‘Girls’ characters mature with their style
I remember pausing my television numerous times throughout last winter’s season of “Girls” when Shoshanna Shapiro, living in Japan at the time, incorporated Japanese-inspired fashion trends into her own style. There was the bleached, pink ombre lob hairstyle with the “Je Ne Sais Blah” shirt. I was shocked to see that the character, played by Zosia Mamet, had taken a detour from her typical look.
Her attire in the earlier seasons, particularly the first, comprised of cardigans and dresses straight out of grandma’s closet. Fast forward to the second episode of the sixth season, “Hostage Situation,” and the career-driven Shoshanna accessorizes a short blazer dress with large hoops at an event for young professional women. I was shook.
Her date to the event, Elijah Krantz (Andrew Rannells), wore a white turtleneck under a white suit, which matched Shoshanna’s white ensemble. Shoshanna had her hair tied back in a casual bun, a far-cry from her distracting, perfectly circular side-bun headband combinations from the first season. Not only has Shoshanna become more confident, but she’s come into her own in the style department.
I think this speaks true to the main protagonist Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) as well. As the show has matured, so has each character and their style. In this season Hannah, with an article published in the New York Times, has finally reached the success in her writing career that she’s been waiting for. She’s a published woman now.
I quickly noticed Hannah’s hair in the first episode of this season. In tight, mermaid-like braids, Hannah’s hair even appears more professional. Her hair is an evolution story itself. In the season two finale, “Together,” Hannah is ashamed of her bowl cut and calls Adam Sackler, her now ex-boyfriend, upset and in a panic. He runs to her house and comforts her in a lovingly strange embrace characteristic of the show itself, concluding the season.
Her hair and style are reflective of her growth since then—with her mental health, her career and her style. She’s grown.
With the confidence Hannah has in season six, she doesn’t need that same sense of reassurance over a silly haircut nor does she rely on a romantic partner to fulfill her happiness.
Even with this season’s humiliating and unhinged experiences—like learning her sexual partner has another girlfriend and finding out she’s pregnant from a doctor who she had a sexual relationship with in the past—Hannah has been able to approach each situation confidently.
In Sunday night’s episode, “Painful Evacuation” she wears a shirt that says, “Typical Boy” to the emergency room. Hannah’s had questionable outfit choices in past seasons, but somehow now it seems she’s pulled it together into a deliberate look of quirk and personality.
In only four episodes so far this season, we’ve already seen each of the characters exposed in deeper ways. Shoshanna is driven in her work. Desperate for drama, Marnie Michaels (Allison Williams) cannot leave her ex-husband Desi Harperin (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) despite rightful cause. Hannah has opened her mind to new experiences outside of her city bubble. Jessa Johansson (Jemima Kirke) is intoxicated by her passionate and seemingly happy relationship with Adam, Hannah’s ex despite previous convictions.
Similar to Hannah and Shoshanna, Jessa’s style seems to mirror her own character’s personal journey toward self-awareness.
In the first episode of this season we see Jessa sitting naked on the couch while nonchalantly eating yogurt and talking with Adam’s roommate Ray Ploshansky (Alex Karpovsky), who is shown looking clearly uncomfortable by her lack of clothes.
In the fourth episode, most of Jessa’s screen time is at Adam’s apartment while in a big t-shirt, portraying both her contentment in her relationship’s status and its all-absorbing nature.
Rewind to the series’ first episode when Jessa, dressed in a fedora and fringed jacket, moves in with Shoshanna, the then young and impressionable cousin with a boundless appreciation for her. In the sixth season we see this relationship refine when Shoshanna confronts Jessa, whom she now sees as a burden in the mobility of her life.
Regardless of the specific character, the entire cast has grown in personality and style—resulting in subtle yet drastic growth. That’s what makes “Girls” so relatable: a painful breakup like Adam and Hannah’s, a loving friendship like Elijah and Hannah’s, a burning UTI like Hannah’s, a terrible haircut, mismatched clothes. It feels as if the show has mirrored the unconventional realities of life and fashion.
Emily Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EmilyAnneJohn.