This is one of the few Gossip Girl episodes driven by plot and not by Serena’s two favorite accessories — ridiculous characterization and a dramatic event designed to shock viewers.  Like most of the plot-driven episodes, this one heavily features Blair and her amazing ability to concoct a scheme and manipulate everyone around her.  In this case, it’s not even hard, since between Nate and Vanessa, there’s maybe 3/4 of a brain. Worn-to-the-bone Intern Jenny whines and complains at how bad the dresses Eleanor designs are – not exactly a ground-breaking revelation.  Chuck, still mourning for Blair’s all-too-available heart, seeks comfort from an entourage of international call girls, but discovers a broken heart isn’t only an emotional malady but a physical one too.  And last but not least, Serena tosses her blond mane and tries to pretend that Dan doesn’t know better than to date her again.  Oh wait. . .

 

Blair Waldorf is the Queen–not just of Constance and the Upper East Side, but of plotting like the devil while looking like an angel.


This crisp summery ensemble is cool, literally and figuratively.  The light blue and taupe gauzy wrap skirt paired with the eggshell blouse would be even more angelic without the fussy and silly bow detail in front.  The key, Queen B, is to keep it simple and leave the bow ties for Lord Marcus.


Of course I didn’t mean headbands–this simple taupe style brings out the detailing in her skirt and pairs so well with Blair’s simple low ponytail.  Even she doesn’t have time to mess with her hair in the summer.

For her party benefiting . . .do we ever find out who the Party of the Week is even for?  What the heck, it doesn’t matter.  It’s merely a cobbled together excuse for a bunch of rich people to ogle each other and their thousands of dollars of merchandise.  And for Blair, it’s an opportunity to show off her newest prize, Lord Marcus, and to wear a gorgeous goddess gown that makes every Constance minion want to rip her hair out.

Of course not just anyone could wear a mustard colored dress and get away with it.  Blair Waldorf is one of the lucky few who owns the shade most likely to be a condiment.

Naturally it would be incredibly preesumptious of Blair to wear a tiara to the party, and even she hesitates at proposing to herself, so instead she dons an incredibe beaded headwrap.  The paisley pattern relies on blue and white more than on gold, but it picks up just enough coordinating color from her dress and also offers an outstanding contrast to her dark curls.  Definitely one of the Queen B’s more transcendant wardrobe changes.

 

Her ex, the ever-persistent Chuck, could not agree more.

Unfortunately, he seems to lack a certain . . .je ne sais quoi when it comes to his own fashion chioces this episode.  In fact, you could even make the argument that he’d benefit more from sartorial drano than that of the sexual variety, but this is Chuck Bass, and as such, it’s perfectly acceptable, normal even, for him to spend nearly an entire episode lounging in a navy blue brocade smoking jacket, complete with crimson pocket square.

Even the arrival of such diplomatic emissaries such as this doesn’t provoke Mr. Bass to abandon his clothing of comfort.


What a beautifully-fitting suit.  The blue polka dot scarf tie is a bit much, but then that might give Madame Butterfly and Chuck something to discuss other than his faulty equipment.

 

Finally, Chuck realizes his malaise has nothing to do with who’s getting up on him and more with who isn’t, and goes to Blair’s party with the goal in mind of winning her over.  Temporarily.

There must be too much blood in Chuck Bass’ brain because under no circumstances would Blair ever be swayed by a suit jacket he chopped the sleeves off of.  It’s summer and hot–and while I applaud the commitment to purple and sophisticated details like the ascot and pocket square, it just becomes too much. He should take a load off and take some clothes off.



Also, his hair is awful.



Blair seems to have the most trouble reaching a reasonable middle ground.  Marcus, her current “lover,” is as boring as Chuck is flamboyant.



Dark blue suit.  Olive green tie with muted pattern.  He looks like he just left his office for a quick lunch. Marcus better find some style (and personality) stat or else the Queen B is going to get (even more) bored.



Marcus’ step-mother, the Duchess Beaton, acts and dresses like the quintessential cougar.



She also seems to have an alarming proclivity for plunging necklines and tight form-fitting skirts.  Between Catherine and Eleanor, the market for shiny seems to be pretty much cornered.



This blush colored blouse isn’t so awful, if you ignore the highly reflective sheen.


I even like the delicate gold necklace, but the rest looks overdone and overthought, as if she spent hours in front of a mirror, attempting to decide what Nate would like best.

The erroneous thinking here is assuming that Nate Archibad thinks at all.



Sensing she is losing him, Catherine pulls out all the stops for Blair’s little shindig, even accessorizing with a long gold chain guaranteed to ensure we won’t neglect to notice her cleavage.



Dear Catherine, the role of Upper East Side hot mama has already been filled, much better and much classier, by Lily van der Woodson.  Sincerely, YKYLF

As much as Vanessa postures and complains about Nate’s sugar momma, she has to be grateful for Catherine’s presence, because it’s rare that anybody takes away her worst-dressed of the episode honors.

Surprisingly, Vanessa doesn’t break too many fashion rules this episode.



Of course, she has to pick a busy pattern for her tank, but if you ignore that godawful orange bangle, her simple gold chain is even an example of good accessorizing.



I think it’s telling that every episode where the writers push a potential relationship between Vanessa and Nate, she tends to look nice.  This outfit she wears on the date with Nate is a good example.



I can’t even remember the last time she looked this normal and nice.  The slightly shimmery cream and purple dress is very flattering, jewelry is minimal, and her hair and makeup look amazing.

So amazing, in fact, that we need a closeup.



Under all those tacky bangles and earrings and layered necklaces and nauseating patterns, it’s easy to forget that Jessica Szohr is a very pretty girl.



Vanessa continues this astonishing trend at the party.


This necklace and earring combo is a touch matchy-matchy, but it still can’t drag this dress into typical Vanessa territory.


Hair is perhaps a little lank and uninspired, but overall, not a terrible look for our resident Brooklynite.  You can almost (maybe) see what Nate sees in her.





Speaking of Nate, he continues his love affair with the color blue.  It’s a lot more lasting than his feelings for Blair or Serena or Vanessa or Catherine or Vanessa again. . .but you get my point.



Catherine, you’re not enamored with Ralph Lauren, you’re enamored with the boy inside the Ralph Lauren.



Another blue-shirt, another dim-witted expression.



And it’s officially official:  Nate wears nothing in his episode that isn’t blue.

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