How Mindy Kaling, Kristen Wiig, Aidy Bryant And Other Comedians Embrace Fashion And Use It To Their Advantage
There's something extra cool about women in comedy. Not only do they make us laugh, but they do so in an industry so male-dominated that people somehow still get surprised when each cracks a joke. They consistently shatter boundaries set in place against them, proving one laugh at a time that girls can play just as hard as the boys. Plus, more often than not, these women use being women to the their advantage, embracing unique personal styles to disprove any notion that comedy is something exclusively masculine.
Put more simply, these ladies work with what they've got. Forgetting any and all long-held, aggravatingly unjust social standards against women in comedy, the comedians of today help to shatter stereotypes in society at large.
First and foremost, these women disprove any misinformed notions that women can't be funny with brilliant and ground-breaking work, impressive not uniquely because they are women, but rather because, well, because to rack up such achievements is just plain impressive.
By embracing their penchant for fashion in various forms, women in comedy take all of this a step further. Accentuating a more traditional trope of femininity, they often prove that comedy doesn't belong to the guys.
All hail Amy Schumer. The creator and star of Inside Amy Schumer just recently received the honor of being named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, and rightfully so.
Schumer consistently pushes, or rather, destroys the boundaries set against women in not just comedy, but in society as a whole. She talks candidly of her sexuality, crafting bold and hilarious jokes centering upon things that the world seems to think women should never even talk about. Case and point: This hilarious MTV 2015 Movie Awards promo joking (and celebrating) women getting extra excited at the movies.
Schumer doesn’t hold back when it comes to style, either. She’s refreshingly humble (and also quite realistic) about what it means to dress as a famous female celebrity, which makes her killer red carpet and stand-up style all the more awesome. Opting for bold prints and silhouettes always particularly gorgeous on her body (see: the black and white Balmain dress above), Schumer knows what it means to dress for yourself.
At this point, can we all just agree that along with being a writer, producer, actress, and author, Mindy Kaling is pretty much a fashion icon? After stealing scenes as Kelly Kapoor on The Office — a show where she also served as writer and executive producer — then creating and starring as Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project — where, again, she racked up credits as writer and executive producer — Kailing has certainly made her mark on the entertainment industry. (Oh, yeah, and she’s also a best-selling author.)
But like all classic overachievers, Mindy Kaling doesn’t stop there. The Dartmouth grad also somehow manages to maintain an amazing and downright admirable personal style. Filled with bright colors, statement accessories, and lots of prints and patterns, Kaling’s wardrobe transforms her Instagram feed to something even the greatest style blogger would be envious of.
Since her 2012 debut on Saturday Night Live, Aidy Bryant has easily become one of the most popular and important SNL cast members in its current generation. Whether stunting at ”Lil’ Baby Aidy” or trying to seduce Drake in pigtails, Bryant knows how to get a laugh.
She also knows a thing or two about fashion, although she may not fully admit to it. Bryant’s style is something perfectly Instagram-able, full of pastels, flowing A-line skirts, jumpers, cap-sleeved dresses, and lots of prints. With a bit of comedy edge to cut the sweetness, Bryant’s style is the prefect amount of girly, proving that not all comedians have to limit their wardrobes to boring and dull basics just to be taken seriously.
Sarah Silverman is just awesome. Throughout her career in standup, Silverman has consistently pushed the limits of comedy, again not just for a woman, but for a comic, period. Making jokes about everything from bedwetting to voter ID laws and the gender wage gap, she rarely ever holds back, voicing her opinion in full awareness that her opinion matters.
Unsurprisingly, such a no-holds-barred attitude is reflected in Silverman’s distinctive personal style. Be it in a pair of thigh-high boots and a mini skirt, a designer dress (like the Marni gown above), or a dress she purchased online, Sarah Silverman wears what she wants and always looks great doing it — who cares what anyone else thinks?
YouTube personality Miranda Sings may not seem to fit on this list, but hear me out: The brainchild and alter ego of Colleen Ballinger, Miranda Sings brings some much-needed creativity and humor to the YouTuber universe. Her videos parodying popular songs (or rather, covers of popular songs posted by random YouTube users who believe themselves to be the next big thing) and poking fun at the current pop culture vernacular rack up millions of hits, making the character Miranda Sings a bonafide Internet phenomenon.
Integral to the success of Miranda Sings is her sense of fashion. Just as Sings believes she can, well sing, she also most definitely thinks herself to be on the cutting edge of any and all fashion trends. Her absurd looks — which normally include some sort of sequin, maybe an oversized button-up, possibly a pair of sweatpants, and always a bit too much red lipstick — add to the humor. She’s not at all fashionable in a traditional sense, but that’s the point. She doesn’t really care about your opinions on what she’s wearing, she’s going to wear things because she wants to — and that’s certainly inspirational enough.
There’e really no stopping Chelsea Handler. The comedian has been absolutely killing it in the game for years. Five books on the New York Times Best Seller List, a hit talk show (and another on the way), and numerous headlining standup tours, Handler’s success should certainly prove an inspiration to women working not just in comedy, but any male-dominated field. Refreshingly unapologetic about her life, her body, her sexuality, and her passion for a good party, Handler confidently disproves and shatters frustratingly unfair stereotypes and standards set against women in all walks of life.
Such confidence translates seamlessly into her personal style. Defined by simple silhouettes that compliment her toned body and simple, but nonetheless vibrant colors offset by her signature blonde ‘do and a pair of heels, her on stage and red carpet looks just work. Never anything too complicated, Handler’s fashion is boldly straightforward, just like the comedian herself.
Trying to pick out some of Amy Poehler’s best achievements is quite difficult. Which should be included? Producer, writer, and star of Parks and Recreation? Founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade? Creator of Smart Girls, and online destination for all things girl power? Saturday Night Live cast member and “Weekend Update” correspondent? Author? Broad City executive producer? The list goes on.
Obviously, Amy Poehler has earned her place in comedic history, working hard to establish herself as one of the most important comedians of at least the past decade. Fashion has never really played that great of a role in Poehler’s career, but when she she shows up to any red carpet, she always brings it.
Take, for example, the stunning royal blue Stella McCartney gown she wore to the 2015 Golden Globes (which, she hosted alongside BFF and equally impressive comedian Tina Fey, naturally) pictured above. A girl doesn’t need to look red carpet ready all the time, but as Poehler proves, it’s okay to dress up every once in a while, just to show yourself (and maybe even them) what you’re made of.
Chelsea Peretti cannot be messed with. With various writing credits (Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show), a standup special, and a starring role on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Peretti has rightfully earned her place as one of the biggest comedians, male or female, in the game.
Like all the comedians on this list, fashion most certainly plays a role in Peretti’s comedy. She shows up to The Tonight Show in a hoodie and sneakers, then stuns on red carpets in designer dresses and heels. The talent and success of this Barnard College grad isn’t based on her personal style, but she certainly uses fashion to her advantage. She can easily look the part of glamorous movie star, but she can also (and isn’t afraid to) dress to get a laugh.
Perhaps The Daily Show’s coolest correspondent, Jessica Williams can seemingly do no wrong. Williams’ effortless intelligence and comedy make it so easy to love almost everything she does. Her take on women’s and race issues brought a much-need intersectional perspective to the Comedy Central show, providing spot-on (and hilarious) commentary on topics ranging from cat-calling to natural hair.
All of Williams’ coolness undoubtedly translates perfectly into her personal style, one that the California native and current New York City resident summarized to Nixon.com as a a mix of “California textiles with an East Coast vibe.” Whatever its explanation, Williams’ eye towards fashion is something that serves only to make her even cooler and her comedy even more entertaining — if that’s even possible.
It’s hard not to love Kristen Wiig. From her scene-stealing days at Saturday Night Live (the Target Lady happens to be a personal favorite), to her lead role in Bridesmaids, to her Sia dance at the 2015 Grammy Awards, Kristen Wiig just exudes coolness. Her comedy comes so easy and natural it seems almost effortless.
Now having successfully completed the infamously difficult transition from SNL cast member to bonafide movie star, however, it’s obvious that Wiig works harder than almost anyone else in the game.
As she has evolved, so has her sense of fashion, now serving as something that boosts her Hollywood status while simultaneously maintaining her comedian cred. She never shies away from looking the part of A-lister, but like any good comedian, she never seems to take things to seriously, again always adding an air of effortlessness to her casual-cool.
Creator of the sitcoms 2 Broke Girls and Whitney, Whitney Cummings certainly doesn’t lack ambition. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Cummings got into comedy as a standup, which eventually led to spots on late night shows, a Comedy Central standup special in 2012 (and another in 2014), and the creation and production of the two aforementioned sitcom shows.
In the process, Cummings has always proven she’s capable of (and won’t shy away from) a bit of glamour. Sticking to basic shapes with popping colors accentuated by her slick black hair, Cummings knows how to rock a red carpet or a standup stage, in turn absolutely crushing the idea that women — and especially women in comedy — should suppress their personal style in order to be taken seriously
The list wouldn’t make sense without Joan Rivers, the late and great OG of fashionable female comedians. To try and summarize all that Joan achieved, all that she did to progress the status of female comedians and of professional women everywhere, would be impossible. From the standup specials and headline tours to the red carpet coverage to the talk shows, Rivers was truly a trailblazer.
Since Joan Rivers arguably became most famous for her work on the red carpet, it only makes sense that the woman herself made sure to always dress to the nines. Clearly, fashion was important to Rivers — something her jokes and her omnipresent designer ensembles made known. Along the way (her fair share of controversy aside), she apologized to no one, and as such proved that women need not dim their shine (or change their personal style) for anyone in order to succeed.