By Leah Binkovitz
Is it possible? Has a new TV series stirred up as much disagreement as Mad Men? Lena Dunham’s new show Girls may be just the ticket. With Judd Apatow money behind it, the HBO (too-soon?) hit has been drawing critical attention before the first episode even aired Sunday night. Reviewers were all over the place on the quirky show whose central character declares herself, in an understated yet completely inflated way, to be the voice of a generation.
In many ways, this century is shaping up to be the Ladies’ Century (even more so than last, dare we say). Women are fast becoming the primary bread winners (despite still being paid less than men for equal work) and attending graduate schools at higher rates than men. We’re delaying marriage, we’re delaying children, and we’re trying to sort out all these social shifts in a majorly bummer economy. And Hannah (Dunham) is right there with us, in what Daily Beast writer Jace Lacob called “the increasingly deep chasm between adolescence and adulthood.” In a look we’re calling “hobo chic,” she navigates life freshly cut from the parental lifeline of financial support.
Plenty of women have admitted a kinship with the fumbling and often humiliating antics of Hannah and her crew, but we wouldn’t recommend taking your advice from the show. Unless of course it’s fashion advice. In a spread for NYMag, the ladies sported alt preppy looks, hitting the right notes of whimsy and edgy. It’s a complicated combination to hit, one the show has varied success achieving. But we think they got it spot on there.
In the show, however, the fashions are a little less demure. Harem pants make an appearance, funky two-tone heels pop up, and in a nod to TV’s most trend setting lady Liz Lemon, plaid gets its due as the signal for blaissez fare youthdom everywhere. You likely already have a few of these staples, but allow us to suggest a few more.
Sure, some critics feel the show’s complete cluelessness plays right into Gen Y stereotypes and some of the relationships feel a little like shallow commentary on the “What Hath Feminism Wrought” discussion. But enough of it hits close to home to maybe live up to, a little bit, the voice of a generation claim. At the very least, the show certainly has the closet of a generation thing in the bag.