“Darlin’, what do you have on?” Resplendent in diamonds, pearls, a beehive, and charming sartorial confusion, Gigi Stopper (Annie Potts) so greets her estranged daughter Amanda (Leslie Bibb) in the pilot episode of the snarky sitcom GCB. Fashion is a girl’s best friend in this television series about feminine wiles and female entrepreneurship.
With numerous lessons for fashion tech entrepreneurs–particularly in the wardrobe choices of our new patron saint, Cricket Caruth-Reilly, played by Miriam Shor–we’ll dedicate a post to each episode throughout the summer. What better time to consider the delicate art of lady power-dressing?
We first meet Cricket scrapbooking in her office–attentive to a phone call with friends, and in full command of her fashion empire. Note the wrap dress and the large gold beads in the necklace here; while Carlene Cockburn (Kristin Chenoweth) brings the bling, Cricket’s power emanates through bold jewelry choices and matte, rather than sparkly, lipstick.
Lesson: Crush it with your beauty, draw confidence from bold accessories instead of bling.
Happy to let Carlene be the ringleader, it is Cricket that delivers the first power backward glance at Amanda and, really, at us. I realize it’s hard to see in this shot, but from left to right, Heather Cruz (Marisol Nichols) is wearing a taupe suit and wool wrap with fringe detail, Cricket is in a matching ice purple suit (long sleeves are always intimidating), and Sharon Peacham (Jennifer Aspen) is wearing a pixelated coat so weird that Carlene is holding her pink purse for her. Carlene has a dress flounce situation on her hands.
Lesson: Tailored power suits in solid colors trump patterns for intimidation. Also, dressing out of season is always alarming.
In this episode, we also see Sharon with a free-floating white maribou. Save this look for your Broadway night at Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Best to have any fluff sewn into the clothing itself, and only attempt this if you are a gay icon (more on that later).
Now, please meet Blake Reilly (Mark Deklin), Cricket’s handsome husband–and about whom, much more later. For now, he manages to pull this off, though he can really do better. Here, he is insisting Cricket wear the blue hat for the promotion photo that brings out her “cornflower-blue eyes.”
Lesson: Attach yourself to someone who
looks like Blake knows what color your eyes are, and has a snappy fashion sense of his/her own.
Other things happen, like the arrival of a Neiman’s personal shopper (squee!), but we’ll skip ahead to a surprise visit by all the women to Amanda’s house. This screenshot of Carlene and Cricket on the couch captures the different clothing and, dare I say, life approaches. Cricket does not wink. She is still wearing those enormous hoop earrings, and she’s added turquoise nuggets around her neck that she could have ripped from the ground. Her demure expression is enchanting.
Lesson: Fancy dress + décolletage + scary bold jewelry choices = winning.
There are other looks in this episode, but we’ll skip to the Longhorn Ball, where she reprises the blue hat, and wears a complicated shirt. Admittedly, I’m not up on Formal Cowgirl dress etiquette, but I think she’s pained about the choker. She knows it’s a bit much with the shirt buttoned that high. The slight shape to the sleeve puffs is nice, though.
Classic Lesson Number 1: Always take one thing off before you leave the house.
Classic Lesson Number 2: Annie Potts is allowed to wear anything. Remember what I said about wearing fluff? God, she is blindingly fabulous.
We do see one final look on Cricket in this episode, and if you must wear black and white, even to church in your frighteningly insular Dallas community, keep it interesting. See what she does here? The dress netting cannot contain her. If it disobeys, she will whip it into shape with her necklace. And what of those around her in the pew? Has Sharon’s husband, Zach (sitting behind her), worn the same tie since prep school? Will Ripp Cockburn (next to her) ever match his tie with his pocket square? Where are their tie tacks? So many questions.
We’ll see you next time with more fashion lessons from GCB. For more on fashion choices and what they mean, head over to my friend Chris Kelly’s wonderful blog, Huxtable Hotness, that inspired this blog series.
This is a guest post from Kristen Taylor, New York-based writer, content strategist, and entrepreneur. She wears vintage, and doesn’t have enough hair for a beehive. Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Featured image via ABC.