Even though the original Gossip Girl aired its final episode nearly nine years ago on the CW, to this day we still associate chunky statement headbands with Queen Bee Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) and loose neckties with boho-chic Serena Van Der Woodsen (Blake Lively).
An outfit centering around a plaid skirt is just as quickly affiliated with the Upper East Side’s private school elite in 2021 as in 2007. But do we even remember Gen-Z influencer Julien’s (Jordan Alexander) first day of school or New York Fashion Week outfits from HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot just two months ago?
The original Gossip Girl placed fashion at the forefront, using it as a medium to express each character’s social status. While the 2021 reboot does shove notable fashion tidbits into our faces — think Julien’s sisterly act of sending Zoya (Whitney Peak) a Net-a-Porter package for the friend group’s evening at Dumbo Hall (below) — the clothes align exactly with current trends and serve more to express the characters’, as well as the series’, hip personas.
Subtle nods to the original series’ iconic looks further highlight just how current the reboot’s fashion truly is. Edgy streetwear takes center stage in the reboot, reminiscent of Jenny Humphrey’s (Taylor Momsen) style in the later episodes of the original series. Whereas Blair and Serena maintained their individual titles as preppy, classic queen and effortless, Kate Moss-inspired icon, respectively, throughout the entire series, Jenny experienced a style evolution as she gained her own voice and escaped from the social pulls of the Upper East Side. Her later looks encapsulated the edgy downtown Manhattan-style of artists.
Almost all of the reboot’s characters’ styles gravitate towards this streetwear-esque aesthetic. Even Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), who veers more towards Blair’s Upper East Side style, dons a black evening dress with a mesh torso and a fringy, banged hairstyle in the first episode’s Dumbo House scene (below), highlighting the current drift towards edge and away from prep. While watching the reboot, we can’t help but notice the remnants of Jenny’s spearheading style from the original series.
In Episode 1, the beginning sparks of Zoya’s involvement with Julien’s squad is welcomed with snappy judgments from cronies Monet (Savannah Lee Smith), Luna (Zion Moreno), and Audrey. As Julien approaches Zoya to demonstrate acceptance, Monet responds to Julien’s comments on Zoya’s coolness with a curt “She has a headband on!”
This seemingly simple remark showcases the reboot’s attempt to place the social workings of the original series in 2021’s trend landscape. The headband served as a tiara on Blair Waldorf’s Met steps. Now, the royal marking is no longer an accessory… it’s an Instagram follower count.
Other than Zoya, Monet, and Luna’s boldly colored looks for their evening at the Fashion Week show in which Julien walks, the overall palette for all of the outfits in the reboot remains fairly neutral. Black is a staple color for the majority of the looks, just as it is in current trends.
The original series’ use of bright colors and seemingly unconventional coloring pairings most definitely did not carry through to the reboot. This shift directly reflects trends of the times. In 2006, bright pink did indeed pair with candy apple green. In 2021, black pairs with black, and the cast of the reboot expresses that point-blank.
Monet and Luna seem to carry most of the weight of maintaining the original series’ stylings, especially when it comes to their individual interpretations of the Constance Billard uniform. Although the rules of the school’s uniform policy have been questionable in both adaptations of the show, this costuming element has always served as a pure representation of each character’s individual style. Monet and Luna refer back to Blair’s addition of dainty blouse necklines, preppy cardigans, and neatly-tied bows to replace ties.
That contrasts with Zoya and Julien, who adorn their uniforms with fanny packs, flannel, and fashionable sneakers; Aki (Evan Mock), who incorporates beanies and relaxed chino pants into his school outfits; and Max (Thomas Doherty), with sports ascots and Gucci.
While we wait two more months for the reboot’s return, we doubt we’ll slip subtle style references into conversations as we do with some of Blair and Serena’s most memorable looks. But we will notice that the fashion featured in HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot can be seen on influencer’s Instagrams and the streets of New York City due to its direct alignment with 2021 trends.
Gossip Girl, Returns, November, HBO Max