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Buffy Fashion Roulette: “Prophecy Girl”

September 9, 2010

It’s a great day here at The Bitter Buffalo when I randomly draw an episode where costuming is a key part of the plot, character development and/or theme. “Prophecy Girl”, as you are probably well aware, contains all three elements. Yippee!

Before we get started, I want to offer all of you Buffy Fashion Roulette fans a huge apology. It’s been a really long time since I’ve written a fashion recap, and for that I am truly sorry. The end of my summer got a little hectic; I worked a lot, moved from one apartment to another, and traveled more than I had initially anticipated. Now I’m back to my full-time work, full-time school schedule, and hopefully I’ll be churning these out with some regularity. My goal for the semester is to have a scheduled day of the week for new write-ups (articles? blog entries? What do I call these things?) to debut. We’ll see.

The results for “Band Candy” were pretty decisive. Giles garnered a full 33% of the vote for being a sexy punk. Oh, that Ripper.

Mr. Trick got about half the amount of votes that Giles did, which was very deserved. Hopefully we’ll see him placing in future episodes. Buffy garnered a few less votes than Mr. Trick, putting her in third place.

Guess who Worst Dressed was? Seriously, you’ll never guess! Okay, you will. It was Willow!

She got a full 41% of the vote, which is pretty overwhelming. Her closest contenders were Angel at 13.5%- all because he did Tai Chi in suit pants (God, I love you guys)- and Joyce and her weird feathered coat with exactly one vote less than Angel.

We start the show with a classic teen show/film setup: a boy practices asking out the girl he secretly loves to the girl who secretly loves him, and for a split second the viewer thinks he’s actually professing his love to the mousy best friend who pines away for him, rather than practicing for the previously assumed object of his affections. Alas, we’re wrong. Poor Test Run Willow. Xander is wearing a ribbed terry cloth polo shirt. Let us never speak of it again. Willow is wearing a frumpy sweater and a weird necklace. She took about five minutes to dress herself and an hour to brush her shiny, shiny hair. (Shades of Dawn Summers?) Meanwhile, Buffy is doing battle with a vamp as Cordelia and her boyfriend are necking in a car nearby. Strangely, her jacket laces up. I dunno about this one, both fashion and functionality-wise. It seems like an accidental slayer strangulation disaster waiting to happen. This is one of my mostest absolutest favorite scenes in the show’s history, and probably my favorite of all in the first season. I love the way the slow motion makes it looks like a well-executed dance, or perhaps like an episode of Wild Kingdom. The best part is when the vampire realizes who Buffy is, and she makes this smirk face. Imagine that moment of vampire realization: “Oh, shit. I’m up against a slayer who’s sporting a five-dollar acrylic ring from Claire’s Boutique.” Then boom, dead.

Across town Giles is studying in the library, which we learn has a glass ceiling. Sh’yeah, right. I know the ceiling turned out to be an important plot point, but I call bullshit. What public school would put “greenhouse-style library ceiling” in their construction budget? Is this really a thing? I did grow up in the impoverished Deep South and all, but really? I do like all the “breaking the glass ceiling” metaphors that were made when Buffy threw The Master through it, but I’m not sure I’m buying this set decision.

Giles, as you see, looks very dapper in a green and rust-colored sweater vest with a striped button-down beneath it. Hey, let’s deal with some The Master fashion, shall we? I really don’t get this outfit. We’re supposed to think he looks really old, but he’s dressed like he’s on Thursday night bear flogging duty at the local gay leather bar. Also, how does he rise out of the water in “Welcome To The Hellmouth” without ruining all that leather? Come to think of it: man, he must stink to the high heavens. Fruit punch mouth was the least of his worries. The Anointed One is, of course, wearing a truly adorable hoodie and jeans. What a cutie, that The Anointed One!

The next day at school, Giles has not changed his clothes from the night before. This is presumably due to being up all night at the li-berry studying the Buffy death prophecy and all.

Okay, here’s another problem I have. What high school has periodicals dating back to 1921? Unless they are Giles’ personal vampire periodicals that he had shipped from England, once again- I’m not buying it. (Are there any librarians who can either back me up or debunk my theories? I know y’all are out there.)

Buffy, Willow and Giles take a stroll through campus to drop some snappy dialogue on us. Xander looks alright, although I’m not sure who irons those perfect creases into his pants at night. Buffy is wearing very thick pantyhose. To me, that is the most noticeable element to this outfit. That, and the fact that they made her wear Shih-Tzu hair. Fun fact: I had those same Jackie O-style plastic sunglasses in 11th grade. Buffy is definitely rocking the Riot Grrrl sunglasses in this scene.

But then, of course, there’s what Willow is wearing. It’s not the pants that are bothering me, nor is it the hair. It’s that awful, horrible sweater. It’s the strange, almost boxy fit, one that sweaters rarely create. It’s the headache-inducing pattern of wavy lines. It’s, for the love of all things unholy, the bell sleeves. Who, I ask, can rescue us from this fashion nightmare?

Could it be Ms. Jenny Calendar, who is posing sexily in the doorway even though the object of her affections hasn’t bathed in at least a day?

Despite the fact that she looks really great in this distant shot, the closeup reveals, well, a borderline disaster. The hair is incredibly dated, and the top is flat out weird. Who ever wore tops like this, other than upper crust grandmothers on Christmas? To make matters worse, I can’t figure out what the top IS, exactly. Is it a blouse? Is it a jacket? Is it a fancy t-shirt with a collar? I wish her creepy uncle would drop in and chastise her for wearing this thing. (Unrelated: every time I see one of the episodes with her uncle in it, I blurt out, “GET OFF MY TRAAAAAIN!” Every time.)

Perhaps Cordelia can rescue us.

Nope. Her leopard-print-purse-to-match-her-leopard-print-pants is one of those plastic atrocities that Macy’s gives you when you buy $30 worth of Lancome/Clinique/MAC/whatever products. Yuck.

Just so we’re clear on how horrific Willow’s shirt is, here’s a shot of her looking pensive in the sunlight. She looks like an extra in a bad movie about Woodstock.

Once again, Angel is dressed like a douchebag. Here you can see that he looks like one of those Jersey Shore guys. Not The Situation; he looks like that guy with the flat top. (I don’t know. I don’t watch that show. I only know who The Situation and Snooki are, since they’re the breakout stars or whatever.) Except, you know, he’s not tan and all, cos it would kill him. (Skin cancer metaphor!!)

Buffy mad. Buffy yell. Buffy cry! Buffy smart to wear waterproof makeup. (Oh man, I can’t WAIT to get to “Beer Bad”).

Wow. The library got wicked messy during the earthquake. Giles should have cleaned that up by now. I know this because he’s still wearing those clothes, meaning that he hasn’t left the library. He is one dedicated Watcher, that Giles.

Xander would have probably snagged his Buffster by now if he’d just start wearing simple, dressed-down ensembles like this to school.

Joyce is being super sweet to Buffy in that naive, “I can’t possibly understand the breadth of your problems but I think I do” way. She’s wearing a jeans shirt. Remember in the 90’s when moms wore these all the time?

She bought Buffy this dress, which would become one of the more iconic outfits on the show. Let’s take a look at it while it’s still resting on its hanger.

One thing I’ve always liked about this dress is that, in antithesis to most of what we see on Buffy, it’s an extremely accurate costuming choice. It’s exactly the kind of dress that a high school girl would see in a shop window and lose their breath over. It has all of the key prom dress elements: sequins, satin and gauze. Like all classic prom gowns, it’s a glorified bridesmaid dress. That’s exactly what it should be.

The next day at school… you know, I kind of think Willow looks better than Cordelia does here. Willow at least has her cute “I’m Willow, and I’m a wacky dresser!” thing going for her. Cordelia looks straight up terrible. The shirt would be passable if she would button more than just, like, a button. The pants are obscene. They’re pink. They’re satin. They’re incredibly high-waisted, almost covering her navel- which we know because despite the extreme high-waisted-ness of the pants, her navel is exposed. Were all of that not bad enough, the visible zipper makes it look like she has a camel toe that extends all the way up to her belly button. Seriously. Look at the picture, look away, and then glance back without focusing. Look at what it looks like. It’s disgusting. Poor Charisma Carpenter.

That afternoon, Buffy tries on her dress. I don’t know if I like the general hang of the fabric in the front. I definitely don’t like the hair. It looks like what a pony would wear in the most important pony show of the year. But, whatevs. All of this is incidental. The dress has a bigger purpose ahead of itself.

Willow is really sad about her AV club friends being killed. She is in her pajamas, which are comfortable. That is all that matters, really. Buffy is wearing her badass leather jacket over the dress. Now THAT is what I call Fashion Foreshadowing.

Because I am feeling particularly sadistic today, here is a shot of Willow crying for your perusal.

Finally, Giles has taken a shower and changed his clothes. It’s pretty much the same thing he always wears during season 1.

Jenny is wearing a ribbed something-or-other. And, well, if you’ve been reading BFR for awhile, you know how I feel about that ribbed-everything trend from the mid-to-late 90’s.

To sum up my ribbed feelings, I make the face Jenny’s making whenever I see someone wearing a “vintage” ribbed t-shirt.

Buffy puches Giles’ lights out, grabs her crossbow and heads out to find The Anointed One. The gauzy flow of her skirt is made more apparent by the fake moonlight.

I can’t really see what Xander is wearing, but it appears to be rather autumnal. Giles is now accessorizing with an ice pack.

Buffy goes to Angel’s house, WHERE HE IS WEARING MY ABSOLUTE ANTI-FAVORITE JACKET OF ALL TIME. That’s right, bitches! The velvet is BACK!

Willow has returned to school in the same outfit she wore before, which is weird considering that at some point, she took her clothes off and changed into her pajamas. Why wouldn’t she just throw on jeans and a t-shirt? Jenny has on a long skirt, white socks and some of those clunky black shoes that were so popular back then. (Yeah, I had a pair. Don’t blame me; I just did it because the members of Sleater-Kinney did it first.)

Then, the “Thriller” video.

And then there’s this vampire, who I’m having trouble believing is a vampire and not a zombie. Since when do vampires wear hats that likely, upon further inspection, have “World’s Greatest Grandpa” emblazoned across them?

Lots of dramatic cuts between scenes! Angel’s looking for Buffy! His velvet is reflected in the sewer lights!

It must be a chilly night in Sunnydale, because all the vamps have on long sleeves. In the back there’s a Sunnydale High football player. The coat that the lady vampire in front is heinous. It’s almost as though she time traveled to the future and stole one of Willow’s pimp coats.

Buffy wakes up, and the exaggerated shadow between her sternum and clavicle (what is that called, medically knowledgeable folks?) makes it look like they had to cut a hole in her throat with a pen knife.

Cordelia saves the day with her Zipper Camel Toe. Errr, I mean her luxury sedan.

The Master is on the roof looking extra leather daddy-like. Just one question- how does someone who has been hiding out underground for centuries attain trendy seat belt-buckles, exactly?

No matter, because Buffy has woken up and is going to kill the shit out of his ass. I like her hair better this way. It’s unruly and messy and dirty and it does what it wants to.

Oh man, remember vinyl Vans? Anyone? Well, if you don’t, here’s a refresher, complete with encroaching creepy phallic demon limb. Not that you didn’t figure it out as soon as you saw the words “vinyl Vans”, but the shoes are Willow’s. (REALLY?!)

Buffy is all muddy now, and she walks with new purpose. Before, the slit in her dress was barely visible in most shots. Now her stride is big enough that it’s one of the most noticeable aspects of her dress. Here’s some leg for you.

I am pleased to see that Cordelia is biting the World’s Greatest Vamp-pa. Normally, I think I’d see some sort of “good fashion triumphs over bad fashion” metaphor here. But since Cordelia is wearing what may be the worst pants in the history of Buffy, I think I’ll let the metaphor fall by the wayside.

Buffy finds The Master on the roof. He scratched her cleavage, and he must pay.

Buffy saves the day, of course. Here’s a nice shot of everyone staring at The Master’s bones. I know we’re supposed to think Buffy’s the biggest hot mess, due to the sewage in her hair and all. But when thinking about fashion fails, all I can do is stare at Willow’s typically confusing outfit, Angel’s velvet dinner jacket and pointy collar combo, Jenny’s ribbed frumpitude, and the fact that Cordelia’s zipper is extremely prominent on a pair of pants that some might say is the same shade of pink as their vagina’s.

When it comes to Worst Dressed, this one’s a toss-up. Have at it, friends.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2010 6:30 PM

    Sub-clavicular notch!

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 9, 2010 11:08 PM

      See, and here I was thinking it was called a “skin-covered throat hole.”

  2. September 9, 2010 7:44 PM

    It’s like when they first started dressing Angel they came up with what they thought a vampire was supposed to look like and went nuts. Aside from the hilarity of the velvet jacket, the shirt collar is so very, very pointy. He’s all “I vant to suck your blahd! But I cahn’t!”

    Man, I almost got a little misty reading this, such a good episode.

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 9, 2010 11:09 PM

      Yeah, like they were like “let’s modernize the classic vampire look!” But yeah, it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  3. September 9, 2010 8:37 PM

    I’m so glad you’re back! It’s almost like you have bottled up Buffy Fashion snark, this was so funny. I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m so glad I wasn’t at work, I hate when coworkers give me odd looks.

    So glad to see Angel’s velvet jacket back! I’m developing a theory that on the weekends he does a lounge act in Vegas. Of course since he can’t sing maybe he’s just auditioning. Or playing piano for a sexy demon songstress.

    I wonder what Lorne would have to say about it about his outfit.

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

      That’s right! The bitch is back!

      Oh MAN, Lorne would LOVE his clothes this season. LOVE them. Too bad he can’t look at old photographs, eh? Poor vampire Angel.

      • Sarah permalink
        September 14, 2010 7:04 PM

        Seriously? If there ever was something like a vampire highlight then it is the fact that there exist no embarrasing pictures of you.
        I recently were forced to view old pictures and see my 14 year old breast- and hipless self wearing something really revealing that made me look like an underaged recruit of the FARC. Losing your soul is not a high prize for avoiding such situations!
        I am really distubed by Angel´s jacket. If you watch a German film or series and see a guy dressed like Angel, well you know without further introduction that he is a pimp. Does this sterotype also exist in American televison?
        And thanks for another installment of my beloved fashion roulette.!

  4. September 9, 2010 9:11 PM

    Seriously. Look at the picture, look away, and then glance back without focusing. Look at what it looks like.

    I did! Oh, god! No!

    Yet I still voted Angel worst dressed, because while Cordelia’s pants may be by far the single most horrifying clothing item on the episode, at least they’re surprising. And, it is a kind of horror show, after all. Angel’s jacket just depresses me so fucking much. It’s hideous, and not in as entertaining a way. what the hell were they doing with Angel’s clothes first season?! He gets it together, eventually, but Jesus!

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 9, 2010 11:12 PM

      I’ve gotta say, I haven’t reviewed an episode yet with Angel in it where I’ve seen much that I’m impressed by. He seems to either be doing Tae Bo in formal wear or rocking velvet and pointy collars. It’s really weird.

  5. Smeleanor permalink
    September 10, 2010 5:32 AM

    Yes! Thanks for posting again. I just wanted to notify you that I got confused and clicked on Cordelia for best dressed cus I thought I was voting for worst dressed so you may want to disregard that vote. oops.

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 11, 2010 9:00 AM

      It’s ok. Maybe your vote can represent that one person out there who likes her vajayjay pants. Besides, there’s no way in hell that she’ll win anyway, so I’m not concerned. Heh.

  6. September 10, 2010 1:14 PM

    Great post, I love your Fashion Roulette. It is actually contagious, writing about Buffy. I had an idea about colors in Once More With Feeling for a while now. You have inspired me to tackle it and voila, I have finished it yesterday. If you are interested:
    Thanks again for the fun read, keep it going!

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 11, 2010 9:00 AM

      Cool, I’ll check it out! Thanks for commenting!

  7. September 10, 2010 3:22 PM

    “Thursday night bear flogging duty” . . . thank you, thank you

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 11, 2010 2:10 PM

      I do what I can.

  8. Lauren permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:28 PM

    How are Watcher’s of the future going to know what to do when the text from all of their hand me down books has been faded by sunlight, Giles? How? Your Watcher’s Diary probably isn’t even on acid free paper is it?

    Yeah, that library is pretty much an archivist’s nightmare.

  9. September 10, 2010 4:47 PM

    That jacket! Oooh, the velvet. I love it, because the smarmy velvet matches the smarmy personality he had in the first season, especially the first view episodes. He gets to be less of a jerk, especially in his own series, but he deserves that jacket the first time we see him.

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 11, 2010 9:01 AM

      This is an interesting counterpoint view. If you write a couple of paragraphs about it, I’ll stick it in the text before the next BFR I do.

  10. Erin permalink
    September 11, 2010 3:06 AM

    I always thought Angel’s jacket was satin. I’m not sure which is worse a satin jacket or a velvet one? Either way, it is very wrong.

    I think my school had sky lights in the library. You’d think the Sunnydale library would be brighter.

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 11, 2010 9:02 AM

      It’s definitely velvet. Check out my “Welcome To The Hellmouth” recap- he is wearing the same jacket (God! Twice!) and we can see it under the bright lights at the Bronze. It’s cheap, trashy crushed velvet. Horrifying.

  11. Kat permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:52 PM

    Ha ha! I remember wanting a pair of Willow’s sneakers back in the day (to be fair I was like 10). But agreed on the Angel jacket, it was, and is, hideous. I think what made it worse though was that it didn’t fit the character. Angel was supposed to be dark and brooding yet he’s dressed like he’s going to a rave so he can date rape some girls. Now if Angel was supposed to be some sort of sleezebag then it would be more, “Oh, okay, he’s SUPPOSED to look like a total douche!”

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 11, 2010 10:07 PM

      This is a good point. Scroll up to see what Danika the Lesbrarian has to say about it. But yeah- he’s dressed pretty much the same way that the dated vampire that Buffy easily identifies in “Welcome To The Hellmouth” is. Which is, you know, like a sleazy douche.

  12. September 12, 2010 12:04 PM

    I loved Buffy’s leather/dress combo ridiculous amounts, but I wish she could have had sewer hair and jacket at the same time because the sewer hair was kind of hot.

    And I hate you so much for posting pictures of Willow’s woe. HATE. You are SICK. The next episode had better be Phases or Family or something, or even Hush because when Tara tells her she’s special at the end she gets that wonderfully adorable grin that makes it into the credits.😀

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 12, 2010 12:17 PM

      I can’t help it! She’s woeful in every frickin’ episode, and I feel the need to document it! After seeing all these episodes with Sad Willow Face it’s like, geez, no WONDER she went apeshit and tried to end the world.

      Just watch, I’ll get “I Robot, You Jane” next, AKA the worst episode ever as well as being Full O’ Willow Woe (I’m really dreading that one, you see).

      • September 13, 2010 10:59 AM

        Oh God no please no. I never really thought about how many dangerous episodes there were concerning Willow being devastated until you started throwing all the evidence up there and I am now a bit displeased with Mr Joss Whedon.

        Also: “Grave” is my pick for worst episode ever being Full O’ Willow Woe. I lose control every time I see her collapse into Xander’s arms.

      • msjacks permalink*
        September 13, 2010 2:18 PM

        Oh god, totally! Plus that blinding anger grief… that’s some of the worst kind of grief, right there.

  13. Chromde permalink
    September 13, 2010 1:58 PM

    Let me say, right away, that your comment about bear-flogging duty and the Master is forever stuck in my head. I always had a general idea that his outfits were like that, but you put it so excellently.

    RE: Angel’s Trashy Velvet: He was homeless a year ago, living out of sewers for twenty-plus years. Last time we saw him out and dressed would be the flashback in Orpheus where he had that hiiiiiiiilariously bad hair and bizarre disco outfit. So, he’s not exactly hip on the times early on in Buffy. (Then, one day, I imagine he was lurking around Buffy’s bedroom as he is known to do, found a fashion mag, and started to set himself straight.) Of course, it doesn’t mean that that goddamn jacket isn’t hideous. I want to burn it. Kill it with fire!

    I voted Cordy for worst dressed, simply because even though Willow/Jenny were really some of the worst, those pants are UGLY and I just finished watching Angel and I need to vent my disgust for the outfit EvilCordy wears when she shows the MoG her pregnant belly.

    I voted Buffy for best dressed … because, well, it’s The Dress. Also, those sunglasses. She wears them a lot in the first few seasons. I call them her Stoner Glasses, so whenever we’re rewatching Buffy and they appear, I (and my sister, if she’s there) shout “STONER GLASSES!” So they’re very dear to my heart.

    It was lovely to see you’ve updated. I’ve been sick, and this totally cheered me up.:)

    • msjacks permalink*
      September 13, 2010 2:11 PM

      Stoner glasses! I’m glad reading this cheered you up. I hope you feel better really soon!

  14. Missy permalink
    September 15, 2010 1:49 PM

    I wanna go on record saying
    The Dress is one of the best parts of the whole of S1,It makes up for so much character/plot/fashion/continuity and general oddness that came while the show was finding it’s feet.
    I maintain ‘Prophecy Girl’ is the ep when you realize that this isn’t just a pop culture-y teen angst fest…’s something more which is evident when you see the Buffster wearing a leather Jacket over her pretty junior prom dress.
    Cordy’s pants horrify me……but she’s not the only chick to fall prey to the camel toe pants during the course of the 7 seasons.
    I like Angel’s outfit………….wouldn’t it be weird if he was getting around in Jeans & a Tee …..that thought is more disturbing than the ‘Velvet Jacket’.

  15. Sarah permalink
    October 10, 2010 4:18 AM

    Is it weird that Angel’s jacket made me think of one of those bathrobe things that old guys wear while smoking? And Willow. Oh, god, Willow. I literally laugh every time I see her in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd seasons.

  16. October 30, 2010 10:33 PM

    PS, this post was immensely helpful to me in preparing my Prophecy Girl costume. Thank you😀


  1. Buffy Conjecture: “Prophecy Girl” | Living on the Hellmouth

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