There are a number of reasons why I watch Pretty Little Liars. Aside from the intrigue spurred by cryptic text messages and murderous enemies, deciphering plot holes that make no sense, and getting my weekly dose of Hanna Marin wisdom — because yes, you can tell a lot about a person from their shoes — the show actually serves for some killer fashion inspo and crafty, albeit creepy, little challenges. The girls may not be on top of their secrets, but they've definitely got their sense of style and creative hobbies down.
So as any loyal PLL viewer would do, I decided it was high time I tried living like the liars. To get more into character, I researched some of their signature looks. I found College Fashion's "How To Dress Like The Pretty Little Liars" blog series pretty on point, so I consulted that as a starting point when putting their outfits together.
I spent a day roughly planning my week by assigning each day of the week to a different Pretty Little Liars character. With each different day and character, I knew I'd be winging it in terms of how deep into character I could actually get, considering that I did still have to go to my nine-to-five office job and not have everyone think I was going crazy.
So while everyone else was getting into full swing of their New Year's resolutions, I became a pretty little liar for a week. Because #goals, right?
Monday: Spencer Hastings
I decided there's no better way to start the week off than to totally kick Monday's ass as the most hardworking, brainy, and neurotic liar of them all — Spencer Hastings.
College Fashion described Spencer's style as a "modern take on the classic East Coast prep," with a bit of a vintage throwback from time to time. She rocks the men-inspired ensembles and — girl knows how to layer. So I dug up a pair of loose-fitting cropped black jeans, threw on a white collared sleeveless blouse, then layered that with a gray sweater. And obviously, you're not Spencer Hastings without a pair of Oxfords.
Because Spencer is such a perfectionist, and is definitely the Type A person (no pun intended) to have their sh*t together on Mondays, I decided to set the alarm extra early. Yeah, I know — it seemed like a good idea at the time...
That was brutal and I am never doing that to myself on a Monday ever again. Or really ever when it isn't necessary. I had a super busy day ahead of me, so I definitely loaded up on the caffeine. A black coffee before heading out, Starbucks on my way into the office, and several helpings of the complimentary office coffee kept me going at a Spencer-pace throughout the day. I actually managed to fire though all of my emails in the morning and come lunchtime, I was so wrapped up in my work, I decided to eat at my desk.
I don't know if it was the collar, the coffee, or the Oxfords, but I was fired up on some kind of Monday Spencer-fuel. In fact, I actually became increasingly irritable and way more impatient than usual — I had to get myself out of there ASAP.
I ran errands after work, hit up the library to pick up some books, and then finally headed home to get some research done on a few things. With the help of some tea in a Shakespeare mug, and a little note of encouragement from A, I wrapped up the night as productively as I started the day.
Tuesday: Mona Vanderwaal
I know I'm a liar this week, but I have to be honest here, I freaking despise Mona's style. My roommate actually laughed when she saw what I was wearing because it was so unlike me. And, no, it really wasn't that bad, but the crazy colors, clashing patterns, and just overall busyness of her outfits is not something I aspire to emulate.
That being said, Mona has grown on me over the seasons, and I'm a person who totally respects a transformation for the better. I saluted her old look by throwing on my glasses and putting my hair in a side ponytail. For my top, I went for peppy purple and paired that with a blue cardigan and black and white floral cropped pants.
It was a little tricky being Mona that day because I had a lot of work to do and she's a difficult character to pinpoint since she herself seems like a million different people. But, I did have some fun with one of the stunts she pulled on the show. Remember Mona's anagram she left as a clue for the liars? When her pretty little poetry was decoded, it revealed the name Charles DiLaurentis, pointing the girls to A. Well, as Mona is the queen of codes and clues, I left a little something for my roommate to decipher.
Bringing roomie passive-aggressiveness to a whole new level.
Wednesday: Hanna Marin
The mademoiselle who packs as much edge and glam in her blazers as she does with her witty one-liners. Miss Hanna Marin, as College Fashion described, rocks that young Hollywood chic. Her outfits are a little eclectic at times, as she borrows from different wardrobes, but she keeps it classy and trendy as heck. Feminine and flirty, Hanna is always poised and put together — despite how hot of a mess her life may be. Well, that makes one of us.
I decided to stick with more of her simpler and elegant styles (it was going to be a busy day of meetings at work) and opted for a pair of black skinny jeans, a black sequined babydoll top, a black and white cropped chevron blazer, and of course — some red heels to spice it up a la Hanna Marin.
I went shopping after work and headed over to treat myself to a manicure — which I haven't done in ages — only to find that they were closed. According to Yelp, they still should have been open so... this was definitely A's doing. Throwing all the #FirstWorldProblems at me.
But then A's infamous creepy cupcake text, luring Hefty Hanna to come back out and play, actually gave me a solution to salvage the night. Determined to make a night out of it in defiant and fabulous Hanna fashion, I bought some delicious gluten-free cupcakes (I live in Brooklyn, cut me some slack), brought out the nail polish, and poured myself a generous glass of 'A' wine that I found. Cheers, bitches.
Thursday: Alison DiLaurentis
I reserved Thursday for the show's Queen Bee and pulled out the floral ruffle top and frilly blue cardigan. Alison's "classic girly with some edge" style needed some of that Ali 'tude, so I whipped on the shades, dark blue skinny jeans, and black wedges. I tried channeling her iconic I-get-what-I-want mindset throughout the day. At work, I'm usually way laid back and like to think of myself as relatively patient. But today, I wouldn't take "no" for an answer — within reason, of course. My colleagues attributed my slight change in attitude to me being in a bad mood. If only they knew.
It was a long day. It's not easy being queen amidst so many peasants, after all. I called up my friends to get drinks later, but was definitely feeling some me-time, so I pulled an Ali D. disappearing act and cancelled.
Well, Ali likes to treat herself and give no f*cks. Was this an excuse for me to just further treat myself with some wine, candles, and a relaxing bubble bath? Maybe. But like, Alison allows herself to indulge and she knows she deserves only the best. And A told me to finish that wine, or else, so... duty calls.
Friday: Aria Montgomery
Watching the show, I always thought I related most to Aria — both in personality and in style. With a balance of edgy urban chic and a soft bohemian flare, I had a lot of fun raiding my closet and experimenting with Miss Montgomery's style. I went for a gothic-inspired black lace dress reminiscent of the show's creepy opening theme, and threw on black boots with some gold statement zippers. To add to the dark boho aesthetic and Aria's bold, artsy fashion ensembles, I accessorized with a black floppy hat and a silver spike necklace.
Friday was my work-from-home-day — hence the dramatic Aria look — that outfit would not have gone over too well with HR. I headed to my local "Brew" to work and get some reading and writing done. I scanned the cafe for my Ezra Fitz soulmate and spotted a few contenders, but alas, it was to no avail. I did have a nice long chat with one of the baristas, so TBD?
Aria and I both dig photography and I mean I'm not about to go and call myself a photographer, but I've dabbled in a class or two. While I don't have a handy dark room or any hardcore professional photography equipment in my apartment, I thought it'd be a perfect night to print out some photos I'd been editing and hang them. Because my room really needed to look more like a Tumblr-inspired Urban Outfitters ad.
As I was hanging the photos, I noticed a note next to a photo of my dad and me. How did that get there? Gasp. Cue creepy soundtrack.
Dun dun dun. I'm pretty sure A was referring to that corkscrew I stole from him forever ago. Guess I'll have to give it back now. Sigh.
Saturday: Emily Fields
Saturday was prime for sporting Emily's super comfortable and accessible casual look. This wasn't really too far off from what I would normally wear on a weekend afternoon, so I was about it. White Converse, black leggings, a loose-fitting tee, a hooded sweater-sleeved denim jacket, a gray beanie, and a red flannel tied around the waist — I was ready to go.
Honestly, I pretty much carried out the day like any typical Saturday, as Em does like to kick it pretty low key. I met up with a friend for some coffee, ran a few errands, and did some chores when I got home.
Emily's the token athlete of the group, so I figured I'd also incorporate some exercise in my day. I'm no competitive swimmer, and since there was still an annoying amount of snow on the ground, going for a jog wasn't an option. Thanks, blizzard. So I did the next best thing and pulled out the yoga mat.
Feeling fresh-faced and rejuvenated with that awesome workout. Just what I needed to blow off some steam after a long week. No A drama getting me down today. Or so I thought...
Another friend to kiss? Well, I don't even know what A is talking about because this whole thing has been a total one-sided relationship. Sorry I'm just not interested, A. Take a hint. Sheesh.
I mean no PLL experiment would be complete without emulating the sociopathic star of the show. Hailed as the "Gossip Girl" of horror, A has been the shadow behind the phone screen haunting fans and liars for years. Though the big A reveal unmasked the mastermind to be Alison's sister Charlotte, I thought it more appropriate to dress myself as the A we've all come to know and love. Dark, mysterious, and totally creepy, count me in!
My A ensemble consisted of Doc Martens, a sleeveless hoodie, under armour, harem pants, and of course, some stylin' shades. I obviously couldn't exactly rock this look at the office, as I probably would have been shown the way out by security in under a minute. So I saved the stalker's signature look for a lovely Sunday afternoon.
Deciding to put my creepy A skills to the test, I did a little bit of Facebook stalking, Instagram scrolling, and Snapchat story prowling to see what some of my friends had most recently been up to. Doesn't sound too far off from my usual Sunday afternoon, TBH...
After researching the best and safest ways to block your number while sending a text, I finally decided to download the Private Texting app, which allows you to send a limited amount of texts from a free new number. Since I'm not really planning to make this a habit, I passed on the ones that costed a little extra. So I entered some of my friends' numbers and decided to begin my trolling with my roommate.
She was getting ready in the bathroom and called out to let me know she'd be done in two minutes. Well, I knew this would be a lie so I seized the opportunity and sent her this text:
Her response was pretty much what I expected, though I was a little surprised she didn't figure it out sooner. I then hit up fellow Bustle writer Emily McClure, referencing her recent DIY alcohol face mask article — which you should totally check out.
LOL — absolutely same response. I also tried pranking Bustle's Associate Entertainment editor Rachel Simon, but I'm pretty sure she blocked the number because a weird little icon appeared shortly after sending the text... with no response. Heh. Sorry, Rach.
I spent the day finishing up some work and plotting next week's game plan. The few times I did leave my apartment, I kept the shades on and did plenty of people-watching. Truth be told, I'm pretty sure most people on the L train just assumed I was some hungover hipster trying to make The Matrix fashion a thing.
The Reveal: My Takeaways
Living like the Pretty Little Liars definitely made for a more entertaining week. Obviously, I couldn't really enlist the help of a sociopathic stalker to send me random text messages, but it was fun setting up some of the cute little scenarios portrayed on the show. I referenced Wikia's list of A's messages on Pretty Little Liars for some inspiration to create those A assignments for myself during the week.
In terms of acting like each of the characters, I found that wearing the outfits really helped bring out some of their specific traits. And it was great that I was able to find a little something in my closet for all of the girls when putting the outfits together.
Not much of what I had to do was a break in my routine and things I would typically do. It felt more like I was attributing each part of myself to a different liar. So whether it's Spencer's ambition, Aria's creativity, Hanna's sass, Emily's chillness, Ali's ego, Mona's vengeance, or A's creepiness, I think there's a little bit of each liar in all of us.
Want more Liars goodness? Check out Bustle's Pretty Little Liars podcast to hear all the latest theories and news surrounding the show.
Images: Brian Lynch; Nancy Valev