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, March 26, 2012

Season 2, Episode 18: A Touch of Wonder

This is another long one, guys: everyone changes clothes at least once, often twice. Just warning you in advance.

It's a special week for the Huxtable clan because Denise gets in a car accident... with Stevie Wonder! Everyone's excited that she met him, and even more excited when they get invited to his studio to meet him. They all record a "song" together (it's so indescribably lame, let me tell you) and everyone lives happily ever after.

He just called to say he needs a new stylist.

Let's start with Stevie himself. Obviously, he can't be held personally accountable for this look, but I kind of wish he could. The varying textures and geometric flourishes seem like they would be appealing to the touch, as does the odd asymmetrical rolled collar. Going by feel alone, one would understandably gravitate toward a plush, fuzzy sweater with chunky seams and raised details. However, those of us lucky enough to have our sight can see obvious problems with this preposterous creation. Mr. Wonder is a legend and should be treated with respect, so I'll say only that I fervently dislike what he's wearing.

She just called to say how much she cares about fashion. Which isn't much.

He also has an assistant who wears this jacket. Really? The rest of the studio's employees can still see you, you know.

Her blue hair clips are so cute!

I'll do another youngest-to-oldest episode because that's always fun. Rudy's got a bunch happening right now, some of which works and some of which doesn't. I like her in skirts with leggings. It's a style that's both fun and age-appropriate. You don't want your six-year-old daughter flashing too much thigh. Larger tops work well for her because she's so young, so the same sizing issues that I'd rag on her sisters for actually come out all right in this case. It'd be nice if her socks were another color; they don't fit with everything else. Matching the yellow on her sleeves might be nice, or even going in a different direction like a pink. But pumpkin? Not feeling it.

I love tracking shots where the character is in focus while everything else blurs.

Everyone dresses nicely to meet Mr. Wonder, and Rudy nails it. This is a surprisingly assertive take on fashion for her. The paisley shirt is a show-stopper. I don't know that I'd have the guts to go with true red suspenders on top of that aqua, but they're flawless together. While the khaki pants are neutral in tone, they're forward in their shape, with a high waist and roomy cut that have an Oliver Twist essence to them. The yellow hair ribbon is questionable, but I'll let it slide since the shade is incidentally present in the print she has on. Besides, she's wearing a bow tie. Are you going to say something unfriendly to a girl child in a bow tie? I'm not.

She somehow exudes homelessness when she smiles.

Vanessa has a sense of mercy and dressed in things I don't have to critique for her first look. The main component of her outfit is the coat that I disliked in my recap of episode #1.22, paired with weather-inappropriate tights, a lifeless scarf, and Denise's earrings first shown in #1.06. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

Grimace isn't just the face I make when I see this outfit.

This is an odd misstep for Vanessa, not because she doesn't make mistakes, but because these particular mistakes aren't her usual ones. I wish I could understand the logic behind her chenille cocoon. It's one of the blobbiest pieces we've ever seen on the show. The horrendous collar is Sondra's from her first appearance in #1.10, and the skirt and boots suggest her older sister's influence as well. There are just too many sources of inspiration on display here, and too many shades of purple: the pink frills don't match the bold black and fuchsia geometrics, which don't match the flowery ruffles of the skirt, which don't match the winy boots. I think the sweater is the key problem. Without it, everything else would hang together a little more coherently. I don't think its removal would make me suddenly like any of the individual pieces better, but I'd appreciate the continuity.

WANT.

How much do I love this sweater? So much. So so much? I'm getting another bout of Hotness deja vu, but as usual I can't find a previous appearance, so I must be so enamored with this garment that I retroactively inserted it into existing memories. I'd wear this sweater all the time. Perfect pairing of straight red with mottled warm grays, perfect width in the horizontal stripes, perfect wide opening at the neck. This is a good experiment in sizing. Since the knitwear is the main event, he does well to keep the shirt underneath it perfectly matched to the jeans, giving a uniform base on which to display his genius.

Why wear a tie if you're not going to bother wearing it properly?

This, on the other hand, is an experiment in sizing gone awry. The pants are cut too widely for his slim frame, and the jacket's shoulders (and shoulder pads) are entirely unrelated to his actual torso. He's going somewhere inoffensive with his tropically-patterned-tie-on-tropically-patterned-shirt pairing, and the continuity of that royal blue throughout his outfit helps bring it all together. But he's going nuts with the sheer breadth of this outfit, and it needs to get brought back to reality. Bonus points for the fun socks.

Sloppy Joe.

Jeans and a sweatshirt? Don't mind if I don't.

It looks a little like she's balancing that wall fixture on her head.

Denise begins in the episode #2.13 sweater that I thought was the episode #2.10 sweater. Seen it. Also, over her shoulder you can see that Theo technically had another look this week, but I didn't want to spend the extra time on a jacket and scarf we've already seen several times. At least the wardrobe department keeps it real rather than pretending that the Huxtable children have a magically infinite supply of outerwear.

Given how particular she is about lending, I sure hope that scarf was a gift.

Her second ensemble is a good illustration of how intentionally large items can work. This hooded sweatshirt isn't built like an XXL sweatshirt: it's constructed for a woman her size, but with an eye on how a broader silhouette can benefit her. The lack of seam at the shoulder, for instance, helps her rock a giant top without broadcasting the suggestion that it was supposed to fit in a different way. Since the shirt stops low on her thighs instead of at her waist, it avoids bunching around her middle and again removes the implication that she's trying for a shape not intended by the garment itself. The brown is a little bland, but she spices things up with the pocket, hood, and purposeless golden zipper. Extra special fun fact: she must have acquired this scarf from David, who wore it on their date in episode #1.9.

I'm going to go back in time and destroy those pants.

Denise again repeats her pants from the first episode of this season, and I'm just not into them. The rest of this outfit rises above. She starts soft, wearing an impressively conventional pink turtleneck. But before you can get too comfortable, she throws on a Croation military jacket and adorns herself in medals and chains. She's a general in the army of style. If she had something on her legs other than spider-printed pajamas, she'd be so fabulous. Behind her, you can see one of Stevie Wonder's sound guys. He has lines and thus should probably be reviewed in this entry, but he's only ever seen from the rib cage up and there's just not much to work with there.

Oh hell yes.

I have a few questions, but I tentatively live for Clair's first look. The overall impact of a well-tailored red suit is undeniable. She is majestic in this outfit. The hue commands attention, the fit is clean and precise, and the black accents keep it classy. The shirt underneath is tough for me to parse, though. I'm inclined to read it as a black and white blouse with a red and black scarf over it, but the horizontal section spanning her middle means either she's using a particularly complex method of tying her accessory, or it's actually part of the shirt. If that's the case, then she's wearing a Cosby blouse made up of too many fabrics at once, and I have a problem with that. In fact, I also might have a problem with a scarf wrapped that many times around her torso, though I'd have to see the whole thing to be sure. She never removes that jacket, so the mystery lingers.

I didn't intend for these two shots to parallel each other. It just happened.

Sweats. In hateful colors. Onward.

Putting the "oh no" in kimono.

I want to accept all of her fashion choices unconditionally, but I simply can't find the love for this piece. The shade is wrong for her: it's bordering on neon and needs to calm down. It's also saggy from every angle. The whole point of a wrap dress is to cinch your waist and accentuate your curves: this one minimizes her chest, slumps her shoulders, and puts a weird bulge where her slim midsection used to be. The multicolored necklace would fare better as an accent on a simpler outfit; in this context, it's just competing for attention. Nothing about this makes her look pretty or stylish. I'm surprised and let down.

Too pleased with herself. It's not that great, hon.

Mrs. Huxtable changes clothes yet again, this time going for a head-to-toe olive drab. I'm not generally a fan of monochrome, so I feel this should have been rethought. In a direct counterpoint to Denise's use of biggitude, Clair wears a shirt that has obviously been created with someone larger than her husband in mind. The pants have just enough contrast with her top to count as a different shade of green, but they could have been brown or beige or black or even cerulean for all I care, as long as they're not so matchy-matchy. The splash of brick red is her saving grace. Well, that and the fact that she was lip syncing for her life in this final segment. Take that, Phi Phi O'Hara. Phylicia Rashad will sashay you away.

"You rolled a ZORP. Now biz-ma-wizzle yourself down to the red space."

After seeing some of Cliff's wilder pieces, this sweater seems almost normal, even if color blocking makes him look like a walking board game. It could be worse. That's faint praise, but I don't necessarily have a ton of strong compliments to offer. I do find it amusing that he wore a fussier plaid shirt beneath this garment to make up for its diminished impact. The pants are average.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Cliff starts his second day wearing yesterday's shirt and some vertically patterned black pants that I hate slightly less than his similar trousers from episode #2.11. The real triumph here, though is his reclamation of the purple cardigan that Clair swiped last season. Glad to see it back on the good doctor.

I didn't review the hat, scarf, or coat. What can I say? It's getting late!

Cliff wears the same thing to the recording studio that he does later in the day, even though his son and wife both change clothes. Not a critique, just an observation. Anyway, the pants are the same as yesterday, and the top is actually pretty great. It's not changing the world, it's just a good combo of colors. The overall look is maybe what Tim Burton would have chosen for a sitcom dad to wear, so I might suggest a lighter pant next time to cut down the severity of the purple and gray. It's solid, though. No major offenses.

There you have it: one more week of hotness. As I say every week, this blog is a labor of love, and I expect no monetary gain from it. However, it does cost me small amounts of money to run, and I thus give you the option of donating money if you feel I've earned it. If you feel like tossing a dollar my way, you can click the button below.


I know, being asked for money makes you go like this:


But when I receive a donation, I go like this:


Except, of course, that I wouldn't be caught dead in a pink sweatsuit.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Season 2, Episode 17: Play It Again, Russell

It turns out that Cliff's love of music runs in the family. Russell used to be a jazz trombone player, and when his old band gets together to jam, he wants to be part of the action. Unfortunately, he's gotten rusty over the years, and this week the family gathers first to craft a scheme that will kick his rehearsing into high gear, and then to celebrate his triumphant performance. And if someone's giving a concert, you know the Huxtables are dressing up. Get ready.

As usual, guests first.

The little-known spin-off in which Florence from The Jeffersons has a stand-up career.

There are a number of band members, all wearing various suits, on whom I won't spend time. I will, however, mention the lead performer, Ms. Josephine Premice. An accomplished singer, dancer, and actor, she was also a well-known socialite who was, ironically given her attire here, known for her fashion sense and elegance. After several Broadway roles (including two Tony nominations), she made the move to television in the 80s, including The Cosby Show and A Different World. Her costume here is garish for a reason: she's playing Mrs. Cunningham, who Anna Huxtable dislikes intensely. This woman is, as scripted, a terrible singer, a worse dancer, and something of a social clod. Premice's casting is thus an in-joke for those aware of her reputation. Similarly, her clothes here are not meant to flatter, but to broadcast her unappealing qualities. The outfit grabs attention in all the wrong ways. A print this bold should never be on three pieces worn together. The shimmer makes the colors more garish and highlights how poorly the sickly green leaves match the fuchsia roses with which they're paired. Though obscured by the microphone in this shot, there's also a cascade of sparkles on the front of her top, adding more bling to an ensemble that doesn't need the help. The look delivers a clear message, so while not a triumph of style, it's a victory of storytelling.

Rewearing is recaring.

This first outfit is interesting because it's actually all repeats, just put together differently. The red plaid shirt comes from episode #2.03, the diamond-patterned sweater is from #1.22, and the blazer and pants come from #1.14. I adore the way that the new surroundings bring out the redder undertones of that sweater, and in general I'm pleased by the way his selections here reflect the reality of how people wear clothes. You don't have a new outfit every day; you have a bunch of individual garments that you try to get mileage out of by combining them creatively. He looks sharp here, and the hues are a symphony. Fabulous.

Also, a jacket similar to this one has been all over the subways lately:

This movie probably sucks.

Jason Biggs is hardly a style icon, but it's still an interesting overlap.

No, I will not make a bone joke. This man is Panthro, for heaven's sake. RESPECT.

In his second appearance, we see Russell at home. It's interesting to catch him at a more relaxed moment, because his look veers much more traditionally into old man territory. The loose cardigan and high-slung pants in particular broadcast his age. While it's similar to yesterday's shirt, this one seems decidedly more workmanlike with its larger, less refined plaid and two prominent pockets. The sweater over it takes some good chances, though. Since the tonal range stays pretty dark and muddy, he can kick it up with the pattern, pairing those burgundy checkers with the contrasting blue slashes. It's a creative piece that I think could look good in other settings as well. The pants, if worn a smidge lower, would probably be fine. But again, he's just at home practicing his trombone, so I don't need to see him at his best.

How much Viagra did it take to- NO! I said I wouldn't, and I won't.

For the performance itself, he wears a suit. I've talked enough about suits in this blog, probably. To critique one properly, you need a pretty close read on the tailoring and other details, and the show just isn't set up as a showcase for fashion minutiae, even when I try to force it in that direction. Not sure why this is where I'm drawing the line in terms of blatant speculation and guesswork, but it is.

Grandma throws a ton of shade.

I'm impressed with Anna's first look. Her color choices are pretty assertive: cobalt and goldenrod need to be worn with confidence, especially when there's so much of them being tossed about. There's nothing to break them up, either: it's just all pigment, all the time. I wouldn't have thought the combination would work so well, but it truly does. Despite the risk, she also manages to keep conservative with the styling: there's a lot of coverage, and the fit is relaxed but not slovenly. Especially applause-worthy is the low opening on her cardigan; that shape is so chic. Also, notice the buttons on her mock turtleneck. Flourishes like that are great if you're dealing with mostly flat tones. To me, this is a stellar around-town outfit: it's not particularly dressy, but it's still eye-catching and balances well between playful and put together.

No, really. She's serving pretty consistent stank.

At home, her game is a little off. The pants are delicious: big and luxurious, not your average khaki, totally lovely. That burnt cantaloupe color is mirrored in the sweater's patterns, which I also like. And honestly, this away-from-the-body silhouette works in a lot of situations. The real problem is the design of the sweater itself. The shades don't come together pleasingly; rather, they seem to be fighting among themselves. The complicated geometry is also a little much. It feels overdone, and a simpler pattern would probably have made this another slam dunk.

Tough to tell, but I bet she's throwing down a scowl here, too.

See what I mean? From behind, the sweater is a whole different animal, and it's so much better.

Stone-cold bitch.

Look at that face. Told you she didn't like Mrs. Cunningham. Anna works some glamour for her husband's performance, with mixed results. Whereas her first dress had just the right amount of give, this one gets a little further into sack territory. I like that it's patterned, but I don't know that I like its pattern against the design on the cape. The colors match, but the effect becomes little frantic. The eye doesn't know where to focus. The cape itself is a vision, however, and I won't say a word against it. The floral shoulders against the black background create a regal air that is cemented by the thick silver clasp. I'd just advise her to switch that frock out for something a little calmer. She was once again close to success here, but missed by a hair.

He might be performing some sort of psychological test on people with this shirt.

It never dawned on me that a piece of clothing other than a sweater could be Cosby-ized, but this right here is so obviously a Cosby shirt. It's tough for me to count just how many fabrics are at play, but it's an inspired mess if ever there was one. The colors, shockingly, all work alright together: the white and yellow provide some bright spots, but there aren't a lot of pastels or neons or lowlights to throw you off. At the same time, it can't be said that it coheres. You're aware when you see this that you are seeing several items spliced like a mad scientist's diabolical experiment. While it's creative and fun, it's not whole, for lack of a better word. I don't think the garment exceeds the sum of its parts.

He is trying to disorient us with illogical combinations of fabric and strings of meaningless syllables.

This view gives us a better look. You've already seen the back with its mottled, TV static situation. On the front, there are several diagonal servings of color story for you to consume. My favorite is the subtle border between the blue checkers and the disorderly conduct taking over his left side. I'm unimpressed with the fit, though: he's ballooning up everywhere. His confidence is stellar; the outfit itself isn't my cup of tea.

More! Diabolical, this one.

Cliff's concert look is a sweater that is standard for him, though outlandish by any sane criteria. It looks like the crazy train ran him over. He's begun showing an affinity for this diagonal bisection of the torso, which continues to make appearances. Much of my critique from the previous outfit applies: it's another hodgepodge that only works because we've come to accept, after decades of exposure, that this is how Cliff Huxtable ought to look. I included the shot of him in the headlock because it's worth noting that the blue fabric with white crosshatching that makes up the majority of his first shirt is also included near the bottom of this sweater. The photo album covers it in most shots, but it's there. So we know that if this wasn't built for scratch especially for him, it was at least customized. It's just neat, is all.

You can seek more information, but you will never comprehend.

It's worth taking a closer look just so you can understand how much is going on: there are patterns within patterns, textures within textures... even the part that looks like it's flat black seems kind of striped at this proximity. It's so intricate that you almost shouldn't get this kind of detail. You're better off not knowing.

It always pains me when I have to question her selections.

Clair and I are having a disagreement as to whether this is a real outfit. She's tried to fool me by putting a seam across her bosom, but I'm not sure I can call this anything other than a sweatsuit. I almost didn't post pictures of it, but she's trying so hard to make it happen: the locket, the earrings... she's even wearing little heels!

"Quick! In here, before someone tries to add detailing or interest to our unbroken walls of color!"

They're maybe an inch tall, but they're heels. Well, if it is an outfit, then it's a bad one: the fit is weird (look at her midsection in the shot above) and the palette isn't great. She can do, and has done, significantly better.

She doesn't need my reassurance. She's self-satisfied.

Clair has been serving a lot of big accessories lately, and I'm completely on board with that decision. She radiates this regal, assured quality in everything she does, and thus has the demeanor needed to carry off statement pieces. She has a directness that makes you doubt your own assessment of her clothes. "I mean, I thought the top was kind of weird, and I wouldn't have been into the whole paneled tapestry thing myself, but she's working it so fiercely that I guess I must be wrong." That's not a theoretical thought bubble; that's my actual process in looking at this smock of hers. I'm not really feeling  the poncho vibe. But moving from the many shades of jade in the necklace to the corals and pinks of her top to the soft gold in her pants, she's got this incredible color story going on. It'd all blend into itself if she didn't have the structured black divisions, too, so in that sense she's planned her impact impeccably. She's done a lot of good here.

Glubs.

The asymmetrical nature of the shirt is fabulous, no? You weren't expecting that, were you? The gloves, though, might be misplaced. There's something glaring about pure white next to all those creams and peaches and pinks. It's the wrong time for that particular flourish.

The Starship Bonet.

Not to be outdone by her mother's foray into volume, Denise gets fully geometric with her top. It is boxy as hell. Truth be told, I hate it, but I love her for using formal occasions as a chance to cart out the innovation. It's as though she sees existing norms as a personal challenge. Pretty much everything about this black rectangular thing bothers me, though: the shape is too much, the silver-on-black scheme is too stark, the lines and circles are like something out of a school project... it's possible that she made this, because the creativity isn't matched by sophistication. If this is intended to look a little unpolished, then bravo to the costuming team. But I'd like to see her a little more pulled together next time. Below the waist, she's much better off. Her skirt is sort of a sarong, with pants that we'll look at later. But it's a nicer world down there. Maybe I'm just more conventional in my expectations. Denise would be disappointed in me.

It's like they're from different worlds. Wait a minute...

This is one of the only shots where we can clearly see the Keith Haring-esque leggings she's wearing underneath the skirt. I wouldn't necessarily appreciate them in all cases, but I think they add something unique when the goal is to be dressy.

Since Vanessa is sitting there, I'll break from my usual oldest-to-youngest structure and jump straight to her.

Like a rhinestone cowgirl.

I guess Southwestern was a dominant aesthetic in mid-80s fashion, because Vanessa has hopped on the bandwagon full-force with this mulberry ho-down dress. It was tough to capture it completely, but you can see that it's not only large, but made of a stiff, heavy fabric. She might be able to survive a knife attack in something this tough. This is an outfit for square dancing and plowing a field. The palette and spangles take it out of the barn and into Brooklyn, and the earrings are actually a little awesome, but it's tough to to find much that I enjoy about her choices here. Maybe the belt, if we ever got a good look at it. She's generally smart about her belts.

Come toward the light, Theo.

I told you Theo's shirt from last episode could work. (This has got to be that same shirt, right?) This blazer is an old standby for him, but again, that's as it should be, because real teenagers don't have closets full of dress clothes. The tie is a good contrasting color, but it's too short, and the squared-off end doesn't happen anymore. Also, there's too much dark; he could stand to incorporate some catchier hues. And tuck in your shirt, young man! You weren't raised in a barn. I hope you're wearing a belt under there. This still isn't up to Theo's usual standards, even if it's not as bad as it has been. I guess I'm not done worrying about him yet.

Broody Huxtable, amirite?

We'll end with Rudy, who has somehow managed to merge the best aspects of Oliver Twist and Sarah Palin into a viable ensemble. I'll give this two thumbs up.

Oh, and while you're grinning at the cute kid, don't forget to give me money. Thanks, y'all. But seriously, a donation of a dollar helps keep this site running. I'm committed to continuing this blog whether or not I break even, but a buck here and there over the course of my three year journey into the Huxtable family's closets would certainly be appreciated. Donors will receive a personal thank you note. (I'm still trying to think of something else I could give you that would make the money seem worthwhile. Maybe a picture of me, smiling, in a Cosby sweater. But I don't own a Cosby sweater.) Anyhow, the button is below. Press it if you feel so inclined. Otherwise, see you next Monday at 8:00am with a new entry.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Season 2, Episode 16: The Dentist

There's almost no story to review this week. Peter, the delightfully round and largely silent neighbor boy, is afraid to go to the dentist, so Rudy accompanies him. Hilarity ensues.

No snarky captions for legends.

The real importance of the episode lies with its guest star. Dr. Burns is played by veteran comic actor Danny Kaye. In fact, this role was his last; he died the following year. To list Mr. Kaye's credits would be something of an undertaking, but he is likely most remembered for his contributions in The Court Jester and White Christmas. Were the dentist played by a less noteworthy performer, I probably would have moved on already. After all, he spends most of the episode in a lab coat, and the final few minutes in an overcoat. The only real flourish is the red patterned scarf against the pine of his jacket. Such a combo works here even though it would usually run the risk of appearing Christmas-y; it's even possible that that the holiday theme is a direct reference to his earlier work. Which would admittedly be kind of cute.

Staunch. S - T - A - U - N - C - H.

Here we see Peter Chiara and his father, Mr. Chiara, from whom he seems to have inherited his silent roundness. Peter is played by Peter Costa, who appeared in two movies but stopped acting after The Cosby Show ended. He's wearing nothing exciting. It's just a sweatsuit in primary colors that can really only be worn prior to the third grade. His father is played by Barry Moss, whose main job is in casting. As he had previously worked behind the scenes on this show, I assume that someone's passing reference about how he could play Peter's father ended up spiraling into a real-life event. His ensemble surprises me a little. The tonal range is just right: the gray trousers and dull blues of his sweater give a real sense of him as a man that sort of blends into the background. The giant stairway patterns, however, undercut that impression. They lend a "futuristic" quality to the garment that is further heightened by the bunchily ribbed turtleneck collar. My read on this is that they're trying to make his body look as awkwardly shaped as possible, and they've done a good job on that score.

Apropos of nothing: Why did Danny Kaye give the dentist a German accent?

Normally I would have chosen to skip guest stars with as little screen time as these two, but I'm genuinely intrigued by their contributions. Let's start with the little guy: that's Max Barabas playing James, another patient. Prior to this show, he had been in two TV movies. His resume stops after this episode. I'm totally in love with his shirt and sweater. I'd wear this to a party or a date without question. The palest pink of his collar is just the right offset for the earthier sweater, and the few diamonds of deeper tone are clean and compelling. It's a great look.

His mother (who is credited simply as "James' mother") is portrayed by Eli Giaggo. This was her first and last television gig, but she makes an impression. The shearling-lined coat she's wearing stayed around for a while. Debra Messing owned a similar one in the late '90s that my sister was positively desperate to own. Underneath, she's maybe a hair out of bounds with her color choices. I'd say there's one too many shades and would suggest that she remove either the coral or the yellow, though not both. The pattern of her top is a little messy; you kind of have to be Bill Cosby to pull off the Cosby sweater. I love the cut of her pants, though; the structure of her outfit is great and overall I'm happy with the effort. If this is what she wears when she takes her kid to the dentist, I have a feeling she could knock your socks off at a dinner party.

"Schlub residence. This is Dr. Schlub speaking."

Cliff spends the episode in sweats that we won't discuss. Though I do think it's hilarious that his shirt has a faux pocket square (though not a faux pocket to go with it). These are his dress sweats, it seems.

You can take her classy wardrobe, but not her sassy face.

I don't care for Clair's outfit today, but I like that she's trying new things. A navy sweater with canary pants is unheard of from her. I appreciate her attention to detail in matching her undershirt to her pants, but mostly I think this isn't great for her. She's staying at home today, so it's understandable that she would go so casual that her look seems slouchy. But if she were planning on going to the store or something, I'd urge her to change. Everything's too loose on her. At least she classed it up a little with those bracelets, though I'm not sure why she bothered. Maybe to keep up with Cliff's formalwear.

Showing you how it's done. Take note, other Huxtables.

Denise has really hit her stride on this show. Most of what she wears ends up pleasing me greatly. Maybe I'm giving her leeway because I like her; after all, I hated this skirt in episode #2.11 when Sondra wore it, but I'm fine with it now. It's great how she works through the whole red family, using brown and orange as the base but veering into true red and even purple in her head wrap. She's being surprisingly calculated with her proportions: the high skirt is mirrored by the rolled jacket sleeves to create a clean line entirely across her body, denoting a clear waist even when it is hidden my multiple layers of fabric. The foundational garments could seem a little conservative, but she drags them into a hippie space with her accessories like the rope belt and the multiple thin necklaces and even the denim jacket. It's also worth mentioning that those earrings are knockouts because they contrast perfectly with the rest of her attire. All of this is spectacular in my book.

Photos: Marcus Tondo / GoRunway.com

I'll admit that it was difficult for me to find a modern runway parallel to Denise's look. While I thought about highlighting the similarities between her palette choices and the color scheme of Gucci's Pre-Fall 2012 collection, I ultimately thought that the more relevant connection was Karen Walker's prominent use of the matching head scarf in her Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear line.

Yes, she did just scoop you as the most fashionable sibling.

Theo is also getting only a brief mention today. He's wearing the same jeans as always, so I didn't even bother to include them. The t-shirt is also not worth mentioning, since it's a sloppy, non-fashion item. So really all we're left with is the midnight poplin shirt, which is totally reasonable, if unremarkable. I bet in a dressier context it looks really nice on him. I'm worried that his older sister is a style vampire, though: as Denise gets more fabulous each week, Theo fades further into the background. This is going to end with her stomping runways while he watches from the audience in a burlap sack.

Not best, but getting better.

Vanessa's sweater is another episode #2.11 repeat, as are the shoes. Have you guys noticed how when outfits repeat, they often pull multiple looks from the same previous show? I wonder what the reasoning behind that is. Anyway, her sweater has been dressed down slightly, and now rests against a white shirt and jeans. I like this calmer style; it's a little less "of its time" and thus more applicable in a modern setting. She could wear this to school today and it wouldn't be that weird.

Potentially better than her brother.

And in a surprise twist, Rudy throws down a Cosby sweater of her own! Look at that big, felty mess. It basically turns her into a quilted doll that I just want to hug forever. Extra cuteness points for the shorts-over-tights look. The silhouette that gets consistently larger as it goes up is totally psychotic in what it does to the perception of her body shape. Children should not be built like that. But again, she's the most wildly cherubic figure to emerge from television in the 80s, and even when she has bison torso, I can't help but adore her.

We'll end our trip to Huxtable church by passing the hat. This blog will continue whether or not you donate. But if you want to help me keep it going, I'd certainly appreciate it. I'm suggesting a one-dollar donation, but smaller amounts will also be accepted. (Larger amounts would be accepted, too, but I feel like a buck is a pretty accurate evaluation of this blog's worth to you.) Anyhow, the button below will magically transfer money to me should you decide to offer support. Thanks for reading, lovelies, and I'll see you next Monday.