Plaid Shirts and Bib Overalls: The Complete History of Angela’s My So-Called Life Wardrobe
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Plaid Shirts and Bib Overalls: The Complete History of Angela’s My So-Called Life Wardrobe

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Episode 1: “Pilot”

Pre-plaid. Pre–red hair. Pre-everything.

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Episode 1: “Pilot”

At this point, she’s already cheating on BFF Sharon. There's a little bit of plaid sneaking in.

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Episode 1: “Pilot”

Slouchy turtlenecks: Good for hiding from teachers and longing for Jordan.

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Episode 1: “Pilot”

Very faint checks (baby steps to plaid!) emerge. It’s her “I’m with you, Rayanne and Rickie, but I may as well go to Bio since I’m not that busy” look. 

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Episode 1: “Pilot”

Norris says Patty bought it. She falls splat into a pool of mud while wearing it, banishing it from her closet forever.  

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Episode 1: “Pilot”

Full-on hanging out with Rickie and Rayanne now, full-on plaid overshirt. Sharon’s just confronted her about it. “I love the silhouette of this,” Norris says. “It’s a teenager with all kinds of things going on in her head.”

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Episode 1: “Pilot”

Off to meet Tino at a club called Let’s Bolt. Plaid by Angela, belt by Rayanne.

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Episode 1: “Pilot”

Didn’t we have a time, Angela? “We did. We had a time.” Sleeveless denim to celebrate.

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Episode 2: “Dancing in the Dark”

“I think this is a coat she received. It looks like something you’d get over the holidays from somebody in your family, and you make it work,” Norris says. “I love the print and what it does with her hair. It’s definitely a designer piece. I remember introducing it to Claire, and it was cozy and warm and felt good.”

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Episode 3: “Guns and Gossip”

“This sweater, for some reason, reminds me of a connection to Jordan Catalano. It’s a weave that he would use,” Norris says. “It’s a very protective layer. I also like the jeans on her, especially contrasted with Rayanne. I remember picking up that old 1800s bowler hat for a couple bucks, and I remember the day A.J. was fooling with it. It was clear she had to wear it.”

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Episode 4: “Father Figures”

“I have to say, I think I made a mistake with that cardigan,” Norris laughs. “Thank God Claire was so good. I wouldn’t do that to anyone again, believe me. She must have been a troubled teen that day.” Plus, red plaid shorts!

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Episode 4: “Father Figures”

“When I look at this picture, I think of Annie Hall. I think of Joni Mitchell. I think of a very soft, vulnerable person, especially in a shot like this, with all the graffiti on the wall and her body language,” Norris says of the red plaid dress, first seen in the second episode. (Real teens: They repeat outfits!) “This to me is the real Angela.”

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Episode 4: “Father Figures”

“You like mustard-brown plaid, Jordan?”

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Episode 4: “Father Figures”

“What about red? It went over really well at Let’s Blow.”

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Episode 4: “Father Figures”

No plaid on the weekend!

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Episode 5: “The Zit”

That plaid shirt (just seen in the fourth episode) is paired with many, many things over the life of the series. Here, they arrive with the debut of Angela’s corduroy overalls. “It’s almost a suit of armor. Again, she’s very protected here,” Norris says. (Then there’s Sharon. “Sharon to me is someone who shops with her mom, and maybe this particular blouse just got in the mix.”)

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Episode 5: “The Zit”

Plaid on denim on plaid on tights. You thought those shorts only came in red?

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Episode 5: “The Zit”

Patti made this for Angela to wear in the mother-daughter fashion show. Danielle was happy to sub in for her big sister.

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Episode 6: “The Substitute”

“Well. This is interesting,” Norris says. ”What was I thinking? Uhhhh …” And yet, this short-sleeve plaid coat shows up again a few episodes later …

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Episode 6: “The Substitute”

Angela’s (and Norris’s) favorite green-sleeve sweater. Worn in at least five episodes. “Our philosophy was about what a real kid would do: take their favorite piece and coordinate it with a lot of things,” Norris says. 

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Episode 6: “The Substitute”

From the same episode! Now with jeans.

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Episode 6: “The Substitute”

Sleeveless plaid.

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Episode 6: “The Substitute”

Plaid and denim overalls. The ultimate in comfortable, DGAF Angela.

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Episode 7: “Why Jordan Can’t Read”

Angela invites Jordan over to meet her parents and dresses up like Old Angela for the occasion. Fortunately, he doesn’t show. 

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Episode 7: “Why Jordan Can’t Read”

Angela in mourning the next day. “That dress with lace sleeves, I believe, opens up. It has buttons going all the way down. All those long dresses she wore were all thrift-store things,” Norris recalls. “That was absolutely the influence of Rayanne.”

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Episode 7: “Why Jordan Can’t Read”

Angela’s favorite sweater + red plaid shorts + black tights + combat boots + food. Everyone looks hungry and amazing in this scene.

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Episode 7: “Why Jordan Can’t Read”

The mustard-brown plaid over the long floral dress she wore when Jordan first tried to put the moves on her in episode two. 

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Episode 7: “Why Jordan Can’t Read”

If you’ve been counting with us, this is the 11th time Angela’s worn a plaid top. This is also the largest one.

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Episode 8: “Strangers in the House”

The tribal blanket-cardigan is back, and this time, Norris approves. “Over the black tank and velvet dress? So much better,” he says. “The idea that we could mix and match all this — it’s not ethically correct in anyone’s mind, grabbing this kind of stuff, but for Angela, it was about her making a statement closer to Rayanne’s in the wardrobe department. It says something about the strength of their friendship that she would even wear all this.” 

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Episode 8: “Strangers in the House”

“I never went out and thought of one character when I shopped. I just grabbed great, interesting stuff and brought it back, and then I’d start filtering in who I [thought] could wear it,” Norris says. “This cowboy shirt Rayanne is wearing I bought for myself. I thought it was really fucking cool. It just happened to be in the room, and she fell in love with it. Angela’s plaid jacket over that denim shirt, that combo came together based on A.J. doing this. Damn, I should have kept that shirt.” 

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Episode 8: “Strangers in the House”

Angela’s favorite sweater over a sky-blue tee.

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Episode 8: “Strangers in the House”

Plaid appearance count: 13 tops, five bottoms, two dresses.

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Episode 9: “Halloween”

“Now, this would be Rickie’s influence, that shirt she has underneath the overalls,” Norris says. “It’s about trying a version of what your friends are doing, as opposed to trying to coordinate something really spot-on.”

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Episode 9: “Halloween”

“You could wear this one today,” Norris says, “unlike most of the other dresses.”

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Episode 10: “Other People’s Daughters”

Sleeveless plaid for breakfast.

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Episode 10: “Other People’s Daughters”

Sleeveless denim for snack.

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Episode 10: “Other People’s Daughters”

Plaid over that velvet floral to meet Rayanne’s mom.

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Episode 10: “Other People’s Daughters”

And brown cords over a green sweatshirt for any time at all. 

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Episode 10: “Other People’s Daughters”

“I’m a big fan of the Grateful Dead, so …” Norris laughs. “This was a pretty bold statement for Angela. There’s something about tie-dye that I’ve always appreciated since the '60s. The color and the shock of it. To me, this was freedom, going there. Claire put the stuff on and pretty much felt the same way. And once again, Angela has found her own style within her new community.”

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Episode 11: “Life of Brian”

This designer dress’s third appearance. “That was a beautiful thing we did, throwing dresses over things,” Norris said. “It’s definitely something Brian would be turned on by.”

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Episode 11: “Life of Brian”

Jordan: “ My feeling is like, whatever happens, happens.” Angela: Plaaaaaaaaaaid.

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Episode 11: “Life of Brian”

Angela gets super dramatic for the dance: crushed burgundy-velvet dress with flared sleeves.

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Episode 12: “Self Esteem”

At this point in the show, you’ve definitely seen all these pieces before in different combinations. This plaid shirt, worn in the last episode, however, arrives with the debut of a new scarf!

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Episode 12: “Self Esteem”

“So far, I think I’ve only hit one home run with that cardigan, and this wasn’t it.” Norris says. “There are certain pieces you wish the dry cleaners would lose. It never happened.”

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Episode 12: “Self Esteem”

Angela’s Meeting Rayanne’s Mom Outfit, seen in episode ten. Also good for school.

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Episode 12: “Self Esteem”

Brown cords go with everything, especially black shirts.

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Episode 13: “Pressure”

“The overalls and the tennis shoes make her look young. This is her normal comfort zone. You can backtime the look of this all the way to The Waltons. This look is very ‘vulnerable teen.’”

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Episode 13: “Pressure”

“What was interesting about this episode is Angela never wore anything overly sexy. Everything was real about her as a person throughout the episode. All her layers,” Norris said. “A lot of it I think was, Okay, I’m going to have sex, but I’m going to ‘make him work for it,’ meaning, ‘take off all this shit.’”  

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Episode 14: “On the Wagon”

“I can’t believe I had this T-shirt on her, which is so uncomplimentary, but we find ourselves in these kinds of clothes around our house. You can’t get away with that look on most television shows. The network would be like, ‘Oh my God, can’t you put her in something else, you know, better?’”

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Episode 14: “On the Wagon”

The time Angela and Rayanne woke up and decided to wear the exact same thing they wore in episode three. Only Angela swapped out a sweater for … more plaid.

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Episode 14: “On the Wagon”

Norris only thinks he hates this cardigan, obviously.

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Episode 15: “So-Called Angels”

“This is cool. I like this look on her, especially that hat. Feels very Rickie, very artist-y,” Norris says. “Claire probably picked it out of a pile to check it out and we instantly went, ‘Yes, we should do that.’”

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Episode 15: “So-Called Angels”

Plaid on for school …

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Episode 15: “So-Called Angels”

... plaid off for home. 

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Episode 15: “So-Called Angels”

Denim on denim when getting ready for the holidays.

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Episode 16: “Resolutions”

Another type of plaid is introduced. “This is a plaid jacket. Not a shirt!” Norris says. “It was actually a little jacket from the '40s I found in a thrift store, and it fit right into her style. She really pops in that scene — even with Rickie wearing a '50s overcoat and bandana!”

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Episode 16: “Resolutions”

“One of my favorite pictures from this gallery is Angela sitting in the car,” Norris says. “She’s got that jacket she probably received earlier in the year as a gift. She’s got that knit scarf around her. Earrings. Her lipstick. Everything in this portrait, Jordan in his Levi's jacket, all falls into place for who they are.”

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Episode 16: “Resolutions”

Just a sweater and jeans. Angela was tired this morning.

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Episode 16: “Resolutions”

Rickie likes the shirt he inspired.

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Episode 16: “Resolutions”

Puffy vest with shearling collar? “Very Jordan,” says Norris.

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Episode 17: “Betrayal”

“That’s a designer sweater thrown under those bib overalls. I love the texture of that sweater together with those cords,” Norris says. “I recently talked my daughter, who is in college, into buying a pair of bib overalls at Zara.” 

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Episode 17: “Betrayal”

No time for plaid when you’ve been betrayed.

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Episode 18: “Weekend”

“My wife had actually bought this bathrobe a couple of years before. I saw it in our closet and I went, ‘Fuck, man, I gotta have that bathrobe,’” Norris recalls. “I had scoured all over town looking for a bathrobe for her, and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t too contemporary or like a gift from Grandma. When I put my wife’s robe on Claire, it just seemed to work — a little dowdy, from the '30s, but soft and cozy. And it’s a great color.” 

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Episode 18: “Weekend”

Angela got this bulky sweater for Christmas, says Norris, but “it is phenomenal.”

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Episode 18: “Weekend”

This one? Not so much.

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Episode 18: “Weekend”

Plaid top count: 23.

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Episode 19: “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities”

“This is a '60s pea-green sweater over an outfit you’ve seen before,” Norris says. It’s Angela plus Rickie divided by Sharon.

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Episode 19: “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities”

Looking like Jordan, but also ignoring Jordan. 

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Episode 19: “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities”

Final plaid count (tops, bottoms, dresses, jackets): 32.

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