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Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Ted”

June 14, 2010

Hello, and welcome to another exciting episode of Buffy Fashion Roulette. I’m Robin and I’ll be your host today, as always. Polls are now closed in my fashion recaps of two previous episodes, season five’s “Triangle” and season six’s “Tabula Rasa”, and the results are not too surprising.

In the “Triangle” poll, Buffy won the Best Dressed award for, among others, this outfit, which I loved way back when I was barely of legal drinking age. I’m glad to see that it still holds up. Tara lost big time. I wonder why.

“Tabula Rasa”‘s best dressed was Giles, who narrowly edged Spike and, interestingly, perennial worst-dressed contender Willow. Worst dressed? Tara, once again. Out of the three shows I’ve broken down, Giles has won two out of three times. Buffy has won once. Anya lost once, and Tara lost both times she was nominated. That means Giles is ahead of the pack, and Tara is way behind it.

Today I’m tackling something I hadn’t yet dared to touch with a ten-foot pole. I’m reaching way back into the Buffy archives- to the high school years- to dissect the fashion there. Early in season two an episode called “Ted” aired, one of the first episodes to elevate the wry, often twisted sense of feminist humor that existed in the Buffyverse and launched a thousand critical essays. It guest starred John Ritter as a sexist, stuck-in-the-fifties computer genius robot named, of course, Ted. It is a great stand-alone episode of Buffy if you aren’t already a fan; even if you are, it’s certainly an all-time classic.

But, of course, all of this arty farty good acting, good writing business is beside the point; I am here for the outfits. So here we go.

How the game works: I choose an episode of Buffy, pore over it carefully, and judge compelling examples of the characters’ fashion by today’s standards. At the end of every episode, fashion winners and losers are nominated in a poll. The winners are announced in a future entry.

The rules: I only have three so far, although that is subject to change. Uniforms (work, military, etc) do not count. Neither do “period pieces” (i.e flashbacks to Ye Olde England, Ireland, China, etc) or costumes (sorry, Halloween episodes fans). Most of the dressed monsters on the show wore regular clothing, so their wardrobes are up for debate just like anyone else’s.

We start the episode with a group shot of Xander, Buffy and Willow heading back to Buffy’s house for some chill out time. Xander’s wearing dude clothes. Buffy’s outfit is not that bad, surprisingly. It’s very 30-something upwardly mobile. However, it is slightly weird that something a show dressed a high school junior in 13 years ago looks like something that someone in their thirties would wear today. Willow is wearing some typically horrible thing that involves a matching hat and sweater set, and matching white tights and white sneakers. Ah Willow; always managing to nail that delicate imbalance of both too much and not enough color coordination.

Things are all fun and happy until they get to Buffy’s house and Joyce is caught making out with Jack Tripper.

Ted is wearing the same outfit that dads have been wearing for decades, which is a little foreshadow-y. Joyce’s dress is fashioned from mismatched panels of the curtains from the Three’s Company apartment.

Upon closer inspection, Xander’s shirt situation is a hot mess. It’s very “business on top, stoner party underneath.”

Fortunately, we’ve got Giles to knock some fashion sense into this episode. Now if only he’d take that giant Slayer Satchel off of his lap so we could get a good look at the whole thing.

The next day at school, Everybody Loves Jack Tripper, ‘cept for Buffy. Once again, Buffy is wearing something that would come very close to looking appropriate on today’s upwardly mobile adult woman. There are some tweaks to be made, sure: take that awful clip out of her hair, update the print on her skirt, and get rid of the awful chunk of a boot heel (oh, the 90’s, with your chunky heels). But overall? It’s eerie. Eerie! Willow is wearing brightly colored pants and a shirt with something annoying on it, of course, and Xander looks like a weed dealer, but with a messenger bag.

And look, Ted’s at school and he catches Buffy talking shit about him! Awkward. Any dad could, and does, wear this outfit today. Timelessly boring Ted. Gotta love it.

Meanwhile, Giles and Jenny Calendar (!!!) are having one of their awkward flirtation scenes. You love it. In theme, Jenny’s outfit is similar to Buffy’s. Perhaps they would enjoy raiding each others’ closets.

Giles is not looking his best today, but we’ve certainly seen worse from him.

The next day? Mini golf, of course.

Buffy is dressed like Peg Bundy, or maybe she’s just embodying the stereotype of a cougar. Once again, Buffy looks old. Also, who wears heels to play mini golf? I know Buffy wore heels to kill vampires on a nightly basis, but while playing mini golf? It just seems like an ill-advised idea. Willow’s shirt, of course, has some stupid shit on it. She’s also wearing a Y necklace, which is a trend that is now found in the jewelry case at your local Salvation Army.

Joyce and Ted are dressed like timeless suburban 40-somethings. Joyce is even cementing her look with Mom Jeans.

And Xander, he just looks like a dude. A dude in hiking sneakers and with his sweater wrapped around his waist. A dude who woke up with a killer hangover and desperately wants to know how many minutes he has before he has to return the empty keg to the mini-mart on the corner.

The next morning, Buffy is pissed because Ted caught her cheating at mini golf and she’s the only one who thinks he’s creepy. In response, she decides to wear a sexy cougar leotard and robe set to school, complete with Palin Hair. Mrrrow.

Joyce, meanwhile, is wearing a really confusing shirt. It looks like something I’d imagine that cults make their newbie members wear. It can only be described as “smocklike”.

At school Willow’s wearing a completely clashing sweater and skirt non-set and red tights. (Why.) Xander, meanwhile, looks like he’s trying to emulate Giles’ fashion sense but fails miserably.

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? Cordelia is the motherfucking sun, y’all. God bless her.

Obviously there are some issues with this outfit, particularly in the area of accessorizing, but in general this outfit is refreshing. It may even deserve a slow clap. Kudos, Cordy.

Jack Tripper is makin’ money on the telephones, y’all! Graph paper print$!

Then Buffy kills him. Damn you, Buffy. What is most fashionably pivotal about this spike in rising action is that Buffy responds to her bleak day by wearing an outfit that reflects her feelings of loss of control, of ethical confusion, and of, well, plain old sadness.


Fortunately, Willow and Xander have Buffy’s back. Their outfits are a bit more flashy.

Particularly, Willow’s.

Giles, of course, is rocking some tweed. He’s a very sexy man! I really do see this now, since I’m 30 and all. Oh, God. Am I closer in age to Giles than I am to Buffy now? Has that dreaded day finally come?!

Later Buffy goes home, and Ted is back from the robot-dead! So the Scoobies have to investigate. Cordelia looks meh. I expected better.

Instead of going on a date, Giles and Jenny Calendar are patrolling on Buffy’s behalf, since she’s all freaked out about Ted. Giles is wearing the previously discussed tweed (comfy, I’m sure); Jenny is looking fierce in a leather jacket, pleated skirt and expensive-looking leather heels.

Ted’s robot scheme is unraveled and he is defeated of course, since this episode mostly stands alone from the larger narrative of the season. The next day at school, everything is back to normal again. Whew. Buffy is still dressed like a MILF, Xander’s wearing glorified pajamas, Willow has on a fuzzy sweater and white tights, and Cordelia actually looks decent, although the scarf around her neck makes me worry she’s been making out with some vampires on the side.

Giles and Jenny, meanwhile, are smooching in the li-berry. Jenny’s wearing something that looks like a sofa print. Giles is tweedy, as is per the usual.

Don’t forget to vote below. One thing I learned from this episode is not to spend too much time way back in the archives; it’s way too easy, and there’s not much good fashion to glean from all the mess.

So what do you guys think? Is Buffy stealing cougar fashion, or are they ripping her off?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2010 9:26 PM

    Buffy responds to her bleak day by wearing an outfit that reflects her feelings of loss of control, of ethical confusion, and of, well, plain old sadness… Overalls.

    way to make me inhale blackeyed peas and then hork them up all over my keyboard. goddamn I love you.

  2. Kris permalink
    June 24, 2010 4:07 AM

    Ah, the Overalls of Sadness are one of the few outfits I remember. Along with that one ‘shirt’ Willow wears in After Life that really, REALLY stuck out at me. The red, furry one? Can’t wait for the next one, and After Life, eventually!

    • msjacks permalink*
      June 26, 2010 2:07 AM

      You’ve compelled me, Kris. “After Life” is next!

      • Kris permalink
        June 27, 2010 6:16 AM


  3. Saya permalink
    July 6, 2010 3:45 AM

    re: the sexy-ness of Giles – this is what is so hilarious about having come to the series in my late 20s having only seen an episode here or there… I am so completely and totally a Giles fangirl…

  4. December 3, 2010 1:51 AM

    White tights. WHITE TIGHTS. Possibly the most impractical piece of clothing ever invented.

    I actually liked Willow’s argyle sweater until I realized the sleeves were striped.

    Oh Cordelia, never change.

  5. Sydney permalink
    May 12, 2011 6:53 AM

    I have to say, I actually quite like Joyce’s dress when she is caught making out with Ted. I think that it is a very nice shape, complimenting the nice figure she has for a women past her midforties with two children. And I’d never admit it to someone who knew me, but I so wish overalls were in. Damn I love overalls. But the only place I’ll admit this is on a blog comment about a year after the blog was written where the people don’t know me.

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