With only a handful of episodes until the series finale, I'm feeling nostalgic for the fall of 2007, when Gossip Girl began. In their April 2008 cover story on Gossip Girl, New York magazine's Jessica Pressler and Chris Rovzar wrote that the show is "changing the way we watch television." With lavishly dressed characters and cameos by fashionable heavy hitters ranging from Tory Burch to Stefano Tonchi, Gossip Girl has also had an undeniable impact on the way we dress.
"Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It's movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we'd like to be," Blair told Dan in season four, "just like your scarf suggests that you'd like to sell used cars." I immediately became enamored with the show's preppy, decadent fashions and started my first fashion blog to chronicle them in 2008. Here are ten important fashion lessons I have learned from the series.
1. School uniforms don't have to be, well, uniform. Each of the Gossip Girls, from Blair to Jenny to the extras, customized their Constance Billard uniforms with embellished headbands, statement handbags and colorful or patterned tights. I still wear red tights à la Blair in season one, and there are more unique and affordable tights on the market today than ever. Prep-school blazers are still popular, even for those of us who have long since graduated. Thom Browne has designed preppy navy blazers for men and women as part of a Neiman Marcus collaboration with Target that's available starting December 1.
2. Sequins make a sweater better. In season one, Serena wore Nanette Lepore's "symphony" sequin cardigan from the fall 2007 collection. I tracked one down, and it's still my favorite sweater. Serena has sported embellished cardigans from Gryphon, Burberry and Marc by Marc Jacobs and now they're available at every price point.
3. Adopt a signature accessory to personalize your look. Chuck's J.Press power scarf. Jenny's eyeliner. Serena's hair. Blair's ruby ring, and of course, her headbands.
4. Wear emerging designers in addition to established ones. Lorick New York, Jenny Packham, Vena Cava, Philip Lim and Alex Woo are small fraction of the list of labels that were relatively undiscovered before the show.
5. Pajamas can be stylish, too. From Blair Waldorf's bedroom scenes to a fashion show at Agent Provocateur, Gossip Girl showcased some of the best high-end intimates available. While most people sleep in sweatpants and a t-shirt, Manhattan's elite are not most people and favor ensembles by Natori or Ligne de Soie after-hours.
6. Excess-orize. Pile on oversized necklaces, bangles or a chunky knit scarf to add interest to an outfit.
7. Coats don't have to be basic black. The characters used their coats as statement pieces, from Jenny's innocent pink coat in the pilot to Chuck's red Ralph Lauren coat and Serena's wide array of embellished outerwear.
8. Don't underestimate the influence of a blogger. Gossip Girl herself may be the original ubiquitous blogger, but the fashion blogosphere has exploded and gained significant fashion clout since the show's inception. When I first began blogging about the clothes on Gossip Girl, it was difficult to get anyone in fashion to reply to an email inquiry. Two years later, I was receiving tweets and emails daily from fashion publicists whose clients were featured and I attended my first show at New York Fashion Week.
9. Leggings are not pants. Learn it. Live it.
10. Eric Daman is awesome. He's written a book and collaborated with Charlotte Russe, DKNY and Swarovski. Next, he'll be bringing his magic to The Carrie Diaries.