Clothing rules exist beyond outdated style etiquette manuals and in the world of television comedy, there are certain visual clues that indicate genre — even with the sound off. Bold silhouettes and pattern (and later color) are a key indicator you are watching a family sitcom, which WandaVision costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo has expertly weaved through the series so far. Incorporating nods to the pantheon of family sitcoms ranging from Bewitched to Malcolm in the Middle while threading references to the MCU and character origins is an impressive juggling act from the designer. Each episode is a feast for the eyes, placing as much emphasis on authentic sartorial moments from across the 20th century as comic book Easter eggs.
The first costume breakdown featured a lot of Westview speculation because we hadn’t yet seen beyond the boundaries of this illusion. Information over the last three weeks has revealed the true nature of the idyllic suburban location. For example, we now know that Geraldine’s (aka Monica Rambeau) fish print ‘70s pants were bulletproof because Monica (Teyonah Parris) was wearing Kevlar when she entered the Hex — materials change to match the surroundings. Episode 6 ends on a humdinger and Westview is about to get an influx of new residents, including Darcy (Kat Dennings). Hopefully, Darcy won’t get hit with the dreaded ultra low-rise jeans that Monica feared would be her fashion fate. Before this expansion, WandaVision engaged with a longstanding sitcom tradition: the Halloween episode. Rather than picking overt nods to ‘90s pop culture, this family’s costumes allude to their comic book past.
Pietro’s (Evan Peters) surprise arrival causes a stir, but his garments also factor in the period in question. Fashion is similar to pop culture in its ability to recycle ideas and the references become even more recognizable the nearer Wanda’s world gets to the present day. Despite knowing Wanda’s grief-stricken motivation, there are still numerous unanswered questions and costumes are another piece of the overall puzzle.
Wanda and Vision
The arrival of twins Billy and Tommy at the end of “Now in Color” firmly cements the family sitcom status with plenty of gag-worthy moments regarding the aging up of onscreen children. It also offers several meta nods to Elizabeth Olsen’s famous twin siblings who played Michelle Tanner on Full House. A direct homage is made to the San Francisco-set ‘80s comedy during the opening credits in an outdoor picnic setting, which utilizes this decade’s knitwear and denim. Taste levels in this era are all over the map, so while the acid wash should remain frozen in time, the slouchy sweater can make the contemporary leap. Ditto to Vision’s attractive dad jumper that maintains a consistent check pattern level. Other notable nods to shows in the opening credits alone are Family Ties and Growing Pains. We have previously noted the similarity but it bears repeating that Wanda embraces the floral vest trend favored by Married with... Children’s Marcy D’Arcy (Amanda Bearse). The denim back is an inspired ‘80s design choice, which Mayes elevates by pairing this nifty garment with a white turtleneck and pink pants.
Soft pastel florals don’t leave much room for Wanda’s signature red, but her primary costume in Episode 5 is a blue and red plaid shirt. Worn with suspenders and pleated high-waist jeans, Wanda appears to be taking some style advice from Roseanne’s Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) — this is also an outfit I would wear in 2021. The latter debuted in 1988 but plaid is a rather ubiquitous pattern (see Agnes’ previous costumes) that is also a Growing Pains staple. The slightly frazzled Wanda look points to her steady spiraling as the cracks in her world begin to form.
Wanda’s world expands at the end of Episode 6, but it is the arrival of Pietro that widens her circle. He scoffs at the Sokovian fortune teller visual, before finding it hilarious that her son thinks she is old Red Riding Hood. This is the most overt nod to the barely-there attire worn by Wanda in the comics and her psychic powers do make her somewhat of a mystic. This kitsch version of the costume leans into the sexy mom trope but keeps within the wholesome boundaries by not going all-in on the heaving cleavage. Meanwhile, Vision (Paul Bettany) is going through a lot but his costumes over the last two weeks also point to his comic book iteration — including the green plaid shirt. His identity has been stripped away from him, but he still retains his essence (even if he doesn’t know it). The green and yellow bold attire is neither a traffic light nor a Mexican wrestler (no matter what horny fantasy Wanda claims it is), rather he is also cosplaying as his comic book self.
From poker straight ‘70s hair to the perm to end all perms, Kathryn Hahn’s ‘80s aerobics aesthetic is everything you want from this decade’s dedication to spandex. Switching plaid for electric neon strips, this is a head-to-toe outfit dream with slouch socks, a headband, and hot pink lipstick to match her leggings. Agnes is more than ready to hit the Jane Fonda-approved workout. Pointing to her ears, it looks like her signature brooch/necklace is now earrings but the mess of curls makes it hard to confirm. When Agnes stops by, later on, she has changed into the floral vest trend sported earlier by Wanda. The brooch is visible once more and the meaning behind this item is still unknown (though I am still backing my Hecate theory).
Opting for a classic black hat Halloween costume appears to be an overt confirmation that Agnes is really the witchy Agatha Harkness, but this could be a big red herring. Agnes is seemingly transfixed by whatever Wanda’s magic is doing on the outskirts of the town, however, is she playing along as a way to reveal to Vision (Paul Bettany) that he is dead? Typically, sitcom witches don’t partake in Halloween fancy dress because of how mortals lean into old crone depictions (see the Bewitched Season 1), but again this could be a double bluff. Picking the chic version of this costume, the color has almost drained from Agnes’ hair to match the desaturated palette. The three-figure brooch is not visible on this occasion either. One thing we do know is that she had not been identified on the big S.W.O.R.D. board so all bets are off.
The Pietro recasting twist is a perfect example of how sitcom traditions and the MCU interlink as Evan Peters played a version of this character in the 1970s-set X-Men: Days of Future Past. His arrival has unsettled Wanda’s equilibrium — though Vision was already questioning this reality — and the self-aware comments about his guest-spot mentioning her already dead husband are not helping. Arriving in the '80s episode, his leather jacket nods to his X-Men attire, and the shift toward a more grungy style matches the following decade. The beaded necklace is a link connecting both periods and pairs well with his low-key look. His Halloween get-up is also a play on the Quicksilver costume but with a fun jorts spin. Wearing a short sleeve tee over a long one is the kind of ‘90s detail that can feel so personal (as someone who favored this layering as a teen).
Bonding with Wanda’s twins, Pietro scores high on the fun uncle scale including fixing up costumes and pranks — even if they call him a “man-child.” Similar to the rest of their gifted family, Billy and Tommy wear outfits that link back to the comic color signature. Pietro’s out-of-the-blue arrival and loaded questions about the origin of Westview mean he is a man who cannot be trusted. His attire emphasizes family unity, but when Pietro explains that doing his part means “ultimately give you grief” she should take him literally. Painful loss has got her to this place and the right clothes will only mask the truth for so long.
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Emma Fraser spends most of her time writing about TV, fashion, and costume design; Dana Scully is the reason she loves a pantsuit. Words can also be found at Vulture, Elle, Primetimer, Collider, Little White Lies, Observer, and Girls on Tops. Emma has a Master’s in Film and Television, started a (defunct) blog that mainly focused on Mad Men in 2010, and has been getting paid to write about TV since 2015. It goes back way further as she got her big start making observations in her diary about My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase (and her style) at 14.