Greetings from Fashionista Fever Headquarters! If you're already familiar with the project, welcome back and we promise nothing will ever be as bad -- fashionistically speaking -- as the last installment. If this is your introduction to Fashionista Fever, better late than never and we're so glad you've joined us as we embark on the last in-depth examination of our beloved Sarah Jane Smith's fashions. It's a plateau that's taken our heroine over thirty years to attain, but she does it with the utter aplomb of one who's done her time in fashion prison. For those of you returning to us, as well as for those new to the ranks, we'll do a down and dirty visual recap of thirty-plus years of triumph and tears, the shuddering with ecstasy or dismay solely dependent on your own fashion predilections. No matter what, from "The Time Warrior" straight through to "Downtime", Sarah Jane was always superb, even if her clothing, well... wasn't.
A note for this installment: I found myself waxing captionally loquacious, so clicking on any image will direct you to a larger, captioned version. Plus, there were some issues with captioning in the grid layout below, which allowed me to wax captionally loquacious because of the issues with captioning in the grid layout below, which... oh, certainly you can guess where this is going, yeah?!
There. See what I mean? Though there were most certainly flashes of undeniable fashion brilliance here and there and there too, the old girl definitely hit her stride starting with "The Brain of Morbius" and never relented until the unfortunate exercise in fan service that was "The Five Doctors" (with the spotlight on Sarah's stringed gloves, of course). However, we're not here to rehash all of that, good, bad, or otherwise. Let's look to the present and see how 2005 introduced us to a brand new Sarah Jane, who had the wardrobe and the dead sexiness to prove she'd probably learned a few things about fashion since being left behind by the Doctor all those years ago.
The beginning is always the best starting point, or so I'm told, so we'll jump in with both booted feet as we become reacquainted with Sarah Jane in "School Reunion". The outfit Sarah's wearing when she reenters the Doctor's life -- and more importantly, our lives -- announces simply and firmly, "I am all grown up now!" even as she plants her pea-colored espadrilles on the ground, puts her hands on her hips, and chastises the poor Doctor for something, glowering at him like the beloved Sarah Jane of old. But this doesn't really happen at all, to be honest. No, for as much as this outfit declares that Sarah's finally fixed her fashionista feet firmly on the floor, this ensemble is... what's the word I'm looking for? Matronly. Yes, that's it. Matronly -- and, as such, as dull and dowdy as the word "matronly" implies.
(That bit about Sarah Jane's dead sexiness? It doesn't really apply until "The Sarah Jane Adventures", which won't be examined in this series. It's just that I love saying that! Mmm... "Sarah Jane's dead sexiness.")
Unfortunately, things didn't improve much as the episode progressed, sartorially speaking, but at least the clothing worn later in the show can't really be described as matronly. It appears that Sarah Jane's settling down into a look, so to speak. There's really not much one can say about a leather jacket (except how much more mouth-breathing could be done if said leather jacket were a proper motorcycle jacket) and the dull shirts she wore (or felt powerless enough to not give the wardrobe mistress any sass about) underneath.
The entire look almost makes one long for one of the funkier outfits from the past... perhaps even any of them. Well, I suppose I'm only able to speak for myself, right, but at least they had some character, yes? Really, you can't get more character than the
infamous and priceless Andy Pandy overalls, can you? Well, I also love the fact that the blue shirt matches the TARDIS behind her in the above-left shot. Is that supposed to symbolize the closure Sarah Jane had been waiting almost thirty years for, or is it simply a blue shirt?
At least there are flashes of the classic Sarah Jane in her facial expressions, such as in the above-right screencap. It's these things I notice that really frighten me. It's not so much the time spent thinking about the poor woman's clothing; it's the hints of the young, cute, cheeky Sarah Jane that I see in the older, sexy, sometimes grouchy Sarah Jane that scare the frackin' bejebus out of me while at the same time making me grin like an idgit. Speaking of grinning like an idgit, it's clear that even if she had one hand tied behind her back and were blindfolded, Sarah Jane could wipe the floor with one Rose Tyler. It also scares the frackin' bejebus out of my brother-in-law when he walks into his living room and I am reciting both Sarah Jane's and Rose's lines from that scene, word for word, right along with them.
Moving right along -- and I do apologize for that wee tangent -- we'll continue without further ado to "The Stolen Earth". Sarah Jane's wardrobe is innocuous but clearly set in this episode and the story's conclusion in "Journey's End", almost to the point of making one wonder if this is the same Sarah who delighted us all with her wacky outfits three decades ago. After what we've endured with our much-adored heroine, I would argue that settling down to a closet full of humdrum grownup clothing is almost expected at this point, though it doesn't leave much room for any type of fanatical fashionista-fu analysis, does it? Consider that between reuniting with the Doctor and being called on to help save the world from the Dalek invasion, Sarah Jane's become a mum and very probably found it easier to have slight variations on an already simple theme rather than entertain drastically different looks week in and week out. Plus, Luke's a nice enough kid, but look -- even he might get a bit peeved if his mum left the house in any one of those outfits of yore, no matter how bloody awesome they were or how nice a kid Luke really is. Even nice kids have their limits...
So, in a nutshell, Sarah Jane's grownup outfits consist of an untucked top with long sleeves and strategically located buttons, um, unbuttoned (but always tastefully done; it's my mind that imagines it untastefully done); a vest that's typically shorter, darker, and tighter than the top; jeans that she always looks tremendous wearing; and boots -- (breathe in) knee-high (breathe out) black leather (breathe in breathe out) boots. I suppose there are various jackets and coats included as the situation or Sarah Jane's mood requires, but, even so, the old girl works a pretty standard wardrobe these days.
Gone, then, are the halcyon days of Sarah's huge collars and coolottes, the (breathe in) oh-so-very tight (breathe out) UNIT cammies and the pink striped socks, not to mention her nautically-inspired garb and the... incident. You know, the one that involved a bathing suit? Shall I mention the corsage? The twice-visited headscarf? Honestly, I wouldn't blame you if you held up your hand and said no. But do not fear, for even though Sarah Jane's time with the Doctor doesn't go on forever, the Internetz will and, therefore, so will Fashionista Fever! So when you're in desperate need of a Sarah Jane fashionista fix but simply do not have the time or inclination to watch a multi-part serial (even "The Sontaran Experiment", as short as it is) or any of Sarah's latter appearances in various one-offs, video releases, or new Who episodes, we'll still be here to inject the fashionista horse into your veins. Quite frankly, why anyone would want to watch anything past "The Hand of Fear" for fashionista fun is not immediately evident... but to each his own.-- Mickey --
If you've missed any installments of Sarah Jane Smith Fashionista Fever! -- or simply want to revisit the fashion triumphs and failures of that plucky young (and, later, not-so-young) journalist -- use the links below to navigate the series!