Colgate Couture : How to Dress Like the Girls from “Girls”

Alexis Manrodt

How to Dress Like the Girls from “Girls”

In every age, there is a television show whose characters act as archetypes for all of us. Shows like “My So-Called Life” and “Sex and the City” fit the bill to varying degrees over the years, but now it is “Girls” that has become the voice – or at least, a voice – of its generation. The HBO hit follows the lives of four young women, Hannah (Lena Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams), Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) as they figure out what they want from life and love in New York City.

“Girls” has received a fair amount of criticism during its short run, with detractors pointing to the lack of minorities and abundant presence of nudity, but the show has received equally positive feedback for its realistic depictions of life as a 20-something, complete with relationship mistakes, career setbacks and sartorial missteps. Unlike the designer fashions on soapy shows like “Gossip Girl,” the ladies of “Girls” wear fashions that the average broken twenty-something can actually afford. In honor of the second season wrapping up this past Sunday, let’s take a look at how to dress like each of the Girls:

Hannah Horvath

As a struggling writer/voice of her generation, Hannah is the epitome of the post-graduate trying to figure out their life. Oftentimes, Hannah’s internal struggles are mirrored in her “what-was-she-thinking?” style choices. Her look is a unique mix of hipster duds and ladylike accessories, but Hannah has the tendency to wear every style at once. When toned down from Hannah’s haphazard styling, a healthy mix of trends can create an inspired look. Look to stores like Urban Outfitters for trendy pieces like Hannah’s beloved rompers (or, as she calls them, “shorteralls”) and scout out pieces from Madewell and Anthropologie for classic but still kitschy accessories like oversized scarves and lace-up brogue shoes. Visit Etsy for vintage and handmade items that will help you get Hannah’s signature quirky vibe. Don’t be afraid to mix different colors, prints and patterns because that is what Hannah’s look is all about. Just whatever you do, avoid neon mesh tank tops at all costs. 

Marnie Michaels

Hannah’s best friend Marnie, an aspiring art curator, possesses the most sophisticated style of the four Girls. When she’s not wearing plastic see-through dresses to host parties for artist Booth Jonathan or dressing like “J. Lo at the Grammys” for surprise weddings, Marnie is most often seen in polished pieces in solid, vibrant colors. Marnie’s signatures include perfectly coifed hair, flawless eye makeup and classic pieces like pencil skirts, peplum tops, trench coats and tailored jeans. There is an element of Kate Middleton-esque sophistication to everything Marnie wears, even when she’s working as a hostess and dressing like “a slutty Von Trapp child.” Look for items from Zara, ASOS and department stores like Nordstrom’s for Marnie’s business-chic look on a budget. 

Shoshanna Shapiro

NYU student Shoshanna is first introduced wearing a bright pink Juicy Couture tracksuit and her appearances throughout the rest of the series live up to her super-girly first impression. To dress like Shoshanna, make an effort to stay on trend. Look for feminine dresses and preppy accessories like pearl earrings and charm necklaces to get her cute, girly look. Of all the Girls, Shoshanna experiments most with different hairstyles. While Marnie favors loose curls and ponytails, Jessa lets her mermaid hair hang loose and Hannah doesn’t even know what’s happening with her hair most of the time, Shoshanna always puts effort into her ‘do. She is not opposed to wearing a fascinator fit for the British Royalty to a Brooklyn housewarming party, nor does she shy away from hairstyles that can be best described as a combination of pigtails and a pompadour for a Pad Thai dinner party. But Shoshanna is too fantastically funny to fault, and she is so adorable that any wacky style works on her.

Jessa Johansson

Jessa is the free spirit of the group and her clothes act as souvenirs from her worldly adventures. Though she occasionally gets it wrong (one cannot forget when she showed up for her babysitting job in a see-through floor-length dress and hot pink undergarments), to quote Shoshanna, Jessa always looks “so hip I could puke.” If you haven’t traveled the world, take the easy route to get Jessa’s look by picking up pieces from Free People, websites like Planet Blue and Bona Drag and, of course, vintage stores. Invest in intricate, one-of-a-kind baubles in colors like turquoise and jade, and daring pieces like feather capes.

The main lesson from each one of these Girls is that you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks and let your clothes speak to what you are going through in your life. Now the only choice is, which Girl are you going to be?