Wearing the Dream – is T.V. Fashion Practical or Just out of Reach?

Sarah Rosenberg

These days, television is just as much a part of our lives as anything else; it’s a part of our daily routine, making its way into our schedules right along with going to class, meeting friends for lunch and getting assignments in on time. There’s no doubt in the fact that we idolize the television personas of our favorite shows. We come to read about the actors’ biographies, learn their favorite foods and colors and keep up with their romances in the weekly gossip magazines. Perhaps most importantly, we pay closest attention to what they wear and who they wear, on and off the surreal setting of their respected television programs. But in reality, do people really wake up every morning to plan their outfits around what Blake Lively wore on ‘Gossip Girl’ as Serena van der Woodsen or Shenae Grimes as Annie Wilson on the latest episode of ‘90210?’ More importantly, do we have the resources and money to actually put such grand outfits together? It’s undeniable that we all wish we could wake up and reach into our closets to find an impeccable bubble dress and cropped leather jacket to match with our newest pair of Christian Louboutin booties, but that isn’t always the case.

All girls want to be the bemusement of the fashion world. It would be remarkable to be the one photographed on the streets on Manhattan with a Balenciaga bag on your wrist, sporting the goods only a New York Socialite could score at Fall Fashion Week. All girls want to be Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf of ‘Gossip Girl’, one of television’s most-watched dramas, because they are those girls of Manhattan. The producers of the show accurately depict them as the girls you love to hate, their fashion sense being a quality of envy. They are private school’s queen bees of high-end fashion. But, that’s just the thing: they’re only supposed to be juniors in high school. You don’t normally see your classmates bouncing around in high heels they’re prone to slip on while running to math class, but somehow they seem to know how to pull it off perfectly. Or, they just edited out the part where Blair falls from a too shiny pair of high-heeled Mary-Janes.

On ‘90210’, the gals of the most notorious zip code seem to epitomize the style of Los Angeles, becoming walking mannequins of Rodeo Drive with every move they make down the streets of Hollywood. They catch the eyes of every date-worthy man they pass on their way to the nearest Neiman Marcus, waiting to swipe their platinum credit cards to pay for thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. Annie Wilson and Erin Matthews of the hit show own the zip code with their accessories and shoes, but let’s not forget how. These television shows have characters whose outfits are backed up by professional stylists, with designers using the starlets of the show as walking advertisements of their latest designs.
Gossip Girl’ and ‘90210’ are reminiscent of ‘Sex and the City’, led by Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, the very fashion forward and very broke sex columnist with a fetish for Manolo Blahniks and men who can buy them for her. Many viewers have to wonder: how is it possible that a freelance writer for a miniscule newspaper could afford to store hundreds of designer shoes and gowns while keeping a classy apartment in one of New York City’s most posh locations? Everyone wanted to be her, of course, but it was virtually impossible.

As of late, fashion has become an integral part of television, a main player in the appeal of a program, and an important medium between what fashion has to offer and the consumers of the real world. But, no college student is going to walk around school or show up to their afternoon job looking like a model from a Dolce and Gabbana advertisement. Sarah Ozols, a student, says, “Television shows rely on fashion designers and they design solely for the runway. Everything is so extravagant. You would never see people wearing clothes like that walking down the street.” Brianna Dunbar adds, “Runway shows are concerned with making statements rather than making clothes for everyday wear, so the clothes on these shows is about making a statement rather than being practical.”

Fashion on your favorite shows may not be practical, but they can be inspirational. We can aspire to be just as fashionable as the characters we admire and we can emulate certain trends they reveal. Still, if fans of the shows want to really look like their favorite Prada princesses, all they have to do is find their own inventive style. The young women on the shows are portrayed to be fashion forward and innovative with their clothes, no matter how lavish they are. There’s no reason why any other girl can’t be as stylish and creative, whether their clothes come from Henri Bendel, the local mall, or Target.
So, go shop your heart out. You may just find yourself starting a trend around campus-and no one has to know you got it on sale.