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  • Claire Kalikman

Small Screen Style: Grown-ish

Yale Fashion House

FEBRUARY 21, 2018

Zoey’s style on Grown-ish is a bit more luxe than that of most college students. The new spin-off of Black-ish stars Yara Shahidi as a student at the fictional Cal U, a school with a striking similarity to UC Berkeley. The star herself was accepted to Harvard last year, though she has no immediate plans to attend (smart girl!), The credit for Zoey’s killer fashion sense goes to the show’s costume designer, Michelle Cole. The designer has made conscious choices to make the character’s wardrobe somewhat believable, while at the same time aspirational, giving us what can be described as magical realism. She faces  the same obstacles as all of us: balancing parties and homework, figuring out hard-to-read romantic partners, and missing home, but does it all a little more chicly, with just a touch of lipstick for help. Cole has said that she mixes high- and low-end brands, from Fendi to Forever 21. The show follows in a long line of ridiculously well-dressed teen dramas including Gossip Girl, Jane by Design, Pretty Little Liars, and The Carrie Diaries. All feature a spunky and loveable teen lead who fearlessly mixes and matches print while at parties, while doing homework, and even while sleeping. The show also seems to be a quiet celebration of black women’s hair: Zoey rocks everything from tight curls to stick-straight tresses, braids, and buns. This appreciation of black identity follows from the original show, which is an exploration of modern black identity. Here are some of the show's best looks:

I love this pattern mixing. The trousers look like they’re from a designer brand like Cotélac, whereas the shirt could be from Old Navy. The outfit projects a sense of confidence in front of what appears to be a difficult math problem.

This pajama look seems like it could work as an outfit on those mornings wear you just can’t bear to put on real clothes. The headband is both practical and chic. The panicked expression at 7:01 am adds a touch of realism

This kimono look is both glamorous and comfortable. The hair is remarkable, but kept refined by being off her face. The makeup is kept demure to balance out the statement hairstyle.  A great lecture ensemble.

This strikes me as somewhere between Diane von Furstenburg intern and flight attendant. The wrap dress is chic and, in that color, age-appropriate. But the scarf tied in that way, coupled with the coffee she’s carrying, says, “how may I help you?” The glasses nearly save this look by bringing it back to a school setting.

This is quirky and preppy - the best combination for this context. The sweater vest is dorky by nature, but the colors are somewhat chic, and pairs nicely with the well-fitting white collared shirt. The shiny lips, sleek, sleek topknot, and furry pom-pom earrings elevate this look.

The thick silk headband and comfy sweater would be a great look for late-night existential talks in the Buttery.

This is one of the few misses, I think. The overt brand-name is unrealistic given the character’s middle class background. The ruffles on the jacket fail to make this anything other than very sporty. She looks more fit for Pyeongchang than Los Angeles.

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