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, September 24, 2012

Season 3, Episode 18: You Only Hurt the One You Love

Apologies in advance: this is another light episode in terms of clothing. We should probably all be outside enjoying the nice weather anyway. The razor-thin plot is that Theo injures Rudy after an ill-advised attempt at recreating a tumbling act. Meanwhile, cutbacks at the hospital mean that Cliff has to say goodbye to his favorite member of the custodial staff.

I'll tell you right now that though Rita Moreno is a legend and does a fabulous job as Mrs. Granger, I didn't bother to capture her because she plays her one scene in a uniform, which there would be no point in reviewing. Ditto to Lou Myers, who delivers the show's funniest minute with his brief, insanely intense appearance as Mr. Davis. He'll be back later this season, so maybe there will be a chance to talk more about him then.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Alvin Lum Mr Howe
Terry Richardson is this guy's fault.

Alvin Lum, on the other hand, will be discussed in his role as Mr. Howe because he is wearing actual clothes. As an actor, he turns up once more on the show in the seventh season, though the IMDb doesn't list a character name and I don't have the DVDs yet to check if it's a different person or not. Other than that, he's had a handful of credits, ending with a small part in the 1995 remake of Sabrina. In terms of his business attire, he shows us only what you see here because his entire scene is played behind a desk. The pale periwinkle shirt is basically a uniform in and of itself: this choice typifies '80s office wear. The earth tone vest is a nice touch in that it both dresses things up and adds warmth. While I like the concept of a bow tie, I'm not crazy about this exact one. The black isn't great against that mulchy gray-brown, and the splotchy pattern is too much. Maybe he's trying to inject a little pizzazz into his buttoned-up duds, but there are better ways.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Yes, she starts the episode with both hands in a giant bowl of cereal.

Rudy continues to sport miniature Cosby sweaters, oddly opting for a Rasta this time around. I would have steered her toward a different shirt underneath: the color matches perfectly, but the popped collar is not to be allowed. A polo under a sweater can be difficult to sell because of how sturdy the fabric is. She'd be better of with something lighter. Other than the weird union of colors suggesting that one dude freshman year who thinks he likes reggae music but really just enjoys smoking pot constantly, this is a cute look. As a child, she gets leeway in terms of matching her shoes and socks to her top. (Theo, on the other hand, will continue to be denied forgiveness for similar missteps.)

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Happy about head wear.

I don't want to get into Rudy's coat and scarf, but I do want to point out that we were lied to this week. Cliff claims that the nurses chipped in to buy Rudy this hat, when in fact it is his own: he wore it in episode #3.4, and Denise wore it in #3.14. I'm onto you, costume designer Sarah Lemire. (I'd suggest that this line was intended as a joke, but Cliff wears a different cap while this is happening, so it's not like he took the one off his head and gave it to his daughter.)

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
She has this odd, benign peace in her eyes. She's a poorly dressed Buddha.

I was initially convinced that I had reviewed this outfit already because of its similarities to her episode #3.2 presentation, but it turns out that these are different pieces. Also, worse. This takes all the failed elements of her previous offering while removing anything charming or interesting. Notice, for instance, how she omits the stripe in favor of a flat tone. The tailoring on these pants is less dynamic, opting for the dreaded tapered leg that was so popular back in the day instead of the more daring harem cut. The maroon is fine, but is made considerably less appealing by that dirt-colored top shirt. I guess she outgrew the other outfit? I mean, why would you own this when you've already got a better version of it in the closet? And why would you buy a copy of this ensemble when the first isn't that spectacular to begin with? Nonsensical.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
I'll give him a C- for effort.

It's always tempting to breeze past Theo because he's seldom trying, but this shirt deserves at least a cursory glance. If nothing else, it's a slightly different tactic for him. The casual long-sleeved jersey knit polo shirt had a real moment in the later part of this decade and into the early '90s, so he's on the cusp of something here. His use of that smoldering blood orange hue takes this out of failure and into... well, into not-quite-a-failure. I don't adore the overall presentation, but it's not nearly as lackluster as his other selections of late, so we're going to have to grade on a curve for a while.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
Emitting an Eeyore aura.

Cliff seems to start the day without an agenda and is probably intending to hang around at home, so I'm surprised by this ensemble. The shirt and suspenders are smart and professional, and all those cool purples give this an unexpectedly somber vibe, even if he's throwing down a bit of print. Finishing off with black slacks just cements him as practically dour. Luckily, he ended up taking Rudy down to the emergency room (completely unnecessarily, I might add), so at least his colleagues got to see him in his being-serious-and-important gear, but isn't it just lucky that today wasn't one of his sweatpants days?

And now: HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S (recent) PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
Back in action.

THEY'RE NOT! That's right, Clair is back, standing up and walking around like old times, and let me tell you I couldn't be happier about it. Well, alright, I could be happier about it if I were a bigger fan of this look, but I'll take what I can get. Which is not to say that I hate it, mind you. Her decision to go for all prints, all the time is certainly courageous, and such assurance should be congratulated, especially when you're working in such an eye-catching, tonally isolated palette. By restricting herself to white, black, and several bright reds, she pretty much guarantees a statement, especially when those fiery shades make up the majority of the outfit. This runs the risk of coming across a little casual, but I guess she's not seeing clients on a Saturday, and the kimono stylings class it up a notch anyway. I'm particularly impressed with the way the subtle stirrations in her top and pants (or is that a jumpsuit?) are mirrored in the black collar of her jacket. Let's also single out that multi-chained necklace, which obviously requires heavy praise. I will say that she's belting this a little higher than is usual, but that's probably the last vestige of an effort to mask the slight baby-related change in her body shape. Overall, though, her confidence brings this look home. There's a lot going on, but she carries herself like someone who was meant to handle every last overwrought detail.

Since this is another short week, let's skip the donation link again. I'll put it back up soon, though: season 4 is just around the bend and DVDs must be purchased! In the meantime, think about who you might want to tell about this project. Particularly if you know someone in publishing who wants to do something revolutionary like turn a blog into a book. That's a craze that I bet could really take off! (Seriously, though, this would go a lot quicker if I could quit my day job and live off the money from my advance for a little while.)

And that's all there is for now. Let's meet back here again next week. Bye!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Season 3, Episode 17: Calling Doctor Huxtable

This episode is packed with guest stars, but most of them won't be covered here. See, half of the action takes place at the hospital, so though Cliff interacts with three expectant mothers, two husbands, a father, and a pair of other medical professionals, they all spend the whole time in scrubs, so who's interested? Not me. If you watch on your own, you'll hear some mediocre Spanish (come back, Phylicia!) and see Patricia Richardson before her Home Improvement days. But since we're skipping all that, it's the stuff at home that matters for right now. Vanessa brings over two friends, old favorite Janet Meiser and newcomer Althea Logan. When Althea smokes in the house, everyone goes cray.

Her hair probably smells like the bottom of a barbecue grill.

Althea is played by Malinda Williams, who still acts here and there. I'm not familiar with much of her work, though seeing an episode of My So-Called Life on her resume makes me want to rewatch that whole show again. Her most famous role is probably Tracy "Bird" Van Adams on the series Soul Food. Keep an eye out for her later in this blog: she returns as a different character in season 6. Since she and Janet spend a great deal of this episode seated, it's difficult to discuss the fit of her outfit. This is a shame particularly because Althea is supposed to be extremely fashionable, so her choices should be held to a higher standard. From what I can see, I guess I get why the other girls might be impressed with her. This outfit has a certain gutsy quality to it. The purple pullover and red t-shirt are entirely unremarkable, but she surrounds them with a wildly disparate set of elements. The earrings pull her in a classier direction, but then underneath she's in grungier camo fatigues. The boots are somewhat in keeping with that combat theme, but have a spunky pop princess side to them because of the sky blue. While I encourage her continued experimentation, I'd steer her toward greater unity next time. This is what's left on your floor when you haven't done laundry in a while: remnants of other looks, haphazardly tossed together. This party craves a theme.

She's often mildly confused.

Janet doesn't offer us a great view of her ensemble, either, so I'm going to be doing some estimating and informed guesswork here. From what I can tell, the pants are a good, snug fit, though with the waist obscured, we're missing key data points. That's where Mom Jeans are made, you know? It could all fall apart if the middle is too high or too dumpy. Denim on denim has gone, come back, and gone again since this program aired, so this look has had its moments, even if it's not currently a guaranteed knockout. Inside the jacket, I think what I'm looking at is an argyle cardigan that is banded by an odd contrasting piece. I can't tell if that's an embellishment sewn onto the sweater itself, or if she's simply paired the garment with a weird scarf. Either way, it's not a great addition; I think the knit piece on its own would have been just fine, giving her a cute, preppy vibe that I can roll with. She wins me over with the barrette, though. There's an animal crawling in her hair!

(Also, the girls discuss a "new look" for Janet, but we never see the pictures, much to my dismay. I want to know about Althea's big plans.)

There's a stranger in my house.

Rudy starts the episode off like this, with the explanation that she was going through Denise's wigs. Apparently Denise had a lot of these? How was this character trait not explored in earlier stories? Why did we not see her leaving the house with things like this on her head?

Keith Haring's least popular work.

This shouldn't happen to anyone, but especially to a child. A big, puffy shirt and parachute pants in matching but inverted squiggle prints? I'm pretty unhappy with it. There doesn't need to be a lot of discussion as to why.

You looked at this outfit and really decided on those earrings?

Vanessa is starting to find a groove with her fashions, and while I'm not all the way behind her, I'm at least glad that she's coming into her own. There are several key elements present here that show where she's headed. First, a print, as illustrated by the Miami wallpaper flowers on her blouse. She's also showing more love for pins and brooches lately, like the one up at her neck. Oranges and yellows show up more frequently,  as seen in the peachy flowers and peachier slacks. And then there's the shape of her top, with the recurring Victoria elements of the high neck, long billowy sleeves, and waistline gathered around the back almost like a bustle. This isn't my favorite presentation from her, but in terms of style, I think she comes across better than Althea simply because she has an obvious point of view.

He's on the edge of whatever the opposite of glory is.

Theo brings back his droopy episode #2.24 sweater, which has only lost shape since last year. The jeans are nice, though. I'd wear those jeans.

Can I get a "dat ass"?

We seldom get a full 360-degree look at people, so I thought I'd include a little Huxtable booty to liven things up. Also, while we've seen these suspenders before, this view reveals the unexpected red band they've been hiding this whole time. I appreciate this shirt up close because of the way the reds and blues play off each other. Oddly, though, the effect that I enjoy so much becomes problematic at a greater distance. The intermediary shades are laid out in a way that makes the whole shirt look blurry, like you're having trouble focusing. It's not terrible, but for me it's more disconcerting than soothing. Still, he knows just when to deploy that lovely chartreuse paisley, and the brown pants are a solid base. It's a thumbs up overall.

How are we already here? HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S (recent) PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

She only has a few minutes in which to get out as much crazy eye as possible.

As usual, by exiling her to the final few pajama-ed moments of the episode. Also, by putting her behind the desk that they moved there when she got pregnant in the first place.

Put that magic spell on me, slap that baby, make him free!

Also, with awkward dancing. At least Clair is standing up again. It's been a while.

Rather than ending with a donation link, I'm asking a different favor of you all. Tempestt Bledsoe was recently alerted to the existence of this blog by an interviewer (thank you, Jeffrey Jameson, for making that happen), and I want to make sure that she actually reads it. She might not like it, as there have been many days when I have torn her sad outfits to shreds, but I still want her to check it out. So if you could remind her by sending a tweet to @TempesttBledsoe with my URL, I'd be oh so grateful. Also, watch her new show, Guys with Kids, premiering on September 26th on NBC.

The end. More Hotness next week, guys. Until then.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Season 3, Episode 16: Denise Gets an Opinion

This week's episode is about how men are falling all over themselves to date Cliff's daughters. OK, that's not precisely true, but there are seriously five male guest stars who are all at least mildly flirtatious with either Vanessa or Denise. The plot gets a little convoluted, so I'll just explain as we go.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Tyrone Baxter Jason Warwin Aaron Stokes Ermundo Russell
Two boys, one Huxtable.

Remember Tyrone and Aaron from episode #3.11? Vanessa is apparently still going on dates with both of them at the same time. And as before, the sense I get is that these two are in it for each other. When the trio goes to see a movie, the men stay behind and Vanessa comes home alone. Giant red flag, honey.

If you're wondering why they're dressed so nicely for the date, it's because they both joined the Huxtables at church this morning. This is the first overt indicator of religion we've had on the show: while it's assumed that the family is Christian, we've never actually seen them celebrate a holiday or heard them mention their faith in any way. I'm not making anything of that, but it's interesting to note.

Starting with Tyrone on the left there: he's got solid instincts, but he needs to refine them. When you're wearing a black jacket, you have a great deal of leeway in where you can go with your shirt and tie, and I would definitely steer anyone seeking advice toward livelier hues and prints. That said, you can't just throw any two candy-colored pieces together and hope for the best. The point at which this stops working is really the scrubby pattern on the tie. If it served up only purples and blues, then he might get away with it, but I'm seeing a whole rainbow in there, and it's messy. Also, that blazer doesn't fit at all; I assume it was purchased as a "he'll grow into it" item.

Aaron's blazer reminds me of the one Russell often wears, and also of the one worn by the dude hitting on Clair in episode #2.9, but it's more gray than either of those garments. I guess this was a popular style of jacket in the '80s. Anyway, he looks a little more pulled together overall: the navy establishes coherence between the sweater and tie, the accent colors complement each other nicely, and it's hard to go wrong with a crisp white Oxford shirt. He'd be the clear pick for Vanessa's dating future if he wasn't so obviously crushing on Tyrone.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Robert Foreman Dondre Whitfield
He bothers literally every person he talks to.

There's another man vying for Vanessa's affections, however. Robert would like to give going steady another shot, and he hangs around the house all day pestering the family for advice. I have to say, I'm feeling that emerald sweater. The color is gorgeous on him, the burst of paler green at the collar is just right, and the ribbed texture just makes him look so cozy. I'm even into the big white buttons. This outfit says, "I'm sensitive, cuddle with me." (Ignore the basketball, it's Theo's.) In a perfect world, the jeans would be a little darker and perhaps a little slimmer, but they're fine. It's a shame he gets rebuffed, because he tries so hard! Also: actually heterosexual.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Jerry Tico Wells
More of an appetizer than a main course.

Here's where things start to get complicated, plot-wise. Cliff is having a resident follow him on his rounds. Denise is expecting a date with whom she's only ever spoken on the phone. So when this dude shows up in the living room, all the kids assume that he's a romantic interest when he is, in fact, one of their father's colleagues. Jerry the resident is played by Tico Wells, who has built a solid career out of small roles in movies and guest gigs on TV shows. Nothing from his credits really stood out to me as something you'd certainly recognize him from, but he's always working, so there's that. His clothes are also working for the most part. The blazer and shirt play off each other impeccably: they're risky but not ridiculous. Orange as a highlight in a sea of earth tones is just plain smart. I also appreciate that he's going for the buttoned top button, which is way coming back. Look at those One Direction moppets. Obviously, tailoring is sub-optimal because of the time period: it's getting a little zoot suit-y in here. But if these garments fit him, I'd be 100% in support of his choices.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Greg Martinson Don Franklin
HANDSOME.

I was worried after Denise got her hopes up about the med student that her actual date couldn't possibly compare, but this dude is mad handsome. And tall. And polite. If only he could dress himself! The character, Greg Martinson, is played by Don Franklin, who had his greatest success as a series regular on SeaQuest 2032 as Commander Jonathan Ford. Just to recap what he considers appropriate for a first-time meeting with Denise Huxtable (a woman to whom you present your A game because, I mean, come on): comically large brown leather jacket, black leather gloves, black pants. The shirt underneath, which gets almost no screen time, is striped or something, but who even gets that far? When you're tall and slim, it can be difficult to find items that flatter your body, but you have to keep trying, because when you don't, this happens. "Hi! I'm wearing a slip cover for a love seat! Care to join me for dinner?" This dude is lucky he's so dreamy in the face, I tell you what.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Growing up, sassing out.

I sort of just now put together that Rudy is probably wearing weirder sweaters because Clair isn't around as much, and Cliff is helping her pick out her clothes. I'm on the fence about this particular piece: on the one hand, it's a cute visual pun with the pom poms becoming little acorns for the squirrels, but on the other hand it's chance for her to be wearing a top that could be described as sporting both "balls" and "nuts." (I'm juvenile, but I'm certainly not alone.) More concerning than that, however, are her jeans, which are bunching really horribly just below the waist. That horizontal crotch fold persists throughout her scenes, suggesting that  if it's not intentional, it's nonetheless permanent. And acid wash? Her pants fail on multiple levels, which is sad for someone so young.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Adolescence is a rough time.

If I'm reading contextual clues correctly, then Vanessa wore this to church. I don't know, it's tough for me to envision a setting in which this would be the best outfit, but church is pretty low on that list. Before we touch on anything else, I want to be very clear that her brooch is a deck chair. Like, a small, detailed replica of a deck chair with individual slats and everything. I'm so completely at a loss about how to even begin discussing that. The next point we need to address is her skirt. We were first alerted to the existence of this threat to decency in episode #3.7, but today we witness its full power unleashed. Something about it says "artist's drop cloth" to me, except that it's obviously adhering to a more rigid pattern. Which I guess implies that thought went into its construction, though really anyone who thought for more than a moment about this garment would have to think, "no, never mind, let's just burn it," wouldn't they? Confusing. I guess she's doing alright with the shirt and jacket, which have a Clair-at-the-end-of-a-bad-safari feel to them. But I'm probably just inflating my esteem for the less-terrible parts of her getup because of the blinding horror of the rest of it.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
We are so in a fight right now.

Did Theo lose all of his good clothing in an extremely localized fire? What the hell is going on with him this season?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Denise Lisa Bonet
Why do I adore this yet loathe Theo's look?

Before her date, Denise is just lounging around the house looking casually flawless. In the same way that Robert plays the snuggly card, she presents here as the kind of girl you'd just want to hang out with all day. Watch a movie? Sure. Order take-out? Absolutely. Get dressed and go somewhere? Hell no, son, you're at home with a queen and life is good. If she went out to a bar like this, she'd leave with all the numbers.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Denise Lisa Bonet
Slump.

While I can understand changing for a first meeting, I can't understand changing into this. Her selections here are oddly half-assed. She has more bohemian items in her wardrobe, and likewise has things that fit closer to the Martha Stewart vibe she's simultaneously rocking. But the two aesthetics don't merge well, and so she's left sitting there like a khaki lump. If you're going to wear a nice sweater set, then go ahead and have it fit properly. I'm all about a sleeve that runs past your knuckles, but not on any old top in your closet. The pants also feel slouchy to me. I guess maybe her thought process was to seem fashionable but comfortable, but her outcome is straight-up cat lady.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
Jesus is apparently not having it with the zany knits.

Cliff goes to church in a suit. He also goes to church in an ugly tie. There's absolutely no contrast between those colors, so the paisley gets lost. Horrible.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
Secular cardiganism.

Cliff's second outfit is all about texture. Other than those incidental red bands, he's really just figuring out all the different ways he can use static as a thematic design element. So much speckled, heathered gray and black! It all coheres well enough, though the pants would look linty if the rest of the outfit didn't highlight the intentional nature of that pattern. The doctor enjoys skating on thin ice, though, so the flouting of pants standards is to be expected. It's another configuration that perhaps only Bill Cosby could wear, but that doesn't immediately count as a bad thing.

And now, your favorite: HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S (recent) PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
No one has ever been happier to turn off a lamp.

By including her only in the final segment of the episode, during which she is buried under a giant comforter and a newspaper. The scene is lovely, though, because she serenades Cliff to sleep, and Miss Phylicia can sing. On the other hand, I feel pretty cheated that she wasn't depicted in her morning attire. Does Clair Huxtable have a church hat? Because I think we can all agree that America needs to see that.

Before we close, I'll issue my usual plea: if you regularly enjoy this blog, then consider donating a quarter in the tip jar. Your money helps keep the site going. I promise not to use it to buy expensive jewelry and gaudy knick-knacks.



Come back next Monday, I'll have more hotness for you.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Season 3, Episode 15: Say Hello to a Good Buy

Cliff's station wagon has finally kicked the can after 15 years of proud service to the family. When he goes to the dealership to buy a replacement, he tries to look "regular" and hide his wealth so that he can negotiate a better price on the car. At home, Vanessa and Denise worry about how to handle the fact that an unsupervised Rudy has cut pictures out of their father's expensive books for a school project.

Remember when this guy had a career? He probably actually sells cars now.

Davis Sarrette, the man selling Cliff his new vehicle, is played by Sinbad. Prior to this role, he was known mainly as a stand-up comedian, though he had appeared in six episodes of The Redd Foxx Show. His association with the Huxtable clan continued when he landed a regular role as Coach Walter Oakes on A Different World, and when Cosby aired in the late '90s, he had three guest appearances. His costume is built to make him seem slightly out of touch and cheesy, like a car salesman would be. Note the relatively thin tie, which had fallen out of vogue in favor of fatter neck wear by the time this was filmed. The cut of his jacket is about right for the fashions of the time, but the heavy use of earth tones with just a hint of pale blue suggests a vintage feeling as well. As a basis for comparison: this is something Russell would wear, not something Cliff would wear. He'd look more timely in bolder colors, like perhaps a navy blazer and red tie. I personally don't mind the subdued palette; my main concern is the breadth of the bottom of the jacket. But sizing is a standard complaint in this blog, so I should really stop bringing it up. After all, we've got five more seasons to get through, and I'm already repeating myself.

MONOTONOUS HIGH VOLUMES ARE ALWAYS HILARIOUS!

Cliff's cover is blown when a business associate, Mr. Babcock, dives in and blabs endlessly about the doctor and his successful lawyer wife. Before appearing on this show, Gilbert Gottfried had been a cast member of Saturday Night Live, though at the time he hadn't begun employing his squinty, obnoxious persona. I'm not sure when that particular characterization emerged, but it was in full force when he shot this brief guest appearance. He's not doing anything remarkable fashion-wise: overcoat, red patterned scarf, ornate tie. OK, I guess the tie's fussiness is technically worth remarking on, but only barely.

Never stressed, not impressed.

I feel like this outfit marks a turning point, because this might be the first time that Rudy has worn something that has a sense of maturity. I'm not talking about the times she dressed up like an old lady for comedic effect: this is the kind of outfit that could be replicated and plausibly put on one of her older sisters. I think the tight jeans are what push this into grown-up territory. It's not a bad getup overall.

Also never underdressed.

After Rudy cuts the encyclopedia up, she and her sisters decide to make a nice dinner for their father to lighten his mood. Inexplicably, all three of them change clothes as a part of this process. I guess they feel like Cliff responds better to nicer attire? Rudy's selection is a soft, pastel sweater/turtleneck combo that was probably chosen to highlight her youthful innocence. Could you yell at that face framed by that wool?

Let's get physical.

I'm not reviewing Vanessa's first outfit, I just wanted to post this screencap.

My frequent shamings have pushed her to drabness. I have regrets.

Her babysitting look gets scarce screen time, and the pants are mostly left up to the imagination. They're dark, which I suppose contrasts nicely with the pale shirt. But really, what is there to talk about here?

A prelude to "Women Laughing Alone with Salad."

To impress her father, Vanessa brings out her most brazen gem-toned duds. The emerald and sunset hues are so electric together that the DVD encoding can't properly depict them next to each other: the border between the garments has an odd shimmering effect that you can see if you zoom in on the image . She wears the DayQuil/NyQuil combo well, though. While the shoulder pads are of course unnecessary, I think the baggier top shirt is justified, or at least would be if the blouse were tailored properly. As before, her slacks are semi-theoretical. I should start treating all these unseen pieces like Schroedinger's cat: they are at once stylish and hideous until a good snapshot emerges. Note her accessories, too: she mirrors the oblong gold earrings with a similar brooch at her neck, bringing in some additional cohesion.

It's weirdly difficult to catch him not looking smug.

Theo repeats his episode #3.8 sweatshirt with his oft-seen gray pants. And this is before Cliff reveals his plan to look less wealthy.

She's apparently majoring in Cheekbones at school.

Denise is back for the day, but she wears a coat for her whole first scene. I thus can't report much about her initial presentation. That might be a scarf under there with the reddish print, but maybe it's something far less conventional. Then again, she's wearing a white t-shirt underneath, so it's probably just a scarf.

We've missed you.

She keeps the undershirt for the next outfit, but dresses it up considerably with this dusty jade coat that has lapels reaching all the way to the ends of her shoulders. The ends of her shoulders! And in case you hadn't caught that audacious flourish, she's adorned the edges with beads and hung a medallion on the left side. Oddly, the forcefulness of that embellishment works here, mainly because the rest of her clothing reads like a costume from a reenactment of the first Thanksgiving. The balance of ultra-conservative styling with one attention-getting power play is whip-smart. I'm taking a stand in support of this outfit, but I suppose that's not a surprise given how often I'm enamored with her peppy ensembles.

TRON.

Bold move, Dr. Huxtable. To make sure we get a good sense of contrast between his first outfit and eventual change of attire, he begins the day in some serious teal, revealing the full shirt that was hinted at in his final episode #3.12 outfit while overlapping two different (though complementary) plaid-ish patterns. He's done crazier things with his wardrobe, but this presentation is perfectly balanced in that it would believably be worn at home, and yet still communicates the level of wackiness that tends to emanate from him. I'm mildly impressed by the way the stripes on his shirt and cardigan interact with each other; their tonal similarities prevent them from competing as they otherwise surely would. The gray-green slacks are also fabulous because they're simultaneously neutral and unexpected. He manages not to come across as clownish despite his deviations from conventional reason.

Shoulda gone for the Skynyrd shirt, man.

Hoodie, baggy jeans, Elmer Fudd cap. This is his impersonation of a blue-collar dude, I guess.

We now return to our favorite recurring segment: HOW ARE THEY HIDING PHYLICIA'S (recent) PREGNANCY THIS WEEK?

"I made a human life. What did you do yesterday?"

I assume that Clair's two-week absence was written in so that Ms. Rashad could have some maternity leave. Her appearance in this episode is quite brief: she shows up only in the first few minutes lying in bed. Same old same old. No one ever talks about where she might be for the rest of the day, though I assume if she had been home then Rudy wouldn't have had the chance to take her scissors to Cliff's books. Mama Huxtable seems like one of those eyes-in-the-back-of-her-head moms.

This episode was a little skimpy in terms of fashion. Sorry about that, guys! Since there wasn't a ton of content, I'll skip the donation link for a week. Come back next Monday and give me a dollar then. Thanks!