The most noticeable difference about Girls to me is that the characters don’t look as weirdly polished. Of course, they’re not going to look bad either. Girls‘ costume designer, Jenn Rogien told The Cut, “We really did want them to be realistic and approachable, but we still wanted to elevate their look just a smidge so that was in the world of a TV show. We wanted to show the raw, slightly gritty girl that Lena had created.” The elevating can be seen in the tailoring. “For the characters that are supposed to look good, we wanted them to look great; for the characters who are supposed to be disheveled, we wanted them to look disheveled in the right way.”
Nothing is instantly recognizable as a spring 2012 piece from [blank] designer. Granted, the four female lead characters are in their early 20s and have graduated college only recently–they can’t afford Manolos and even if they could, it wouldn’t make sense for them to wear them. (It doesn’t really make sense for anyone who doesn’t have a car service to wear them as a day-to-day accessory.) Hannah wears vintage-looking lace-up boots with socks with tights with a high-waisted skirt and printed button-down–to work. It’s slightly grungy and mismatched, but sometimes that’s how you have to look when you live in Brooklyn and it’s cold out. Also worth noting: they’re not all hipsters. Another character wears a pink Juicy Couture sweatsuit with conviction.
Another thing all pre-Girls shows had in common was that their female leads looked like beautiful, thin, well-coiffed actresses, whereas Girls’ girls look like real girls. They don’t all look like supermodels; they all seem to have their natural hair colors and their haircuts are simple, not trendy.
Extravagant designer duds may have worked for shows like Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, but when a show is about people who really exist, sometimes less is more.