We definitely know it’s love between Nate and Vanessa–he’s even willing to go on an unplanned, unorganized jaunt around the Eastern bloc.

I like a Vanessa Abrams who’s dating Nate.  She has definitely tamed her wilder instincts and laid off the overdone costume jewelry.

Very cute navy and green plaid coat.  That looks like something even Blair might be caught dead in.

Embellishment comes to Vanessa as natural as breathing, so it’s hard for her to turn it off completely, but she has learned to tone it down and keep it in a similar palette.

Pre-Nate, she would have worn this super cute blue color-blocked cardigan with some hideous neon screenprinted affair.  Here she pairs it with a charming cream blouse, with just the slightest hint of embellishment on the embroidered neckline.  The necklaces are even simple, and her plain silver earrings the perfect accompaniment.

Vanessa’s cocktail attire is even more accomplished.  She’s soignee ’60s elegance with her tousled curls and vampy patterned dress hid demurely under a simple cream cardigan.

The gold necklace is the perfect final touch–I love the way it gathers at the side.  Elegant with just a touch of what makes Vanessa, Vanessa.  If she kept dressing this way, we’d have to stop making fun of her.

As for Nate himself, he’s his usual Brooks Brothers, blue-wearing self.

There is something to said for consistency and whoever buys his clothes (his mother), knows what suits his personal style.  Also, what looks best after a night–or two–of lying on the floor.

Nate’s older cousin Tripp has come to herd the naughty sleep back to the Van der Bilt flock.  Tripp once imagined himself a heroic Indiana Jones-esque archaelogist, but saw the light when the Grandfather’s political ambitions called.

It’s a choice he’s clearly embraced, as he looks even more Brooks Brothers than Nate.  I have to appreciate the pop of yellow in his otherwise completely blue attire.

Could this differentiation be because of his sweetheart, Maureen?

She clearly appreciates a good citrus shade as much as the next girl.  The fabric of her coat is just retro enough to bring to mind a young Jackie Kennedy, but the orange detailing proves her to be thoroughly modern.

The Grandfather is just as you would picture him:  powerful and traditional.

Love his dark overcoat with the light colored sweater underneath.  A stylish and expensive looking ensemble that he’s about as likely to have put together as Nate is.

Upon further viewing, it’s confirmed that Grandfather never would have selected this gorgeous lilac shawl-collar sweater.

Despite that, it’s a gorgeous speciman, and I love especially love the subtle cabling on the sleeves.  With just a look, it’s obvious from its luxurious weft that it is definitely cashmere.

On the opposite end of the social spectrum, Dan is busy being awkward.

When he’s not dating Serena, his whole character takes on a very unnecessary vibe, which leads to all kinds of uncomfortable shenanigans, like he and Miss Carr in the costume closet.

In this episode, he tags along with Nate and Vanessa to the Van der Bilt compound, and he’s, well, he’s a little superfluous.  Basically he’s there to make uncomfortable cracks about his poor Brooklyn background (come on, his dad is an ex-famous rocker who owns a fairly successful art gallery).  Oh, and someone has to represent the plaid side of things.

It’s not even that this coat is ugly.  It is.  It’s both ugly and old and just plain worn down.  I don’t watch TV to be transported into a reality more realistic than my own.  Eric Daman, please, for the love of God, get Dan a new coat.

The charcoal sweater he’s wearing isn’t really all that bad–if only he wasn’t sporting plaid underneath it.

Does the boy own something that isn’t plaid?

I guess not, since he’s forced to wear plaid under his sport coat to a cocktail party.  Dan, just a hint, when the invite says “cocktail” that means that plaid is not allowed, no matter how friendly you are with the heir of the house.  Especially when the owner of said house tends to arrive via helicopter.