I’m a Fashion Editor & Here’s the No. 1 Issue I Had with the Clothing in ‘Emily in Paris’
Ah, Emily in Paris, the latest Netflix show that everyone loves to hate. I personally turned on the show for the light-as-air plot but I finished the first season (in two whole days, no less) because of the, uh, interesting fashion. While I take no issue with Emily’s penchant for garishly bright colors or desire to wear loud prints to the office, I do have one major bone to pick: There were simply too many belts.
As in, nearly every single female character in the show cinched her waist with a not-insignificant inch or two of leather, when she’d be perfectly fine without said accessory. As the lead, Emily (Lily Collins) is of course guilty of said offense, starting off episode one by belting a yellow bandana-print silk dress (an outfit we’ll discuss at a later time). And she continued on with this styling choice throughout, adding the waist accessory to a gorgeous black strapless ballgown, an off-the-shoulder floral frock and even a pop art-inspired hot pink shift dress. Truthfully, it felt like there was a 90 percent chance that Emily would be wearing a belt in any given scene.
And she wasn’t the only one. Emily’s chic-but-mean boss, Sylvie, ruined a perfectly fine black dress with a patent leather cienture for a day at the office, while her BFF Mindy strapped a pink one over a floral frock for an alfresco café date. Even Camille’s mom wears an aggressive Hermès-inspired number for a day at home on the Champagne vineyard.
What do you have against belts? You’re probably wondering. Well, nothing. But the way they were so liberally used throughout the show made it seem like we were living in 2005—not the fiery depths of 2020. When worn over a dress that certainly doesn’t have belt loops, it’s a styling trick that feels deeply dated...and definitely harkens back to the most notable work of the show’s costume designer, Patricia Field: making Carrie Bradshaw and the gals look dressed to the nines on Sex and the City.
Select any episode in the latter half of the iconic show and you’ll find Samantha Jones tossing a loud belt over an even bolder suit or Miranda Hobbes adding a belt to a printed dress that could’ve (and should’ve) been left alone. Hell, Fields once belted Carrie’s bare midriff. So yeah, it’s safe to say that this costume designer isn’t afraid of adding a waist-cincher to anything.
I’d be lying if I said SATC (and thus, Field) didn’t have any sway over my personal style. It did—to a nearly embarrassing extent—considering my bat mitzvah dress was a direct copy of a hot pink Oscar de la Renta frock that Carrie wore in the HBO show’s last season. But I left my habit of belting everything and anything behind when I finished up my study abroad experience in the City of Lights in 2012. The Emily in Paris cast, sadly, did not.
That said, you can bet that we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for season two of this Netflix drama, just so we can turn it into a drinking game. The only rule? Take a sip every time you spot a belt.