Saturday, October 17, 2009

#GLEE: Rachel Berry

"You might laugh because every time I sign my name I put a gold star after it. But it's a metaphor. And metaphors are important. My gold star is a metaphor for me being a star."

Next, I'd like to catalog Rachel Berry's wardrobe. Even though she gets good grades and is the best singer in the state of Ohio (assuming April Rhodes is on Broadway or in Branson), everyone hates her. Rachel is "that girl." You probably knew someone like her in high school, except that the person you knew probably did not have pipes like Rachel's. Her voice, its strength and inflections remind me of the singing female vocals in Disney movies. I kind of fell in love with her when she said with absolute conviction, "And metaphors are important." I never really fully understood the discussions of metaphor in the philosophy of literature, but I feel like they should always commence with Rachel's line above about her gold stars.

Initially, I didn't really pay much attention to Rachel's clothes. They made her look kind of frumpy in the first couple of episodes, perhaps to enhance the "that girl" personality. In the first shot above, she sits with Mr. Schuster (hereafter referred to as "Mr.Shoo"), frustrated with Glee Club's lack of a male vocal who can "keep up" with her. In the second frame, she attends a Celibacy Club meeting to be with Finn. She is disgusted by having to pair up with Jacob for the "Immaculate Affection." ("If the balloon pops, the noise makes the angels cry.") In the third picture, Rachel doesn't get the female lead vocal for "Gold Digger," and her barfy argyle shows why. On the far right, she's about to "kick [Mr. Shoo] in the nads" by telling him that the choreography sucks. Her shirt and skirt are improvements, but her vest is still...meh.

She might be best known for her traditional school-girl look, by which I mean, her plaid. On the left, New Directions sans Finn and Mr. Shoo go to see Mt. Carmel's Vocal Adrenaline rehearse to ask if Dakota Stanley will choreograph for New Directions. She is about to fire Dakota Stanley in the second frame as she realizes that New Directions doesn't need him. The third shot shows Rachel with a huge plaid bow on her shirt as she waits to see what Sue Sylvester is going to do to the Glee Club. The bow is kind of ridiculous, but somehow forgivable. In the final frame, Rachel shows off one of her other skills, storming out, because Mr. Shoo gave the lead vocal to the West Side Story song to Tina instead of to Rachel.

Here is Rachel in horizontal stripes. The pink and yellow striped shirts look like they are variations of the same shirt, but the pink one has many more buttons and is ruched at both the shoulders and the ends of the sleeves. On the far left, Rachel is standing with her famous sugar cookies that spell out "I'm sorry" for Mr. Shoo for insulting his choreography skills. In the yellow stripes, she is waiting to hear who New Directions is up against at sectionals (a school described as "a halfway house for juvie girls" and a school for deaf kids). In the middle, in red and black stripes embellished with gold buttons, Rachel stands in the hallway as she watches Finn console Quinn, as it had just been revealed that Sue Sylvester knows about Quinn's pregnancy. (I think Sue was hurt that she was one of the last to know before Jacob blogged about it. Sue hurt?! In Glee, anything is possible.)

I knew Rachel was going to be blog-worthy when I saw these prints. On the far left, Rachel sings Rihanna's "Take A Bow" in a diamond-print blouse under a navy sweater vest. In the middle, she is getting yelled at by Sandy Ryerson ("YOU SUCK!") and Rachel cries in the bathroom only to have a confrontation with April Rhodes. Some of the stars on her orange shirt clash, in pink! How edgy. On the far right, she has just refused to show her over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders to Jacob, who threatened to write a scathing review on his blog about her musical if she didn't get her "sweater puppies out of their cashmere cage." Puppies aside, her sweater is so adorable!

Here are some other good outfits. On the left, Rachel auditions for the musical with Celine Dion's "Taking Chances" in a blue cotton shirt-dress. It looks like something you could buy at Rugby during the spring for $200. In the next frame, she looks longingly at Finn in an argyle sweater vest over a gingham-check shirt. I love her hair there. In the third shot, she tries to get the girls to take rehearsals seriously for the mashup competition in a magenta vest with a little bit of ruffles over what appears to be the same purple shirt she wore under the sweater vest I called "meh" earlier. In the last frame, she accuses Quinn of being a mole for Sue Sylvester, dressed in a green shirt with more flamboyant ruffles. She wears another cute ruffled shirt with a plaid skirt when she sings "No Air" with Finn; that frame didn't fit neatly into my outfit-photo-series so you can see that shot here.

This outfit deserves its own time in the limelight. Finn and Rachel go bowling to relieve stress, but his intentions seem mixed. He wants to spend more time with Rachel, but the larger goal is to get her to rejoin Glee Club. Otherwise, New Directions won't win regionals and Finn will be less likely to get a music scholarship for college. Rachel picked the best date outfit! No wonder he pushed thoughts of Quinn aside after the kiss and said "I don't know what's gonna happen in the future, I just know that I wanna spend more time with you now." Her sweater looks like a handkerchief was knitted into it. I'm not sure whether to say it looks nautical- or sailor-themed, or that it just looks French in some way. The blue skirt is apparently by Kimchi & Blue, whose overpriced clothes I often see at Urban Outfitters. I also like her socks. I even sacrificed Finn's head to make sure they were in the picture! When I saw this outfit in the episode "Rhodes Not Taken," I knew Rachel Berry was a fashionista in her own right.

Many of Rachel's outfits are simple: a matching top and skirt. But I find matching a skirt and top difficult sometimes. Forever 21 and H&M have millions of simple skirts that can be paired with a variety of tops, but I never trust my judgment and end up abandoning skirts for dresses I can wear rather casually. But I will say that taking over 30 screen caps of Rachel's outfits in every episode influenced my perception of clothes. I went to Forever 21 yesterday and so many outfits spoke to me. They were like, "Look at me, I cost close to nothing and will probably fall apart soon, but Rachel would totally wear me!" or "Look, this sweater vest is kind of frumpy looking , but it's on the path towards the sailor/French date outfit!" I ended up with a dress that I like to tell myself is something that either Rachel or Emma would wear. I'll share pics in another post, as I think about which Glee character's closet to survey next.


Jenny said...

hi! i found your blog post via the glee forum thing. and i had to share this with you about the glee fashion (because i like it a lot too! but i like emma's outfits tho) - its an article from Entertainment Weekly from the Glee fashion designer. So you can hone in on your "Rachel fashionista"ness. Enjoy!


kei said...

Oh wow this article (and related ones) on the costume designer are great! I'm glad we aren't left in the dark about these important matters. Thank you so much!!

gemieee said...

I have the same top (the bowling one) it's from h&m (europe) it is inspired by japanese school uniforms.

spanky said...

I am always eager to see what the costume designers have dredged up for Rachel - her outfits are amazingly tacky. Sometimes I want to run screaming frm the room, but the outfits keep me glued to the TV set.

HannahThompson said...

Thanks for great article it is so nice and init super knowledge. Your post epitomizes everything that is wrong with the feminist movement. The first new thought I had been thanks to the wife of my teacher. Coming to answer the door for me, she would of course grab a scarf to put over her head, and if for some reason the scarf slipped a bit, she would immediately fix it. Now what is it that makes her want to fix this scarf? I think before this moment, somewhere in my head there was a very vague picture of Muslim husbands cruelly forcing unwilling wives to wear this barbarous symbol of their domination. Rather, I think what makes her want to fix the scarf is simply because that's the appropriate and decent thing to do. It's what her mother does, and it's what her grandmother would have done. Thanks for sharing with us.
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Ceylon said...

During the drinking episode where Rachel is wearing a frilly blue dress for her drinking party I exclaimed 'OMG! I cannot believe she is wearing that, who dresses like that?'

My boyfriend replied 'I don't know, she is like you.'

With which I had to admit I had a dress just like it in high school, but I swear mine didn't look that silly... or did it...

I love Rachel's outfits!