If this is your first time here, I recommend starting from the first episode and working your way forward. Of course, that's entirely your call.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Season 2, Episode 1: First Day of School

Onward we march. The season begins with an event that is pivotal for all family members: the first day of school. (You may have gleaned this from the title.) As the children lament the loss of their summer freedom and struggle to wake up, their parents rejoice at the opportunity to reclaim their home. If they both worked regular 9-to-5 hours, this would be less exciting to them, because they wouldn't be around to enjoy the empty house. Luckily for the Huxtables, they exist in a state of perpetual opulence. But that's an exploration best left to someone else's blog.

And good morning to you, sir.

Typically, I wouldn't bother to highlight an item that could be slept in, but it amuses me that Cliff has essentially worn a Cosby bathrobe. This is the sort of lumpy, ugly work that might make up a portion of one of his outer layers. Like, I can see this stitched up with some red striped knit and then maybe a suede patch or two to create a sort of Human Sweaterpede, but that's more of a season three jam. When he gets dressed in season two, it looks like this:

Look how blissfully happy Rudy is in the middle there. Priceless.

See what I mean about suspenders being his lasting legacy? So far, he's barely even dabbled in sweaterology, but he's earned a Ph.D. in braces. They've made a real comeback, too, so he's paving the way for a fashion trend decades in advance. What's especially great is how he uses them to create complexity. The shirt already has awesomeness happening with the stellar lavender getting chopped up by those pale pinks and greens, and he dives right in with some maroon and white on top. Pattern on pattern, kids: get into it. He'd likely lose control of his appearance if he went for more daring pants, so I'm glad we've stuck with khaki for now.


Besides, he's compensating for the pleated front with some fancypants action in the back. Later, he also throws down a tan blazer. I don't adore it with those pants specifically (to beat a dead horse: it's close in hue without actually matching, and really an actual match would be just as bad because who wears a khaki suit?), but on its own and with that shirt, an oatmeal corduroy coat is a lovely concept. I initially mistook this for his blazer from the pilot episode, which I thought was a nice tie-in, but closer examination confirms that it's a new piece.

Season two documents Clair's rise to total world domination through fashion.

This is legendary and I am living for it. Clair's outfit is all about the movement. When she's walking or gesturing, it's just glorious. She has to be careful, though: you can see in that first panel that even the slightest slouch takes her straight into matron territory. On the other hand, she's setting the standard for class with that white skirt and the absolute perfect shade of pink. Throw in some gold jewelry (you knew she would) and you're ready to set the world ablaze.

FACE FACE FACE I give face, beauty face...

Take a closer look at the brilliance in how this shirt is fastened. While I'm sure there are other hidden clasps to prevent wardrobe malfunctions, there are only two visible buttons, leaving a crisp, slightly angled line almost reminiscent of a jacket lapel. The top one is also attached to a short length of gold cord that ties in with her other accessories and draws your gaze to the delicious draping at her neck. I'm so smitten with what's been done here; it's just beautiful.

Not that innocent.

Even in that seductive pose, I'm still 50/50 on the jacket. The pocket square (pocket tuft?) is heavenly and I'm not hating on the pink tweed, I'm just rehashing my standard complaint: it's too close to the color of her shirt. Follow me on this one: imagine all the other shades she could have tried and executed successfully.

My image manipulation skills are self-taught. Deal.

See how much better that would have been? So much better. That's not even the exact shade I was trying for, that's just as close as I could get with free photo editing software and a toddler's grasp of how it functions. Higher heights could have been achieved.

She'd even look good wearing a potato sack, which she practically is.

Clair changes clothes later in the day, meaning that even though she was stoked about the child-free homestead, she still spent at least some time in the office before slipping into something more comfortable. As much as I'm instinctively predisposed to deride this, I'm actually kind of intrigued. In terms of comfortable around-the-house attire, you could do worse. The lightweight fabric makes the garment seem less giant; as you can see, it's so thin that any motion at all makes it suddenly quite revealing. That twist in the second frame is the sexiest a parachute-y jumpsuit has ever been. The orange is stunning, as is the red belt, which also combats what has the potential to be a seriously bonkers tailoring job. On the other hand, we're not dealing with a home run or anything. It's still reminiscent of a clown outfit in many ways.

The Bozo face isn't helping, hon

See what I mean? Scoot that belt too high and you're getting asked to entertain at birthdays for preschoolers. You're better than that, Clair.

This screencap reads like a kindergarten production of Black Swan.

Rudy dressed herself for her first day. I think her look is secret genius. All the pink and the ruffles and the bows and the costume jewelry simultaneously celebrate and comment on femininity and the gender roles she will be expected to play out as she ages. She's obviously asserting her individuality while making a statement about her surroundings. Pretty precocious if you ask me.

That blouse is way dingy. People will wonder if she's been raised in a basement.

Her parents put her in this instead. Underwhelmed, guys. Next time just let the kid do it herself.

If she were older, there would be an entendre about paying for a ride.

Vanessa is pushing pretty hard for attention; clearly, she's hoping her return from summer break will be triumphant. It's weird, because although the styling touches like the short-ish skirt and off-the-shoulder sweater seem more adult, the cutesy cab pattern and black-and-yellow palette bring her right back into little girl territory. I'm sure the costume department did that on purpose: it would be jarring to dress someone this young in a manner that suggested outright seduction. Besides, she's toying with grown-up looks, but it's not like her parents would have ever bought her anything inappropriate. Cliff even pulls her top up to cover that bra strap. She's making do with what she has. For a teenager with limited means, I think she managed to pull a pretty confident outfit out of the wreckage that is her closet. I have to call those yellow tights into question, though. (You can barely see them, but they're there in the corner. I just don't know about yellow tights with a yellow outfit.)

It's poppin'... it's poppin'.

Speaking of big-girl choices, she's wearing make-up here. As in, beyond the usual stuff you'd throw on for the camera. A dark lip gloss at the very least. This isn't problematic in and of itself, but does create a continuity error. Later in the series, there's a whole episode about how angry her parents get when they catch her wearing make-up to school, and yet today, they smile knowingly at each other without saying a word about it. No wonder she has such a hard time accepting their edict: it comes out of nowhere in light of their earlier behavior. Her rebellion makes infinitely more sense in this context.

DisaSTAR, amirite?

Vanessa changes after school, which is odd in that no mention is made of her having other plans. She must be going somewhere, though, because she continues to devote an undue amount of effort to her wardrobe, resulting in even more regrettable choices this time around. Restricting the number of colors she's allowed to use might be helpful to her, because when given a broader spectrum from which to draw, she loses her grip on taste. The pink and red shirt manages to clash with itself, and the star pattern is even more childish than the taxis. I also hate the purple t-shirt and the weird darkened areas above the knees of her jeans. Are those cutouts? Patches? I don't want to know more. Everything here is working against her. She and her closet may have had an altercation.

It takes serious confidence to label yourself Number One.

Theo's father gets on his case for cutting the sleeves off this sweatshirt, but I think he did the right thing. Considering the size of the resulting opening, I can only assume that the sleeves themselves are now sleeping bags for Rudy. They must have been colossal. The shape he's created is a little strange, and I might have executed the snip slightly differently if I were at the helm, but this is fine. The unaltered portion of the shirt is kind of enjoyable, too: the charcoal crest and collar detailing are sporty without being tied to a particular sport or team, and they coordinate nicely with the slacks. I could have done with a little more color beyond the lovely blue t-shirt, but this is a clean, casual look that I can roll with.

This is how I enter almost every room.

Though she's working the same colors as her sister, Denise manages to look more mature and assured in her clothing. Something about the simplicity of a black shirt and a long cardigan makes her look pulled together. At the same time, she's quirky for showing off such a bright primary color in an otherwise austere configuration. Of course, I'm only saying "austere" because you can't see her below the waist.

This family portrait tells a really weird story.

Aw, the kids are leaving for school. That's right kids, go away. Anyhow, to get back to Denise: those are pajama pants, right? Or the first Zubaz or something? Whatever they are, I loathe them. Also, circling back to some earlier outfits: Clair's jacket is huge (in a bad way), and Vanessa is wearing a cardigan over her sweater, which seams silly to me. It's late August, maybe early September, there's no need to create an Inception scenario out of wool. You'll be burning up out there.

No, but really, what are she and her friends doing? I want answers.

Denise also changes later. She's going out with several girlfriends, but doesn't specify where. I'll assume she's volunteering someplace that requires her to scrub bathrooms or sweep chimneys or something, because there's no way she's wearing this to look good. Though initially tempted to skip this outfit, I decided I had to bring it up because it shows the importance of context with clothes. If it weren't for the distinctive crest, I would never have recognized this as the sweater from episode #1.7. Surrounded by other uniform-like attire, it became so proper-looking that I was convinced it was a blazer. In fact, I was so sure of this assessment that I spent ten minutes checking back and forth between images, debating whether this was even the same garment. But it turns out that I was wrong last season: I had imagined lapels where there were none. She's taken the shoulder pads out, but otherwise, it seems that this is the same loose sweater. Sweatshirt? Whatever. The thing is, check how sloppy it gets when surrounded by trashier gear. It's like a magic trick. Use this knowledge to your advantage, darlings: with the right styling, you can make any garment as dressy or casual as it needs to be.

See? Even Huxtable Hotness can be educational. Your time spent reading this blog now officially counts as studying. No homework, but I'll see you here again next week for another class.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to whomever is looking after Vanessa's hair too, it's definately an improvement on the previous season.