Traditionally, sitcom moms aren’t in on the fun. Usually the attractive face in a mismatched pair, she plays the straight man to the zany husband. She somehow conveys both a smirk and a scowl in response to her children’s hijinks. She’s the anchor, present but unseen under a sea of oxford tops, ill-fitting jeans, and sensible shoes.
Black-ish premiered two autumns ago and brought with it the topical humor perfected by Norman Lear and a different take on the sitcom mom’s wardrobe. Bow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) is a doctor mom of 4, with a contrarian husband and an enviable wardrobe that melds function with fashion.
Ross has long been a personal style mainstay in many a Pinterest board. Even Kerry Washington cites her as a guru. The Black-ish wardrobe department has managed to incorporate her sensibilities in the otherwise moth-ridden closet of the sitcom universe.
Bow, a surgeon spends a hefty portion of the series draped in scrubs. Outside of her work wear she rocks band tees, mixes prints, and accessorizes with doorknocker earrings. She leans into a wardrobe that would intimidate the functionality of Claire Dunphy, embarrass the frump of Roseanne, and further raise the eyebrow of Clair Huxtable.
“What I really wanted to bring to Bow is that she dressed hair and makeup wise, like an authentic woman. I don’t know a mother of four with a career and a husband that can spend a ton of time putting together looks and doing the whole thing.” –Tracee Ellis Ross [rwethereyetmom]
Bow’s wardrobe sometimes betrays the finger wagging right of the comedic center she rests in on Black-ish, but for me her style choices are a nod to Ross’ star making role on the UPN series Girlfriends. It reminds me of the comedic chops she displayed back then and the space left for Bow in the writer’s room to have as much fun as Dre, Diane, Jack, Junior, Pops, Ruby or Zoey.
Black-ish’ success has marked the resurgence of topical television comedies and made over the modern sitcom mom’s dress, now they just have to let her in on the fun.