3 Ways 'Broad City' Fashion Keeps Things Real

To watch Broad City means to enter into the world of Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler, two twentysomethings living twentysomething lives in New York City. Take the show at face value and it screams cliché, but with just one of the original web clips or an entire episode, its freshness becomes undeniable. Broad City provides an honest and humorous take on the classic millennial trope, and it's all thanks to the two creative women at its core. Brought to life by comedians Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, the characters of Abbi and Ilana grant Broad City a distinct personality, one defined by a defiance of inhibitions and an acceptance that life really should not be taken all that seriously.

Key to such a personality is the can't-be-missed wardrobe. Each episode, Abbi and Ilana's outfits play a huge role in advancing not just the humor, but also the overall message of the show. Be it with an absurdly inappropriate crop top at work or black lipstick in the sweltering summer heat, the looks on Broad City are daring, sometimes nonsensical, but always unique and confident; and according to Broad City costume designer Staci Greenbaum, that's exactly the look she's going for. In an interview with New York Mag , Greenbaum said:

"[The wardrobe] is not overtly sexual, but when you’re looking at [Abbi or Ilana] you’re like, this girl is so confident and so unapologetic. It’s apparent in her clothing without being a really deep neckline."

Broad City is exclusively about the two confident women at its center — with romance, work, and yes, even wardrobe remaining part of the periphery. Their choices in clothes do, however, deserve further celebration, both because of how they further this message of confidence and how they just make everything a bit more hilarious.


One of the side effects of assuring any romantic interests remain purely a sub plot is a wardrobe that accommodates no one but Abbi and Ilana. Channeling their inner-Man Repeller the girls of Broad City dress in some crazy pieces (clashing prints, graphic tees, oversized sweaters, football jersey, black lipstick) that serve as constant reminders of how fun it can be to wear something just because you love it, and not because you're trying to look cute or sexy or whatever for someone else. In doing so, these ensembles add to the humor and to the overtones of girl power that dominate every episode — Abbi and Ilana are doing this all for themselves (and, of course, for each other).


When speaking of the Broad City wardrobe budget, Greenbaum goes on to state that it, too, reinforces the overall notion that Abbi and Ilana live just as any other twentysomething woman in New York City:

"We are on a budget as they would be...We try to keep it real-real not TV-real."

This means lots of vintage, lots of H&M, and the occasional piece of Madewell. Plus, many pieces are worn more than once — not so mind blowing for real life, but seemingly unheard of in TV-world. Ilana's more extreme outfits don't seem like anything you couldn't find at a local thrift store, although it may take a bit of digging to stock up a closet as eccentric as hers. Abbi, while certainly not as outrageously bold as Ilana, still dresses with a distinct individual style that can nonetheless be recreated with key pieces from chain store mainstays.

All of this is not to say, however, that the clothes on Broad City are dull or unoriginal, as nothing could be further from the case. In fact, it is this everyday style that makes the show even more unique — whereas most television shows portray younger characters living in apartments and dressing in clothes outside of their means, Broad City yet again provides a more realistic take. Sure, you could find that shirt Abbi's wearing at the mall, but so what? A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.


At the end of the day, the greatest part about Abbi and Ilana's wardrobe is that each piece makes it clear that each woman has fun. Whether that entails wearing a faux-Herve Leger dress (with the price tag still attached so that a return can be made later, of course) or clip-on Cleopatra ponytail, Abbi and Ilana dress to enjoy life. They don't dress to impress strangers on the street or boys at a party; they don't buy designer jeans they can't afford. Rather, Abbi and Ilana wear the clothes they want and can pay for while still looking great in the process, furthering the prevailing message of Broad City: That women can live for themselves and love their lives unapologetically.

Images: Comedy Central; Giphy