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, April 16, 2012

Season 2, Episode 21: An Early Spring

The DVD's episode order is once again called into question this week; I continue to defer to the internet's wisdom on such matters. Anyhow, today's story involves another appearance by Mrs. Westlake. The expectant Dragon Lady is torn between giving an important test and giving birth to her baby girl. She manages both. Over an eventful two-day period, Theo and Cockroach learn a valuable lesson about being good students, Vanessa learns a valuable lesson about covering pimples, and Rudy learns how to ride a bike all by herself.

What do you call a baby dragon? Is there an official term? Like tadpole?

Anna Maria doesn't serve a lot of fashion in this episode. To be fair, she's nine months pregnant, so I certainly won't begrudge her any comfort. If she wants to wear sweats and a flannel jacket, she gets to wear sweats and a flannel jacket. I'm assuming that scarf-y, sash-y swath of fabric is somehow reflective of her Brazilian roots, though I have nothing to back that conclusion. It's maybe just one of those baby slings, sans baby. She's prepared.

"Is there a bare minimum of support I can offer?"

The next time we see Mrs. Westlake, she's under Dr. Huxtable's expert care. He's such an attentive practitioner that he even let her husband borrow a sweater. (Cliff wore it in episode #1.23.)

I'm OK with her rocking this post-partum hair outside the hospital.

She spends the rest of the episode in the hospital, though after the delivery, she changes into a nightgown. I won't review her non-clothes, but I will give her props for that little braid. It's kinda cute.

Extra bad: wearing sneakers in someone else's bed.

Cockroach once again brings the puffy socks. They're his signature thing, I guess. He's winning me over with that purple top, mostly because I'm a sucker for contrast stitching. The proportions on it don't seem to be terrible either. We're not given much information on the next two layers of shirt, though. It appears that he has a plain gray tee supporting a patterned black and red number. There's potential there, but I have plenty of reason to remain suspicious. As it stands, I'm not sure that agree with the placement of that central stripe underneath the ripped collar. It almost looks like he's trying to mimic the layout of a buttoned shirt and tie, which is weird in this casual of a setting. That is, of course, an extremely arbitrary reason to hate on an outfit, but this is all arbitrary anyway. I thought you knew.

He kind of also looks like he just had a baby.

The next time we see him, he's wearing a shirt that's inspired by a sports jersey, though I don't think it actually is one. The asymmetry, which is terrific, strikes me as too bold a move for regulation attire. Still, other than the one blue shoulder, it's basic and bland and I don't have a ton to point out about it.

Work that bone structure. Work it.

There's no point in reviewing medical scrubs (though that lavender is lovely), but it's worth noting that the nurse in this episode was played by Garcelle Beauvais in one of her first TV appearances.

"But you always skip me!"

Sorry, Rudy, but you spend 90 percent of the episode in a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and sweats. Safety is important when riding a bike for the first time, but it doesn't make for much of a runway look.

"Maybe if you dressed nice once in a while you be in the blog more."

It looks like Cliff has fully embraced his role as Sweater Master. This particular piece isn't as desperately wild as some of his others, but there's still a nonsensical quality about the color, stitching, and pattern that make it appropriate as part of his signature style. The boxiness of the stitching is so knobbly; it's weird to look at. While I wouldn't recommend a combination of red, orange, and yellow to just anyone, I'm fine with his choice to do so. The khakis are too sedate to mention, but his whole top half merges into a very Sesame Street presentation that's not terrible. He's out teaching his young daughter to ride a bike, so maybe he's intentionally mitigating her fear of falling with the delight she experiences when she sees what Big Bird would look like if you plucked all his feathers.

His concerned face causes me concern.

Staying at the top of his sweater game, he wears a wonderful, comforting knit to greet Mrs. Westlake after she has delivered her baby. The cool colors and plush texture must have been chosen deliberately as a means of soothing her after the difficult process of childbirth. Look at the deftness with which he has applied the powers of his sweaters. He's a shaman, basically. We've seen the collar of that shirt before, in episode #2.13; it's a fabulous shade that works particularly well in these surroundings.

Opposite the Edge of Glory, you will find the Fringe of Failure.

Clair, you know I love you, respect you, and often try to emulate you. Keep that in mind as I recount precisely why this is a total disaster. As a starting point, that fabric should never have been made into a suit. Upholstery maybe, but never clothing. And once we got around to making this ill-fated suit thing, who was in charge of tailoring? This is misshapen on a level approaching Denise's Gordon Gartrelle knock-off. Look at how that skirt fits her! The waist hits right at her rib cage, but then splays outward immediately, and is it just me or is it actually higher in the front than in the back? Speaking of backs: her coat's rear half is shaped exactly like a wide, dumpy butt. I rarely mention shoulder seam placement anymore because I recognize that it's a losing battle, but so much effort was put into embellishing this one that I have no choice but to reprimand her for starting her sleeve midway down her bicep. And we haven't even begun to discuss the severe violet fringe happening. So much fringe. Too much fringe. This is not the right time for fringe, dear. I will, however, rejoice at the reappearance of her episode #2.14 necklace.

I love when the family washes dishes even though they have a dishwasher.

She's better off, though not necessarily good, with this situation. I'm seldom sold on the idea of matching your pants to your shirt. Surely there are other ways to avoid clashing. Still, she's not too far out of bounds here: the sizing is fine, the bricky hue of the cardigan is assertive without shouting, and the taupe base is too plain to be considered objectionable in any way. She's not shooting for the stars, but at least that way she doesn't miss.

In the darkness, she waits for you.

We do get to see this look once more, though, in the dead of night. This reveals good and bad details. Good: the shirt's collar with its unexpected button placement. Well done. Bad: the cuffs on those pants. Sweatpant cuffs on a twill pant? Why? This was bad when Vanessa tried it in episode #1.3. What would make an intelligent, stylish adult do this? Don't do this.

Outside? In public? Shameless. Flagrant.

Cliff and Clair both wore sweatsuits this week as well. Even if I were in the habit of talking about these garments, I still wouldn't mention hers because it's comprised entirely of repeats: the orange base was seen in episode #2.17, while the green piece is from #2.18. While I'm not sure if Cliff has worn these before, my suspicion is that he hasn't because I think the image of him in such snug attire has been seared indelibly into my retinas. You stand warned: we're talking full Cosby package. What has been seen cannot be unseen.

Here to save us from mundane selections. Like sweatsuits.

Denise might need a time out from that turtleneck. We've seen it a bunch. It suits her, but she's resting on it too easily. The shirt works well on her, but it's actually Theo's from episode #2.14. Still, despite the repetition, she once again proves to us that she has a strong point of view and a deft sense of how to juxtapose pieces in a unique and eye-catching manner. The deep purple sheen of the blazer's rolled sleeve transitions beautifully into the mottled hue of the rest of the coat, only to find an exciting counterpoint in the choppy plaid and minty sweater. The simple jeans (which are barely seen, hence the lame screencap) finish the look off in a casual way while continuing to question gender barriers. I love when she works the edgy beauty of traditionally masculine styles.

This look is from nowhere in particular. It's Zamunda's native garb or something.

When she's not thinking about the male/female dichotomy, she's thinking about how to incorporate pieces from other traditions into her wardrobe. She wore this hat the first time Mrs. Westlake appeared, in episode #2.12. The overall outfit doesn't seem tied to any exact cultural background, but is a more generalized "not-from-here" presentation. Her shirt and coat are probably Indian-inspired; they're not a kurta and sherwani, but they're headed in that direction. The rich eggplant shade of them is divine. This is one of the rare instances when I'll accept a single-tone look because the tone itself is just that good. In terms of accessories, she's daring me to question the use of two giant dangly things, one of rough cloth and one of carefully crafted metal. Well, I won't rise to her provocation: I like them both and think they both deserve a place here. She knows when to pull back: notice that she went with a simple earring rather than a large hanging piece. There's maybe a touch of discord between the sash and the hat, but I'll overlook it.

Has he already worn this coat? He may have. Sorry if this is a repeat.

I've avoided reviewing Theo's UMass Amherst sweatshirt previously (in case you're wondering, it's a nod to Mr. Cosby's actual alma mater), so the only new thing here to talk about is the jacket. This is another out-of-control shoulder scenario. Too much. I'm also not sold on the styling of this piece. It's not a blazer so much as a short trench coat, and that's weird to me. (I'm making that distinction based on my assessment of the material from which it's made.) The printed inner sleeve is good, though, and adds some interest at the cuff. The color is fine. I'm not thrilled, but not angered either. It can stay.

Nope.

We've seen shoulder buttons from Theo before. I can get behind them; I once had a button-shouldered sweater myself, and kind of miss it now that I see these episodes repeating. What I don't miss are Hammer pants, or whatever they were called before MC Hammer took 1990 by storm. The color is interesting, like the ocean at night, but looks less appealing next to those purple socks. I'm not feeling this overall. Oh, and details matter, folks: brown buttons on the shirt matched to black shoes? No, ma'am.

We're all here! Because nothing's more soothing than a roomful of teenagers!

Theo reappears briefly at the end of the episode to present Mrs. Westlake with a card from the whole class. It's in the shape of a parallelogram to prove that they learned to identify at least one shape correctly. The shirt is big and loud and doesn't work for me; the jacket is fine. Mostly, this screencap fills me with a sense of deepest relief. Imagine if I had committed to reviewing everything worn by every person that appears on the show! I don't have the strength. Still, I'll point out a few things. One: Cockroach is not there. Later in the scene, he magically appears right next to Theo, but he was clearly not present initially. Two: that girl in yellow is serving Molly Ringwald realness. Three:

Go toward the light, Carol Ann.

Can you even believe those shoes? I can't.

Not amused.

Vanessa begins the episode in a look that could easily be misconstrued as pajamas. However, everyone else in the house is awake and dressed, and she's taken the time to put on earrings and hair clips, so I'm going to assume that she's wearing this in earnest. The three pieces were obviously bought as a set, as they are all adorned with matching prints of what I believe are women doing aerobics. This whole getup just looks a little too loose and sloppy for me. She justifies it partially with the pleasing effect of the baggy sleeves rolled into each other, but mostly this comes off badly, from the limp collar to the untucked shirt to the sickly spoiled salmon color of the matching overshirt and pantaloons. Not her proudest moment.

Mildly amused.

I love this continuity detail. Vanessa asks her sister for help covering a zit, so Denise lends her a headband. What she ends up wearing is actually Denise's headband from episode #2.15. The sweater is also Denise's, from #2.7. Just like the first time we saw it, this piece continues to reshape people's bodies in odd ways. Vanessa seems so perfectly pear-shaped here. Also, I'm seeing a lot more teal than I need to. Rather than adding another shirt, she should probably have worn just the sweater and the turtleneck. (She's loving the salmon this week, huh?) It overall seems like she created this entire outfit simply to justify the headband, and while that's an accurate reflection of the episode's plot, it still leads to a sub-optimal outcome.

Thanks for tuning in each week, guys. People often ask me why I write this blog, usually with a deeply worried expression, so it's nice to know that there are people out there reveling in the hotness. I'm laying out the donation button in case you want to throw a dollar at me like you would to one of those dudes who sings on the subway or does the living statue thing on a street corner. This fashion recap is my dance to earn your pennies. If you don't feel like giving me money, consider commenting on an entry. I'd love to get some feedback, hear your opinions, or receive anecdotes about the Huxtable-inspired fashion choices you've made recently.

OK, now gimme your lunch money.

See you again next week.

6 comments:

  1. I'm sure I'm not the only one wanting to thank you for doing this blog, it's now a part of my weekly schedule.
    As soon as I'm able, I'd love to chip in a few drachmas and pesos to the cause.... just gotta find me a job first up.
    Keep up the great work!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your post is really helps for my select wedding dress and I really like it... Thanks a lot…

    ReplyDelete