Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fashion Inspired By Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

How was everyone's Thanksgiving break? Apart from some brief family drama and an unfortunate case of bug bites, my Turkey Day was largely uneventful (and included no turkey, considering I've been a vegetarian for five years). I spent the holiday in Arkansas with my dad and Ryan, eating sides like mashed potatoes and scalloped corn and trying to stay away from my crazier relatives. Overall, the break was relaxing, enjoyable, and just what I needed before finals. I hope yours was the same!

One of the more exciting parts of my break occurred not on Thanksgiving, but on the day after Thanksgiving: a six-hour Netflix binge-watch. That's right, I'm talking about the Gilmore Girls revival!

If you're anything like me, you're probably still reeling in the aftermath of those final four words (which I solemnly swear I will NOT reveal here). If you're not a fan or just haven't watched the show, you're probably groaning right now and wondering when the fandom will finally shut up. Both responses are completely acceptable.

However, as much as I'd love to gush about the plot of the show, this isn't a TV blog. Thankfully, the revival offered me just as much fodder as a fashion and beauty blogger as it did for me as a longtime Gilmore fan.

Lorelei in flannel! Emily in jeans! Jess with facial hair! There were so many style moments during the revival that I think will go down in Gilmore Girls history as truly iconic. I could write an entire post on Rory Gilmore's work wardrobe alone.

Honestly, I would probably have to re-watch the entire six-hour series and give you my running commentary to fully do the costume, hair, and makeup pros the justice they deserve. But looking back, a few style and beauty moments in each episode stood out to me as truly inspiring. I'll walk you through them here.

But before I jump into my analysis, I'd like to give you full disclosure: if you have not seen the series yet and you do not want me to spoil it for you, do not read this post! As I mentioned before, I promised I would not blab the final four words of the finale. However, specific details from each of the episodes will be revealed, including some other major plots spoilers, and I don't want to be responsible for ruining your Gilmore Girls binge.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk style.



When we first meet Lorelei and Rory again after their nine-year absence from television, it's winter in Stars Hollow. Though I'm sure there were plenty of other looks that deserved mention, this introductory moment saw the advent of some amazing peacoats, which subsequently became all I could think about when I decided to write this post. So, I've singled out both Lorelei and Rory's opening outfits, if only for their amazing outerwear. 

First, an homage to Lorelai's pink coat. Supposedly, the original pink coat first appeared in the original Gilmore Girls series, but when the costume designer couldn't find the original, they bought the one we saw in Winter. 

Personally, this pink coat might have been my favorite standalone costume piece of the entire series; it was both memorable and stylish, and suited Lorelei's bubbly, snow-loving personality to a T. 

However, as I mentioned before, I also fell swiftly in love with Rory's work wardrobe, including her similar tan peacoat. First of all, I think it's adorable that they did a little bit of mother-daughter matching here. Both Lorelei and Rory wore coats with a similar silhouette; however, Rory's coat was a bit more austere than fun-loving Lorelei's, so I thought it was clever that they used this costume moment to highlight the similarities and differences between the duo.

I loved that Rory felt a little Audrey Hepburn during this scene. The navy blue dress she wore beneath that tan peacoat especially draws this comparison for its classic lines and high neckline. To me, this outfit signifies right off the bat that the Rory Gilmore we all knew and loved has grown up and become a fully-fledged woman.

When it comes to beauty, this initial scene introduced a trend that carried throughout the entire miniseries: rosy cheeks. So. Much. Blush. Went into the making of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life - at least, as far as I could tell from my binge (and subsequent stalking - I mean research - on Google Images).

The girls championed a natural look throughout most of the series, but there were some touches of color that helped amp up their beauty. Blush was one of those things that I thought truly helped the girls' natural beauty shine through. Subtle lip color was another.

In this first scene, I especially loved Rory's subtly berry lip. Her lip color in this scene was one of those "My Lips, But Better" shades that gave off a beautiful, just-bitten effect. Lorelei wore a similar shade - both of which screamed tinted lip balm rather than straight-up lipstick - but hers was a rosier, more age-appropriate hue.

Honestly, I was a bigger fan of Rory's slightly more noticeable berry lip color, if only because it grew up her character even more and flattered her skin tone. Lorelei's lip color was maybe a little too natural for camera, in my humble opinion, as it gave off the impression that she wore nothing at all on her lips.

However, in her favor, Lorelei's skin looked incredible during this scene and throughout the entire revival. Rory's did, too! Both girls looked like they hadn't aged a lick in the past nine years, which just made me think "Whatever cream or foundation they're using, I want it, too."

Finally, Rory's eyes were amped up with a lot of black liner during this scene. Rather than favoring the cat eye that's been so popular in recent years, the makeup team lined her whole eye, which was a cool sixties-style throwback and really helped them pop on-screen. Needless to say, I was a fan.

Overall, there was nothing I disliked about this scene's looks. The first scene of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life established a lofty precedent for what fans could expect from the style and beauty evolution of Lorelei and Rory over the past nine years. As we move forward to talk about the other three episodes, I think you'll see that our fave girls will continue to live up to that high standard.



I'll just go ahead and say it now, because I don't think I can hold it in any longer: PARIS GELLER'S PINK BLAZER. 

There. I said it. Paris' blazer in the Spring episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life might just be my favorite fashion look from the entire show, or from any show, ever. Clearly, Liza Weil brought back some of her boss woman sensibility from How to Get Away With Murder and lent it to the costume department on set.

That being said, the rest of Paris' outfit during this episode was just as amazing as anyone could have hoped for. Her black stilettos were so sharp they could kill a man, and I cracked up during that bit with the briefcase. And don't even get me started on that haircut.

I'm sorry, Rory, but though I do want to highlight one of your looks, too, I think Paris wins the beauty prize as well. Specifically, Paris' contour was on point. I'm not sure if she just has naturally high cheekbones, but there seemed to be a subtle bronzed effect in her makeup look that gave me serious face envy.

Additionally, Paris' nude lipstick echoed that natural, "My Lips But Better" theme running throughout the entire series. When it comes to lip color, the makeup artists of Gilmore Girls know how to enhance an actress' natural features. So, if you're looking for bolder lip inspiration, this might not be the show for you - but if you love a good nude lip, then binge-watch away.

Overall, though, Paris...congratulations on blossoming. Your lovably aggressive personality might not have changed much in the past nine years, but you've certainly gotten a handle on that beauty and fashion thing.

My second favorite look was Rory's navy blue dress and cardigan combo from the Gilmore girls' trip to NYC (you know, the Wookee-humping outfit). Mainly, I loved this outfit because it was one of the only times that Rory mixed up her hair game, opting for a high ballerina bun instead of her typical wavy lob. But I also enjoyed the fact that I continued to get that Audrey Hepburn vibe off of her, an old-school Parisian look translated into Rory's modern everyday life.

The outfit was complete with Rory's delicate gold earrings. I genuinely appreciated this final touch, because you could really tell that the costume designers thought through her choices down to the tiniest details.

As a whole, Rory's NYC outfit was another great visual communication of the Gilmore girls' personalities. The fact that Rory was so dressed up just to go about her daily job as a journalist demonstrated how much she cared about getting that job with Conde Nast, and made me feel even more sorry when she didn't achieve her goal. Additionally, the fact that she had looked so pretty and polished before emphasized how mussed-up she was after that whole one-night stand fiasco, helping the audience understand just how unsettled Rory's life has become.

When it came to Rory's beauty look for this scene, I loved the natural eyeshadow palette that reappeared throughout all four episodes. In those six hours, I saw more shades of taupe than I ever knew existed - but I was totally into it. Clearly, the revival changed my life in more ways than I expected!

But what stood out most to me about Rory's beauty look in NYC was actually her highlight. I loved her illuminated cheekbones almost as much as I adored Paris' contour.

Though the Gilmore Girls' costume designer claims that they try to keep trends from affecting Stars Hollow, I saw the subtle infiltration of the highlighting and contouring phenomenons into the world of Gilmore Girls. While I appreciate that the Gilmores aren't treated like fashion plates, I also liked seeing some of these modern-day trends incorporated into the show. Since Amy Sherman-Palladino pays so much attention to pop culture, it feels only fair that beauty and style get their fair share of trend-watching as well.

The Spring episode was definitely a high point when it came to the cast's looks, but I hesitate to single out this chapter as my favorite, if only because of what comes next!



As much as I loved Spring (PARIS GELLER'S PINK BLAZER, Y'ALL), Summer was host to some of my favorite style and beauty looks from the entire revival. 

I was particularly excited for this episode because one of my favorite O.G. Gilmore Girls characters finally returned. Looking at the set I designed, it shouldn't be difficult to single out who that might be, but for those of you who haven't guessed it on your own, I'll just come out and admit it: I'm #TeamJess all the way - and dare I add that with the way things left off at the end of the series, I think our odds are looking pretty darn good! 

But we can talk about that later, once I finish gushing over just how much I loved Rory's pool outfit. 

First of all, I have a couple of questions I'd love to ask Rory - namely, how did she and her mother convince two elementary school boys to hold their umbrellas and follow them around with their beach bags? But more importantly, where did she get that silk vest? I looked so hard for a silk vest similar to the one she wore in the revival and couldn't find anything with the same tie dye print. Kudos to her closet for being truly one-of-a-kind!

I love that Rory embraced the seventies vibe in this episode with a cute, casual peasant top, colorful shorts, and headband. To me, this outfit signified a more childlike, playful vibe. Maybe all these bright, Crayola colors were meant to show audiences how small and young Rory felt after moving back into her childhood home. 

However, my downright favorite part of this outfit - or any outfit (besides maybe that gosh-darn blazer) of the revival - was the lace parasol that both Rory and her mother carried around. On some level, the parasols elevated these outfits to so silly and absurd that Gilmore fans began to speculate that the girls were wearing costumes after first seeing these stills. But on another, Lorelei and Rory fell right into line with the vintage 70s vibe that's permeated the fashion world since our real-life summer, and I simply cannot get enough.

In the world of beauty, Rory continued to channel a vintage vibe with her doll-like sixties eye look, complete with jet black liner and amped-up eyelashes. I wouldn't go so far to say that Rory was definitely wearing falsies, but most of us just aren't blessed with so much lash that we can simply throw on some mascara and suddenly walk around looking like that. Topped off with Rory's signature berry lip, the look was eye-opening, to say the least - to make a pun that Lorelei would be proud of (and that Luke would probably groan at).

And now that we've discussed Rory's breezy 70s glamour, let us turn our attention to my personal favorite character, Jess Mariano.

As soon as I decided to include men's fashion in this post, I thought of Jess - not only because he's my favorite character, but also because I think he's gone through the most dramatic style transformation of any of the Gilmore guys.

When we last saw Jess, he was only a slightly more grown-up version of the punky teenager who first wooed Rory. Now, I think it's safe to say that our boy Jess has grown into a fully-fledged adult - and man, did I love it. Milo Ventimiglia has aged like a fine wine, if I do say so myself.

With age, Jess seems to have developed a little more personal style. Now that he works at a publishing house, he's elevated himself to wearing short-sleeved collared shirts that give off a definite hipster vibe - though I have to admit, I fell in love with the navy blue jacket he wore while eating at the diner with Luke. It was the perfect touch of old, bad boy Jess that all of the longtime Gilmore Girls fans were waiting for.

The best part of Jess/Milo's transformation, however - hands-down - was the hair/beard combo he had going on. I felt like the shoulder-length locks and the facial hair were exactly what I would have imagined his character looking like nine years after we last saw him.

While Jess grew up, Rory might have regressed just a bit back to her childlike roots - but that doesn't mean that her fashion choices were any less satisfying. Between Jess' mature, yet still bad-boyish charm, and Rory's playful, colorful pool-going ensemble, Summer offered some of the most daring fashion looks of the revival.



Fall offered a simultaneously satisfying and dissatisfying conclusion to this four-part revival series. As much as I'd love to spend these next few paragraphs spewing up fan theories about the last four words, I promised I wouldn't reveal them, so I'll try to get through this fashion review with as few spoilers as possible.

During the end of the Spring episode, Lorelei made a decision that many have credited as the "least Lorelei-like decision" Lorelei Gilmore has ever made: to go hiking along the 2,000-mile trail in California that inspired the book (not movie) Wild. But as much as the words "Lorelei Gilmore" and "nature" clash, this decision brought me one of my favorite fashion looks of the revival.

I loved the flannel and puffer vests Lorelei wore on her hiking trip - though they have been controversial to some. After seeing promo pictures of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a lot of fans remarked that Lorelei had suddenly begun dressing like Luke and seemed to be in shock about it. 

However, I personally loved the mountain girl look on Lauren Graham; I thought she wore it naturally. And who knows? Perhaps the costume designer intended for us to draw comparisons to Luke, so that we would feel reassured that it wasn't over between them. I don't know about you, but I knew the whole time how this series would end - and let me tell you, I wasn't dissatisfied in the least.

We'll get to talking about the juicier parts of the finale in a little bit, but first I'd like to remark yet again on the liberal (and excellent) use of blush on the Gilmore gals during this series. I thought the peachy-pink color Lorelei wore on her cheekbones throughout much of Fall gave her a lovely, flushed glow. Considering that I don't think anyone would expect Lorelei to come out as a makeup fanatic, the natural look suited her personality as well as her inherent beauty. 

As for that whopper of an ending, I fell in love with Lorelei's wedding dress. This look was a strong contender for my favorite look overall, right up there with that pink blazer from Spring.

It took me awhile to notice that Lorelei's dress was not, in fact, one piece, but actually a dress and cardigan combo, a clever move on the part of the costume design team. I'm not sure which separate I loved more: the classic, Peter Pan-collared shift, or the sheer lacy three-quarter sleeved sweater. Together, however, they created a dress that was as simple as it was elegant.

I also think it's worth mentioning that the dark colors they chose for Lorelei's wedding look were the polar opposite of what one might expect from a wedding dress. But considering the nontraditional path that Luke and Lorelei took to get to this point in their relationship, Lorelei's fashion choice for this special occasion makes a lot of sense.

Lorelei wasn't meant to be a blushing bride, or to have a big white wedding; it's not what either her or her fiance would have wanted. They got married quietly, in an understated civil ceremony - and Lorelei's understated, yet glamorous dress perfectly fit the occasion.

The taupe eyeshadow made a comeback for Lorelei's wedding scene, as did the bouncy curls that both Lorelei and Rory wore throughout much of the revival. However, as is appropriate for a wedding, Lorelei's curls looked a bit more prim and proper - a bit more finished, if you will - than they would have on any ordinary day.

Overall, Lorelei's beauty look didn't exactly shatter our expectations for the character. If we are to assume that Lorelei's no-makeup makeup look is her everyday average, then this slightly enhanced version suits her wedding night perfectly.

One of the best parts of Lorelei's character, I would argue, is reflected in her wedding night look: she isn't at all unrealistic. Watching Lorelei Gilmore on a screen feels like watching someone you know in real life. We wouldn't want that character to be rocking overstated sequin gowns or a deep mauve lip in her everyday life; we just want her to feel familiar, a character who can break the fourth wall and permeate our hearts off-screen as well as on. That's what I think Lorelei's subtle makeup and style looks accomplish, and even as a fashion and beauty blogger, I wouldn't have it any other way.

As long as we ignore the final four words, I think each character of Gilmore Girls got the happy ending they deserved, both plot-wise and style-wise. All of the characters grew up in their own special way. Paris became a businesswoman. Jess settled down (somewhat). Rory found some direction (I repeat: some), and Luke and Lorelei got married.

When it comes to the fateful conclusion, only time will tell what the final four words mean for our beloved cast. But one thing feels certain to me: they aren't really "final" in any way. For all we know, I could be sitting here again in 2025 - another nine years later - writing another review of another revival's fashion and beauty trends.

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