Best of TV Costuming 2013: Leslie Knope’s Wedding Dress

23 Dec

Continuing TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2013″ costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items that we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking, we want to look at this year’s TV through the prism of costume.

In the Parks and Recreation two-parter “Emergency Response” and “Leslie and Ben” the group throws an impromptu park fundraiser followed by an even more spontaneous wedding. Unconventional wedding ceremonies and huge group projects give Parks and Rec the chance to show off their most heartwarming and hilarious material. On this occasion it also led to one of my favorite pieces of costume design from 2013.

Parks and Recreation - Season 5Leslie’s wedding dress is only half made as their wedding has been moved up by three months and it’s down to Ann to turn it into something that Leslie can wear. Eight years of Project Runway watching and five years of being Leslie’s BFF leads to a surprisingly unflustered Ann and the end result is stunning. Ann has collected all the meaningful bills, pictures, documents, newspaper clippings and memos from Leslie’s life and created a tiered full skirt to finish off the dress. Some suspension of disbelief is required, for me this is easy to do because it’s such a beautiful moment and Parks and Rec excels at triumph in the face of adversity (time being the problem, later followed by Jamm).

Parks and Recreation - Season 5For Leslie this gown is the most beautiful thing she has seen – it’s the “Ann Perkins of dresses.” The Leslie/Ann friendship is something I addressed earlier this year after it was announced that both Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe would be leaving the show; it’s one of the strongest female friendships on TV (Snake Juice aside) and Ann’s role in the wedding prep underscores how vital their relationship is. Change is an important aspect of challenging character dynamics and of course I will miss this pairing and yet I’m also excited to see how they will respond to losing two regular cast members.

A wedding is a sitcom staple (hell How I Met Your Mother is using a wedding as the basis for their entire final season) and it gives an opportunity for sentimentality among all of the characters, even the ones who reject this.

Parks and Recreation - Season 5Yep I’m looking at you Ron Swanson as he tells Leslie in the scene above “You are a wonderful person, you’re friendship means a lot to me and you look very beautiful.” This is also a great time to point out the pop of red from Leslie’s shoes and the flower hair accessory – she did say that she wanted “the sensuality of Eleanor Roosevelt and the animal magnetism of Lesley Stahl” and I’m going to go ahead and say she got both of those things, just because. It’s a very unique and distinctive wedding gown; it’s perfectly Leslie Knope.

Parks and Recreation - Season 5This is a picture heavy post even though I’m talking about one dress and the shot above is here mostly because they are the most adorable couple on TV; no they’re not particularly edgy and there’s little to no conflict and this is why they win the adorable title. My favorite TV marriage of all time is Eric and Tami Taylor (of course) and I can see a lot of them in Leslie and Ben. Yes the two shows are in very different genres, however at their heart both are about community and lean towards a more optimistic outlook. For Leslie and Ben the reason why they appeal so much can be summed up by this “You’re all I need. I love you and I like you.”

For more photos head over to the NBC created Pinterest board.

2 Responses to “Best of TV Costuming 2013: Leslie Knope’s Wedding Dress”


  1. Best of 2013 TV Costuming: Group Discussion | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 31, 2013

    […] about a lot of my favorite costume moments in the Best of 2013 series I’ve been doing and Leslie Knope’s wedding dress *might* be my personal highlight as both it and that episode encapsulated everything that makes […]

  2. Best of TV Costuming 2013: The Collection | TV Ate My Wardrobe - January 1, 2014

    […] Leslie Knope’s Wedding Dress […]

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