Like many people, I'm currently rewatching Gossip Girl and I will unashamedly admit how obsessed I am with the Upper East Side's closet. The combination of 2008 and rich teenagers make for some unforgettable looks. Unfortunately, I also know they're dressed in head-to-toe designer, and that isn't reasonable for most people. Most people are me.
However, just because I'm not decked out in Chanel, that doesn't mean I can't emulate Blair Waldorf. After studying the looks of our favorite characters, I compiled this list of how to dress like you're on Gossip Girl, without any extra expense. So buckle up New Yorkers, and take some notes.
One of the reasons that all the GG characters just look so good is that their stylists understand their proportions. If you look at any image of Serena, you can see just how flawless she looks. Now look at her outfit; it's probably kind of ugly. At least by today's standards.
The reason that these questionable outfits look amazing on Blake Lively, is because it balances her out. Most of her outfits, from red carpets to street style, draw the eye to her shoulders. Blake has broad shoulders, and this enhances them to a very chic level.
She's tall, and her clothing embraces that. Vertical stripes, high boots, and low-cut shirts. All elements of her outfit work to elevate not hide.
The other It Girl of the series, Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), is a polar opposite to Serena. The costume designers still made her outfits work perfectly.
When she isn't bundled up in a plaid overcoat, Blair is usually seen in dresses that cinch at her waist and softly flair out at both the bottom and top. This accentuates her natural hourglass figure and gives her a very well-proportioned appearance.
You don't need to spend hours analyzing your body to learn what looks good. In fact, I don't recommend that. Instead, just learn to play with your favorite features. Make the boldest ones stand out, and wear what feels good!
Jenny Humphrey made some awful decisions, but a great one was learning how to sew. Do you think any of the Upper East Siders would be caught dead in a shirt that was too tight? What about some jeans that were slipping off?
“Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s a movement, design, and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.”
- Blair Waldorf
Unfortunately, it's hard to find a piece of-the-rack that fits like a dream. The Gossip Girl characters were likely to get their clothes professionally tailored, or just call it TV magic. Tailoring is expensive, and while I would recommend the extra investment for high-end pieces, not every pair of thrift store jeans needs to be tailored.
That's why learning to alter your clothes is the secret ingredient to looking good. If you have a sewing machine, great! Learn to use it. If you don't, you can also stitch your clothes by hand, it just might take a little longer.
Sewing, like every hobby, has a learning curve, so start out on items that you might not wear as much.
On a personal level, learning how to alter my clothes has made the biggest difference in my wardrobe. I get double the compliments and I have a new, useful skill.
Serena Van der Woodsen, the human embodiment of gold. Now listen, she doesn't wear so much gold 'just because.' Like I've said before, the GG stylists are smart, and they know what their models look good in. Blake Lively has very warm undertones.
It's commonly known that warmer skin suits gold, and cooler skin suits silver. With her honey blonde hair and tan skin, there isn't a Serena outfit without a hint of the yellow metal.
There are a million ways to find out your undertones, from checking your veins to professional color analysis. The general rule, is that if the color of the veins on the inside of your wrist are green, you're warm toned. If they're purple, you're cool toned. If they're somewhere inbetween, or both, then you're neutral.
If you have a neutral undertone, like me, then you'll look amazing in everything!
Of course, the most important thing is that you wear what you like. If you have warm undertones but prefer silver, don't let me stop you from wearing it. However, it's always good to be aware of what might make you shine.
One of the most iconic aspects of Gossip Girl is phenomenal hair. Seriously, all of them look like they're fresh from the salon 24/7. While this expectation might not be completely reasonable, there are ways to maximise the appearance of your hair.
Whether straight, curly, or somewhere inbetween, Blair's hair is almost always embellished with a headband. Accessorising your hair always enhances it, even just a little bit. Blair matched her headwear to her outfit, above she paired it with the royal blue belt on her dress.
Headbands really aren't expensive, but I know that I promised zero expenses. You can easily make a headband with your newfound sewing skills. It can be as simple as cutting out some fabric from a shirt and hemming it.
Let's get real, everyone's hair inspiration is Serena Van der Woodsen. While we may not be able to mimic it exactly, there are ways to try and produce a similar effect.
Firstly, get a good shampoo. Next time you run out of your hair products, think about buying a nicer one (you would have to get one anyway!). Look for features such as 'thickening' and 'shine,' as those are the two stand out elements in Serena's hair. There are so many brands to recommend, my personal favorite is Ouai, but do your research.
Next, start adding rice water to your routine. You can make this at home with the rice that you likely already have. Rice water helps to repair damage and can speed up growth. Serena's hair is healthy and long, and yours can be too.
Lastly, styling. Most of the time, Serena has a blowout. Learn to work with a round brush and a hair dryer to create a similar effect.
There are a million tutorials online, and give yourself some time to practice. Once you get the hang of it, you can give yourself Serena locks whenever you please!
If you have curly hair and don't want to damage your curl pattern, check out Vanessa's hair. She always kept her volume with her hair, and played with the length. She often pinned it back and fluffed out her roots.
The most stand-out feature of GG hair is volume, so don't let it get flat! Think about getting a texturizing spray or hairspray. Whoever you want to mimic, it's totally achievable.
Throughout six seasons and five years, Gossip Girls covered a lot of accessory territory. From gargantuan purses to statement necklaces, the general rule was ‘bigger is better.’
Belt-esque designs were essential to Blair Waldorf's wardrobe. They draw emphasis to the waist, enhancing her hourglass figure. Blair was mostly seen in dresses, so these were built in. Even if you don't have a dress like this, you might have a belt or some fabric that can create a similar effect.
When it comes to experimenting with this, it's easy to go south very quickly. Don't let it look messy, with fraying fabric, or tacky, with a bad quality belt. Tie it into your outfit and allow yourself some time to find what works.
If Serena wasn't hauling around the largest bag known-to-man, what was she doing? Tiny microbags have been 'in' for the past few months, but lucky for you, these large purses are coming back. If you (or your mom, or your grandma) didn't already have one, I would be shocked. They're practical, which adds to the appeal and constant resurgence.
If you really have nothing, consider going thrifting. I have found great quality handbags for less than a dollar, and I'm sure you can too.
Tights are essential to a GG-inspired wardrobe. From Jenny's angst-filled outfits to Blair's uniform's pop-of-color, there is hardly an episode without them. Once again, these are a staple for any closet, so I would be surprised if you didn't own a pair.
If you don't, they are super cheap. Like really cheap. You can get a bulk pack for less than $5 at many retailers.
Pair them with any shoes you want. Gossip Girl characters lean towards boots, whether ankle or knee-high.
Lastly, the small things. Some characters (i.e., Blair, Vanessa, and Serena) leaned towards statement necklaces. Others, (Georgina and Jenny) chose to layer.
Layered necklaces have been much more popular in recent years, so you might prefer those. Find thin pieces of varying lengths, and go crazy!
What about sunglasses? Make them as big as possible. Choose frames that border on ridiculous, like Georgina's in the photo above.
Personally, sunglasses are my favorite hair accessory, and I almost never wear them for their intended purpose. They give volume to your hair, like I discussed earlier, and can be a cute tie-in to another accessory.
Any accessory you choose was probably featured on Gossip Girl at least once. So, don't fret. You don't need to go out and buy a whole new range of pieces to fill your jewelry box. Wear what you already have, because it's really all about styling.
Makeup is another one that really depends on your style. It also depends on your face, your skin, and anything else you can think of. It's complicated.
However, each character has their own makeup quirks. You might need to figure out what aspects work for you, but you can try and emulate any of these icons.
Vanessa had bold eyebrows. They were fairly straight across and were slightly darker than her hair. She was usually seen in waterline eyeliner and, for formal occasions, a red lip.
In my opinion, her makeup was hit-or-miss, so try and find a specific look you want to recreate.
Serena's makeup was kept simple and shiny. She always had a shimmer in her inner-eye-corners, likely from highlighter. She wore lip gloss instead of lipstick, unless she was at an event, and it was a more neutral color.
"Lipstick lasts longer, but gloss is more fun."
- Serena Van der Woodsen
Her base makeup was boring, just bright concealer and light blush. I would say that her makeup is closest to today's trends, so it's the safest option if you aren't ready for something more daring.
Blair's biggest makeup feature was the blush. The makeup artists always put rosy blush on the apples of her cheeks. This made her appear almost doll-like, and gave her face a lot of dimension.
She also wore more lip gloss than lipstick, and most of the time in a shimmering pink. The lip color that looks best on you has to do with a variety of factors, so I would recommend going to a Sephora and trying them on. Once you've found a color, like Blair, you can keep it as your go-to.
I can't talk about Gossip Girl makeup without talking about Little J. Jenny Humphrey went through a lot, both in terms of style and character. Most of the time, her character was seen in the sort of look you see above.
A muted smokey eye, sometimes accompanied by a bold lip. One of the draws to edgy glam is that Taylor Momson is very pale. Once she bleached her hair, the dark makeup provided a startling contrast.
This works for some, not all. For example, I cannot pull off a dark lip, no matter how hard I try.
If you want a more neutral Jenny-inspired look, search for Season 1. If you want a bold one, try late Season 2. My personal favorite is Season 3. Find which style you look, and go for it!
Gossip Girl had hundreds of styles and millions of dollars. As much as we might want to emulate that, most of the time we can't. However, with enough creativity, you can turn a basic closet into anything you want.
Accessories and makeup really help. I hope these tips helped you find GG in your wardrobe!