Elementary My Dear Watson: Lucy Liu, Gender Roles, and Power Suits.

I really don’t know shit about fashion. I won’t pretend that I do. I basically live in lounge wear, and though I wish I could step out of my (literal) comfort zone, I feel intimated and overwhelmed whenever I consider trying (but nonetheless, I am trying. I bought a necklace at the thrift store the other day, which, if you knew me at all, you’d know what a big deal that was!), but that doesn’t stop me from scanning through Instagram appreciating other people’s fashion sense. The same goes for Television.

We know I watch a lot of TV, and expert or not, there’s plenty to both love and loathe when it comes to television wardrobes. I (mostly) enjoyed watching Sex and the City, but oh goodness, I feel like I was the only one to hate Carrie Bradshaw’s outfits!! Who walks around in a tutu?! On my past blog, I wrote an ode to the fashion of Frasier character Daphne Moon, and recently on this blog, I wrote about Roz Doyle. All of these characters, presented a more or less typical femininity when it comes to what we expect from television. Different styles, yes, but these characters all portray strong females.

Wardrobes are a very mindful choice. They’re put together to give a certain vibe for a character, or to reflect different emotions. Sometimes wardrobe is used to reflect or foreshadow (for example, how Meredith Grey wears Derek’s ferry boat scrub cap following his death). The idea that we shouldn’t judge others on their appearance goes totally out the window when it comes to TV because we not only can’t help it, but we have to. Television has to portray to us an entire world, and unlike a book, there aren’t unlimited pages for character development and background stories. How a character dresses can help to tell us more about them.

I’ve always adored Lucy Liu’s wardrobe as Joan Watson on Elementary. From the very beginning it has been perfection. She pretty much lives in clothing that goes beyond my comfort zone, but which is still absolutely my style if I didn’t have said comfort zone. Even when an ensemble might have been a bit out there, it worked. Watson is strong and confident enough that she could likely make anything work. As the show has progressed, we have seen an evolution in her clothing choices. As Joan has gone from sober companion, to Sherlock’s partner and fellow consulting detective, she has largely dropped the more flowy, distinctly feminine outfits in favor of suits that many might consider more masculine. Yet, that’s just the thing: I’d argue that in the suits Watson has been opting for in past seasons, as well as this current one, she’s even more feminine, because through wardrobe choices, she is challenging the idea of what is femininity. 

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Get the Look: TV Style – Roz Doyle, Frasier

When I was blogging on my old blog, I started a series on TV style. I actually only wrote one post for the series, but I had the best of intentions of continuing it further. Well, I’ve moved on, but I want to carry that series over to this blog because it’s still a topic I feel like exploring. It’s in no way earth shattering to talk about the fashion of various television characters, but I feel like so many of the sites out there that look at the topic are neglecting older programs. Fashion, like everything, always comes back around so what was on trend years ago, has or will return again. In my first post on this topic, I focused on Daphne Moon from Frasier. I loved her cozy 90s vibe that was heavy on florals. Today though, I want to side step and talk about another character from the show: Roz Doyle.

Roz Doyle was such a dynamic character. She was strong and independent, while also displaying her flaws and vulnerability. Roz exhibited confidence and held her own in her profession which was dominated by men. She was unapologetic for how she lived her life – whether others approved or not. I think that Roz is frequently an overlooked and underappreciated character when there is discussion of feminism as represented through television. Roz Doyle definitely fits the bill in my book. Technically, I suppose that she is a supporting character, but Roz is by no means an accessory. I don’t know if the wardrobe for Peri Gilpin’s character was all that purposeful or not, but I feel like it sends a message either way. Her outfits frequently present a confident independent career woman with glimmers of sexuality. She’s not your damsel. All hail Rozalinda!

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The Surface Breaks: A Re-imagining of The Little Mermaid by Louise O’Neill REVIEW

I’ve always been a fan of The Little Mermaid. It was my favorite Disney tale growing up. Even when I was young though, there were details, and themes within the story that I took issue with or criticized, even if only in my mind. When I first heard about The Surface Breaks (thank you Bookstagram!), which is a re-imagining of The Little Mermaid, I was instantly intrigued and knew that I had to get my hands on this book by Louise O’Neill. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the simplest of tasks being that the book has only been released in the UK so far (can someone explain to me how this all works??), but eventually I got myself a copy and all was right (or at least better) with the world.

The book seeks to tell a different story based on the original story written by Hans Christian Andersen, challenging the themes that both Andersen and Disney wove into their versions of the story. The idea is to tell the story of The Little Mermaid through a more feminist lens. I would say that O’Neill certainly succeeded in this endeavor.

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