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, January 28, 2013

Season 4, Episode 10: Dance Mania

The DVD puts this episode a week later for some reason, but I'm trusting the IMDb listing because the internet is my higher power. When Clair learns that her hairdresser also styles the producer of Dance Mania, a Soul Train knoock-off favored by the Huxtable kids, she gets Theo two tickets to appear on the air. Though he and Cockroach practice their routines and get all dressed up, they learn that they are not guaranteed entry into the studio. When space opens for one of them to enter, Cockroach takes the opportunity and Theo gets super mad. The incident must take a serious toll on their friendship, because Cockroach never appears on the show again. Sad news.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Adam Sandler
To join this gang, you have to be going through your awkward phase.

Good thing Theo has other friends! I'm not going to look at them individually because none of them are doing anything particularly stunning. I do think it's nice that the costume department helped them look nice as a unit by ensuring that no one was wearing the same colors. The real reason to pay attention to this random smattering of teenagers is because one of them is Adam Sandler in his first-ever television appearance. He'll pop up in a few more episodes; maybe we'll look at his outfits more closely next time.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Robert Gossett
He likes to say that he inspired Madonna's mic choice.

This guy with the headset is the one who gets all Sophie's Choice about entering the studio. Robert Gossett, the man behind the character, made his acting debut with this role and has done rather well for himself since then. He regularly pops up in movies and TV shows; you might recognize him as Commander Taylor on The Closer. I get the impression that he's using this shirt to try to look young and hip since he's surrounded by high schoolers all day. Sorry, sir, but it's not working. The pattern is somehow bland and eye-catchingly bad at the same time, and while the pants don't clash, they're not being all that helpful either.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Tina Donna Wilder
Even Cliff is sweet on her, but I'm unimpressed.

The Dance Mania dancer that all the boys have a crush on is Tina. There's no credit for her online, but one of the guest stars is "Donna Wilder," so I'm guessing that's who this is. The IMDb listing for an actress named Donna Wilder contains no picture and only one role in an educational video to teach people beginning English. Anyway, this dress is ludicrous: everyone else is dressed like a totally '80s teen, and she looks like she raided Ann Miller's closet. It's a costume, right? I refuse to believe that anyone would wear that beaded monstrosity with the intention of looking like a regular yet fashionable person.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cockroach Carl Anthony Payne
Taken too soon.

At least if Cockroach is leaving us, he's giving us two ensembles. His first offering is immediately distinctive because of that hat. The accessory is most recognizable as the type of cap worn by Jughead in the Archie comics. Though earlier versions were known as whoopie caps, by this decade they were more likely to be called a dink or rat cap. A surprisingly complete history can be found here. I think they're kind of dumb, I'll be honest. Taken as a whole, this look seems overeager. He's got the hat, the torn jeans, the bright t-shirt, the splattered shirt over it: every individual piece is selling us something, but seldom the same thing. There's no point of view here. It'd help him to find an overall theme and then apply an editorial eye.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cockroach Carl Anthony Payne
Imagine the antics he could have inspired had he stayed another season.

Same problem with his "I'm gonna be on TV!" outfit. The faux leather pants go with the jacket, though neither item fits him particularly well. Those shoulders are a complete mess, and the black detailing would only be acceptable if it were cloth rather than plastic or whatever that is. But then he brings in the sneakers and the sports jersey and he loses me. That red has no place in this creation, and the relaxed nature of these pieces make him look lazy rather than inventive. He could have maybe gotten away with a t-shirt, but the team uniform was a step too far.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
That must be uncomfortable, or even impossible, to sit in.

It must be acknowledged that Rudy's first outfit is insane. Everything's pretty normal at first glance: lots of red with a little gray thrown in. No biggie. But then you look at that skirt and realize that its construction is crazytown. It juts out literally horizontally from her waist and then shoots straight down like a cylinder. I can't adequately describe the shape, but those ruffles approximate what would happen if you stuck several rolls of paper towel to someone's thighs. Like, looking at her from head-on, it's a rectangle. From above, it would look sort of like a flower. I'm at a total loss as to how or why something like this could ever have been built. It defies reason.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
This girl can throw some serious face.

I don't even think that's a dress. I think it's just a too-big top and no pants.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
How did her earring get perpendicular? Hair snag? Head wave? Wind?

Vanessa starts off the episode in overalls because she's helping her father build a shelf in his office (even though he and Theo already built a shelf for his office less than a year ago). This leads to a subplot about teaching Cliff "new math," at which he is terrible. There's not much to say about her presentation here. It's overalls and an old t-shirt. You wouldn't get all dolled up for a construction job either.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
BOOTS ON THE COUCH! (This will always bother me.)

On day two, she hauls out her episode #3.6 shirt (that she took from Denise) and pairs it with the most boring matching shirt and pants she can find. Like, that's barely a color. Why bury your best piece under a drab sack? She's also teasing us with a sort of burgundy t-shirt underneath, but overall seems content to keep the enjoyable garments entirely obscured from view. It's a sort of power play or sartorial torture or something. Sick.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
DON'T SIT ON THE END TABLE! (I'm going to be THAT parent one day.)

To keep Theo's spirits up, I'll give him some positive notice for the good parts of his wardrobe. For instance, I'm supportive of cardigans as a concept, even if this one is a little ragged and has patches I don't particularly care for. And the yellow t-shirt is fine. The jeans are inoffensive. Whatever. This is a completely acceptable showing.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
You're dressed for the wrong party. Also, don't go to the party where this would work.

But then he gets the chance to go on Dance Mania and he dresses up like Prince's bodyguard. What are these pieces? Black slacks and black shoes I can understand. And sure, if you absolutely have to do the Michael Jackson thing and wear light socks, then go ahead. You're young, you can occasionally get away with dumb crap like that. But then the top half? I truly don't understand fully. The trench coat and scarf, sure, but then under them is... a kimono, maybe? Some manner of wrap vest? With a matching black-and-white t-shirt after that? This seems like entirely the wrong thing to be dancing in while studio lights blast down on you. He needs to remove at least two layers and never again try to look like a rakish gangster.

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

Fun fact: Dance Mania filmed on Saturday. If Theo is in school when it airs, then it's at least Monday. Not getting on the show must have hit him pretty hard, because he's been wearing the same pants, socks, and shoes for no less than 48 straight hours now. Ignoring that, this outfit actually has a lot of potential. The monochromatic theme plays well for him, and we just discussed my love of cardigans. This one especially works for me, with the dark border and contrast seaming giving it a touch of dazzle despite the lack of brighter hues. My concern is that polo shirt. First off, don't pop your collar. Ever. Also, the shirt appears to zip down the front, which makes it look almost as though he's wearing a second cardigan under the first one. That's just overkill. Let people know that your shirt is a shirt.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
She can never be all the way wrong.

Clair doesn't do a lot in the orange range, but this sunset suit isn't half bad. I wish the jacket had more of a lapel, though; something to structure the area around her face and chest would help this a lot. The blouse (from episode #4.5) is close to right, but not all the way there: I love the blues, but think the other shades of orange just distract. I'd have sought a pattern with more reds and fewer yellows.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
Not even when she brings back a substandard outfit.

Her second look is repeated from the first episode of this season.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
He's an obstetrician and a handyman. Skillz, y'all.

Cliff also starts the episode in overalls. I also don't care about his overalls.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
Delivering babies seldom requires math. Cut him a break.

Too big. He's shaped like a gumdrop in that long shot. Up close, I appreciate the complexity of the various shades making up the zig-zagging stripes on the sweater. I get the impression that whoever made it got tired halfway through, though, because the pattern becomes much more mundane below his ribs, and the fit spins out of control. I want to see the goodness of the first part continued. There was so much promise in those shoulders. Otherwise: brown pants blue shirt. Sure.

Well, that was a whole lot of clothing, wasn't it? Come back next Monday. There will be yet more.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Season 4, Episode 9: Where's Rudy?

Remember how Clair gardens once in a while? Well, this week she's entering her squash in a competition being hosted at the mall. The kids, of course, would rather go shopping, but when Theo and Vanessa get caught up in their own nonsense, Rudy goes missing. Luckily, she bumps into a friend and is returned to her parents, while Clair gets second prize for her gorgeous gourd. Side note: teenagers in Brooklyn do not go to the mall. The mall is not a thing here. And if there were a mall in Brooklyn, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't host produce fairs.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Conrad McLaren
Lest ye be judged, dude.

But if they did have produce fairs, they'd apparently be judged by this man. Conrad McLaren doesn't have an extensive list of credits, though he was in some known movies like Green Card (in which he played Andie McDowell's dad) and Reversal of Fortune, so good for him! He's dressed like someone who has no idea how to look important, which is kind of great. Like, his character is just this nerd who really likes vegetables, and then one day it's his job to walk around with a clipboard, so he grabs his striped shirt and his striped tie and then decides what the hell, let's match this overdone washed-out lavender neck business with some overdone washed-out lavender pocket business! NAILED IT.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Norman Kirby Louis Nye
There's a lot of squash-as-genitalia innuendo in this episode if you look for it.

Clair's main competition in the squash contest is Norman Kirby, portrayed by Louis Nye. Mr. Nye passed away in 2005, but worked steadily, mainly in televised comedy, throughout his life. He is probably most familiar to modern audiences as Jeff's dad on Curb Your Enthusiasm. The character he's selling us here is a definite eccentric: he's been in the competition for years and has never won, and the pursuit has become obsessive. His vegetable has a protective blanket and a name (which we learn because he talks to it frequently). To offset the crazy, he's been dressed basically like a Grandpa Huxtable clone. Though the main components of this ensemble are brown and beige, he's not afraid to work in a deep pine, a pale pink, and even that bare hint of burnt orange in the bow tie. I'm surprisingly delighted by the way it all comes together. He could be a slightly quirky college professor, you know? I bet his lectures are really amusing.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Danny Brenner Marc Hardy
Aren't you glad you're not in high school anymore? Me too.

Oh. My. God. Danny Brenner is working at the Key-Osk. He makes keys! Vanessa can't even handle it. Marc Hardy, in his first and last acting credit, plays the man of the moment. I was inclined to give him a pass on that striped shirt until the camera panned behind him and I saw that giant number. Your life is not a sport, kid: you're sitting at a chair in the mall. Ease up. The purple and green are OK, I guess, but this isn't so great for me, really.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Kim Ogawa Naoka Nakagawa
Maybe it's padding so that she's safer in a collision?

Rudy's friend Kim is back, and she's in a really big shirt. I don't have much to say about her, I just can't even believe the bigness. Her parents got the first shirt on her and then were like, "No. BIGGER." And here we are.

Look at him in that long shot. So tiny!

Poor Ronald Yamamoto got clotheslined into a string of highly stereotypical roles. After his part here as Kim Ogawa's dad, the owner of a sushi restaurant, he was cast as "Houseboy" in Wall Street, "Fuji (Kung Fu Tourist)" in Crocodile Dundee II, and "Fish Store Manager" in Love or Money. His credit directly before this? A character named Sushi. What he's wearing is a work uniform, so I'm presenting without comment. Though I feel like whoever chose his glasses took his Asian-ness into account. I mean, it has happened before in this show.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Her face totally says, "So you expect me to wear what now?"

I guess no one did the right thing and destroyed Rudy's episode #3.6 pants, because they're back with a vengeance. Worse still, she's got a clowny sweatshirt to match (clash, really), and it's sized for her to grow into. Clair Huxtable is basically threatening us with this top. "See how large it is? That's so she can wear it for years to come."

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
This is the face of teenage angst. Also the skirt of teenage angst.

The kids spend most of the episode in their coats because of that thing where you have to go outside to get to the mall and it's all cold, but then you get inside and they keep it ridiculously warm in there but you don't want to, like, carry this big jacket around, especially if you're buying something, so you just wear it everywhere even though you're uncomfortable and you end up sweating through your inner layers and getting all fussy and mad and fighting with your family or maybe losing your little sister or something. Anyhow, this red cardigan is a repeat from episode #3.11, and the shirt isn't but may as well be. The length of her skirt couldn't be wronger: it comes across as SO dull and heavy. I could see it working in a lighter fabric and color, maybe a print. But that matte black? With the boots? And the bunchy socks? No, hon. You missed.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
Without Denise, this is as close as we get to fashion these days.

Of course Theo finally steps up his game on a day when the goods are obscured. I'm going to invoke the "we don't talk about outerwear here" rule to avoid mentioning the atrocious coat so that I can instead focus on the positives. He avoids the obvious with that slate gray collar: the shade wouldn't initially seem suited for the rest of the outfit, while the style is fairly uncommon. It nonetheless works nicely with the striped sweater, which is subdued yet not plain and transitions nicely into the slim black jeans. I'm going to count this as a success because he gives me so little lately.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
To be fair, she probably bought it with her own money.

There's no real reason to include a picture of Clair's gardening overalls except that I think it's cute that she's wearing Theo's old jacket (first seen in episode #1.14).

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
Her farming skills and steel nerves would serve her well in the zombie apocalypse.

She dresses it up for the competition, though I'm not sure this was the best possible selection. I mean, we've seen a lot of excellence from her, and this... meh. Maybe she didn't want to seem too ostentatious and stand out from the other squash enthusiasts? The magenta looks wonderful on her, but the collar is too wide, the blouse underneath is too busy, and the brooches are too much. Her daughter could take skirt pointers from her, though: slimly tailored and hemmed just above the knee. Now we're talking.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
He talks to the squash multiple times.

Beyond simply living for Cliff's socks, I'm impressed that he went to such lengths to show them to us. Then again, if I had audacious orange-and-blue argyle happening, I'd want the world to know, too. Everything else is clearly average. The gray-brown cords are a staple of his wardrobe, but they're out of place here against the conflicting blue-gray in his sweater. Speaking of which: you can do better, Doctor. Horizontal stripes and loafy sleeves are beneath your capabilities. I know you've got more in you.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby sweater
He also makes the squash wear his sweater. Not joking.

I spoke too soon. This is a matching cardigan/jacket hybrid, people. My favorite part is that it takes the stripes and turns then 90 degrees to create a plaid. It's a continuation of the theme, but also an escalation. The fact that these two pieces even exist is insane, and wearing them TOGETHER? What would possess you to own both, let alone make them a single outfit? Nothing can be said. This is beyond.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, dear readers. Apologies if these entries start getting a little shorter; I've been hired by Queerty to recap Girls and RuPaul's Drag Race, plus I maintain a couple other blogs, so I'm stretched a bit thin. I am nonetheless committed to continuing this project and will never let it fall completely off my plate, have no fear. Still, I wanted to offer a preemptive explanation in case these deconstructions start to resemble blurbs in the coming weeks.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Season 4, Episode 8: Looking Back

Well, this is a sorry turn of events. In today's hour-long episode, the Huxtables sit in the living room and reminisce about earlier times. It's a clip show, y'all! I thought about doing a retrospective of my own favorite outfits, but then I realized that there are still "present day" scenes to contend with, so I technically still have new clothes to tackle. If you want, feel free to take a moment and reflect on the looks from the past few seasons that have brought you joy.

I love that image on the right. He looks like he's just been shot.

The reason for the family's storytime gathering is that Elvin and Sondra have had their first marital spat, leading Elvin to come to his in-laws for comfort. (This nonsensical choice is later semi-justified when it is revealed that his own parents weren't home.) It's interesting how his career as a wilderness store owner has given him a fashion direction. He started out as the college chauvinist, with a fairly plain jeans-and-plaids style to match that. His clothing got a little softer in its coloring as he became sweeter and more open-minded. Now with the outdoorsy direction in his life, he seems to have found a groove. These pieces, and the way they are combined, represent his most daring effort to date. If I'm clocking this right, he's wearing a forest green wool sweater under that plaid shirt. While I can't necessarily call that ideal, I have to tip my hat to the courage it takes to try it. The shirt itself is in similar "A for effort" territory: I don't adore the elbow patches (and actively dislike the single shoulder patch in both size and placement), but nonetheless respect his willingness to think outside the department store mannequin. If the big khaki chunks were gone, I think I'd give him a passing grade on this one. I might also recommend pants in a different shade just to keep this from being too uniform in its medium brownness.

Why did it take her so much longer to get here than him?

Sondra happens by later and is (understandably) shocked to find Elvin horning in on her turf. Her role in the episode is brief, however, meaning that we only get a couple quick shots of her and no clear indication of what exactly she's wearing. While I can't make a lot of sense of all the black garments, I think I can say with some certainty that she's wearing Vanessa's hat shirt from episode #3.24. My guess: whatever's going on beneath that aqua jacket ain't great.

She looks tired. Don't worry, Keshia, I thought it was a boring episode, too.

This ensemble illustrates the strategies that must be employed when dressing growing children. When last we saw these pants in episode #3.1, they were quite roomy; now, they're practically leggings. On the other hand, that sweatshirt is so huge that the sleeves have to be rolled just to make sure Rudy can still use her hands. I wouldn't be surprised if the salmon top reappeared in a future episode fitting just fine.

I'm ignoring her earrings, and you should too.

Vanessa also gets the short end of the script this week, and her abbreviated screen time makes my job difficult. What I'm seeing here is fairly refined in comparison to some of her previous stunts: she's kept the palette restricted to the spectrum of black-brown-red, with some mustardy accents. The overall impact is shapeless, but there's a certain charm to the use of color and the way she's coordinated all the layers. Plus, the production team has continued with her never-discussed but often-illustrated love of apples, which is a detail that I adore completely. It might be her strongest character trait.

It's like he almost tried a little.

You know what? It could be a lot worse. In the first season, this would have been considered pretty mediocre for Theo. In light of his extended slump, however, it becomes a revelation. A collar, for heaven's sake! Pants that vaguely fit! Are there problems here? Absolutely. But since the turquoise looks nice on him and none of what he's wearing would be appropriate for a jog or other workout, the best we can do is offer positive reinforcement and hope that it leads to continued success.

You know who's full of wisdom and sage advice? This lady.

We'll get to Clair's full-length look in a minute, but I wanted to start in close-up because of how delicious that blouse is against those necklaces. There's this miniature explosion of vibrant hues around her neckline that completely enchants me. Pairing such splendor with a neutral top isn't totally incorrect as an instinct, but when we step back, it becomes clear that she has taken the desire for subtlety too far. (Oh, and I don't want to talk about the fact that the clearly visible shoulder pads still can't lift the sleeves high enough to get that seam up past her god damned armpit, so let's just ignore it.)

The difference in her shape between those two angles is ridiculous.

Beyond the obvious problem of getting lost in a sea of bronze-colored fabric, there's the weird fit situation. I'm OK with the sort of tunic-y thing happening with her shirt, but there's not enough structure to anything. From the side, she looks unreasonably thin, but then she turns slightly and there's all this extra pillowy bunching for no reason. You're getting close, Clair, but you're not there yet. This isn't good enough for you.

Skeptical dad is skeptical.

Cliff has worn a sweater with this pattern in episode #4.4, and a sweater with this coloring in episode #3.14. With this garment, he thus takes his "sweater made of sweaters" concept to a higher plane, considering what would happen if two pieces of clothing could procreate and make a genetically merged offspring. Truly, this man is a wizard genius from another dimension. White, neatly criss-crossed collar? Wonderful. Brown pants? Not great with a black top and black shoes, but whatever. (The possibility exists that those are actually faded black pants, but that's no better. Get rid of your black pants if they're not black anymore.) Solid overall.

Wasn't that a fun trip down memory lane? I thought about linking to the individual episodes they referenced, but there were a lot of clips (remember, this was an hour-long episode), so you'll just have to watch for yourself. Were you really going to look back through 20+ previous entries anyway? You know you weren't.

See you next Monday, all.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Season 4, Episode 7: Autumn Gifts

When Rudy learns that the old woman down the street isn't taking her daily pill, the Huxtables mobilize with one of their signature clever plans to make sure that she stays medicated. Also, Sondra and Elvin are home trying to convince people to spend the night in sleeping bags in the back yard. Basically, everyone has an agenda this week.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Mrs. Hickson Eileen Heckart
Award winner. Card shark. Hat queen.

Mrs. Hickson, the stubborn old broad on whom most of the episode focuses, is played by Eileen Heckart. She was nominated for an Oscar for The Bad Seed and later won the award for Butterflies are Free. Her final acting role was in the TV series Cybill in 1998; she died of lung cancer three years later. The scripting for her character is a little unfair in that no one ever discusses the side effects of her pill or any of the legitimate reasons she might have for deciding not to take it. As a result, she just seems like a weird, stubborn old coot. Costume-wise, she is very much an old lady at home. I like that she's dressed comfortably but not lazily: the blouse and slacks coordinate nicely, and the cardigan matches. The roomier clothes allow her to lounge, while the austere colors, high collar, and other details lend a little extra dignity. No sweatsuits for this gal. (I'm not counting the hat because she's wearing it as a costume piece for her tea party with Rudy.)

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Mrs. Hickson Eileen Heckart
This teal is the real deal.

Since she's the focus of the episode (and the only actor in the place with an Academy Award), she is the sole cast member to be granted a second outfit. It makes sense: she was invited to someone's house for dinner and wants to look nice. The choices here say a lot about her character. For instance, notice that she's wearing similar pieces as before: slacks, shirt, long cardigan with a white trim. She's a woman of habit. Also, her pieces match well, making her a bit of a functional dresser as opposed to someone who mixes and matches. Again: set in her ways. To me, the best touch is the string of pearls that she tucks into her shirt. This detail lets you know that she wants to look formal without being ostentatious. Overall, it's an age-appropriate look with some good storytelling packed into it.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Russell Earle Hyman
I want this man to be my personal shopper.

You know what's awesome? When Russell gets a new outfit. Grandpa is a snappy dresser, and this shirt/sweater combo exemplifies why. He's all about vibrant prints and he knows how to combine his garments. While the collared shirt wasn't designed specifically to go with that knit, he recognizes the synchronicity between their palettes and fuses them to make this dynamic ensemble. Wisely opting for a neutral pant, he delivers a dynamite presentation that probably made everyone else jealous. I mean, there's just no way that anyone's going to top this.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Elvin Thibideaux Geoffrey Owens
I guess he looks like this because of the wilderness store?

Elvin hasn't mastered the art of cold weather dressing like his in-laws. Though his sweater is puffy and weird, it's not insane or interesting in the way that Cliff's might be, nor does it have the stylish structure of one of Russell's pieces. Similarly, he tries for a patterned shirt beneath it so that the collar can push things a little further, but the checker looks out of place and busy next to the other things he has going on. I don't dislike the sweater and corduroys together, and really this isn't a bad look overall. If there weren't such a rich history of awesome sweaters in this family, I'd probably be less critical of him, but with the standards being as high as they are, it's tough not to want more. As for the vest, I'm choosing to ignore it. First of all, he takes it off later, which makes it sort of a coat and thus not part of this blog. Second, it's ugly and we should just avoid it until it goes away.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Sondra Sabrina Le Beauf
Girl. It's a family show. Slow your roll.

Inappropriate, Sondra. Let's get this out of the way: those suspender straps are designed in a way that perfectly outlines her hot-pink boobs. She is straight-up presenting. Hey, everyone, I've boxed off and highlighted my breasts! Please look at them as they emerge vibrantly from the sea of gray and black I am otherwise wearing. Which is not to say that this is a failure. There are things about this ensemble that I love. A cozy knee-length cardigan can really work, and you can't deny the courage it takes to contrast such a piece with plaid tights. If she had selected a simpler black dress underneath, she would have been doing alright. But the neon is a little much, especially when used mainly to remind us of the exact size and placement of her tatas. The gold brooch is probably also terrible.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
The joke about cornflakes floating in the water jug grossed me way out.

The first time we see Rudy, she's wearing an ill-fitting jacket/sweater thing. I'm including it to illustrate just how important it is to check how the tailoring of a garment affects your perceived body shape. Color and style aren't enough on their own.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Rudy Keshia Knight Pulliam
Her fascination with aristocracy fascinates me.

Underneath, she's wearing an ornately decorated dress. I appreciate how it impresses as pink or purple overall but is really made up of a sea of different shades. My guess, though, is that this isn't a regular rotation item for Rudy, but rather a dress-up or costume piece. This little girl sure has a lot of fancy frocks. Rich people, man.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Vanessa Tempestt Bledsoe
Another sad case of insufficient exposure.

Vanessa's whole situation makes no sense this week. She barely gets featured, and yet she's in what might very well be a show-stopper of a skirt. The excess of ruffled, multi-toned plaid speaks to me. I'd also be tempted to call that long garment a coat, but there's no indication that she spends even a moment outside, so I guess it's just a long shirt? It would have been smarter for her to go plainer and darker with her other garments so that the bottom half could have taken center stage. When you have a piece that dynamic, typically your best move is to let it shine. The red and tan sort of blend with the skirt rather than contrasting and defining it. I shouldn't have to search: everything should be directing my eye toward that piece naturally.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Theo Malcolm Jamal Warner
What are the dudes on his shirt doing?

Theo barely appears this week, but I barely care about his clothes, so it's no major slight. I'm looking forward to the day when he retires these jeans with the seams down the front because they're not OK. And is that a sweatshirt with a lame print I spy? The shock is too great; I may go into cardiac arrest.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Clair Phylicia Rashad
Is that all you got? (Spoiler: I know that's not all she's got.)

The surprise let-down of the week is Clair, whose fashion sense seems to have departed. Sure, she looks great in red, but that long-sleeved polo is totally shapeless, while the popped collar adds insult to injury. Below, she's rocking slacks that are dangerously similar to her actual flesh tone. One must always be careful about that. Too often, I've seen someone from afar and worried that they are both naked from the waist down and deformed in some way. Don't tell the world that you have weird, lumpy tree trunk legs: tell them that you have fabulous pants. To do that, of course, you need to actually be wearing fabulous pants.

Cosby Show Huxtable fashion blog 80s sitcom Cliff Bill Cosby
I would wear one or two of those sweaters.

Closing things out, Cliff goes for another Sweater-of-Sweaters, uniting multiple cool-toned cable knits into a Frankenstein's Garment. It's ALIVE. Maybe I've just been numbed to his antics, but the top half totally works for me. It's all in the blue family, and everything seems organized and sensible. I'm fine with it. It's the pants I can't handle. Rather than leaving well enough alone with the pin stripes, he opts for a hideous pattern that presents horizontal bands of vertical lines. There's no continuous up-down connection, just disparate inch-long white dashes. It's the worst idea. Do not follow this example. If you find pants like this, destroy them. They're offensively bad.

I long for an episode that requires the family to dress up. Hopefully Denise will be home when it happens. Nobody's really giving it like they used to, right? But don't let that stop you from reading. My audience is all I have! Until next time, Followers of the Hotness. Take care.