"The Bushwick loft party was the biggest episode of last season, in terms of scope and scale."
"A lot of Shoshanna's jewelry is either bows, peace signs, or butterflies—a nod to her sweetness and youthfulness. She's a couple of years younger than the others."
"For Shosh, the entire outfit was all about no pants—as she smokes crack and runs around Bushwick with no pants for the entire episode. She is very matchy-matchy and this something that helps to separate her from the other girls."
"This dress is actually based on a 30s dress that Jemima owns. I was very worried that her dress wouldn't make it through a day of filming because it is so precious and old, so we sourced fabrics to recreate the dress."
"The feather piece came from Lena's description that Jessa needed to look like a breeder of tropical birds, or something equally fabulous. We found this at Woodbury Commons [the outlet store] of all places."
"This is the first time we see Adam in a shirt and Lena wanted it to be a 'party' shirt. When I found out his scenes were in the black light room, I hand-colored the shirt with a black light pen so the paisley would stand out."
"Unlike Jessa, Hannah doesn't want to go to the party: it was scripted that she be dressed in a very un-party outfit."
"Marnie is classic––she has lots of small, sensible jewelry. She's the working girl so her look is very much geared towards what a young, just-out-of-college girl would wear to work. In my discussions with Lena, we figured out her family was from an upper middle-class background and her mother probably takes her shopping for work clothes. Everything is very sensible for her."
"At the end of the episode, Hannah falls off the bike. We had a stunt double so we needed two of each clothing item. It was tough to find doubles of this striped shirt because they aren't cut exactly the same."
"Here’s a pair of tights with the blood marks."
Hannah goth, Shosh Snuggie
"This is Hannah's moment of being a girl and dressing up. This is the same episode when Charlie shaves his head and Marnie says, 'What's up with everyone being so weird today?'"
"Shoshanna is watching the Game Show Network in her Snuggie when Hannah comes over. We looked at several patterns for the Snuggie, like animal print, clouds, and peace signs."
"The union suits were to demonstrate Hannah and Adam coming together—he's sharing and she's sharing. Lena asked for a union suit with a butt flap, which was really hard to find, ‘cause they don't make them like that anymore. We distressed, dyed, and tech-ed them. To tech something means to take it away from the original color. The suits needed to look stained, as though Adam had had them for a long time. They were brand new when we got them so even these pit stains were made by us."
"We used a combination of dyes and tea-staining and these things called Schmutz Sticks—a waxy pigment that gives the effects of pit, dirt, and grass stains. These tools help us take something that is brand new and make it look like it’s not—particularly when we need more than one of an item. It's really hard to find multiple identical real vintage pieces, unless you are able to look into dead stock."
Hannah's sneakers, worn with union suit
"In this scene, I wanted to show that Charlie and Ray are very different but good friends all at the same time. This is one of Charlie's cleaner button-downs. In this episode we were making the point that up until now, the audience has only ever seen Charlie through Marnie’s eyes. We wanted to play with the fact that Charlie is actually fantastic and wonderful, and good-looking! The only version we’d seen prior to this was the too soft, too adorable, and too loving version. Charlie is hip but not hipster and straightforward without being bland. We walk a very fine line with him."
"Ray is super fun to shop for and most of it is thrifted. He has a couple of different levels of looks: he’ll wear a T-shirt to work at Grumpy’s, and then he'll add a button-down if he has an event or is playing a gig. In the very last episode he puts on a tux shirt. He's very low maintenance."
"This is one of my favorite looks. It's supposed to be a dress from Hannah's high school closet. It took us several days to come up with something this terrible! It was the perfect dress to wear on her very awkward date with the pharmacist."
"In that episode, Hannah took her life's worth of laundry home in a plastic bag. We wanted to find things that she could wear from her high school closet while her mother was washing her clothes."
"This was such a great scene and I think a lot of it had to do with Robyn’s song. Just before this scene, Hannah has a drink with her college boyfriend, Elijah, who turns out to be gay—one of the funnier scenes of the episode. This is Hannah putting a lot of effort into looking pretty."
"I got Hannah's dress from a vintage store in Williamsburg and the vintage 60s fruit necklace is from my personal collection. Marnie had come from a gallery opening (remember the High Line scene?). For her, it’s about being classic: there was that Jackie O line in the script that we wanted to play to."
"For the wedding episode, we took things up a notch—Lena wanted everyone to look really good."
"Jessa's wedding dress had to be something vintage that she would have had hanging in her closet."
"The shoes were a nod to finding windfall in her new man. They were the most expensive shoes we bought all season."
"We did blue underwear as a nod to tradition; the garter was scripted for throwing at Marnie; and the veil is vintage gold mesh."
"The boys were really fun: Adam wore two kinds of plaid, Charlie was in a slim suit, and Ray wore this crazy tux shirt."
"Marnie had gone through this transition (the break up, the almost-threesome with Jessa) so we wanted her to be a little more laid back."
"Shosh wore white: we paired the dress with hot pink shoes and a floral clutch. I don’t know about a lot of the jokes until the show airs so Shosh wearing white to her friend's wedding was a surprise for me too!"
Betsey Johnson shoes for Shoshanna, of course
I love the start of the episode when Hannah says "My shoes match my dress... kind of."
Meticulous tag notes
Jenn and I
The laundry room where all the dyeing, tech-ing, and washing happens
Try and find someone young in New York who doesn't like Girls. Try it and let me know how you go. This show owned the best part of my winter and come January 2013, I will resume the same pattern of watching and then analyzing scenes with coworkers and strangers in bars. So why do we like it? 'Cause, for the most part, we identify with the characters: we work in coffee shops, intern at galleries, pursue complete nutcases in search of a "normal relationship," have no idea how we're going to make rent, hate the fact that our degrees mean nothing, and pretty much blindly navigate our way through life, every day. It's all relatable, to the credit of Lena and her team.
A big part of this familiarity comes not just from the situations and surroundings but also from the show's wardrobe: we all have that artsy friend who wears hilarious vintage pieces and a cute Jewish girlfriend that accessorizes at every opportunity. The show’s wardrobe plays with mainstream trend and vintage pieces—all of which are affordable. In the words of Jenn Rogien, the show's costume designer, "while the characters might be interested in fashion or have friends working in the industry, it’s not something that they can tap into, just yet."
When I visited Jenn at the Girls closet, out at the HBO studios in South Williamsburg, she told me that her job is to communicate Lena’s vision via clothing and accessories and find ways to make it work. Lena needed two pairs of union suits and they had to look old and worn, so Jenn made it happen. When Jessa got married, Jenn ensured the dress was the right shade of white so it didn't “vibrate” when played in HD (polka dots are apparently a big no-no too). I asked Jenn to pick out some of her favorite looks from season one.