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, December 31, 2012

Season 4, Episode 6: That's Not What I Said

This week, Theo gets in trouble after he and a friend drive to Coney Island even though neither of them has a license yet. Cliff and Clair get into a fight about nothing and neglect to discuss their son's punishment, leaving him in suspense about his fate. He lucks out in the end when a romantic resolution of their differences leads them to handle his transgression with leniency.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Freda Foh Shen
It's like even her bangs are pregnant.

Since the episode is light on things happening, we get our first trip back to Cliff's office in a while. Something's got to fill the time, right? This unnamed patient is played by Freda Foh Shen. I was most familiar with her for her voice: she played Mulan's mother in the Disney film and its direct-to-video sequel, and was the drive-thru lady in Dude, Where's My Car? (which I'm sad to admit that I actually saw). She also apparently made a brief appearance in the recent Star Trek film. I'm not sure that I really have anything to say about what she's wearing, as this show aired at a time when maternity wear was designed expressly to make pregnant women look as much like furniture as possible. Those flats are cute, though.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Ron Foster Mr Hanson
He best not try to pull "excuse me" face on Clair. She OWNS that face.

Ron Foster appears as Mr. Hanson, a lawyer with whom Clair is negotiating. He has a long resume of smaller roles, though only a handful of those appearances occur after this episode. Like the previous guest star, he doesn't leave me with much to comment on: a navy three-piece suit is sort of beyond reproach. I guess we could quibble about the shirt and tie choice, or the way that his tie's pattern conflicts with the more complex print of his pocket square, but that's not why you're here. We've been through it before, it's better to just move on.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Rudy can rock some "excuse me" face too, apparently.

Rudy's bringing spring into her wardrobe with lots of yellow and flowers, but the print is too heavy for a vest and shorts: you're really going to want to pick one or the other. Even though she's six and she can get away with a lot more, she's going to want to start building good habits now so that she's prepared when middle school hits and people will savage her for this kind of excess. Otherwise, this is totally acceptable.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Please tell me you're looking for new places to shop.

I don't think there's any full-length footage of Vanessa during the episode, so I'm giving you the best image I could capture. The theme of today's outfit seems to be accessories: she's going for broke on the shell headband, dangly earrings, giant pin, and even an overdose of buttons. Otherwise, it's a sea of pink: there's a moment when she walks through the background of Rudy's close-up suggesting that she's wearing a matching long skirt, but I didn't think it was worthwhile to include a blurry shot of half her butt as corroborating evidence. You'll just have to take my word for it.  Anyway, an outfit of mostly one color often feels like a missed opportunity to me. Unless you've done something really spectacular from which added detail would only detract, you're basically just admitting that you can't figure out how to pick shades that work together.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
Vanessa's looking for new places to shop. You should join her.

This is what Theo was wearing when he got picked up by the police. The Fashion Police, amirite? Seriously, though, we're dealing with some fit issues in those pants, the puffy contrast cuffs on the shirt are just horrible, and everything else is too bland to notice.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
Didn't we almost have it all?

He gives a lot more the next day, but the director never provides a full view of the creation: Theo's always cut off just below the waist and covered by that big cobalt trench coat. He seems to be doing a lot of experimentation with the interplay of black and white patterning, plus the catchy accent of an apple-red tie. This might be one of the best outfits he's given us in the last two seasons, but that's largely speculation. I feel I've been cheated out of of a joyous moment.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
She paints with all the colors of the wind.

Clair serves up a clone of her episode #4.2 suit rendered in vivid technicolor. Mostly, I think she looks smashing, though I worry that my drag queen sensibilities have blinded me to the outlandish nature of this ensemble. Are the purple and pink ridiculous together? Can this plausibly be worn in a serious work context? I can't tell anymore, I love her too much and I'm too enamored with preposterous palettes. My gut tells me that she needs to tone it down a hair, but my heart tells me that this is PERFECT.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
If he didn't have a few normal sweaters, then opening his closet would literally blind him.

Cliff's first outfit is pretty tame. The sweater is, perhaps, a composite of two sweaters, but that's a light day for him, in all honesty. Nothing here clashes or seems out of place; he even managed to find a collared shirt that perfectly matches the lighter blue of his outer garment. Loving that thick yarn, too: something with easily visible stitching always seems cozier.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
Brace yourself.

It's worth nothing that when the sweater comes off, there are suspenders underneath. I'm beginning to suspect that he is always wearing them. Once again, I feel he should get more credit for popularizing this accessory.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
The awesomest.

I mean, check out his second look. Silk suspenders, front and center. They look gorgeous, simultaneously standing out and merging effortlessly with his striped shirt. This presentation is just fantastic. Basic black never goes out of style, and the brighter stripes are at once structured and unexpected. He's rubbing against boundaries in all the right ways here, and I can't get enough of it. This is pretty much the height of dad fashion. Leave the sweaters alone, Mr. Cosby, you've got a good thing going on without them.

Another short entry, it seems. I guess part of that can be attributed to my own laziness. I'm giving myself a bit of a winter break. But also, the episodes have featured fewer characters, fewer costume changes, and fewer interesting choices. Hopefully things pick up soon; I don't want to bore you all or, heaven forefend, lose readership. Well, happy new year regardless. See you next week.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Season 4, Episode 5: Shakespeare

I'm not sure you could call what we have this week a "plot," per se; it's more a loose series of semi-related non-events. Cliff is having a barbecue even though it's in the low 30s outside. The family is having Dr. Foster over for dinner. Denise is home from college for a visit (despite it being neither Thanksgiving nor Christmas). Theo and Cockroach are having trouble with their homework on Julius Caesar. Rudy has written a fairy tale. Russell stops by with a friend of his, another professor. Everyone joins in the living room to eat dinner and recite monologues.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Christopher Plummer Jonathan Lawrence
Columbia? The man is a genius! Why not write that he teaches at Tisch?

Russell's dinner companion, Jonathan Lawrence, is played by Christopher Plummer. You've known who he is since you saw him as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, and he's been consistently fabulous since then. He's still churning out top-notch work, too: he won an Oscar last year for his role in Beginners. Legendary though he may be, he's no fashion plate in this incarnation. I'm not sure if you can really tell from that first shot, but he's not actually wearing a gray suit, but rather pants and a jacket that sort of match: the blazer is textured while the slacks are not. Beyond the usual broadness of fit, I find this error to be particularly grating. It's so boring to just find two things that are the same color and throw them together. If they don't match anyway, then couldn't you just find complementary items and wear those instead? Especially if the rest of your outfit is a plain black sweater and a plain whit polo underneath, don't go with two gray pieces on top. I'm bored to death.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Roscoe Lee Brown Dr. Barnabus Foster
He reminds me of a toad for some reason.

Dr. Foster knows what I'm talking about. He's not exactly walking the runway for Gaultier, but at least he's introduced some maroon and navy into the mix. His presentation is crisp but slightly dynamic, with the striped bow tie adding a hint of whimsy. It's not a huge risk, but it makes a difference. And the fact that it matches his vest and blazer lets you know that he thought about how his pieces coordinate rather than simply grabbing a bunch of random formal wear and landing on the goofy tie accidentally.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Earle Hyman Russell
This man, on the other hand, is clearly a Panthro.

I was initially sure that Russell was wearing the same jacket he wore during Dr. Foster's first appearance on the show, but this is a different (though similar) garment. It's nice to see new looks from Grandpa Huxtable, since he seems to be the character most likely to be thrown a repeat. Which is a shame, because he's typically serving up some style. Tonight is no exception: the mild pink of his shirt is a flawless match to his subtly patterned jade tie. While I might have urged him toward darker pants, I'm overall pleased with this look.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cockroach Carl Anthony Payne
No animal joke need be made. He's a Cockroach!

Cockroach tries to fool us by mixing in a collar, but we know better: that's a sweatshirt, and sweatshirts are lazy and we don't like them. Even when they're in a nice, soft sandstone shade and have admittedly interesting cave paintings on them. Sure, the forest green pants are unique, and their droopy fit mimics the drop-crotch craze that's currently making the rounds, but still, you're basically a schlub who didn't even tuck in his shirt. There are good moments here, but we're overall not in a stellar situation.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Denise Lisa Bonet
Girl, you got me singing Klymaxx.

Thank goodness Denise is here. She never fails to bring it. If she were younger, Clair would no doubt berate her for the inappropriateness of that gauzy first layer for such cold weather, but as a college student, this lady can do what she wants. I'm impressed with the delicate, ruffled white garment, which subtly incorporates both flirtiness and formality into the ensemble. The brown dress on top wouldn't be much on its own (though that diagonal hem and parallel seaming on the skirt are eye-catching), but she's accessorized it with that wonderful rustic woven belt and the big jangly necklace from the season 3 finale and that barely-there translucent number, and basically she wins at everything again, as usual. I cannot get enough of her.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Stego BORE US, amirite?

Rudy has brought back her stegosaurus sweater from two weeks ago, hopefully implying that she enjoys it almost as much as the summer dress that her mother made her lock up for the next several months. Continuing the trend of highlighting the teal element of this top, she's gone for matching pants. Not bad.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Her hair is like a map of hurricane winds.

While prints are very much still in the mix, Vanessa's real focus seems to be palette. Looking back over her outfits, she has a growing affinity for assertive hues, while neutrals are getting less and less attention. Good for her! I wouldn't say that I'm a fan of this creation, but I appreciate the thought that went into it: the pink shirt's pattern reflects the light sea foam of her cardigan and the indigo of her pants and earrings, creating a cohesive offering. There's also something rather modern about the low-waisted sweater and high-necked blouse. (I was going to say "buttoned top button," but there don't actually appear to be fasteners anywhere on the front of that top.) She's also big on accessories lately, with those bizarre little pins serving as the latest example in the trend. Again, I don't love them, but at least she's trying.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner

Do you hear me, Theo? AT LEAST SHE'S TRYING. This, I can't even talk about.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
As much as it pains me to say it: also no.

I suppose I have to allow Clair her occasional misfires. We all have them. Still, I'm sad to report that I enjoy basically nothing about what she's wearing today. By pairing extreme shoulder pads with a thin fabric in a bland color, she becomes entirely featureless. She might as well be wearing a cardboard box. While her top has some jewel tones, they're too scattered to make an impact, so the neutrals in the blouse and the khaki pants and the coat all merge to just be like: BLEH. Sad and dirt-colored. She almost brings it back around with that necklace, but it hangs funny and seems to melt into itself, diminishing its impact. Also, it draws attention to those two lost, purposeless buttons at her neckline. Today is not her day.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater

This latest sweater from Cliff is pretty light in terms of its threat level. Sure, it's presenting a slight challenge to your notion of vertical stripes with all those horizontal interrupts, but its pastel colors all fit plausibly together. Nothing about this garment makes me wonder what kind of drugs you'd have to be on to design it. And he pairs it with grays, making my job pretty easy. Standard outfit. Slow news day all around.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby

I should point out that he feels the need to change clothes before doing the dishes. Maybe the t-shirt and suspenders were under the sweater and collared shirt all along? I guess he'd need to do a lot of layering since he was standing outside in the cold all night.

And there you have it, a very special Christmastime edition of Huxtable Hotness. (Actually, there's nothing even vaguely holiday-related in this post except for the date. Whatevs.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Season 4, Episode 4: Cliff's Mistake

This episode, for me at least, drove home how unrelatable the Huxtable clan can be. Most of the story involves Cliff's effort to find a drill that he borrowed months ago from a friend. When unable to locate the item, we're treated to several anecdotes explaining how poorly people react when they can't have the things they want. I understand that it's frustrating when someone borrows something and doesn't return it, but do people really throw tantrums whenever it happens? It's just stuff, guys. I don't want to hear about how Clair ran over tupperware with her car in a fit of rage. I mean, I don't own a car OR tupperware. Oh, and to keep the kids involved, there's a Halloween subplot about making a haunted house in the basement, but it's clear that no one cares about that.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Beth Engels Penni Penniman
I'd totally be the kid at the party eating the pasta from the "brains" bowl.

Rudy's friend Beth is back, but since she's already in a costume, there's no need to say anything specific about her wardrobe. I just think she's adorbs, especially because her name is Penni Penniman. It's probably a stage name given to her by a stage parent, but whatever.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Wallace Shawn Jeffrey Engels
Something something land war is Asia.

Beth's dad Jeffrey is played by Wallace Shawn, who has never not been small and weird and basement-y. I guess it makes sense that Cliff would be friends with a lot of oddballs, given that he's rather eccentric himself. Older men on the show tend to keep it a little formal, and this man is no exception: his gray slacks and heathered suit coat reek of middle management at a boring office. He's at least giving us a little pizzazz in the collar, which is direly needed since the pattern on his sweater is so dark that it might as well not exist. Overall, the outfit lacks enough color or sparkle to catch the eye. (Metaphorical sparkle, by the way: I'm not suggesting that he literally don sequins and glitter.)

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Deon Richmond Kenny
Hey, girl.

Kenny shows up for a while in the kitchen, but he spends the entire time hiding behind the island, so all we know for sure is that he's wearing a teal shirt.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Peter Costa Peter Chiara
Erhahgerd, herrnted herrs!

Peter visits the haunted house so he can continue his running gag of running out the front door. He's still in sweatpants, which makes me none too keen to spend time reviewing his outfit. I give him props for complementing his jacket with a plaid that has some red in it, but am less in favor of his choice to roll the sleeves of his outerwear. It's a windbreaker, not a blazer. Let's not get too fancy.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Keshia Knight Pulliam Rudy
She's giving you Grumpy Cat. You can't handle it.

Rudy's all about bright colors today. Good job, Rudy.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Tempestt Bledsoe Vanessa
It's been worse.

OK, now we're getting to the real deal. There's only so much fashion review you can do for kids in the single digits, but Vanessa is totally fair game. In terms of palette, she's winning me over: the olives, browns, and slate blues accented by a couple bursts of brighter orange create a dynamic color story. On the other hand, she's got way too much going on with that top. If you're going to go with blocking on the sleeves, maybe don't also do the bubble pattern across the torso. Honestly, maybe just don't ever do the bubble pattern. She's showing potential, at least, and I really hope she finds her groove soon.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Malcolm Jamal Warner Theo
Seriously, we need Denise back.

When will Theo get rid of those jeans with the front seam? Oh, and this shirt is boring. (I suppose I should mention that all of the children also had Halloween costumes this week, but they generally didn't seem worth including. The one point of interest was that Theo chose to don a curly wig and portray Blacula instead of Dracula.)

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Phylicia Rashad Clair
Never not the best.

Finally, someone comes through for me. This azure sweater set is stupendous, and the simplicity of her look is elegant rather than underwhelming. From the side, the shape is a little awkward, so she might want to work on belt placement or think harder about where thinks are draping versus where they're cinching, but for the most part I think we've got a winner on our hands. Clean and classic carries the day.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
He's going out for Halloween as a way fatter version of himself.

This week's sweater brings the crazy by making its pattern intricate and weird, using structure to create chaos in a paradoxical manner that only heightens its mind-bending power. The leafy knit is pointy and wriggly in a manner that also suggests a gross bug, and the ever-shifting hues impede depth perception, making the body seem to ripple unnaturally. Cliff is truly a mad scientist. I can get behind the light plaid on the trousers, but they're so huge! HUGE! There's no way he's actually as big as this getup makes him look.

Well, this was a short one. That's probably a relief for all involved, though. You never know; maybe they'll all have lots of fabulous options next week. The end!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Season 4, Episode 3: It Ain't Easy Being Green

I'm usually in love with stories focused on what the Huxtables are wearing, because they take this blog to a very meta place. Today's plot, however, is about Rudy's clothing, which sort of limits me, because she's still only eight years old. Specifically, she's sad and angry that she can't wear her favorite summer dress to a party because it is now fall and thus too cold. The whole argument makes Clair seem a touch imperious and rigid. Does her daughter not own tights and a cardigan? Could we not accessorize this dress to make it appropriately warm? Going all "my way or the highway" seems unnecessary. Elsewhere in the house, Cliff is waiting for the garbage truck to take away his broken water heater (yep, that's counting as an entire subplot) while Vanessa's old flame Robert is back to lament once more about his failing love life.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Dondre Whitfield Robert
No, it's not Russell, though I understand why you'd think that.

As a performer, Dondre Whitfield is really growing on me. His earnestness comes across as so genuine. It's not that Robert isn't annoying, because he is; it's that he's not some Urkel caricature of a pest. I believe him. The outfit, however, is pushing a little too hard. The gimmick with Robert is that he talks and acts like an old man, but suddenly this season he also dresses like one. The loafers, plaid pants, and cardigan don't read like what a teenager would wear. Maybe he's going through a weird stylistic phase, but I mostly think the wardrobe choices here are overkill. We get it. Truthfully, the look itself is assertive and has potential: he's mixing plaids, but he uses the sweater to divide them and thus prevent disaster, and the limited application of only greens and blues helps unite the disparate parts. If the palette and fit were updated, he could rock these threads in a modern context. If the outfit had been worn by another character, I'd probably be thrilled with it; I just dislike its lack of subtlety in highlighting his main gimmick.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
Filling the Denise void with appliances.

I told you the old water heater was a whole plot line. Anyhow, Cliff has gone deeper into the sweater-made-of-sweaters field by presenting individual stripes made of multiple colors. The garment dares us to question its coherence. How do its individual atoms maintain their bonds? That orange band is made of scattered red and ocher yarn! The purple part is fuzzy like shag carpet! The overall verticality of the patterns is a mere suggestion, with each piece swaying  like bamboo in the wind! This must have been really hard to knit. It pairs solidly with brown pants, though since the base of the sweater is black and there's no brown to be found in it, I might have urged him toward navy or olive or gray. With everything else being relatively dark, I commend the choice of a bright robin's egg shirt collar.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
Overdressed and I don't even care.

Clair last wore this jacket (also with this necklace) in episode #2.25. It works even better with this outfit underneath it. The red shirt from last time didn't make as much sense. Here, she's working with the tones already present in the garment, highlighting the orange undertones with her goldenrod skirt and using the crisp cream collar to anchor it all. Once the coat comes off, I'm thinking that big belt is going to look a little high, but I'll allow for the possibility that some sexy secretary tailoring is at play. The wide collar on this is my favorite: if you're wearing one large garment, then why not just go big on everything? Collar, belt, hair, the whole shebang.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
I don't even care, but for entirely different reasons.

Ever a disappointment, Theo repeats his episode #3.18 shirt with his horrible front-seam jeans.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Something to carp about. (Probably the site's first fish pun.)

There are a few things happening with Vanessa's mostly denim configuration here that I don't outright comprehend. For instance, the shorts are way more voluminous than they need to be, and she's apparently actively encouraging that breadth with some sort of under-short filler (as indicated by the flash of white peeking out at the bottom). Then there's that ivory middle layer with the twisty fastening, which I'd love to see on its own because I can't get a clear mental picture of it. Overall, she's at least giving it the old college try, but her experimental foray into unconventional silhouettes and layering hasn't really paid off. Also: her pin and earrings are fish. Why is that?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
She's full of secrets.

A couple extra details to catch. First, the nail polish, which matches her outfit. She's really committed to asserting this periwinkle as her main theme. Second, the entire back of her shirt is covered with black detailing that we never get a good look at. It's somewhat geometric, but it could be anything. Also: sock problem.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
It's an OK dress, but I don't know that I'd call it a favorite.

This dress, Rudy's favorite, has been altered since we last saw it. In episode #3.24, it had a much higher neck, which has since been brought down to help it appear seasonally inappropriate. I still feel like she could throw a turtleneck under it and call it a day, but that's just me.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
I wear sweatsuits when I'm depressed too. Just kidding. I don't own sweatsuits!

She spends the rest of the afternoon in this warm, busy, colorful sweatsuit. There's not much to say about it, but I have several pictures of her in the getup because we have to talk about the scene midway through the episode in which she walks around her room trying not to cry about her dress while "It's Not Easy Being Green" plays. It's an uncomfortably long (and just plain uncomfortable) display. Some highlights:

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam

Rudy tries to play Go Fish by herself. It cannot make her forget.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
"No one will respect me in this disaster!"

She looks at one of her fall dresses. I agree: it's not great.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
She is going through it.

She tries to read a book, but it's ALL. JUST. TOO. MUCH.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Put the bass in your walk.

Eventually, Cliff helps Rudy pick out her own outfit from the fall clothes in her wardrobe and then encourages her to put on a little fashion show for her family. It's totes adorbs, and you can't really argue with the stegosaurus sweater with spines running down the sleeve. That's just good design right there. She's a little matchy-matchy with the socks and skirt that echo the blues in her top, but at her age you can get away with that sort of thing. Overall, a good look from our youngest fashionista. If you saw someone wearing this at a party, you'd want to be friends with her for sure.

And that about covers it for this week. If you like what you've read, please share this blog with your friends. Getting web traffic warms my heart like a tiny little heart-shaped Cosby sweater. (Gross.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Season 4, Episode 2: Theogate

This might be my favorite episode of the entire series; hopefully, you remember it fondly as well. When Theo comes home late from a track meet (what happened to wrestling and tennis?), his mother finds his excuse slightly suspicious. As implausible details build up, making it less and less likely that he is telling the truth, she is left with no choice but to drag Theo to "Family Court," where she gets her litigation on and reveals the rest of the story. It's a spectacular scene with a surprisingly realistic and depressing payoff: Theo confesses that he had mocked an overweight girl to amuse his classmates, but was yelled at and  then removed from the team when she overheard the jokes and began crying. Though he seems to escape further punishment from his parents (which surprises me even now), no one gets out of this interaction clean.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Kenny Deon Richmond Peter Chiara Peter Costa Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Seriously, guys. Seriously.

I'm taking the kids in the episode as a unit both because they only ever appear together and because they're kids and thus not doing much to drive clothing trends. I'll start with Kenny, who has really downgraded since his last foray into the formal arena. In fact, I'm surprised that at his age, he even has more than one blazer. His family must be rich, too. Anyhow, other than the slightly dandy affectation of the bow tie, he's playing it pretty safe here, with a conservative tonal range and nothing in the way of flourishes to distinguish him from the crowd. Peter isn't much farther afield, though he hints at boldness by sporting a pink shirt with a red tie and pocket square. Still, nothing there really stands too far out. Picking up the slack, however, is Rudy, who is serving paisley-on-paisley pandemonium. I'm not really sure what's going on with that getup: it's sort of like a clown suit, and the rolled sleeves suggest that it might be for a larger clown than her. I wish she'd lose the tie altogether: it's not even cleanly tied, and it's too brash against that already preposterous backdrop. Sometimes less is more and sometimes more is more: on this couch, neither turns out to be true.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Kenny Deon Richmond Peter Chiara Peter Costa Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Yellow shooooz!

When the children next emerge, they're members of Theo's jury. Kenny shows a little more dynamism in his everyday duds: the olive slacks and lavender shirt are similar to one of Theo's own outfits, and the denim jacket, while certainly dated, was nonetheless a sharp item at the time (and then again around the turn of the century). Peter's still rocking the sweatpants, though his shirt isn't bad. Rudy has a full sweatsuit, but oh what a sweatsuit.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Aww, look at all the cute little tragic deaths!

Is that a cartoon Godzilla attack on her top? Good for you, little lady. Get weird. I still disapprove of polo shirts as a lower layer, however: their collars never sit right when pushing out of another garment. Don't do it.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
I'm not reviewing the flower because it had god damned well better be a prop.

Vanessa was apparently cast as Nellie Forbush in her school's production of South Pacific this week. Like Theo, she's had a number of episode-long talents: before she was a musical theater star, she was a dancer, a member of the pep squad, and a clarinet player. Anyhow, she buries what might actually be a cute outfit under that dumpy jacket, so we're going to have to do a little estimating. We can clearly see a stylish African print skirt topped by a slim red belt (and possibly a thicker waistband beneath it, though that could just be a change in the skirt's pattern). That part I love. Up above, there's some manner of white top and what appears to be Sondra's sweater from episode #3.25. All of this might gel nicely; the sunflower-colored socks are her only stumble. She's having a good night because of her show, so I'm just going to assume that when the coat comes off, she looks great.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Her being a judge is about as likely as her being a musical theater star.

Her role as judge in Family Court involves a graduation robe that covers almost every bit of her clothing, though I'm pretty sure that she's wearing a gross shirt and grosser tie under there. Call it intuition.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cockroach Carl Anthony Payne Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
The Gruesome Twosome.

Theo and Cockroach arrive home together in post-track clothing. I think these are intended to be outfits, but I barely have the patience to review them, especially in Theo's case. He's been giving me sweatshirts for so long that I feel like we're going to need a disfigurement or an exorcism to change his mind. I'm not even acknowledging those pajama pants (I know they're not really pajamas, but they may as well be.) Cockroach wore this exact shirt/cardigan combination in episode #2.21, though he thankfully spared us that dippy hat last time.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
Because I love you, I'm not going to make a joke about breaking wind.

I'll give Theo this: he stepped up his color game for his second look. I'm enjoying the interplay among the deep indigo and brighter accent colors, particularly the softer salmon under the windbreaker. Overall, though, his look is dominated by a dated jacket (aren't you glad no one wears windbreakers anymore?) and those bizarre front-seamed jeans from episode #3.22.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cockroach Carl Anthony Payne
His law career also seems dubious.

I started this blog because of Theo, but Cockroach might be the secret male style icon of this series. He's not perfect, but he's generally more collected and stronger in displaying a point of view than any of the other dudes that roll up in this house. I'm feeling the winy horizontal stripes with the light gray jeans, and delighted by the added pattern on his collar (even if I'd much rather he folded it down). Sizing on the shirt is of course an issue, and though I didn't capture it well in these images, I promise you that there's a butt flap happening. But if it were taken to a tailor, it could be salvaged. I bet someone could make this kind of work today.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
Maybe it was a Father's Day gift.

Cliff starts the episode in a suit. Did people really get this fancy for high school plays? Anyhow, since I've previously talked about how pointless it is to try to review fine tailoring based on old, fuzzy footage, let's use this opportunity to discuss the best and worst ways to make a suit stand out. Frankly, it takes a lot less within the tight constraints of men's formal attire to make a fuss, so there's no need to pick your biggest, awfulest tie and clashing pocket square. Personally, I prefer for the suit itself to be in a wilder hue: it doesn't have to be neon green, but even a sharper blue, leaning more toward the cobalt side of things, could have lent this more punch then that paisley mistake. Accessories like tie pins and cuff links are also smart ways to spice things up without going insane, but it's tough to really make out how the doctor has used those flourishes in most cases.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
If that collar was any worse, it'd be cholera.

Day two finds him in a sweater that mirrors the knitting pattern of his episode #2.24 offering, but in cooler shades. I prefer this array of blues to the previous yellow confection, but disagree whole-heartedly with the addition of a collar, especially given that the shirt beneath it also clearly has a collar. Rein it in, dude. The pants are his green cargos: you can see them better when he removes his top layer to become the court bailiff.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
He's no Latrice Royale.

We could assume that these props belong to one of his kids, but I'm voting fetish gear. You know he and Mrs. Huxtable have to have at least engaged in some light role playing by now. They've been married for how long? And they're still going at it? I'm just sayin'. Whatever, back to the real topic.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
One bad mother - SHUT YOUR MOUTH! - I'm just talking about Clair.

This episode (like the rest of my life) is all about Clair, so I've saved her for last. Let's start with her look for Vanessa's play. I'm sorry, but are you telling me that this woman walked onto school grounds wearing a knee-to-diaphragm black leather skirt with red stitching? She's going to incite a riot. Loving the brassy cut of this coat, too, though I could have done without the mismatched lapel. The soft cream blouse is just heaven, and the big gold accessories scream of opulence. Plus, she's just getting started.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
She knows all and sees all.

I guess she's going to make scarves her "thing" this season. This brick-and-black creation is sort of a toned-down version of yesterday's motif: you can't see it well, but if you watch the episode, you'll notice that this skirt is the same shape as the previous one, but in what is probably a cotton rather than a hide. The color story here is just phenomenal, with the orange flower on that shoulder-slung shawl turning this plain business look into a full spectacle. I'm not usually one for matching, but the precision with which her shirt and jacket align is commendable. Also, be amazed by that wrist bangle. It's huge, bejeweled, and vaguely frightening. Consider it a harbinger of the mild terror she is about to unleash on her unsuspecting son.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
I'm dead.

Flawlessness. I can't. There's just nothing to say. This black suit is everything. She looks professional, deadly, sexy, powerful... it's all there. Each aspect of the fit is stunning: the skirt is just the right length and hugs her beautifully, the jacket is slim with the perfect amount of pad at the shoulders, and oh my stars that cream cowl-neck blouse. When it's right, it's right, and this is right. No judge in the world could disagree with her.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad

Even the pin is perfect! It's a pair of angel's wings using the truth to set someone free. She is a symbol, an emblem, a one-woman revolution. I almost want to stop watching the show because I honestly don't see how we can do anything but decline from this point forward.

And yet forward we must go. Check back next Monday to see what else the Huxtables have in their closets. You never know, there could be more looks of this caliber.