How to dress like Penelope Garcia

how to dress like penelope garcia

I’m on season 3 of Criminal Minds (only a decade behind!) and in love with Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) and Dr. Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) like everyone else. Specifically: GARCIA’S STYLE. While the rest of her team looks like they’re perpetually on their way to a funeral (which…they sort of are?), Garcia wears florals, colorful glasses, and funky jewelry. Her fashion sense reflects her playful sexiness and quick wit. She’s 100% delightful (especially since Kirsten Vangsness herself is “as queer as a purple unicorn singing Madonna”).

penelope garcia fashion style

So you wanna dress like Garcia? DON’T WE ALL! Here’s how:

  • Embrace your curves. Garcia often wears wrap dresses or scoop-neck tops that show off her amazing boobs. Fit-and-flare dresses or a-line skirts, too. (Yay for non-skinny people on TV!)
  • Wear bright, summery colors. While her team wears neutrals, Garcia’s palette is warm, ~*SenSuAL*~ berry tones like red/purple/pink, as well as happy yellows/oranges and vibrant teal.
  • Add a zany cardigan or blazer to a solid-colored top, or vice versa.
  • PATTERNS! Paisley, polka dots, stars, plaid, you name it.
  • Channel ’50s pinup girl meets garden party or punk rawk.
  • Accessorize with novelty earrings, statement necklaces, and chunky bracelets. Also glitter. Glitter’s an accessory, right?
  • Wear a multicolored headband, barrettes, fake daisy, or feathers in your hair.
  • Shiny lip gloss. Heels, if u want.
  • MORE IS MORE!

penelope garcia criminal minds fashion style

Sounds cheesy, but Garcia’s aesthetic has an empowering subtext: You can be sexy and smart. You can be feminine and professional. You can be vivacious and whimsical and amazing at your job. You don’t have to sacrifice color or style or silliness to be successful. That shouldn’t be revolutionary, but pop culture loves its stereotypes (“blondes are airheads”), and thanks to sexism, women feel pressure to dress and act like men to succeed at work:

One in four women dress in a more masculine way – discarding high heels and dresses for trouser suits – acting under the belief they should look like their male colleagues to be treated seriously. A further quarter wear less makeup at work, partly to dispel the notion that all women must ‘look pretty,’ the survey of 2,000 working women showed.

To sum up:

All of the standards of appearance being pushed on employees in office environments are, essentially, strongholds of white male standards of power.

FUCK THAT. Express your personality! Stand out! Be a Garcia! (Ahem. I got excited.)

Looking forward to 10 more seasons of her fantastic style. Stay wonderful, tech kitten. 🦄

ETA: Check out the kind Sheila‘s real-life Garcia style here! Am I biased because she linked to me and was super-sweet? Yes. And no. Her style is awesome, and her blog will make you smile.

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How to dress like Claudia Kishi

🌼updated August 2020🌼

Is any fictional character more beloved for her personal style than CLAUDIA KISHI?

claudia kishi fashion outfits wardrobe

Unquestionably the best member of The Babysitters Club books (a ’90s-child staple), Claudia was *~the artsy one~* and the most relatable (for me, at least). Claud is known for her terrible spelling, candy addiction, and FUNKY FRESH wardrobe, which author Ann M. Martin (and her ghostwriters) describe in deliciously painstaking detail in every book. While struggling with school and comparisons to her genius sister, Janine, Claudia expressed her creativity through amazing thrifted mish-mash outfits. They revolve around a few key staples:

  • Leggings
  • Vests
  • Cowboy boots
  • CRAZY PRINTS & PATTERNS!!!
  • Hoops or novelty earrings
  • Long funky necklaces
  • High ponytails with scrunchies

So much yes.

claudia kishi outfits fashion

Claud was the original hipster, but in an unpretentious way (she was cool because she was messy and had her own phone line, not because she listened to the “right” bands). She wasn’t self-obsessed. She mostly cared about babysitting, painting, reading Nancy Drew mysteries, being a good friend, and hanging out with her grandma, Mimi. She lacked the snobby narcissism of Stacey, the mousy spinelessness of Mary Anne, and the controlling type-A-ness of Kristy. (Wow, I guess I didn’t like the other characters much!)

And of any of the characters, Claudia left the biggest mark on pop culture, inspiring a comic, a fashion blog, and countless style posts (including this one!). Half Japanese, she was also a role model for Asian-American readers (although writers did focus on her “exotic”-ness and “almond-shaped eyes” too much).

So eat a doughnut, hit up your favorite thrift store, and twirl the cord of your landline around your finger! ❤ u 4ever, Claudia.

Update, August 2020! Um could the Netflix reboot of the Baby-Sitters’ Club BE any more heartwarming?! I’ve watched it twice so far and LOVE the costume design for Claud! The show inspired me to go back through the 130+ book covers in search of even more outfit inspo:

Claudia Kishi outfits style babysitters club

The show did NOT disappoint: bright colors, oversized knits, and overalls/jumpsuits to die for. I’m inspired to seek out more orange, purple, and YELLOW PLAID clothes. It’s hard to pick a fave ~lewk~ but I think this mustard-yellow jumpsuit, bomber jacket, daisy ring combo takes the cake:

Brb, gotta finish watching it for the third time 😉

some fall 2017 lewkz

*~ladeez of the canyon~*

Etro (aren’t they missing an R? har har) is delightfully Claudia-Kishi-circa-1970 this fall. Inspo: sheepskin, thrift-store scarves, bubblegum Joni Mitchell??? All the hot pink/floral/lime green/leopard print, plz.

etro-fall-2017-rtw-runway-collage

photos via WWD

Aaaa! Are your eyes overwhelmed too? Quick, look at this water:

water

PALETTE CLEANSER! Whew. OK, ready for more?

tWiSteD SISteR

How about Giamba, which one can only assume is inspired by Black Swan, grandma’s old nighties, and tarot cards:

giamba 2017

Photos via WWD

Suggested taglines: Saccharine with a side of evil. Or maybe More cookies, Skeletor? SOMEone discovered pastel goth! X-P

All right, that’s all we’ve got for Holly Pretends To Be A Fashion Person While Clearly Being Woefully Undereducated. Tune in next time for styles inspired by The Wild West meets gummi vitamins.

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hi fall high fash

loving the usual pink ‘n’ gold ‘n’ brights, with a bit of black for some pastel gothy cred. drooling pastry-flavored saliva all over these (GROSS) and imagining i have a sugar mama (or maybe just a sugar cookie?). those gold and pink prada platforms!

fall 2016 designer fashion collage

ready for fall and stomping around in boots, reading depressing books, and drinking tea again. COME AT ME, RAIN! ❤

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not it

Most “websites for women” (EYEROLL) are full of headlines like this:

it-girl-headline2

Or this:

it-girl-headline1

The “it” girl species (Homo itgirlius) is always well-dressed, always on the cutting edge. Fashionable, flawlessly made up, “effortlessly” dressed, minimalist rose gold jewelry, blond-streaked hair gently tousled or piled in a bun on top of her head. (Her Instagram is amazing.) For a small fee, you too can dress like the ‘it’ girl (Alexa Chung, apparently the “Man Repeller” woman, maybe the Olsen twins?). On the “it” girl’s thin frame, ugly things like frumpy trousers and burlap sacks look sexy (especially when styled with the requisite 4-inch heels). Oh yeah, she’s usually white too.

For a while my eyes turned all swirly and hypnotized–I too wanted to look like an “it” girl. What colors are in? What length of skirt is hip? Where can I find affordable high-rise cropped flared jeans in the right wash? How can I wear a romper without flashing everyone? And then failure and exhaustion set in. Trying to be an “it” girl, much like trying to be popular in junior high, is TOO MUCH WORK (and ultimately impossible without changing, like, who I am). Expensive, tiring, just not me. And “it” girls all kind of look the same.

So many "it" girl lewkz on stock photo sites. Who knew?
all via free stock photo sites

I’m not dissing all fashion bloggers by any means. I LIKE fashion bloggers if they have their own style, some personality behind it (like Midge at Modern Girl Blitz). If you change too much with the trends, who are you really? Who are you without them? Do you have any creativity of your own?

I want to dress for ME. Maybe drawing inspo from trends…but not letting them dictate my wardrobe. From Eleanor & Park:

she-looked-like-art

I think confidence, being happy with yourself, not needing the fashion approval of others–THOSE are even better than being an “it” girl. The trade-off is less immediate shallow gratification, but it’s a lot less fleeting. ❤

Updated 6/20: Awesome quote from actress Constance Wu on Vulture about this (well, acting rather than fashion, but still relevant):

Hollywood likes their girls to feel like, Oh, I discovered her in a pizza parlor. Fresh plucked. New. Still sweet. Not battle-tested and wise and smart and strong. There’s an “It” girl every year because there’s a slot that needs to be filled, and this girl gets all the parts, and she gets them because she is so new and she’s having her moment now. But an “It” moment only lasts X amount of time. Some of them are able to transition into leading-lady status like Charlize or Angelina. But how many “It” girls haven’t been able to do that? And why is the “It” girl even a thing?…The “It” girl is a very fucked-up idea when you think about it.

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fave cannes lewkz

cannes 2016 fashion outfits

all photos via vogue uk

There was a LOT of black and boring stuff, so obviously I rooted through til I found the pink yellow puke amazingness (even though I only know who like 3 of these people are).

um that multicolor strapless number (by Naeem Khan)! I AM IN AWE. and Vanessa Paradis’s flamingo pink heels and menswear. I know Riley Keough’s vomit-and-magenta Gucci dress is gonna be a FASHION DON’T but i love it. Daring colors plus ruffles and a ’90s feel, amirite?

ahhh. pastel candy monster temporarily satiated.

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