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Look of the Week: Jason Mendoza, sweatpants style king
Welcome back to Look of the Week, celebrating the best in TV and film sartorial excellence, past and present across sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genre classics!
No one could have predicted the big 2020 fashion debate would center on what clothes to wear while working from home. But here we are, giving out style advice in an attempt to deliver some sense of normalcy to an abnormal situation. Answers will vary depending on your job or how many Zoom meetings you may have to partake in. Comfort is a big factor, which is why the stretchy waistband is the dominating trend. Those who already worked from home before COVID-19 changed everything have likely dished out plenty of tips and tricks — including preferred brands.
Here at SYFY FANGRRLS, we added a genre sartorial twist in offering up a fun guide detailing how to add cosplay into your WFH clothing rotation. Accounting for the need to feel relaxed, the red utilitarian boiler suits of the tethered in Us was one of our top suggestions, but we forgot an important style king; enter Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto).
The great sweatpants debate that rained down on us last week started with a divisive L.A. Times headline: "Enough with the WFH sweatpants. Dress like the adult you're getting paid to be." If you were on Twitter last Friday, you might have seen this flash up on your timeline with various (and mostly indignant) responses.
Jason Mendoza would probably think this notion and all dress codes are bullshirt. After all, this is the man who wore a custom Jaguars jacket for his pretend funeral in Season 4 — paired with track pants, of course. Jason has never met a tracksuit he didn't like; his earthly and afterlife closets are packed with this garment in an array of colors and styles.
Style etiquette rules are sometimes incendiary, often provoking fierce debate. At the moment, if sweatpants are what you want to wear, then why the hell not? Like any garment of clothing, the price tag of sweats varies from the incredibly affordable to the jaw-dropping, with plenty to chose from in between.
When Jason wasn't masquerading as Taiwanese monk Jianyu Li or wearing a perfectly tailored suit fit for a noir, his go-to uniform rarely strayed from the sportswear aisle. Tracksuits in colors often reflecting his love of the Jacksonville Jaguars dominated, showcasing just how much can be done with a teal, gold, and black scheme. As a pre-successful DJ, Jason might not know a lot but he does know the importance of constructing a brand; his sweats are part of his image, and he never strayed from his style persona.
In the final season, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) switched her casual collection of tees and colorful sweatshirts for tailored suits as she took control of the experiment to save humanity. If you are looking for tips when you return to the office or maybe want to mix it up for those Zoom meetings, her Season 4 makeover could be for you. Alternatively, if you have already invested in a floral frock for a summer wedding that has since been postponed, embrace your inner Tahani (Jameela Jamil) by dressing up for virtual happy hours drinks. But for every day, Jason's velour, classic, and shiny Adidas matching sets are perfectly fine too.
"Over the course of the seasons, the characters took on a life of their own, but the heart of Jason stayed the heart of Jason: a wannabe DJ who dies in a heist in a safe," costume designer Kirston Mann told Fashionista earlier this year. Even his Dance Dance Resolution matching uniforms played into this Jaguars-loving aesthetic. And the added beauty of wearing athleisure around your home means that if you want to take a quick five-minute dance break, this is the ideal ensemble to do it in. His final performance as DJ Music featured a black with gold accents custom number that NBC would make bank on if they added it to their online store.
One of the points raised by L.A. Times deputy fashion editor Adam Tschorn is that during this time, co-workers are getting a peek behind the proverbial curtain. You won't be able to unsee those decade-old college sweats — which doesn't seem like too much of an issue to me — but a tracksuit doesn't have to be relegated to the realm of comfy and unstylish.
Jason's sometimes velour, sometimes shiny collection of matching garments is a nod to his dirtbag roots, but there is a lot to be said about classic Adidas — plus the official site is donating funds to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the WHO. And if you do want to update your sweats, this sportswear stalwart is the way to go. Sure, nothing is breaking the sartorial wheel about this design, but why alter perfection? There's a reason why high-end fashion online retailer Net-a-Porter stocks Adidas Originals.
"I could see something special in him that no one else could see. It was a multi-colored blob of positivity right behind his sternum," eulogized Janet (D'Arcy Carden) at the fake final season funeral. "That's my Jason: a big, colorful, rainbow blob stuffed inside a hot, life-size action figure." This description also fits his costuming, which not only represents his love of all things Jacksonville Jaguars but also Janet — evident in the choice of pale blue matching Janet's cloud-print blouse.
At the moment it feels like we are all in the Bad Place, but with a dash of Jason Mendoza's stretchy waistband style and optimistic spirit, it could evolve to medium or even good.