Welcome to a new feature on YKYLF – The Roundtable. Here, we gather, rehash, and opine on memorable styles seen on memorable characters. Join us for our first meeting…
The Participants – the YKYLF editorial board (Jen, Amanda, Kate, Lesley-Anne)
The Subject – Gossip Girl’s Serena van der Woodsen, as seen in Season 4
Jen Luby: Hello and welcome! Let’s dive right in with Serena’s “Fashion’s Night Out” dress from The Undergraduates:
Amanda Smith: On the one hand, it’s long, so at least she’s following the rule of exposing only one body part at a time. So, points for that.
Lesley-Anne Steelworthy: It’s a Monet. From far away, I don’t hate it. But the closer I get, the more confused I am. There seems to be some halter action. And a gigantic train. and possibly a slit.
Kate O’Leary: I want to love it but can’t get past the grandma pumps…
AS: True, they’re a little staid for that dress. The shoes, not the breasts.
KO: I also keep wondering about the bra/tape situation. No one’s boobs are that perky in that neckline.
L-A: I think Serena owns stock in the wardrobe tape business. Normal people would be falling out of her outfits.
AS: Well as we’ve all seen by now, Lively’s Blakettes defy gravity.
JL: Speaking of only exposing one body part at a time, she sort of does it here in the ballet gala dress from Juliet Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
AS: And she brought enough macarons to share with the whole class!
KO: I LOVE this dress minus the spiderweb.
AS: I’m with you on the dress from the waist up. It’s a great neckline.
JL: And for the Girl With No Pants, this is an improvement.
AS: Yes, now she’s just the Girl With Strategically Placed Drapery.
KO: I’m curious why she has that drape. What’s she hiding there? Nasty bruises?
JL: She’s hiding SECRETS!
L-A: You could have a secret flask pocket in that drapey bit.
KO: I bet she’s hiding men. She always has some guy waiting around for her…
JL: Well now we know where Carter Baizen went.
L-A: I miss that beltless dude.
JL: How about a palette cleanser. Staffer Bethany called this ensemble from The Kids Stay in the Picture, “a fairy tale ensemble that had me believing again.”
L-A: It’s…dare I say…classy?
AS: Her hair is brushed for a formal occasion.
KO: I applaud the hair.
L-A: I’m pretty sure the slit will be dangerous when she walks, but for Serena, this is tame. Plus, the combed hair.
JL: I’m with you ladies…I absolutely can’t get over the hair.
AS: And she brought something to keep herself warm. You guys, she’s actually acknowledging potential temperature shifts!
KO: Too bad this was for an indoor photoshoot.
JL: Speaking of staying warm, How do we feel about see-through Fair Isle sweaters, as in this one from Damien Darko?
AS: Ah yes. The slutty Fair Isle. Perfect for fishermen and hookers.
L-A: “Oooh! This says sexy and woodsy!”
KO: Come on guys, it’s sheer. What more could you want in a sweater?
L-A: I want to be there for the shopping trip when she picked that one out.
KO: I want to be there when she decided to pair those gaudy earrings with that sweater.
JL: I’d think they would snag the sleeve. one random arm gesture, and bye-bye mesh.
AS: Ok, I’ve just decided we need a web series where Lily comments on Serena’s wardrobe.
L-A: That would be an excellent bonus feature on the DVD. Josh Schwartz needs to call us.
KO: For so many reasons.
JL: Well, the not-a-sweater did cover up the goods, unlike this little number from Easy J:
L-A: Hello boobs!
AS: Sometimes her chest looks like a Barbie doll’s.
KO: Half-dominatrix, half-Blair.
JL: She IS rocking the peplum…
L-A: And a little Dynasty. I want her to throw a bottle of wine and then pull someone’s hair. This dress is made for a Krystal/Alexis style showdown.
KO: WAIT. I just noticed this outfit was pants.
L-A: Pants? what now?
KO: I know.
L-A: She could be a Bond villainess in this number.
AS: A Russian villaness.
KO: And her specialty is smothering people with her chest.
AS: “Well, Mr. Bond. I think you’ll find that I have certain … assets that will take your breath away.”
JL: I have a feeling we could discuss Serena-as-bond-girl all day.
AS: We might need to write this movie.
KO: And have control of the wardrobe department.
AS: I think Eric Daman would do just fine in the wardrobe department for our purposes. If there’s one man who knows how to display her arsenal, it’s Eric Daman.
KO: He can assist.
JL: Moving on. While recapping Touch of Eva, L-A said “From far away, you’re wowed by the colours. You want to run up and tell them that they look good. But when you get close […] you back away and grab a champagne or two and pretend you didn’t see them.”
AS: The Bat signal dress!
L-A: The thing is, if your dress can’t flatter Blake Lively in any way shape or form, you’ve failed. Who made this? I need to speak to them.
KO: That would be J Mendel.
AS: It’s like J Mendel saw Blake Lively as a challenge. Anyone can make Blake Lively look good. The true test of a skilled designer is if they can intentionally make her look terrible.
L-A: So true. Golf claps to J Mendel then.
KO: I’m confused by her hair. Did she get ADD halfway through braiding?
L-A: She forgot she owns a comb or has access to a stylist.
AS: Who needs stylists when you can half-ass a braid?
JL: Let’s stay with Touch of Eva for a moment and examine her strolling outfit from earlier in the episode:
L-A: It’s like…a walk of shame in progress.
KO: This is one of the days she couldn’t find her hairbrush.
AS: Or her dry shampoo.
L-A: Maybe Blair keeps hiding the brush.
JL: My feet HURT just looking at those shoes. Those are not strolling shoes.
L-A: …they’re sitting shoes.
KO: I just noticed that her legs come up to Dan’s navel.
AS: I kind of don’t hate the actual outfit, though that might be my love of sparkly things and stripes talking.
L-A: That skirt is what staffer Anthony and I affectionately call the “vag-wrap”. And by “affectionately” I mean usually with an “oh honey no” moment of horror.
JL: Serena’s been showing a lot of skin, so let’s take a look at a scene from It-Girl Happened One Night where she is way covered up.
AS: Back at home, Lily is wondering where her rug went.
L-A: It’s what happens with a leather bomber/shearling jacket mates with a blanket.
AS: This is like what someone would create if they were unfamiliar with outerwear.
JL: Right? One strong breeze and you’re a parachute.
AS: Maybe she’s just coming back from a Bond Girl mission, and that is her parachute.
KO: Although…being a Chicago girl and dealing with our unruly winters, it looks SO warm.
JL: Looks can be deceiving. I don’t think that’s going to keep you warm while waiting on the L platform on a February morning.
KO: Well, Serena would never wear a full-length North Face 700 coat.
L-A: Not unless you cut out places for her boobs.
JL: A la Regina George?
JL: Ok, we’ve been ragging on S’s hair a lot, but here in Goodbye, Columbia it was perfection…
…as was the back of her ensemble…
…but then we have the front:
L-A: Sigh. I remember that one. I had so much hope.
KO: I adored that hair and makeup. I think she actually took a cue from Lauren Conrad.
AS: Yeah, she looks great with the winged eyeliner.
JL: Everyone looks good with winged eyeliner. Except Amy Winehouse.
L-A: But even LC knows the front of that dress is a mess. The pleats make her boobs look saggy, and we know full well they aren’t.
KO: It’s almost like Lily tried to give her a suggestion on what to wear and S took it the wrong way.
L-A: Are there chains hanging from her dress?
AS: Yes, she repurposed the straps of her old Chanel bags.
JL: Well, what ELSE does one do with an old Chanel bag?
AS: Good point. My grandmother is always showing up to lunch with Chanel chains sewn onto her sweater sets.
JL: Moving on. It’s Amanda’s nightmare from Belles du Jour…
BIG! PINK! PANTS!
AS: I was dreading these. Bottom hiked up like she’s Steve freakin’ Urkle, top sagging like she’s late for the early bird special.
KO: If these were a less offensive color, I think this outfit would be acceptable.
JL: Yes, then we would just mock the top.
L-A: The bag is bigger than most of her skirts.
KO: Yeah…is she going on house calls in this episode?
JL: What could she possibly be carrying around that requires that much storage?
L-A: Small children?
KO: Boob tape?
L-A: Ooh, he was missing for a while…
JL: Let’s end on this look from The Kids Are Not Alright:
KO: Hello, Lily!
AS: This makes me miss first season Serena and her uniforms.
JL: She did have great uniforms.
L-A: Maybe that’s her problem – too many years in uniform. She just doesn’t know how to to dress herself.
KO: That can’t be it. I wore a uniform for 12 years and know perfectly well how to dress. I blame her time at boarding school.
L-A: Maybe! There was a lot of booze and pharmaceuticals. That can’t be good for the part of the brain that knows how to dress appropriately for social situations and weather.
KO: True. As we recall, it was Chuck who convinced her to dress as Lily.
AS: I’d like to think that Chuck styled this outfit himself.
JL: Chuck-as-stylist needs to be another DVD bonus feature.
AS: “Don’t you own anything a little less … like something I’d find on my bedroom floor the morning after?’
KO: Does the necklace have marbles on it?
L-A: Possibly. And some really fancy macrame.
AS: Maybe this is what Serena made for Lily when she was at fancy daycare.
JL: And yet, I don’t hate it. Possibly because I can’t see all of it.
L-A: I was grasping at straws with the necklace. The rest of the outfit is aces.
JL: So basically, we like Serena best when she’s dressed like someone else?
L-A: Pretty much.