Hit follow on @buffystyle for the best fashion straight out of Sunnydale High
It’s my belief that of all our nostalgic TV heroines, the least celebrated in terms of style is Buffy Anne Summers. Yes, Carrie had good shoes, bags, and a strange superpower that made any combination of literally bogus patterns work – but could she slay a Big Bad, bone Riley, take care of her friends, not let anyone get their hands on the key who was also (spoiler!) her sister, and keep multiple flower hair clips perfectly in position while doing so? No, didn’t think so.
No matter how many splits, hits, kicks, flips Buffy did, not once did she struggle with a wardrobe malfunction: not a snapped spaghetti strap, nor a flashed G-string. Impressive, given I can barely touch my knee without exposing my ass. Thus, it was thrilling to stumble across @buffystyle – the Instagram account founded by 21 year-old uber-fan and college student Tatiana, from Washington DC.
“I started this account because I didn’t have any friends who watched Buffy,” she explains, “but I knew on Instagram I could find fan pages and connect with others who watch it. Also, before I made my account I remember following some Buffy pages and thinking, ‘I wish they’d post this scene from this episode,’ or, ‘I wish they’d post this outfit or behind the scenes photos,’ so I figured I should just make my own page and generate the content I personally appreciate.”
Scroll Tatiana’s style archive and you’ll find moments from favourite episodes – like Bad Willow, Buffy Scientist, and also basically every Cordelia lewk ever – but also behind the scenes press shots, mag covers, and quotes and interviews with the show’s stars, make-up artists, and even stunt doubles. It’s a full archive of the world both of, and behind, Buffy.
Tatiana describes a classic Buffy outfit from head to toe: “Hair down and a bit wavy. At least two silver hoop or simple charmed earrings on each ear, as well as multiple rings on the fingers. (Claddagh, anyone?). Shiny lip gloss with some mascara. A pale pink tank top with some sparkle underneath and a long leather jacket that is either dark or colour coordinated with the rest of the look. Stretchy pants (perfect for slaying) with thick boots that have a chunky heel. Oh, and you can’t forget that cross necklace!”
But, of course, it’s about more than just good clothes or cultural nostalgia for the long lost days of the 90s. There’s a structural metaphor in Buffy’s style, too. “I think her style is so important because she is a superhero, yet she’s still girly, which typically isn’t the case,” Tatiana adds. “So you can be into sparkly pink things and still kick major ass. Heroes are typically portrayed as macho men, or if the hero is a woman, she’s most likely a tomboy. Buffy shows us that anyone can be a hero if they have a good moral compass and the guts to stand up for what’s right. When the villains see Buffy, they usually underestimate her because of how she appears. Underdog perk!”
And that was really the central point of the show, the reasons why myself and friends of mine who watched it always seemed to be an outcast in some way. It was a show full of metaphors for the hard things in life: for the demons we face, for those of us who were often seen as freaks, as different. Buffy is a show for the outcasts, while also being a lesson in glorious dressing.
This month marks 22 years since Buffy and the Scooby gang hit our screens, and it also marks 22 years of timeless style, power, and kindness. “That’s my favourite thing about Buffy,” Tatiana concludes. “She always stands up for what she believes in, even if it leaves her standing by herself. Even when I was little, I remember appreciating how she stood up for the underdog and made it a point to be kind.”