The news of more X-Files episodes reminds us the perfect ill-fitting winter coat is out there—you just have to believe. When it came to pulling off staid jackets the stars of this cult series always had it covered (pardon the pun). Actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson’s ability to transform dull costuming into stylish workwear borders on the supernatural, and to this day remains the series’ ultimate unsolved X-File.
In all fairness, it was the ‘90s. Wardrobe departments were having problems letting go of shoulder pads and the world’s youth were embroiled in a love affair with grunge. Thanks to this show I saw America as a country where summer never arrived. Sure, the sun shone, but the show gave you chills. For the characters that chill was more than figurative.
Working for the (faux) Bureau back in the day was a cold gig—literally. If it wasn’t long coats out in the field it was shorter coats around the office. (Broken thermostat? Budget cuts during the Clinton administration? What am I missing here?).
Over the next few months, when cooler weather comes round and you realise you forgot to budget for Burberry, channelling the Supernatural Procedural Odd Couple is your best bet. The X-Files showcases how to make a bulky coat one step away from a blanket look good. Work that shapeless wonder! Little bit of Scully smoulder, touch of Mulder sass… it’s a wrap, people.
Scully introduced me to plaid coats with black velvet collars, dark green as an alternate to black, and the idea an undefined waistline in the change room reflection is no reason to veto a jacket.
It can be argued coats and cleverness were key to the characters’ appeal. Intelligence is a great addition to any style arsenal, and Mulder and Scully had smarts in spades. Seems wrapping the characters complex motivations in ill-fitting professional wear created an indelible impression on audiences.
That’s why winter has always been my X-Files tribute season. A time to weather the storm, actual storms I mean, in fashion inspired by the best of the faux FBI-ers. Layer up, don’t shy away from shoulder pads—they can’t hurt you—and if in doubt wear a vest at least once. (No, really.) Nonchalance is key when channelling the ‘90s TV style that creates accidental sex symbols.
Here’s hoping the new X-Files doesn’t make our favourite fictional procedural pair too slick the second time around. Mulder and Scully were never concerned with maintaining a wardrobe on the cutting edge of style. They dressed for the job and didn’t spare a thought beyond general appropriateness, an attitude that brought a certain je ne sais quoi to the show’s look.