fugging it up

The Fug Girls Compare the Office Drones’ Style Sense, Then and Now

Steve Carell left The Office at exactly the right time: The show, slated to come back for another year, has already shifted from being The Michael Scott Buffoonery Hour to a true ensemble piece full of three-dimensional people … and Creed (but we wouldn’t have him any other way). And as we move forward into the Carell-less void with them, it seems only fitting to look back at how far they’ve come, not just emotionally, but also physically and sartorially. Remember Jim’s boyish bangs? Kevin’s cranial tuft? That time they had to blur Meredith’s boob and crotch? Good times. We’ve culled shots of them from season one and today, and the comparison will show you just how much our depressed little desk jockeys have grown up. We can only imagine what they’ll become next. Hopefully, it won’t involve any of Meredith’s other erogenous zones.

There’s no doubt that Early Jim was cute in a doofy, collegiate way — but he also looked like he lost a fight with a low-flow shower head. Dude had Bieber Fever before that was even a thing. He has since discovered the wonders of hair product, which we’d credit to Pam’s influence, but we suspect it’s more the work of John Krasinski now being a movie star who is married to Emily Blunt. After all, even Bieber ditched the Bieber.
Oh, Pam. So sweet, so innocent, so drab. We met her as a downtrodden receptionist engaged to the wrong man, and even her hair looked bummed about it. Michael really should’ve gotten her monthly hot-oil treatments for Secretaries Day.
Luckily, via marriage and a promotion into sales/office managing, the show decided to stop hiding Jenna Fischer’s light under a depressed bushel and accordingly upgraded her wardrobe. Yes, it’s still pretty plain — and there are still a lot of cardigans — but her hair can seem a lot more bouncy and cheerful when it’s let down. And besides, there’s only room for one Kelly Kapoor.
While Kevin’s wardrobe hasn’t changed much over the years — he stuck pretty closely to the model of Whatever’s On Sale At Men’s Wearhouse — we’d like to high-five him for losing that random tuft of hair that use to sprout from the top of his bald head like a tumbleweed. Good call, buddy. Having that thing flapping around must’ve made it really tough to focus on drinking from the M&M jar.
Original Flavor Meredith wouldn’t look out of place on the quiet floor of an all-girls’ dormitory in the early nineties: cozy, well-covered, and obviously not expecting any gentlemen callers. She might as well be wearing a Snuggie. But Meredith developed a split personality straight out of soaps and now has two approaches: She can mix jumpers so modest that they make Angela look like a sex worker with a penchant for verbal TMI (as seen in season one on the left side of the picture, or this season on the right side); or she can exhibit actual physical TMI, as with the middle outfit that exposed almost all of her privates at once. She might want to explore the middle ground in season eight. It begins with pants.
In season one, our favorite curmudgeon gazed at Michael in open-mouthed disdain, wearing shirtsleeves and carrying what looks like a bucket of juice. He seems so … normal. Invested, even. We prefer Stanley as he’s evolved: With his closed-lipped disapproval, he’s a boiling man-kettle of derision, usually ignoring everyone or doing a crossword instead of actually listening and having an opinion (or hydrating). We don’t know if the addition of his sport coat is the difference, or if he — like anyone would in his position — just developed a mental Michael Scott mute button.
Prim, crabby, buttoned-up, a cat enthusiast. Which photo are we talking about? Exactly. They had a bead on her character pretty much from the word go. The only difference is better makeup. Dating a senator — “state senator,” we can hear Oscar coughing — must really have inflated Angela’s Sephora budget.
Apparently the Office budget didn’t initially include jackets, which Dwight has since embraced in the form of the same old brown suit, often with a mustard-colored shirt (he must really believe in what the Grey Poupon people are selling). But it’s the curly, bushy hair that sets Old Dwight apart. Now that his cunning is in full bloom, his hair is straighter, more severe, as if his sexcapades with Angela knocked the kink right out of it. Sigh. She would.
Kelly started out like an uptight librarian getting ready to whack your palm with a ruler. But as we’ve traced before, La Kapoor has morphed into kind of a sexpot. She’s easily the most fashion-conscious employee at Dunder Mifflin (or at least, she is both conscious and aware that fashion exists). Yes, that’s damning with faint praise, but it’s also highly appropriate for one of the lead singers of Subtle Sexuality — you can’t be a pop star without selling at least a little sex, and it’s right there in the name.
Michael’s man-crush is the only character to really metamorphose over the years. He started as a cocky, cute, well-dressed temp, the stuff of covert intra-office e-mails and water-cooler drooling. Between BJ Novak and John Krasinski, we’re sure a thousand fan-fics about floppy-haired boys were born.
Come season four, Ryan’s surprise (and misguided) ascension to corporate HQ led to his rebirth as a stubbly, douchetastic coke addict with a Miami Vice affinity for open shirts. He was, of course, arrested and fired for misconduct; we would’ve added gross negligence to the charges, because when you’re flashing the chest hair, aren’t you at least morally obligated to add a medallion?
After a brief, lowly return to Dunder Mifflin, Ryan randomly fled to Thailand during season five with some shady characters — translation: Novak shot Inglourious Basterds — and returned broke and aggressively, inexplicably blond. We’re not falling for that “sun-lightened” excuse; we suspect he is on some Thai gang’s Most Wanted list. And that he skipped out on the tab for every massage he got.
Since reuniting with Kelly, Ryan has embraced his hipster side — he could probably model for Urban Outfitters. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn, in season eight, that he’s considering moving to Williamsburg to devote more time to his Weezer cover band. Phew. That’s maybe too much growth in seven years, buddy.
Most men on The Office wear, shall we say, earthy colors. Conversely, Andy’s bright hues evoke the kind of (secretly irritating) person who recasts 300 days of winter as 65 days of summer. Perhaps that ceaseless optimism explains why he stayed engaged to cold-fish Angela for so freaking long. He’s since kicked up the pastels a notch, which makes sense; the dude needed something to be happy about while his true love Erin was dating someone else, and this is the man version of putting on some bright lipstick in order to perk yourself up. Here’s hoping she comes around before he explores neon.
In season one, Michael looked like he ran to work every day and then used his perspiration as hair product. It’s bad-car-salesman hair, which is a crime, because sales was the one thing aside from offending people that Michael Scott did well. Fortunately, he had a cranial renaissance in season two and beyond. He may have continued to ritually humiliate himself on a regular basis, but at least he didn’t do it follicularly, and we’re just thankful that Michael Scott’s hair looked good when he got his happy ending.
The Fug Girls Compare the Office Drones’ Style Sense, Then and Now