Masters of Sex and the Betty Fashion Parade

25 Aug

Masters of Sex did something different this week in “Asterion” and while I do want to take the opportunity to explore the episode as a whole this is the perfect opportunity to discuss how costume is used as part of the overall narrative structure with the Betty fashion parade. The passage of time covered this week is huge and so far this season has only covered a relatively short period of time in the vast landscape of Masters and Johnson.

We open with a title card telling us it is 5 months after the events of last week (which I noted felt like the end of a chapter) and in total the episode covers 3 years of time starting in October 1958. Lester’s clapperboards are a significant tool in noting these dates and are a more organic form than the title card that is used only at the start of the episode. Betty is another source of addressing the time shift and presenting it to the audience in an arresting manner.

Masters of Sex 2.07 BettyNo longer Betty Moretti and without the financial security of that relationship, Betty DiMello seeks work at the new Masters & Johnson clinic; after doing the books at the brothel Betty is a dab hand at finances. Betty is characteristically late, but wearing an outfit that is darker and less flamboyant than her usual attire. This is serious Betty demonstrating her desire for this job through her clothes (even if she is a terrible time keeper). The muted tones might also represent her recent heartbreak and we don’t find out whether Helen is still in the picture.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty in yellowBetty has always worn a lot red (and she continues to do so in this episode) and this isn’t the only primary color in her wheelhouse. As a color and pattern aficionado Betty covers the spectrum of designs including a Jane-like yellow polka dot dress while she gives Libby the grand tour.

Masters of Sex 2.07Transitioning from one baby to two as Johnny gets a little sister in the first of several big leaps cutting out the fertility drama we have already witnessed. This is one year gone and now it’s 1959; Betty is a geometric pattern beauty in this brown and white frock. The kids are equally adorable in traditional pink and baby blue because of course Libby would dress them like this. That flat cap is to die for.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty lobbyMore walk and talks with Betty as she tries to sell space and collect rent; she’s not just a dab hand at the books thanks to her previous career as she is now studying for her accounting degree. Betty asks Bill why he took a chance on her considering how contentious their relationship has been and he is simply repaying her for the help she has given the study not once, but twice.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty creamBetty’s style continues to make a bold statement and while she has ditched the furs (because she probably can’t afford them), she still manages to stand out in this office. Over the course of the episode we see multiple costume changes from a range of characters; however Betty is the anchor as she is the visual cue and the one who acts as the title card denoting the passing of time. Annaleigh Ashford has been a terrific regular addition this season and I am so glad to have her back in the main storyline.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty patterened shirtWhile Virginia makes her position clear by wearing the white coat, Betty isn’t reduced to a simpering secretary and even though Virginia wasn’t thrilled by Betty’s initial arrival (Bill hadn’t consulted her so this is likely the reason for the animosity, although Betty did have some choice words for Virginia about her relationship with Bill at the start of season 1). This final outfit from Betty had me howling with delight, the shirt by itself deserves the spotlight.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty blueIt’s Betty blue Capri pants and there is a slight shift in office style as we head into a new decade. This is of course a period still very much influenced by the previous decade and hats are still on point, but the overall look is changing and pants are suitable work attire. They are for Betty anyway and while we haven’t seen Virginia in pants at work, she is wearing them in her spare time as the final scene in the episode shows.


2 Responses to “Masters of Sex and the Betty Fashion Parade”


  1. Masters of Sex 2.08 “Mirror, Mirror” Review: Beneath the Veil | TV Ate My Wardrobe - September 1, 2014

    […] what transpired during her childhood. This episode does grind the forward momentum on display last week to a halt; however it is still remains a compelling hour of television while also highlighting some […]

  2. Masters of Sex Season 3 Artwork and Previews: “We are the Sexual Revolution” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - June 9, 2015

    […] has always been the pattern queen so mid sixties fashion is going to be ideal for […]

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