Fashion was a big part of “Gossip Girl” the first time around, and we can’t help but notice how different it is on the new reboot.
Gossip Girl is known for its fashion. The costume designer Eric Daman, who is also doing the costumes for the reboot, saw to that. Whether it was Blair’s headbands and Roger Vivier heels or references to Barneys, fashion was always a part of the backdrop of the show no matter what plot twist was currently unfolding. It’s part of what added to the show’s allure. Watching it was like escaping into a world of outlandish designer outfits and, of course, backstabbing teenagers. Was it over the top? Absolutely. But that’s part of what made it so great.
The fashion choices on the original Gossip Girl made a big impact. And it wasn’t just that pieces would sell out after appearing on the show or even that it opened the door to more designer clothing being featured on TV after Gossip Girl showed how profitable that could be. To this day, there’s a niche online community of people who spend lots of time finding pieces from the original Gossip Girl and selling them on platforms like Poshmark or Ebay (and for much more than they would have sold for without the Gossip Girl label attached).
With the focus on fashion being so strong in the original Gossip Girl it’s only natural to compare the clothing on the reboot (now that the first episode has officially come out on HBO Max) to the iconic ensembles of the original.
The Downfall of the Headband
Where right from the get-go Blair was almost never without her headband, somehow effortlessly pulling off the most over the top ones out there, the new show wastes no time with dissing the accessory, doing it the first time Zoya’s character is introduced to the group. “She’s wearing a headband” is uttered with disgust by Monet before Julien puts it around her neck instead. Apparently, in 2021 headbands are out. Or maybe it’s just that Blair was the only one who could ever really pull them off?
The Rise of Sneakers
Blair Waldorf once gave a girl a death glare over some Tory Burch flats that were bought on sale. I can only imagine how she would feel about all the sneakers being worn on the show’s reboot. But times have changed, and the characters of the new Gossip Girl proudly rock sneakers that I couldn’t see any of the original characters in. (Except for Vanessa. But the whole point of her character was that she was an outsider to the Upper East Side world anyway, so she doesn’t really count.)
The outfits from the reboot often look a lot like something you could see a popular influencer turning into a trend on TikTok. The designer handbags are still there, only this time they’re being worn with hoodies, letterman jackets, and biker shorts instead of the prim and preppy takes on uniforms seen in the original. I’d be lying if I said the change wasn’t at least a little disappointing.
While the reboot has been making clear references to the show (hello to the direct mentions of Blair, Serena, and Nate), it also seems to be trying to set itself apart. But that’s all to be expected since the HBO Max series has been open about how it wants the show to feel different from the original. They’ve cast out Blair and her headband in exchange for characters wearing sneakers and wrestling with their privilege.
The New Blair?
Admittedly, it’s a little hard to tell which character is set to most resemble Blair Waldorf after seeing just the first episode, but if I had to take a guess it would be Audrey. After all, her name even feels like a tie in to Blair’s love of Audrey Hepburn. Combine the name with all the bow details in her outfit and generally more done up and feminine looks, and she bears the most resemblance to Blair. Maybe bows will be her headband? Only time will tell. (But she even had bows on her flats, so I think I’m onto something here.)
It doesn’t feel like any of the characters on the new show are going to live up to the original. And if you ask the critics (read “Stunning Failure” per USA Today) they won’t.
That’s always the way with sequels though, isn't it? But if anyone is going to come close, my money is on Audrey.
The New Gossip Girl Reboot Lacks Color
All in all, so far the reboot has felt underwhelming. The bright colors and outlandish fashion choices of the original have been traded in for outfits that feel like something you’d see an Instagram influencer who lives in New York City wearing. So granted, it’s accurate at least, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing.
The show (at least so far) has fallen down on its ability to transport you to another world the way the original did so effortlessly. And part of that comes down to what the characters are wearing. It’s hard to feel like you’re in a whole other world when the characters are wearing versions of the latest 2021 trends when before they were often setting them. (I refer you to Blair’s headbands.)
The new show feels like it’s missing color, both in the clothes and the plot. The original Gossip Girl was so full of life and the new one feels like a hollow shell of what came before it.
It’s been said that the original Gossip Girl wasn’t an accurate picture of how girls from the Upper East Side really dressed at the time the show was made. Now I’ve never been to New York, much less been intimately acquainted with how girls who live on the Upper East Side dressed in the 2000s, but whether or not that’s the case I think that’s sort of the point. There’s no way you could wear what Blair and Serena wore to high school, but with the reboot, I see versions of the characters’ outfits all the time. Where’s the fun in that?
But, hey, if the fun of nostalgia is in looking back, maybe generations to come will fall in love with the reboot the same way I fell in love with the original. But I doubt it.
We want to know what you think about Evie! Take the official Evie reader survey.