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Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Faith, Hope & Trick”

September 16, 2010

Today I’ll be covering “Faith, Hope & Trick”, the monumental episode that introduced the world to a certain spunky hoodrat slayer from Southie.  Those of you who like to ooh and aah over the particularly trashy elements of Faith’s wardrobe will be quite pleased. Brace yourselves!

The results for “Prophecy Girl” are no huge surprise. Buffy’s white dress was a resounding success, with 63% of the vote. Giles and Angel (really, people?) were a distant second and third with 14% and 9%, respectively. On the other hand, you ridiculed Cordelia’s pink vagina pants over and over again in the comments, and declared her a massive fashion fail with 61% of the no votes. Angel and Willow were way behind her at 14% and 13%.

Onto season 3. The Scoobies are seniors now, and they’re gonna rule the school. More specifically, they are going to leave campus during lunch. They’re going to go all the way across the street. It’s really intense. Willow is freaking out about it, teetering back and forth on the steps. Oz has already had this privilege for a year, so he’s over it. Willow looks pretty cute from the waist down, I have to say, with her orange pants and her Adidases (This girl has quite a sneaker collection; I wish she’d discuss her sneaker fetish a little more often). Oz’s shoes are pretty nice, too. I had those in high school. Let’s put one more check mark in the “Oz dressed like a Riot Grrrl” column, shall we?

Eventually Oz, Cordelia and Xander literally drag Upstanding Citizen Willow off of the steps so that they can have a picnic with poor, expelled Buffy. As you can see, Willow is wearing a blue fuzzy sweater. It has a tiny bow at the neckline, sort of like the kind on girly pairs of panties. Xander is dressed like one of the Golden Girls’ suiters, with white sneakers, Miami cabana shirt and everything. I’m not sure what he was thinking here. Cordelia doesn’t look too bad; she sort of has a Michelle Obama thing going on. Wide bands of color interspersed with bands of black; sunglasses; sensible wristwear. I’m digging it. It’s a shame that her boyfriend is gonna ditch her after school to go listen to Sophia Petrillo tell “Picture it: Sicily, 19__” stories.

For being newly expelled and all, Buffy is dressed rather cheerily. Check it: the messy Palin hair is back!

Buffy’s all swoony over Scott Hope. Willow keeps raving to Buffy about “that thing you do with your mouth”, which I believe must be some sort of lesbian foreshadowing bit. Scott is wearing this polo shirt, which inspires zero feelings in me either way. Mostly, when I see Scott Hope I think, “hey, it’s that douchebag violin player from the US version of Queer As Folk.”

Later that night, Mr. Trick blows into Sunnydale, rips a cashier from the window of a fast food restaurant and eats him for din-din. Is that Gucci he’s wearing?

I have this thing where I hate TV show versions of dreams, because they’re always so ridiculously detailed. “Restless” is obviously an exception, because everything in that episode was so eerie and symbolic and genuinely dreamlike, but usually they just seem so cheesy to me. Case in point. Buffy’s dreaming about slow dancing with Angel. In her dream, Oz is wearing a Notre Dame shirt. What, did she get a catalog from them that day or something? Why on Earth would she dream this?

Anyways, due to Buffy’s guilt complex about how she had to kill Angel (and maybe about how she released the Angelus beast by having sex with him), she dreams about making Angel’s palm randomly start bleeding through his claddagh ring. Then she dreams that he has a stanky zombie face.

Buffy wakes up all traumatized-like and pulls her claddagh ring out of her drawer, just to make sure it’s all intact and whatnot. I wish I looked this good when I first sit up in bed in the morning. I guess the payoff is that instead of feeling horrible about killing my evil boyfriend, the first things I think about in the morning are peeing and feeding the cat.

When meeting with an authority figure to appeal an unfair punishment, one should always dress in a manner that is professional and no-nonsense. This is particularly important when the authority figure in question hates your freaking guts. Joyce understands this, and dresses for their reinstatement meeting accordingly. Buffy, on the other hand, looks like she does not give a shit.

I’m not sure what that print is. Cotton? Birds? Weird flowers? Penguins? The ruffles on the front are equally baffling. I am LOLing remembering that zig zag part trend. Anybody else remember that? It lasted for about six months. They sold these tools at Walgreens that assisted the user in making a many types of ugly parts: jagged lines, wavy lines, whatever. It was the successor to the Topsy Tail and the predecessor to the Bumpit.

Willow gets caught talking trash on Giles in the library, sort of. For some reason, once again I find myself not entirely hating what Willow is wearing. Maybe this is because I just slogged through the Willow Fashion Shit Show that is “Prophecy Girl” last week, but it’s very possible that she’s just not having a terrible week. Interestingly, she gay-foreshadows again with a beaded necklace that is really Pride-y.

I love season 3 Giles; he’s beginning his transition out of the super uptight Giles style into his business casual look of season 4 and beyond. Throughout most of season 3 he’s squarely on the border of these two fashion camps. The tweed isn’t so prominent, but it’s still there.

That evening, the Scoobies hit The Bronze. Before we officially meet Faith, we get a quick glance at her during an opening shot that pans the crowd. Fashionably speaking, it’s not looking good for our Faith.

Willow and Oz are making out on a couch, which is causing Buffy a bit of grief and misery. Understandably. I mean, who DOES that? It’s pretty obvious friend code that if you’re part of a couple, you don’t cuddle in front of your recently dumped friends. You sure as hell shouldn’t do it in front of your recently-traumatized-because-of-being-forced-to-murder-your-boyfriend-because-he-went-evil-due-to-having-sex-with-you friend.

Oz is dressed like a dweeb. His clothes make him look like the kind of guy who would try to hang out with the stoners in the boiler room, but wasn’t quite cool enough to fit in. That’s especially damning because stoners like everybody. The funniest stoner would be like, “Did you tie dye one of your dad’s old shirts, dude? Whoa.” And then everybody would laugh and choke on weed smoke, and Oz would feel bad, and nobody would pass him the pipe. Once again, we’re witnessing an Epic Oz Fail from the costuming department. Willow is wearing exactly what this burnout version of Oz’s girlfriend would wear- a fuzzy sweater anorak. She bought it from a craftsperson at a Phish show who smelled strongly of sandalwood and ethically harvested the wool from the alpacas she cares for at her tiny leftist radical farming university in Vermont.

Here are your drinks, jerks. I bought them for you while you were making out.

Scott Hope is such a bore and a weirdo. Buffy just liked him because he liked her first. She’s trying, and it’s admirable. But in general, Buffy does not mesh well with men who are pretentious.

Across the room, Faith is disco dancing with a Greg Brady knockoff. This scene always makes me laugh; I like that in her first scene on the show, Eliza Dushku displays some impressive physical comedy skills. Now that I live in Boston, I have a different sort of affection for Faith. I like to imagine sitting across from her at night on the T as she hunts for vampires, getting off and on regularly to patrol the old slate-filled cemeteries and grab another lahg regulah from Dunkie’s. In this episode, Faith’s Beantown charm is on full display. But y’know, even though I arrived in Boston a full seven years after this episode was made, I’m not sure that anyone from South Boston would ever wear anything that she’s wearing.

Let’s start with the pants, since they stick out the most. I mean, you DO think they stick out the most, don’t you? They are shinier than Cordelia’s legendary vagina pants. They are patterned. They are wildly colored. They appear to be made of a synthetic material, perhaps vinyl. Were the pants not glaringly horrifying enough, she is wearing a sleeveless shirt with one of those trashy boobie cutouts- and dangling from the top of the cutout, there is bobble trim. If you don’t know what bobble trim is, you should Google it. When people want their Halloween costume to be “racist caricature of a Mexican man”, they buy yards of this stuff to trim their clothing. Bobble trim is the kind of thing that looks cute on the edges of blankets and baby clothes. It’s not something that a young, hip woman typically wants to gussy up her cleavage with. Were the bobbled boobies not heinous enough, she accessorizes this mess with arm warmers. Really, Faith? Really?

Xander seems amused by the situation. He’s looking pretty casual cool here. Cordelia, perm notwithstanding, looks dynamite in a short red dress, accessorized with a withering glare that’s focused in Faith’s general direction.

Here is where things get hilarious. Due to the ridiculous dance moves she’s witnessing on the dance floor, Buffy is moved to take action, to rescue the presumed damsel in distress from a vampire. This is a nod to the scene in “Welcome To The Hellmouth” when, rather than using her Slayer Spidey Sense, Buffy relies on her fashion sense to root out a baddie that’s preying on Willow. The trouble is, Faith is much more of a fashion disaster than this guy. The vampire could very well have just been some ignorant high school kid who heard that vintage clothes were cool, so he grabbed the first thing he found on the clearance rack at Thrift Town. I’ve seen plenty of hipsters wearing this same type of shirt and doing this same type of dance, all in the name of ironic repurposing. If Buffy continues to rely on this supposed fashion sense of hers to spot vampires, hipsters will die. (You’ve all been warned. Burn your unicorn shirts and feathered headdresses now. Hurry.)

Outside, Buffy quickly realizes that Faith is the slayer who has been called to replace Kendra. Her dress is hideous. Upon second glance, I am icked out by Xander’s t-shirt selection. A mudflap girl? Really, Xander?

At school the next morning, Buffy wastes no time in dropping snarkitude after snarkitude upon the only girl in the world who can comprehend what her daily life is like. Way to go, Buffy. I wore my hair exactly like hers this morning, so I can’t complain about that. Her clothing choices are nothing special, but nothing too terrible. Giles’ pants don’t fit. Come on, Giles. You’re better than this. Faith is wearing leather pants and a less offensive version of Willow’s birthday cake shirt.

I don’t know what is wrong with me, exactly. Once again, I’m not totally hating Willow’s outfit. It’s what she would wear, anyway- sort of like, alternateen gone rave-y. She’s wearing the same white tights, orange sneakers combo that she wore in Band Candy. Xander doesn’t look bad, but his outfit is nothing to write home about. Typically Xander, no?

From the back, Cordelia looks extremely on point. The blouse, the pleated skirt, the Dawn Summers hair; it’s all very schoolgirl chic.

But then we peep her blouse from the front and there are all these pointless, unflattering darts sewn in, along with an odd Peter Pan collar. The darting makes me think that perhaps Cordelia bought this blouse in the maternity department by mistake.

Scott Hope, blah blah blah.

Mr. Trick is helping Kakistos plot his revenge against Faith. He is, of course, dressed impeccably. He eats the pizza delivery guy, which begs a question of Mr. Trick: what exactly is so delicious about young, male food service workers, anyway?

That night, Faith visits the Summers home for dinner. Faith covers up her crazy birthday cake shirt, which I find to be very respectful. Joyce is wearing paisley and a ribbed shirt.

Faith doesn’t abandon her leather pants, though. Buffy chooses to stake vamps in a more practical workout ensemble. Like night and day, those two.

The following morning, Buffy shoots the shit with Giles in the hallway. She appears to have raided her mother’s closet. Giles, on the other hand, looks downright natty. NATTY, I tell you.

Scott Hope alert! Scott tells Buffy, “I’ve given a lot of thought- some might say too much thought- to how I might be a part of your life.” Then he gives her a frigging ring. Ladies, when the guy you’ve been passively flirting with says some Sandra Bullock romantic comedy crap like this to you and then gives you a ring, RUN. Don’t think about it; just get away from him.

Because Scott gave her a claddagh ring that’s identical to the one that Angel gave her, Buffy freaks out a little. (Buffy, that’s not why you should be freaking out.) Instead of taking it as a hint that he might be acting like a total creep, Scott gets all passive aggressive on Buffy. From this point on, rather than being ambivalent about/bored by Scott Hope, I began to intensely hate him. Why? Because that’s how I roll.

At Faith’s fleabag motel room, the landlord drops by to collect her rent. He is exquisitely dressed and well-groomed, as you can see. Buffy comes by to rag on Faith, as we’ll soon learn is par for the course.

Attack! Mr. Trick directs vamp traffic in yet another designer suit. My goodness. On the other hand, he let the vampire in the right-hand corner wear THAT.

Finally, Faith is wearing something that a Southie girl circa 1999 would weah to the bah. It’s hideous, but it’s believable. I mean, check out all the front pockets on those mom jeans. Yowza.

Faith stakes Kakistos with a two-by-four (but not a five-by-five), and on the following morning some of the Scoobies gather to discuss the night’s events. Buffy has taken a paisley cue from her mother. Somehow, I don’t hate it. I think I’m probably really wrong for that. Willow perfects her trifecta of impeccable lesbian foreshadowing with this outfit. Giles is Gilesy and you love it.

For some reason, Buffy feels compelled to apologize to Scott Hope. That’s gross. Look, Scott also has weird front pockets! Hey, maybe he and Faith should hook up.

But it’s not like it matters, because there’s a new-old guy in town, and he’s naked. We can see his ass and everything- or, as Faith the Bostonian would call it, his “bum.”

Vote below, all ye BFR faithful!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. caselogic permalink
    September 17, 2010 12:04 AM

    I have been waiting with bated breath for you to get to an episode where Willow wears her Adidas Gazelles just so I can say “OH MY GOD WILLOW IS WEARING MY SHOES!”

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 17, 2010 9:11 PM

      OMG I love Gazelles! They’re so elegant. They are some of my favorite sneakers evs, hands down.

      • caselogic permalink
        September 17, 2010 11:14 PM

        Mine too! I’ve been wearing Gazelles almost exclusively for the last 7 or 8 years; every time I try switching to a different brand of sneakers they’re never as comfortable. And now you can get them in hemp instead of suede!

  2. JHenriquez permalink
    September 17, 2010 12:28 AM

    What I never understood about Faith’s living situation is why the Watchers Council never spent money helping Faith getting a decent place to live. Later on in the show, they would retroactively pay Giles in Season 5 and they can pay all these wanna-be Watchers that it seems literally just follow around the main Watchers council guy. But they can’t spring for Faith to get a one bedroom apartment in a town which probably has the cheapest rent in all of the US due to premature death rates? Really? And then they wonder why she hates them and watches to torture them for a while. She’s not even allowed to get a job. That’s some sexist crap to me….(cough, cough) Okay, my rant is done for now…Thanks for coming back and blessing us with another BFR recap!

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 17, 2010 6:53 PM

      I think you’re totally right about this. I think there’s a big classist component to it, too. I think they probably freaked out every time a working class girl got called, and when there were two of them they probably just figured, we’ll rely on the one we already know and let the other one suffer. I don’t even think it’s a plot hole thing, either- I think the writers did that very intentionally. I like that they did.

  3. Chromde permalink
    September 17, 2010 10:17 AM

    Ha, I didn’t want to vote Faith for worst dressed because it was her first appearance and she’s been on the run from a sadistic, killer vampire. But goddamit, those parrot-plumage jungle-jam pants, the boob window plus curtain and the arm warmers are just hiiiiideous. Though I always thought the top half was very Faith. The bottom half, not so much. She never wears pants like that again.

    I voted Scott Hope for worst dressed because he is a CREEPY ASS DUDE (with ugly polo shirts). Damn, not only does he get her the wholly innapropriate Claddagh ring (I mean seriously, the only Western couples I know with that have been dating for months), he also does this thing earlier at the Bronze where he asks Buffy to dance, and Buffy’s all “uh, no” and then he says he’ll go dance, and she can come join him later if she wants. Which doesn’t seem to bad, until later Buffy gets up to leave, passes by the dance floor, and Scott jumps outta fukkin nowhere all DANCE WITH ME BUFFY. Creeeeeeeeeeeepy.

    True story: my friend and I were discussing this episode, and I said, “Faith, Hope and a Trick — well, obviously Faith is Faith, and Mr Trick is Trick, but who the hell is Hope?” And my friend goes, “Scott Hope.” And then we just look at each other and start laughing hysterically.

    I voted Willow for best dressed, because she was actually hitting the idea of “Dresses like she buys all her clothes from Goodwill without a sense of fashion”, and not just “I hired a clothes designer to pump out the ugliest, most juvenile outfits ever and keep him locked in the basement, beating him until he produces red fuzzy shirts and pink sweaters with iron-on patches of flowers and smiley faces.” To put it shortly, it was a good week for her.

    Oh, so begins Buffy’s wearing of pastel colours and sensible outfits! I like to think it was a deliberate choice — whether subconcious or not — to start dressing like a senator’s wife in response to Faith’s trashy outfits. I mean, we’ve already done the episode where she wears the all-lavender outfit, or the all-grey one, right? Also very interesting that this comes after season two, the season of cougarlicious animal print outfits.

    And man, Oz and Willow are supremely insensitive.

    Great fashion recap; I laughed very hard.

  4. seanz permalink
    September 17, 2010 3:24 PM

    sorry but those pants giles wears in that one pic where just awful. awful awful awful

  5. September 17, 2010 4:33 PM

    I will always have a soft spot for Faith’s poor fashion decisions because…well, I had a phase in the late ’90s where I fell victim to some of the same trends. Including her makeup. I had gold, printed, tight vinyl pants. It’s a sad but true story. I like the slutty edge she brings to Sunnydale. I’m a little shocked that I voted for her over Mr. Trick, but it was out of sisterhood and self-love.

  6. September 17, 2010 6:07 PM

    i’d have voted for angel. less is more, no?

  7. Mary Ellen permalink
    September 18, 2010 6:58 PM

    I’m thrilled to have discovered this blog through Whedonesque.com! Absolutely loving the wit and humor of the writing (“boobled boobies” is pretty much the funniest thing ever) and it’s definitely deepening my appreciation of fashion on the show. Could you be convinced to do “Doppelgangland” in the future? Sooo much to work with there. “I’m a blood sucking fiend! …just look at my outfit!”

  8. Missy permalink
    September 19, 2010 8:44 AM

    I always assumed Faith’s debut outfit was to attract guys that ‘Don’t thrive on sunlight’
    I voted Cordy best dressed because this was one of the few eps she didn’t look completely horrid in.
    Scott Hope Got my worst dressed Vote cause well who the frilly heck wears any of that crap.(Is it me or do his Jeans look not washed all the time)
    I thought Nick/Xander looked pretty freakin’ kool in this ep…….perhaps it’s just the hair though.
    So glad you did this ep :)
    I was going to suggest it…………….I figured you’d have something to say about Faith.

  9. September 19, 2010 1:21 PM

    Faith looks HOT, mmkay. The second time I watched this episode I saw the pants and I’m like “omg, amazing pants” and then “omg, is that FAITH” and then “omg, IT IS <3"

    Buffy just looks like she's going to Sunday school.

  10. Kourtney permalink
    September 24, 2010 8:26 PM

    I just want to say that I just accidently found this website/blog and am now obsessed! I still love Buffy and watch my dvds religiously instead of watching most crap that comes on tv these days. This blog is so fun, funny, and smart. Keep it up :)

  11. Rodney permalink
    October 22, 2010 9:05 AM

    Best dress will always be Mr Trick in my book.He was always one of my favorite vamps due to the fact he was not stuck in the era he got turned but moved with the times.He knew about computers and wore high dollar suits instead of clothes from his turning time.Not to mention he was cool and funny(and dusted way to early in my book) so what was not to love about him?

    I’m going to have to go with Willow on worse dress…but I don’t mean it in a bad way.She was always sporting the “I’m a big nerd” clothing all the time.But to be honest as a guy Willow’s long hair,her big sweaters,overalls,those tights she wore under her skirts and all her other nerd outifts always turned me on more than Cordy’s high dollar fashion,Buffy trying to dress cool or Faith’s slutty outfits! LOL Sorry but that’s the honest truth

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