Tag Archives: underwear

Work in Other Places: Talking Underwear on TV and the Best Shows of the Year (So Far)

9 Jul

Shameless self-promotion time and if you can’t shamelessly self-promote on your own website then I don’t know where you can.

Over at Flavorwire I had the pleasure of talking to costume designers from Masters of Sex (Ane Crabtree), The Americans (Jenny Gering) and You’re the Worst (Wendy Benbrook) about the importance of undergarments and how both period and contemporary costuming reflects on and can impact current trends.

Masters of Sex 2.03 Fight The Americans 2.06 You're the Worst 1.01Here is an extract and you read the whole thing here

The Americans is a bridge between period and contemporary fashion — the ’80s don’t feel so long ago — and it helps that The Americans‘ costuming isn’t what you might typically expect from this decade (lurid neons, shoulder pads). The show keeps a toe in the ’70s, and that’s reflected in Elizabeth’s everyday underwear choices.

While a visible bra strap might have been an extremely telling costuming choice even in The Americans‘ era, shows set in the present day are likely to use this detail far more casually. For sitcoms featuring young women —  Youre the Worst, Broad City, New Girl, Girls — warmer weather means, “What kind of bra can I wear with this?” dilemmas.”

And over at Complex I wrote about why The Americans is one of the “Best TV Shows of 2015 (So Far)” focusing on the complicated relationships at the heart of this Cold War era spy show: “Disguises, wigs and missions create tense and fraught moments, but the heart shattering action takes place in the most mundane of locations as these characters reveal who they actually are. In a world where secrets protect, the truth is a loaded weapon and The Americans is not afraid of pulling the trigger.”


Turning Two with Broad City: Abbi, Ilana and Me

17 Mar

TV Ate My Wardrobe turns two next month and with this comes far too much introspection and anxiety when contemplating what I have/haven’t done since its inception. Carving out a corner of one’s own is a daunting task when the internet has already been chopped up in every way imaginable and if there’s one show to aid optimism rather than feed my hypercritical side it is Broad City. Yesterday I wrote about the notion of faking everything on Girls and while the two shows are of course very different the location and age/gender of the protagonists leads to automatic comparisons. The reason I bring it up is because Abbi and Ilana aren’t so much faking anything and instead they are taking the opportunities they have and running with them even if this results in falling down a hole in a park or smashing a very expensive mirror. 

Broad City 2.08There are a lot of things to write about Broad City this season and for some inexplicable reason I’ve been experiencing a kind of block with what direction to take this piece in. The garbled notes this post started as looked a little something like this:


Drew Barrymore impression

Lady friendship


Body confidence


Kelly fucking Ripa


Analyze this if you will and the one somewhat cohesive element is that every single thing on that list is something you can derive a lot of joy from and Broad City’s appeal lies in how much fun is to be had by the characters on screen and from watching it.

Role model is a term which suggests living the ‘right’ way and rather Abbi and Ilana (both Wexler/Abrams and Glazer/Jacobson) are showing how to live your best life whether its sitting on the couch falling into the occasional internet hole or trying to progress with your dream job or even your dreamish one. It is telling a different story of your twenties which doesn’t necessarily rely on falling in love or making a buttload of money; if you’ve got your best friend by your side and a day of unplanned adventure whether that’s finding the Narnia of parties or skating to a dog wedding this is all you need in that moment. Your twenties is not just for the daily grind of figuring it out but having someone to do this with.

Broad City 2.05It doesn’t really feel like there is anything else quite like Broad City on TV particularly in regards to sex-positive storylines such as Abbi’s pegging experience and Ilana’s encounter with a woman who looks a whole lot like her last week (Alia Shawkat shout out). These aren’t portrayed as A Very Special Episode BIG DEAL encounters nor is Abbi and Ilana’s sexuality played just for laughs. Things go right, things go wrong and the other is always just a phone call or video chat step away for all or none of the advice they might need.

The clothes worn on screen is a big part of who we are at TV Ate My Wardrobe and Broad City’s costume design features an endless stream of crop/vest tops, funky bras and leggings making this a summer show for the ages. Ah yes Broad City shoots in the sunnier months so the warmer climate attire reads a little odd while I’m up to my eyeballs in knitwear, but it also plays into the wish fulfillment aspect. Abbi and Ilana don’t just excel at all things casual as they kill it whenever they have a fancier affair to attend whether its Abbi rewearing her “Fattest Asses” dress of glory (because this is what people do) or Ilana’s shiva outfit in “Knockoffs” (a personal favorite of mine and one that also incorporates the top Ilana wore in “Fattest Asses”).


One of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s regular features is “The Wish List” and generally everything featured on there would either fall into the splurge or ‘there is no way I could ever afford this’ category. With Broad City the outfits come from places within Abbi and Ilana’s means and recently costume designer Staci Greenbaum spoke to Flavorwire mentioning where they shop “We tend to do a lot of H&M, Topshop, Forever 21. We do thrift stores. We do Beacon’s Closet sometimes, as you saw.” The dress Abbi wore in “Coat Check” when she went to Kelly Ripa’s to return her jacket is from H&M and it is something this Jane the Virgin post touched on; after almost two years of writing about the clothes we see on screen I can tell you it makes a difference when you see a character wearing something that is fancy affordable rather than a gorgeous, but crazy expensive item.

Broad City 2.09Style and figure wise I am far more Abbi than Ilana as the thought of wearing either a crop top or shorts has me running for the hills. The body confidence of both women is something to celebrate as we’ve seen both each of them shed their clothes this season – with blur bars – from Abbi’s Lady Gaga naked apartment dance to Ilana’s modeling in Abbi’s life drawing class. And what about Val? Abbie’s blackout drunk alter ego and the moment that made me scream the most (so far) this season. So unexpected, so amazing and the perfect way to deal with Ilana’s FOMO.

Broad City ValCheesy sounding sentiment it might be but there is something incredibly inspiring about Broad City and the two women behind the show and in front of the camera; I am proud of what this website has achieved so far but I know there is still the Narnia of parties out there and my Val moment is yet to come. When I feel like garbage and in one of those feeling worthless spirals I know a Broad City pick me up will help resolve the funk and give a push in the right direction. And before I spill too much all over the page I want to close on one of another season 2 highlight moments from and why I heart Abbi and Ilana so hard. It’s just like how Abbi feels about Drew Barrymore.

Julie Hammerle

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