Gardner is the polar opposite of how she entered these offices at the start of the episode and I’m impressed that she doesn’t tell David Lee to go fuck himself (in a network approved manner of course).

Returning to Anne Helen Petersen’s piece and this all important observation “Yet as Alicia rose through the ranks in the firm, had a steamy affair with her boss/old flame, and laid down the law with her husband, her suits got wild, and by wild, I mean they got peplumed.” The first suit in question doesn’t feature a peplum, but the details are just as bold and demonstrates through costuming the change that Alicia informs Diane was inevitable. Grey isn’t necessarily a color that denotes weakness in Alicia, but there is a shift in her confidence in the latter half of this episode that is reflected in what she is wearing. The case is going against her and FA&A face another setback thanks to Anthony’s deception; it’s not all doom and gloom as they’ve gained Clarke so it’s time to bring out the bold suits and continue to fight this fight.


6 Responses to “The Good Wife and a Tale of Two Suits”


  1. The Wish List: Jess from New Girl’s Pea Coat | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 14, 2013

    […] with Scandal being top of this list (when it comes to jackets and blazers that’s all The Good Wife) and Masters of Sex has been doing a good job of competing for this title. When you can’t […]

  2. The Good Wife: What We Wear and How We Are Perceived | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 17, 2014

    […] on multiple occasions this season and this episode incorporates many of these aspects; memory, power and sex. What you wear can be a powerful tool and the contrast between present day Alicia and the […]

  3. Who is the Hypocrite on The Good Wife? | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 3, 2014

    […] jacket Alicia wears in the final scene is also Escada and this outfit instantly reminded me of this season 5 outfit when Alicia returned to L/G for the first time after the big split (this jacket is also by […]

  4. Divisions on The Good Wife: Emails, Negotiations and How to Say No Without Saying No | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 30, 2015

    […] black and white ensemble Alicia wears at the end of the episode is the similarity between this and the one she wore when she first returned to Lockhart/Gardner in season 5 for the first time after she left the firm; […]

  5. Degrees of Caring on The Good Wife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 16, 2015

    […] her and it isn’t like the time she returned to the office after her last split from the firm (cue memories of Will and all the sadness). There are no bad feelings on Alicia’s end even if Diane recently […]

  6. Throwing in the Towel on The Good Wife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 28, 2016

    […] One costuming aspect to note with Caitlin is that she has taken style cues from both Diane and Alicia.Both black and white and the floral is distinctly Diane. The first one is more Alicia and reminds me a little of one of my ultimate fave Alicia costumes. […]

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