The Deeper Message In The Ginny And Georgia Costume Design

So we gotta talk about Ginny and Georgia!

You can watch my essay here or read it below!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Netflix recently released their new original drama in late February grabbing the attention of viewers right away. The show refuses to put itself in a box emulating Hart of Dixie, Gilmore Girls, and Pretty Little Liars all at the same time.

Ginny & Georgia intro
Georgia & Ginny, 1x02

The show follows an irresistible yet cunning mother, Georgia, her 15-year old daughter Ginny, which despite her age is more of an adult than her own mother, and her 9-year old son, Austin. Living a nomadic life they are longing for a place to put down roots. So, they move to the quaint, New England town of Wellsbury. To give her kids the life she never had — which we will get to in a moment — she will do everything and anything to keep her kids happy, sometimes no matter what the costs.

Georgia, Austin, Ginny, 1x01

This show gives all the characters involved such deep, complex storylines that is only supplemented by the costume design. The differences in the characters and the contrast of their journeys shows through in the clothing. Just like in any tv show or film, the costume design plays a whole other character, quite literally affecting how the viewer feels in the moment. Something that can easily go unnoticed in shows without flashy and memorable outfits. For example, Euphoria. The show quite literally started a YouTube trend just due to the type of makeup the characters were wearing! So without further a due, I’m here to bring the review and analysis of the Ginny and Georgia costume design!

GINNY:

In the opening scene we are introduced to one of our main characters, Virginia, better known as Ginny. Immediately giving off the vibe of an insecure, lost 15-year old. Studying her dewy, blonde classmate, we see a common theme among young women in high school, comparison.

Ginny, 1x01

We see her here wearing a muted green oversized hoodie and a baggy black tee to match.

Ginny, 1x01
Ginny, 1x01

Even though we might not recognize it, most of us are familiar with color theory. Ya know, red makes you hungry and green helps you relax. Color theory isn’t just used for marketing purposes. In paintings, for example, muted colors are often used around more vibrant colors to draw your eye to that thing or subject.

Creative Waters Art
George Henry, River Landscape By Moonlight, 1887

Using a bunch of highly saturated colors together will result in them competing for attention and the viewer getting confused on where the focal point actually is.

Bâteaux dans le Port de Collioure by André Derain, 1905, private collection

In Ginny’s painting for example (meaning her outfit of course), there’s no vibrance in sight, concluding that there is not one part of her that she wants to be viewed ultimately telling us that she’s much more comfortable blending in the background.

Ginny, 1x01
Ginny, 1x01

Coloring plays a huge role in the way we’re feeling. I know for me when I’m trying to hide from all the people In my hometown grocery store, I’m going to leave my hot pink tube top at home. Pairing her dull colors with the baggy, loose-fitting silhouette of her top garments Ginny is telling us she might not be so confident in her body, doing her best to keep it covered. Now, that might not always be the case considering you can be 100% confident in yourself and still want to wear baggier clothing. But, the costume designer was trying to send us a message right away on who Ginny is as a person, and insecurity could be apart of who she is. It can also mean an attempt at secrecy as well. Considering she is the spawn of a very calculated, secret-filled mother, it might just be in the genes to feel like you always have something to hide.

A great example of this is our favorite mega-famous e-girl Billie Eilish. Known for her rocker girl aesthetic, you won’t ever catch her in form-fitting clothing.

In a collaboration with Calvin Klein, she has given a reason for her ultra baggy look. She states covering up as much of her body as she can is a way for people to not know everything about her.

“Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’ ‘she’s got a flat ass,’ ‘she’s got a fat ass.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know”

-Billie Eilish

Secrecy and insecurity are two things to take into consideration when trying to read Ginny’s clothing, but it also could just be for the simple fact she wanted to feel cozy at school, we all know that feeling.

Moving onto the scene where we are first introduced to the relationship between Ginny & Georgia. You can get quite confused about who the parent is. The show doing a great job portraying their complicated relationship by putting Ginny in the driver’s seat, which has to be a permit because she’s only 15. This could be a strong metaphor for Ginny being the actual head of the family. We see a pattern with Ginny and her dark moody clothing, fitting her personality and the life changes she is going through. Coming into womanhood ain’t an easy feat.

Georgia, Austin, Ginny, 1x01
Austin, Georgia, Ginny, 1x01

We are slowly starting to see her open up with her peers and her outfits. She is pleasantly settling into her new town having met a new group of friends. We gradually start to see ginny take the layers off her outfits and slowly start to lean into lighter colors.

In this scene, she has taken off her plaid shirt to reveal a short-sleeved black tee, representing the transition from a shy new girl to a more flourished young adult. With friends as welcoming as hers, she is finally letting her guard down and is feeling like maybe this place, out of the other towns she has lived in, is different this time.

Ginny, 1x01

With this block denim jacket we have here, it is the lightest color we have seen her in so far but she isn’t going too out of her comfort zone. Denim in many different shades is a safe space for her, still staying in the style of a classic American outfit. She is still keeping the baggy shape that she loves so much telling the audience that she’ll push her comfort level either using shape or color, but she’s not ready to do both just yet.

Ginny, 1x01
Ginny, 1x01

As the season continues we witness Ginny’s evolution into a more vivid, youthful teen opting out for the gritty, edgy looks and giving into rainbow patterns and tight shapes. This could have something to do with her friend group and their influence on her.

Ginny, 1x06 / 1x07 / 1x07

When we are young and in high school, we have no idea who we are and it becomes incredibly easy to mold into our surroundings. Trying to figure out who we are meant to be, comes with trying on a few masks from time to time and seeing what feels right. Ginny’s friends wear an awful lot of colorful pieces paired with styles that could be perceived as immature.

Ginny’s friends

They show their age with their clothing, quite funny considering there are times Georgia could’ve fit right in with their group fashion-wise. Ginny has become very close with her friends by the middle of the season and I’ll be the first to admit my friends in middle school and high school did have an impact on the way I dressed. We get easily wrapped up in “what’s cool?” or “what are my friends wearing?” Or “if everyone is wearing this, should I also give into the trend?” And sometimes that doesn’t leave us when we enter adulthood.

If we look at our society today with technology and social media playing a huge role, everyone is pretty much a clone. We have the same lips, the same clothes, the same Instagram feeds. So I think we can get where Ginny is coming from when she takes inspiration from her friends. It’s no secret we are easily influenced when young, we are definitely the biggest target when it comes to marketing. Ginny is trying on this mask for a little and it makes her more comfortable to feel like she’s fitting in, in all aspects. With the tight, colorful striped tops we start to see on ginny there is an increase in her self-esteem which is probably also an impact her friends made on her. Her best friend oozes confidence and power, and the more you surround yourself with those people the more you feel like you can be those things too.

With Ginny, we see this winding road of differentiating styles. We see it down, go up, and then back down again, leaving us exactly where we started, the true ginny, the one she feels most comfortable with. I mean, just look at the comparison of Ginny throughout the show!

Ginny, 1x01 / 1x06 / 1x10

She looks like a completely different girl. Ginny doesn’t want to admit it, but in some ways, she is exactly like her mother. They both adjust their outfits to their current feelings and experiences. Ginny uses what she can to mold and fit so people don’t become suspicious of her. In the last episode, we see Ginny getting frustrated with the never-ending secrets she is uncovering about her family. On top of that, she has an intense falling out with her friends. She reaches a breaking point and ultimately gives up on the new life she thought she could finally obtain.

Looking in the mirror as tears run down her cheeks, she’s exhausted from trying to fit into the new Ginny’s life.

Ginny, 1x10

Giving in to her inherited way of being hard and emotionless, she’s done pretending. She goes back to her old color scheme and baggy shape that is partnered with this new “IDGAF” attitude. First step: manipulate her teacher into giving her the essay contest win. Her deception and cunning ways seem all too familiar to us.

Ginny, 1x10
Ginny, 1x10

Ending the season in loose jeans, moto boots, a hoodie, and a leather jacket to match. This is almost sending the message that she’s gotten tougher than she was before. She’s actually wearing the same outfit she was in the first episode, just with some added edge.

Ginny, 1x01 / 1x10

Very strong messaging from the costume designer. This time around she’s playing no games, she might be back to her old styles but she’s not the girl we saw at the start of the season. She’s grittier, bolder, and just downright over her mom’s shit.

Ginny, 1x10

Ginny is such a strong character, carrying her family on her back and being forced to mature at such a young age. Aimlessly trying to figure out who she is as a young woman, she’s getting tired. Constantly trying on different people can be exhausting and she no longer has the energy for both her family’s bullshit and her pretending to be someone she’s not.

GEORGIA:

Starting us off at episode 1, we see the blonde bombshell that is Georgia Miller. Dressed as if she is about to hang out at the local mall with her friends and smoke weed, we get to see her immature side through her clothing. Decked out in a bright yellow top, floral red bandana, striped cut-offs, metallic sandals, and bag to match, I couldn’t help but get Georgia confused with a 13-year old girl. No for real, I think I owned those shorts back in the day.

Georgia & Ginny, 1x01

No hate on any particular style because no matter your age you can wear whatever you want but we have to think about what exactly the costume designer was trying to tell us with just Georgias clothing.

Georgia & Ginny, 1x01

Just focusing on the denim of the two, Ginny’s is much more plain and timid while Georgia’s is quite juvenile. It has been known in history that stripes represent social deviance and the willingness to test boundaries, Georgia definitely tests all sorts of boundaries in this show.

Austin, Georgia, Ginny, 1x01

Bringing it back to the whole color theory thing, yellow represents excitement and optimism about the future. In this scene, Georgia looks way more hyped about the coming changes ahead than her cautious daughter, Ginny. Despite coming from her late husband’s funeral, the southern beauty looks quite chipper driving her way to a new life.

Georgia & Ginny, 1x01

As we see in the show, she wasn’t innocent in the death of her husband. She was not happy in that marriage and was ready for a fresh start with her two children. Could her outfit be a way of feeling like her true self again, liberated by the walls of that marriage and the facade she was putting on for the world? She’s getting back to being the spunky, fun, independent woman she is, not the pristine, polished trophy wife to some rich guy.

It’s no secret that the mother-daughter duo acts more like they are sisters. This could also bring us to believe Georgia still feels like a kid. maybe the fact that since she got pregnant at 15 and had to be an adult when she wasn’t even done being a kid herself there’s still some leftover child in her waiting for her time to shine every so often. I mean she is only in her early 30s! She wants to feel the fun and freedom that come along with childhood.

In this next scene, we see her here next to her much older neighbor, Ellen who is also a mother herself. We see the obvious contrast between the two outfits. Ellen being much older than Georgia, in a more mature classic look. Her top is a striped, collared shirt made up of neutral colors and a classy statement necklace. The costume designer was trying to send us a message with the two extremes here. Both are moms, but one outfit is more immature than the other. We also see that they are both wearing stripes and how they can be used to portray such a different look. Georgias stripes being medium thickness and a contrasting light and medium wash denim leading into a raw hem. A messy, yet fun take on the pattern. Ellens stripes being a cluster of different sizes and shades leading into a nice finished hem. A polished, put-together canvas.

Georgia & Ellen, 1x01
Georgia, 1x01

Moving on to another Georgia look, the iconic hot pink dress to drop Austin off at school. She is still sticking with the youthful theme with this beautiful bright color and revealing silhouette. She just moved into Wellsbury and coming straight from her mouth said to Ginny “we’re gonna run this town.” So she is most likely bringing the bold pieces out to make a statement, to tell the town of Wellsbury who the fuck just moved in, and to not forget her. It is also telling that she decided to wear it to drop off her son, Austin. She can easily be categorized as the stereotypical young, hot, single mom.

Georgia, 1x01

We all know she is a very calculated woman, never without a plan. So, we’re crazy to think she doesn’t methodically pick out her outfits. She’s wanting the world to know she is not like the rest of them, and certainly not like the rest of the other moms who are also dropping their children off. We get to see this first hand when this trio of mothers comes rushing up to Georgia. The more laid back, calmer colors paired with more conservative designs are not a coincidence, they’re to tell us that this is what moms are usually wearing nowadays, or so what society thinks moms should be wearing. Again letting the viewers know, she is far from the ordinary, suburban parent.

The moms of Wellsbury meeting Georgia, 1x01

Think about Georgia’s outfit choice in this way. If she hadn’t worn this outfit and went for a more relaxed fit such as a hoodie and sweats or sweater and skinny jeans — would she have been approached by the moms? Would anyone have even paid attention to her? It is a small town so you could argue yes, but the boldness in Georgia’s fashion choices make her a woman people want to get to know whether it be for genuine reasons or more calculated ones.

Georgia, 1x01

This outfit also fits the aesthetic of what is known as a bimbo. Originally meant to describe an unintelligent man, it somehow throughout the years evolved into a conventionally attractive, sexualized, naive, and unintelligent woman. Usually treated as objects and the subject of male fantasies. They are commonly portrayed in TV and Film as a dumb blonde who wears a ton of pink girly clothing and is treated poorly by the supporting characters, even the other women! It has a negative connotation around it and misogynists love using it as an insult to women.

Georgia, 1x01

The word bimbo was meant to signify that being beautiful and intelligent are mutually exclusive. Victims of the bimbo label in the past include Marilyn Monroe, Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole Smith, and Pamela Anderson. The generation of today is reclaiming what it means to be a bimbo, and boy does Georgia do this well. Today a bimbo dives into the stereotype, dressing ultra-feminine and sexy. Not for the intent to attract men, but to make fun of them.

Tik Toker by the name of Syrena, is a self-proclaimed bimbo and states that she uses the bimbo aesthetic to reel men in only to shock them with her feminist messaging. Georgia would be welcomed into the bimbo community, having used her sexuality and charm throughout the whole show for her advantage.

Syrena, @fauxrich

Georgia is what you call a chameleon, by definition meaning “a person who changes their opinions or behavior according to the situation.” Georgia will always say or do what she needs to, to get the outcome that she is looking for. This isn’t limited to her clothing. She is strategic when picking out her outfits knowing fully well they play a role in her deception. She overall knows that her looks can be used as a weapon in her war.

She states in the beginning of episode 2, It’s a face, not a mask,

“For a woman, life is a battle. And beauty is a goddamn machine gun.”

Since Georgia hasn’t yet come into her ex-husband’s money she needed to get a job, in this case working for the mayor. She needs to mask herself as a serious businesswoman knowing that she could acquire some power in the work she is in. But make no mistake, even tho Georgia wants to mask her girlish, immature side, she doesn’t want to blend into the background. She’s going to take classic workwear styles but still keep the Georgia edge. In episode 3, we get to see her in these gorgeous, wide-leg, aqua pants. Paired with a deep-cut top and plaid blazer, she is serving the business looks.

Georgia, 1x03
Georgia, 1x03

Let’s start with the color of the pants. Very unconventional for the office. Corporate workers usually stick to more quiet colors giving off a sense of maturity and seriousness. Giving in to the robotic and almost cult-like way of the 9–5 work week with trying to blend in with everyone else.

9–5 Workers.

Blending in is not in Georgia’s wheelhouse. Yes, she wants her kids to have a nice, normal life in Wellsbury and will always act out the part of a normal suburban mother. However, Georgia knows very well that opportunity comes from being the black sheep and not following the crowd. She wants to send the message in the office that she’s here to stay and that she’s not like the rest of em.

Georgia, 1x03

Moving up to her top, Georgia is giving us a cleavage moment with a side cut out. This adds sexiness to the outfit which as we said before, is one of Georgia’s weapons. Topped off with the blazer including different shades of blue to go with the pants and adorable elbow patches.

Georgia, 1x03
Georgia, 1x03

In history, elbow patches were used to represent prestige and intelligence. Having been married to a wealthy yoga studio owner, Georgia is fresh off the high-class rich boat still wanting to keep up the appearances. Her motive is that she is telling the mayor and all the wealthy people of Wellsbury she is just like them. She likes to appear luxurious even when that isn’t the case. With the tweed blazers and a new faux designer bag, she’s selling an image of herself. There is no need to question the new, hot blonde beauty in town because she is one of them, right?

Georgia, 1x03

In the scene that paid a beautiful homage to a Pretty Woman, Georgia cons the boutique’s saleswoman into a whole new outfit.

Georgia, 1x01 / Pretty Woman (1990)

Standing outside of her son’s school, flaunting her deceased husband’s BMW, she exudes power and intimidation. The irony of this scene is she’s on the phone with a man who is helping her retrieve the money from her late husband, which she desperately needs. I think this is a comical metaphor for our society today. Painting the picture of wealth and status, but behind the scenes having neither of those things. We’re almost addicted to it in a way.

Georgia, 1x01

As the season continues Georgia’s business chic turns into more of a classic look with simple colors and basic pieces. Still, stylish and cute but quite humble for her. Maybe Georgia is maturing? Or maybe she’s transforming. By the end of the show she is engaged to Mayor Paul Randolph and boy does she melt into the first lady look so easily, like the true chameleon she is.

With the initial sneak peek into her first lady style she rocks a body con dress that fits her every inch! This is a classy look but always keeping a touch of Georgia with a sexy neckline.

Georgia, 1x10

Look at the comparison from single Georgia dropping Austin off, and newly engaged Georgia ready to take on the first lady role. Who is the real Georgia? Are both playing a part?

Georgia, 1x01 / 1x10

Another one of her iconic looks is the suit she wore to Paul’s victory party. In head to toe suffragette white.

Georgia, 1x10
Georgia, 1x10

The term suffragette means a woman seeking the right to vote through organized protest. In 1920, the suffragettes used white as their color to really make their mark and get everyone’s attention on their mission. They chose white because during that period photos were only printed in black and white. The women used their clothes as a marketing tactic considering photos of women wearing all white really stood out in a newspaper. This all-white look has been a common choice in the political world to pay homage to the women that came before us. The women that fought for our freedom.

The Suffragettes.

Kamala Harris, AOC, and Melania Trump all have been seen in this timeless ensemble. Recently at the 2020 State of the Union address, the democratic women of congress all chose to wear white. They said it was to send a strong, unified message of persistence in fighting for the people and women’s rights. So, good choice Georgia!

The democratic women of congress.

We know Georgia well enough by now to know that she’s not in love with Paul, she probably doesn’t even like him. We saw the way she lit up when he came into the blue farm, and that is not cause of his charming looks, it’s cause he could do something for her.

Paul and Georgia, 1x01

Georgia has a history of using men to get what she wants. She says it’s a man’s world and that women have to use that to their advantage.

“We live in a man’s world. I learned that from a very early age. And it is exhausting to exist in a world that is not designed for you. A world that does not take you seriously, where you matter less. Women are 75% more likely to die in a car crash because all seat belt safety tests are designed for men. What do you do with that!? It’s not one big thing that crushes a spirit, It’s death by a million paper cuts. Men, the space they take up, the room, their entitlement, their voices just louder, and more. Men growing up seeing more men, men at the top, men in power. They don’t see out of their own eyes our vacant stares back at them. Our bottled anger, our wondering how they got to be so satisfied, in their knowledge, that the world is made for them. So, what was I supposed to do with that? How does one climb the ranks of a system rigged against them? I’ll tell you. You adapt. You learn to survive.”

She finds the power and follows it, and nothing says power more than politics. We could say the same about Paul, I mean he downright told Georgia that they’d be great together because they are the same person. They want to be on top, they want control, for whatever their reasons are.

Clothing is also power, it is the first impression you give to the world before you open your mouth. Georgia has used this theory throughout the whole show serving us looks for her everlasting agenda.

In conclusion, the costume design in this show is fascinating. It has a strong voice and perfectly portrays the characters and where they are at in their life. Let me know what you think!? I love getting others’ opinions and point of view on things!

Julianna Zinchenko

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VIDEO ESSAYIST | FASHION DESIGNER | VIDEO EDITOR |GRAPHIC DESIGNER

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