I’d like to take a moment to talk about clothes.
Don’t worry, this is still a geek blog.
Full disclosure: I’m not a particularly snappy dresser. In fact, I hate clothes shopping and, the topic of this post notwithstanding, actually generally give very little thought to clothing at all. It’s not that I don’t want to look good, I just don’t want to have to think too hard about it. I’m busy. And a lot of busy women feel that way. That’s why so many women in the 90’s went to their hairdressers asking for “The Rachel” after watching Season 1 of “Friends.” A character they connected with had a cute haircut, and they said en masse, “I’ll have what she’s having.” They were busy 90’s chicks, and it beat leafing through stacks of magazines at the stylist.
So why can’t geek girls have the same privilege? I guarantee you that the wardrobe and hair people on the shows we love spend as much time and money making their ladies look fabulous as they do on any other kind of show. When I recently went for a long overdue haircut, I whipped out my phone, pulled up a picture of Calista Flockhart from Supergirl’s S1, Episode 4, and said, “That, please.”
It is a black hole of missed opportunity.
My pet case study for this is Marvel’s “Agent Carter.” Be honest now, ladies. If Marvel thought creatively, and released a Peggy Carter clothing and makeup line, you’d buy it, wouldn’t you? Show of hands? Of course you would. It would have been a brilliant move; what kind of loyalty would that have inspired in the show’s audience if they could easily emulate her killer vintage style without having to go scouring retro clothing sites and thrift shops? What kind of interest would it have roused in non-viewers if they figured out that there was a mini-surge in vintage fashion going on thanks to the show? Plus, we’d all be running around dressed like this:
Literally no downside. Look at that jacket.
Let’s talk about the classic charm of legit geek girl style icon Felicity Smoak (that purple coat!):
Or Thea Queen’s mix of edgy and classy:
Let’s talk about Melinda May’s various black leather ensembles that are all pretty much the definition of understated cool.
Let’s talk about Daisy Johnson and her… well, ok, strike that. Maybe not Daisy. Daisy usually looks like she just rolled out of bed. But you get where I’m going with this.
The Star Wars franchise sort of tried halfheartedly at this with the release of The Force Awakens, in the form of “Light Side” and “Dark Side” makeup collections from Covergirl. The problem is that they were really just makeup with Star Wars branding slapped on them, which I suppose had some novelty appeal, but weren’t really aimed at helping the wearer connect with a particular character from the film by achieving a similar look. For starters, the main heroine, Rey, didn’t wear makeup! We never see Captain Phasma’s face! And Maz Kanata …. Well, I’m not being ageist or species-ist, but I’m not really after this look:
Let me be totally clear: my complaint isn’t that there aren’t stylish women in the movie: it’s that Covergirl was just after my dollars without really caring whether the tie-in made sense. It didn’t.
The good news is, we are not entirely without recourse if we want to cop the styles of the ladies we love, at least the ones on the small screen. The sites https://wornontv.net/ and http://shopyourtv.com have databases, searchable by show, and within each show’s page, you can navigate by character to view some of their standout outfits and find out where to get them.
The upside of this is, at least you know where to get the clothes. The down side is, Cat Grant’s classy, sassy wardrobe all comes from Neiman Marcus and I will never be able to afford even a pair of her socks, never mind that rad blazer she wears in S1, Ep3.
Come on, Marvel. Come on, D.C. Make it easy for us! Why are the only clothing lines inspired by the nerdy shows we love available at Hot Topic and look like they’re made for teenagers who can’t quite commit to cosplay? You have an army of grown-ass women who would snap up product if it were properly aimed at them.
Showrunners, brand owners, market to us! Create affordable copycat wardrobes and I swear to you we will buy them. In the immortal words of Phillip J. Fry: