It’s the event every high school student dreads (even those privileged enough to attend Constance Billard and St. Jude’s) – the SATs.  Blair, more desperate to be admitted to Yale than she was for Nate’s attention, uses the Mean Girls to neutralize the triple-threat that is Nelly Yuki.  Jenny decides to try a different angle to regain the Constance crown, despite Rufus’ insistence she stay locked up in Brooklyn.  Meanwhile, Georgina’s arrival brings a surprise for Dan—the re-emergence of “old Serena,” who’s more picking up men in bars than studying vocab.  But the most shocking event at all?  The new man who’s seemingly interested in Vanessa.


Unsurprisingly, we continue the Dan Humphrey World Tour of Boring Flannel Shirts.

Is my favorite this enthralling maroon and puke brown number?

Or perhaps the shirt below that so gracefully incorporates several enthralling shades of gray?


The only time Dan leaves behind the comfortable environs of plaid is when he goes to take the SAT.  For that auspicious occasion, he selects his two favorite colors.

Brown and gray!  Admittedly the coat, with its military styling and epaulets, is one of Dan’s better sartorial choices.  The color scheme he’s sporting?  Not so much.


Serena prepares for the SATs like any New York It-Girl worth her salt does—at the last minute, with a ton of coffee and a cute outfit.

Oh, and don’t forget the ostentatious costume jewelry.  I can only assume Serena’s using that huge pendant to marshal as much good ju-ju as she can for the test.

Honestly I don’t know anyone who really lounges around the house wearing this much jewelry.

Oh wait—Vanessa does.  Again, not the best character to be compared to.


The next day at school, Serena’s her usual perky self, with no evidence of late night SAT stress.

How many short plaid skirts does Serena own?  We never see Blair in one, or any of the other Mean Girls for that matter, so we can’t assume it’s a uniform requirement.  That means Serena chooses to wear the short plaid skirts, and really, are we even surprised?

Serena’s tie is the same plaid as her skirt, and the navy blue t-shirt nearly blends in as well.  The only items of interest are her brown leather trench and her studded purse.

As for the coat, I can’t say I’m a fan of the cognac leather or the styling.  It looks like Serena borrowed it from Lily’s wardrobe when she was a rock star groupie in the ‘70s.  The purse, however, is a masterpiece of studs and gold detailing on a neutral leather backdrop.


Later that night, we see a side of Serena that we (and Dan) haven’t seen before—it’s the Serena look on steroids:

Tousled blond hair, too much lip gloss, and a minimalist clingy black tank draped in Chanel jewelry.

Don’t forget the skintight black leather pants and matching boots, and Serena’s favorite accessory for a night on the town: Svetlana, AKA Georgina Sparks.


But of course, after a hard night on the town, Serena likes to go for something basic and reminiscent of the angelic half of her personality:

This cream coat with the military detailing is to die for, and it looks stunning on Serena, perfectly accenting her soft blond waves.  Despite the short plaid skirt she clearly favors, S covers up her long limbs with opaque black tights and a pair of black boots that say gardening rather than dominatrix.


Here Serena brings back the wondrous studded leather satchel, and pairs it with a soft gray jacket, white blouse and a few silver and green layered necklaces.  The look is put together but not overly fussy—one of the few times out of her “uniform” that Serena actually manages to pull this off.


Unfortunately she decides to ditch the gray jacket, which is both classy and flattering, and change into this brown and black cardigan that well . . .isn’t.


Finally, fed up with Georgina’s antics and ready to confront her once and for all, Serena decides it’s time for the Sequins of Power.

Adding a long white scarf she can theoretically use to strangle her frenemy if necessary.


Speaking of the frenemy herself, Georgina Sparks makes her Gossip Girl debut in this episode, shaking up the UES for the first, but certainly not the last, time.

The outfit she wears on her entrance is so typically Georgina—though of course we didn’t know that at the time—chic separates with a heavy dose of rocker girl attitude.

Love the gray tunic, cropped leather jacket and fitted black jeans paired with the royal blue scarf, layered necklaces and the big leather bag.  The royal blue and black checked scarf provides just the right pop of color, pulling this from bland into balanced.


Out with Serena later that night, the balance just isn’t there.

The studded black mini provides some interest but that too-loose gray tee doesn’t work with it, and I don’t like Georgina’s very opaque, almost thick-looking black tights either.

Her pen necklace is weirdly incongruous with her characterization as a party girl…maybe she’s rocking the Joan/Mad Men trend? The blue of her hoop earrings serve not as a counter-balance to the neutrals of her outfit, but more as a distraction.  I’ll give her a break on the ponytail. It’s is a nice touch and flatters her face.


Is it surprising that Georgina Sparks’ lingerie resembles something a vampiric goddess would own?  Absolutely not.


Though cut from similar cloth as her earlier ensembles, this dinner outfit of Georgina’s is the least flattering of all.

The back pleather pants definitely give her an edge, but that ugly dark blue sleeveless tunic is truly unfortunate and makes her look a lot chunkier than she is.  Plus she needs to lay off the jewelry layering—she’s also beginning to resemble a certain jewelry aficionado from Brooklyn.

Even the shoes are just plain ugly—I really dislike the heavy gladiator styling with the tiny pick stiletto heels.  The combination just doesn’t work together, much the way this outfit doesn’t.


Lastly, Georgina, down but not certainly defeated, reinvents herself for a Blair-like scheme.  And her wardrobe drastically changes.

She looks so innocent and sweet!  The gray corduroy jacket is paired with a simple pair of jeans and an eye-catching skinny lace scarf.  Even her makeup is noticeably lighter and sweeter compared to the seriously smoky eyes she was sporting before.


In this episode, we’re not only supposed to believe that Serena literally is drawn to men and booze like a moth to a flame, but that Nate has already taken his SAT.

I’m sorry.  Nate doesn’t even know what the SAT is.

See, my point exactly.


Nate can be a baby blue t-shirt wearing soccer stud, but he’s just not a brainiac who preps for the SAT, and I have the proof right here.

He is literally wearing two shirts, and before you scream “layering!” at me, here’s the scenario:

After an especially potent bong hit, Nate gets dressed, except that he forgets he’s already wearing his pajamas, and whoops, puts another shirt on.  There is literally no other cogent explanation, because he is smiling away at Vanessa (blech), acting like the world is perfectly alright.  But Nate—it’s not.  Take off the Gap pajamas with contrasting piped placket.


However it turns out that when properly motivated, Nate is able to dress himself!  Of course, he can’t be bothered to stray from the color blue, but none of these separates are pajama-related, so I’m inclined to be less harsh.

The navy double-breasted peacoat is honestly gorgeous on him, as is the shawl collar sweater.  It would be even better if they were different shades of blue, but again, I’ll take what I can get from our resident stoner.


It takes to the end of the episode before it appears the dear boy can even put one foot in front of the other.

How many blue peacoats does the dear boy own?  One for every day of the week?  One for every girl he manages to charm?  I’ll admit, if he turned up like this, I might be willing to be one of the many.  Love the contrasting light blue button-up paired with the tailored blue striped sweater and the perfectly-fitted jeans.  Overall, a great look for Nate.  So great in fact, that you have to wonder if his mother or Chuck helped him put it together.


And who is the wonder woman who convinced Nate to wear items of clothing that aren’t navy?

You may not believe it.

Actually as Vanessa’s outfits go, this is one of her better moments.  I really like the blouse with its delicate floral pattern, and her hair and understated makeup compliments the simplicity.

Jeans and a pair of bangles and a ring (What?  You expected she was going to leave the jewelry off?) complete the look.

When Vanessa chooses the simplistic route, she’s always better off.  The question is why she refuses to stick to this most of the time.


Instead, she goes outside in hot messes like the one below:

Just . . .no.  I never liked the legging and jean skirt trend even when it was at its height, and though I guess I can admit she doesn’t look terrible in it, it’s still seriously ugly.  Paired with that oversized purple tunic, gray and black checked sweatshirt and the black leather jacket, it’s a whole load of fail.

And how could I forget the ubiquitous gold hooker hoops she insists on wearing with every outfit?  The only time you do this is when they’re diamond studs and worth more than a house.  I think Vanessa bought hers for fifty cents from a garage sale.


Just when you think this couldn’t possibly get worse, you get the full length view.

Yes, those are pink patent leather Doc Marten boots. We will never discuss this again.


After all that, you really are thinking, “wow, Vanessa can’t possibly bring more pain to this episode.”  You’d be wrong.

For her “date” with Nate, she changes into this tunic, which is a cross between my grandmother’s tablecloth and the color of pus.  Not good.  We also learn why Vanessa wears her hair up so often—because it looks hideous down like that.  An Archibald asked you out!  Try a little harder!

Again, the full view leaves me speechless and nearly nauseated.  Those pewter shiny leggings look straight off an 80’s ski model, and as for the black booties, the best thing I can is that they might have looked better with another outfit.  With this one, they are mired in a desolation so thick they get caught up in the rest of the ugly.


If not for Chuck, I might despair completely, but as usual, he manages to save the entire episode from sliding off the sartorial scale.

Do we know any other man that would be caught dead in a bright (neon) orange trench?

Mais non, and that’s because it takes a certain je ne sais quoi to pull off this look, and that diabolical glare Chuck is sporting is it.  He’s telling whoever just insulted his coat that he’s Chuck Bass, damnit.


Just as Nate owns as many blue pea coats as there are days in a week, Chuck seems to don a new Technicolor dreamcoat each morning.

Love the bright red with the contrasting black collar.  And of course, Chuck pops the shit out of that.

Only a man excessively comfortable with the nuances of style could pull this off without looking literally like a pimp.  Oh wait.  He still does, but we forgive him because without his inherent pimpness, he wouldn’t be Chuck Bass.


When I lounge around the house, I tend to favor a ratty pair of shamrock boxers and a wifebeater.  Chuck, of course, couldn’t be that plebian.

Yes, boys and girls, Chuck Bass even coordinates his socks with his pullovers when relaxing on the couch watching TV.


Of course, we’re waist deep in the middle of Chuck’s dapper phase (okay, his even more dapper phase—the fish cardigan anyone?), so naturally matching socks aren’t nearly as far as Chuck goes.

Purple cardigan with coordinating pastel striped shirt?

Child, please.  This is Chuck Bass.