Following the premiere of Girls, season two, Sara McCorquodale argues the show's realistic approach to style is one of the things that makes it so good - and says it MUST stay that way...
I love the fashion in Girls. The second series of Lena Dunham's groundbreaker premiered last night and it's been applauded for being witty, realistic and featuring actresses that aren't size eight. But for me, the styling is a revelation and I'm overjoyed the first season approach to fashion remains, despite the programme's huge success.
When I was in my early twenties, post-university and trying desperately to live even the most anaemic imitation of the dream in Brixton, I'd watch Sex and the City and Gossip Girl and weep for my poor Primark-sodden wardrobe. Oh, if only I'd the budget to buy a tutu! Why did my one pair of skinny jeans have a hole in the crotch? When would I own a dress that hadn't been in the sale?
I held myself up to these impossibly stylish characters living the life of Riley (if Riley looked good in hairbands and had a rich boyfriend called Chuck) and found my own take on fashion to be hopelessly pedestrian. All of my best clothes were borrowed from my flatmate. Who eventually reclaimed them, leaving me with my own collection of items, most of which were constructed from t-shirt material in a weird print. My winter wardrobe was my summer wardrobe with tights and I had one dress for all special occasions. May you never know the pain of trying to style out a nightie.
But girls in their early-twenties now? They have Dunham. Dunham, who writes characters that are really not that fashionable. They have sensible shoes, fuzzy haircuts and clothes that often look a bit bargain bin. The fabrics have a worn-ness about them and the palette can generally be bit drab. Did you ever see khaki in Sex and the City? No, you did not - I bet Patricia Field is joyfully unaware such a colour exists outside the military. And, if the Girls try to put together something avant garde, it never really works out. Because that's life on a low salary, baby - achieving anything that comes close to high fashion requires more disposable income than the current minimum wage has to offer.
When the characters in Girls do dress up, it's not a heart-stopping-with-envy moment for the viewer. It's more like, "Oh yeah, I've got a skirt like that and it makes me look pregnant too." It's reassuring, like we're all in it together.
So, yes, Girls - brilliant writing, seriously funny and in honesty, anything with Chris O'Dowd tends to be awesome. But the show's wardrobe makes me feel less despairing of my own, and for that, Lena Dunham, I thank you.
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