Glee’s Moments Of Iconic Fashion Through The Seasons

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Photo courtesy of FOX

Since breaking out on our screens in 2009, Fox’s Glee has become a cultural phenomenal. Known for its wildly eclectic song repertoire (ranging from big belting Broadway standards to 80s power ballads through to rap and contemporary pop), its PSA-style addressing of modern social issues (texting and driving, homosexuality, bullying, school shootings, for example) and its championing of the under-dog, week after week fans all around the world tune in to follow the antics of Rachel, Santana, Kurt, Blaine and others as they strive to follow their dreams with a smile on their face and a song in their heart.

While songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “Teenage Dream”, “Jesse’s Girl” and the original hit, “Loser Like Me”, immediately call to mind the series, a number of the costumes and styles have become almost as iconic as the songs. Clothes or combinations that just scream Glee and as we race towards the series’ 100th episode airing next month, let’s look back at some of these Glee-ful costumes.

8. Jeans and converse combo

Almost as iconic as the upbeat group number that will close the show, the combination of jeans and converse (no matter what colour) is a tried and true Glee staple. Simple, classy, and youthful, not to mention easy to move and dance in. This reminded me of how comfy this outfit is and made me want to go out and get a new pair of cons.

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7. Rachel’s animal sweaters

Though she’s undergone a New York City make over in the past season and a half, Rachel Berry and her animal sweaters have been a running joke and fashion choice throughout the series. Who could forget some of these classic fashion disasters?

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6. “Born This Way” t-shirts

Lady Gaga’s equality anthem was taken up by the New Directions and their outfits for the number have arguably become the second most iconic of season 2 (after the Dalton school uniform). A simple white tee emblazed with a “word or phrase that best describes the thing about you that you’re the most ashamed of or you’d like to change but you can’t because you were born that way”. These t-shirts were such a hit among fans that Fox’s Glee Store made them available to buy.

Bornthisway
Photo courtesy of FOX

5. “Don’t Stop Believin’” outfit

Sometimes the best and most memorable Glee outfits are also the best. Case in point, the red shirts, denim jeans and black converse from the “Don’t Stop Believin’” number the closes the “Pilot” (see point 1, it started in the very first episode). The song is undoubtedly the one that is synonymous with Glee and the costumes are tied into that. This is evident in the fact that when they reprised the song in season 4’s episode 19, “Sweet Dreams”, the cast are in exactly the same get up.

4. The Dalton Academy uniform

While fashionista Kurt Hummel may decry the lack of self expression that came with a school imposed uniform, the grey pants, white shirt, red and navy striped tie and all important navy blazer with red piping (which Kurt may not so secretly “love”) has become a much loved part of the Glee universe. Its popularity can be seen in the numerous replicas seen at Halloween, Glee events and even as a gift to Ellen DeGeneres since its debut in season 2’s sixth episode, “Never Been Kissed”.

3. The Cheerios uniform

What is an American high school without its cheerleaders and jocks? It pretty much doesn’t exist in pop culture and McKinley High is no different. From the very first scene, viewers were introduced to the Cheerios and their red and white outfits. In fact Cheerio glee club members are very rarely seen in anything else, though somehow when both Kurt and later Blaine joined the Cheerios, they were able to get away with occasionally wearing something else. This iconic Glee symbol really needs no further introduction or explanation.

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2. The McKinley Letterman jacket

The fact that such a large proportion of the plot in the Cory Monteith/Finn Hudson celebration episode, “The Quarterback” revolved around his letterman jacket is testament to the importance of this costume to the Glee universe. It’s a symbol of status, and in the case of Finn and Cory, symbolic of his role within in the group both on and off screen. It’s equal with the Cheerios uniform as being immediately identifiable as Glee.

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1. Sue’s tracksuits

Who knew that adidas produced tracksuits in all colours of the rainbow? Well now thanks to Coach Sue Sylvester, we’ve all seen almost all of them. Sue and her tracksuit go hand in hand. In fact it takes a major event for her to be seen in anything else. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, the image of a tracksuited Sue with a bull horn along with the cast doing the “loser” sign are probably the two most iconic Glee images.

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Did I cover your favourite iconic Glee costume? Let me know below what ones I missed. Also check out our season 5 fashion report card.

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Clare Sidoti

Clare Sidoti is 4 Your Excitement's Editor-at-Large. Clare has a BA (Theatre and Film Studies) from the University of New South Wales, Australia and an MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex, UK. She currently works for an NGO that runs human rights training in the Asia Pacific region. You can find her on twitter with her eclectic musings on the arts, entertainment and human rights. Some of her favourite topics to cover include Darren Criss, Chris Colfer, Glee and Star Wars.
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