This article originally published on January 7, 2020
Maybe you’re living an exciting new chapter in the book on tape of your life. Maybe you’d kill for a good coma right now. Maybe the world around you is falling apart, and you’re dying inside. (That last one is probably true, given what 2020 has been like so far.) Among the many great things about Schitt’s Creek—and there are many, many great things about Schitt’s Creek—is the practical, actionable fashion of Moira Rose. It’s basically plug-and-play, provided you are capable of walking in some very high heels, and even if that’s not the case, she does wear flats from time to time. Pick a Moira Rose outfit at random, make sure you’ve chosen several heavy metal necklaces and some textured accents, throw on Maureen or another favorite wig, and you’re ready to grocery shop.
It’s as reliable as David wearing a sweater in July: there’s a Moira Rose ensemble for any occasion. Below you’ll find just a few examples from the series, created by costume designer Debra Hanson, hairstylist Ana Sorys, and makeup artist Lucky Bromhead—and all pulled off, of course, by the inimitable Catherine O’Hara.
Before we begin, let’s briefly drop the central conceit of this article for a moment of total sincerity. The costume design for Schitt’s Creek is exemplary as a whole, but Moira’s costumes, in particular, are stunners, both playful and a fundamental element of the storytelling for that character. Notice when she wears bright colors! Pay attention to which wigs are worn, when, and when no wig is worn at all! She shares a color palette with David but there are plenty of Alexis touches in there, too! Like O’Hara’s performance, it’s a design that’s broad and over-the-top but also honest, subtle, and incredibly smart. Hanson, Sorys, and Bromhead are god-tier designers; if there is any justice in the world, they’ll work as often as they want for loads of money after this series ends.
The Look: The “she is risen” dress (Season 4, Episode 5)
You’re feeling angelic, generous, pure of heart. What to wear? How about this modern ensemble that still makes you look like you’re about to take out an egg-shaker and give a rousing chorus of “Ave Maria” your best shot? Also useful if rumors of your death have been greatly exaggerated.
The Look: Silver paillettes, (Season 5, Episode 5)
Okay, so probably no one will see your top in your ID picture, but it never hurts to look one’s best on a stressful day. More importantly, you’re going to get mere seconds before that photo is snapped—save time by skipping the rummage for a mirror and just look straight down. Voila: many small mirrors.
The Look: Leather cowl neck with fur shoulders, (Season 1, Episode 13)
Man, it really hurts when oil jumps out of the pan and stings you, doesn’t it? Solve that problem in a way no apron could with this ensemble, which protects your neck and arms. The oil may also be somewhat absorbed by all that fur, and is certainly better than having PETA throw coffee on you.
The Look: The David duet look, (Season 4, Episode 3)
This one you could truly wear anywhere, but it’s best on a brisk evening in fall, where it’s cold enough that you want the extra warmth provided the fringe on your pants, the beret on your head, and the long Cher-style wig you’ve whipped around your neck like a scarf. So seasonal!
The Look: Going to Carl’s funeral, (Season 1, Episode 9)
Did someone you don’t even sort of know die, and yet you find yourself attending that person’s funeral and sitting in a prominent seat? Make sure it looks like you put in a ton of effort with a hell of a hat.
The Look: Courting votes, (Season 2, Episode 10)
Moira used this look to seek political support at Ronnie’s house, but it’s also the perfect garment and wig combination with which to see if your newfangled contraption really can create a tiny portal through which you can step to another place and time. She looks like Doc Brown. She looks like a Doctor Who villain. She looks like she’s about to show up both Edison and Tesla. A+ mad scientist wear.
The Look: Jazzagals at Alexis’s graduation, (Season 3, Episode 13)
This works great for a Jazzagals concert, when everyone else is in all black but you just happen to have the solo so you do a little more. It works even better when you want to stand out at the catering job you just landed. If nothing else, people will be a lot less likely to knock into you.
The Look: An old-school Rose Christmas party, (Season 1, Episode 13)
The security guards will be staring at the M.C. Escher-esque thing happening on your dress. The guard dogs will be transfixed by the giant bow on your head. No one will be watching as David squeezes through the door to steal the crown jewels or whatever you’re nabbing. The perfect crime.
The Look: Casual lunch at Café Tropical, (Season 2, Episode 13)
We’re really sorry about the Crows movie, but fear not, they’ve decided to remake The Craft but with women in their 60s. You are going to crush it.
The Look: Dead cat in the road, (Season 5, Episode 10)
Say your husband booked some spa treatments (and no, not at Jocelyn’s salon). Say that on the way, he ran over a cat. The family who owned the cat are making him stay in their home apologizing for a very, very long time. Stroll down to the thoroughfare and catch the eye of a passing motorist in this vividly patterned dress. They’ll definitely spot you.
The Look: On sale couture, (Season 5, Episode 5)
Gorgeous. Demure. Don’t forget your travel dehumidifier. Are we sure about those shoes?
The Look: Jocelyn’s delivery, (Season 4, Episode 12)
The dress is great. It’s the boots that make this one. Sure they must be custom? Anyway, no such contest exists, so far as I know, so maybe put on your inventor outfit, found the contest, then change into this look and win said contest.
The look: Getting the photos back, (Season 3, Episode 10)
Moira wore this stunning dress and those terribly intimidating gloves when she went to retrieve the pictures a manipulative hipster photographer took of her in a Schitt’s Creek field, during what was meant to be a camera test. Luckily she didn’t need to rip his heart out of his chest—David had that sorted—but still, it’s a brilliant ensemble. No fingerprints, the bloodstains would fit right in, and the whole thing is guaranteed to put dastardly photographers off balance.
The Look: Rosebud motel unveiling, (Season 4, Episode 6)
Let me be perfectly clear: You need no excuse to wear a suit this gorgeous. Is it Tuesday? Good enough. Catherine O’Hara should borrow this and wear it on the red carpet for one of the many award nominations she’s going to get for this final season.
The Look: Not dead, (Season 4, Episode 5)
No one looks cute taking out the trash. The best solution? Ensure the trash blends in and that everyone will be too busy staring at the whole ensemble to notice anything else anyway.
The Look: A Little Bit Alexis, (Season 5, Episode 8)
We just wanted to sneak this in. Last but not least:
The Look: Herb Ertlinger Fruit Wines, (Season 1, Episode 6)
In the lee of a picturesque ridge lies a small, unpretentious winery, one that pampers its fruit like its own babies. Hi! You’re Moira Rose, and if we love fruit wine as much as you do, then we’ll appreciate the craftsmanship and quality of a local vintner who brings the muskmelon goodness to his oaked Chardonnay, and the dazzling peach crayll-bhapple to his Riesling Rioja. Come taste the difference good fruit can make in our wine. We’ll remember the experience and We’ll remember the name. Herb Erfling … ger. Burt Herngeif. Irv Herb-blinger. Bing Livehaanger. Liveling. Burt Herkurn…
Allison Shoemaker is a TV and film critic whose work has appeared in The A.V. Club, Vulture, RogerEbert.com, and other publications. She is also the co-host of the podcasts Hall Of Faces and Podlander Drunkcast: An Outlander Podcast, the latter of which is exactly what it sounds like.
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