A weird thought came to me the other day as I was watching TV while sewing (I’m sure you read about that post here, right?) about how some TV shows I watch for the fashion inspiration as much as, or more than, the content.
I’m sure that’s a pretty obvious observation but as I have been re-watching Gossip Girl while sewing I realized that even though I don’t need to look at the screen to know what’s going on, I like to peek up now and again to check out what gowns Blair and Serena are wearing, and even get a little goth girl inspo from Little J as well. I decided to reflect on my favorite fashion TV shows of all time, and I think you might be shocked at what’s on the list… and what isn’t!
My 5 Favorite Fashion TV Shows
1. Gossip Girl
This is list is in no particular order, so I thought I would start off with the most obvious. Blair’s headbands reignited a headband revolution, and her over-accessorized take on Upper East Side style is still unparalleled. Serena, not so much. While I think her gown game was impeccable (maybe alluding to Blake Lively’s future success as her own stylist?), her casual style was a bit of a mess. Even though I hate her random sparkly boho-ness, seeing the complete looks with hair and makeup were always impressive. Jenny Humphrey was another who’s look always wow’ed, even if her goth days were not your taste. Her un-done and edgy Constance uniform is a high school boys’ dream, and still inspiration for many Halloween costumes. This show also stands out for staying current in fashion culture, including episodes surrounding the first Fashion’s Night Out, the early days of Rent the Runway, Jenny Packham’s wild 2000-era success, and references to Simon Doonan, Grace Coddington, Anna Wintour, and André Leon Talley. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Gossip Girl is available on Netflix ;)
2. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
A period piece had to of course make the list of my favorite fashion TV shows, and I can’t think of one better than this Amazon Prime Original. While there have been many shows taking place in the NY in the 50s and 60s, this is the first where the main character actually. cares. about. fashion. I have learned from watching Midge that one should always think head to toe, including a matching coat, hat and shoes, to highlight the waist, and that summering in the Adirondacks can actually be a fashionable affair. Midge’s character is fashionable but straightforward, feminine but strong, the way most women even today dream to look!
The majority of this list is scripted TV, so it’s important to note one standout as the Beverley Hills Housewives. I would never ever ever categorize the entire Housewives franchise because the majority of them are a mess, but the Beverley Hills women have the cash to spend, and it’s all REAL… no Rent the Runway items here. I am actually obsessed with Erika and Dorit’s style, and the fact that their hairstyle is different in every single episode is not lost on me. Never mind the fact that they have actual glam squads that fly with them everywhere! There are few people that walk into Versace and walk out rocking a head to toe ensemble, and that they then wear these looks to brunch or go to the zoo or whatever, slays me. Long live RHOBH!
Haven’t seen it, you say? You should. Not only would I not know what ‘fire’ and ‘lit’ meant if I didn’t watch this relevant, addictive, ‘woke’ show, but I also wouldn’t know what the kids are into these days! PLUS- I have several of the same pieces of clothing that Zoey (Yara Shahidi’s character) wears, so I feel ultra hip (shoot, fire?) that I own them too. Not only is this show great for female fashion, but I love to see what Luka and Vivek are wearing for men’s fashion as well, and I feel that all of these young actors are the voice of the next generation… so jump on that train now!
5. Clarissa Explains it All
Ok Ok Ok… I know you were all expecting SATC, but I’ll address that later. Listen, Clarissa’s fashion was a hodge podge, mis-matched nightmare, but for me at 10 years old, I wanted nothing more than to be her. I used to raid my closet for as weird of combinations of items that she had, ultimately realizing that I didn’t have the balls to wear her crazy looks out doors. Ultimately, that’s why I loved her so much. In a sea of Gap kids, I wanted to be loud and crazy and fun, and could never quite get the courage that she had. Looking back, her outfits seem pretty similar to the kids in Grown-ish, which not only is ironic, but I think somewhat profoundly reflects on the progressive values of kids today. yay!
I left off SATC and Project Runway for different reasons. SATC never really resonated with me. Maybe it was because I watched it in college and thought Carrie was a bit pathetic, not aspirational. Or maybe it’s because when everyone one else zigged, I zagged on principle. If you know me, you probably think that’s the case.
Regarding Project Runway, I think it’s an amazing show that has helped shine a light on the craft of sewing and designing, and I watch it religiously. However, much of the fashion is not fashion forward, and most of the challenges are ridiculous and irrelevant to modern day design skills. I still love watching it, but I have never taken inspiration from it the same way I do these other TV shows!