Glee Fashion and Style Guide

lea michele as rachel berry
When Glee premiered in 2009, I had just started Possessionista. At the time, it was a combination of things I was shopping for, and fashion from celebrities. But then in May, Fox aired the Glee premiere.

And my life was changed forever.

Undoubtedly, in Glee, a new fashion was born. And whether you prefer the girly frill of Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) or the school girl librarian style of Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) there’s a Glee style characature – if not an inspiration – for anyone.

Blending mall store brands like Forever 21, JCrew and H&M with high end designers like Marc Jacobs, Milly and Kate Spade, Lou Eyrich, Glee’s award winning wardrobe designer has created a new genre in fashion.

Each character’s wardrobe is an extension of their character – to be Rachel Berry is to adopt innacurately trendy items with a sense of authority, while Gemma Mays’ Emma Pillsbury is always proper, pristine and a throwback to another time.

Quinn integrates commercially popular brands like Juicy Couture, and frilly dresses from Anthropologie. Character Britney S. Pierce, played by Heather Morris shops almost entirely at H&M and almost always includes an animal in her outfits, while Santana (played by Naya Rivera) fills her closet with Guess, Marciano and Betsey Johnson – often with revealing, short skirts, bustier tops and leather outerwear.

During the third season of Glee, Wardrobe designer Lou Eyrich adopted a lot of vintage pieces she collected from secondhand stores throughout Los Angeles, particularly for Lea Michele’s character Rachel, and Tina Cohen-Chang (played by Jenna Ushkowitz )

Polka Dots, stripes, hearts and animal prints all play major roles in the main character wardrobes, as do graphic print tees – particularly for characters Mercedes (played by Amber Riley) and Santana.

For the past three seasons, the New Directions have competed in various regional and national competitions in dresses by Jenny Wu and Betsey Johnson, but it’s the various performance outfits that have brought about some of the greatest buzz around Glee fashion. From the yellow dresses during the first season’s Mashup, to the last-minute lumberjack inspired red plaid shirts and hiking boots – the cast of Glee always ends the show in an outfit worth discussing, if not replicating.

Accessories also play a key part in Glee fashion. Hats are almost always incorporated into the costumes including fedoras, floppy hats and occassionally even an animal inspired winter cap. During season two, Britney wore a fur trapper that sold out in days from Urban Outfitters.

Likewise, jewelry is an important part of the Glee style. Emma Pillsbury is often noted for her vintage sweaterclips that can be easily replicated from eBay or Etsy, while Lea Michele as Rachel Berry often wears her own necklaces, including a diamond “XO” by Zoe Chicco that was a gift from Lea’s mom. Later in the show, Rachel Berry wears a plated gold necklace with the name “Finn” on it (played by Corey Monteith.) The custom necklace was created by Ryan Ryan jeweler, who later went on to design Rachel’s star necklace, that Finn gives her for Christmas, and a pink diamond necklace she wears to prom.

To recreate Rachel Berry or Emma Pillsbury’s fashion, look to retailers like Ruche, Tulle and Modcloth who all carry similar, vintage inspired looks for less. For Rachel, consider laying patters, incorporating plaids, and details like knee socks and intarsia sweaters to keep the look Rachel Berry style. If you’re more inspired by Emma Pillsbury’s fashion, look for vintage details like oversized bows, embroidery and feminine accessories and prints.

Thanks to the popularity of Mercedes, retailers like Forever21 offer wonderful, trendy options for plus-sized women, including graphic tees, skinny and bell bottom jeans, and cardigans, for a diva-layered look that makes Mercedes so replicable. Finish the look with charm embellished accessories from Betsey Johnson for Mercedes unique style.

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