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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!
School’s out in Hawkins, Indiana, for Season 3 of Stranger Things. Switching out Christmas and Halloween for the summer brings a whole new range of clothes for the teens battling the latest monsters from the Upside Down.
It is now 1985, and everyone’s outfits have got a little more adventurous. The graphic prints are bolder, the shoulders a little bigger. At work, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is attempting to be taken seriously, and her choice of attire matches her ambition. The new mall offers a lot more options, as witnessed by Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) style makeover and Hopper’s (David Harbour) Hawaiian shirt. However, for Steve (Joe Keery) and his co-worker Robin (Maya Hawke), the mall limits their wardrobe, as they spend pretty much the entire season in the same nautical-themed Scoops Ahoy uniform.
As with most things Stranger Things, there is a movie reference to this costume: a nod to the pirate-themed restaurant in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (a film that also gets a specific mention this season).
Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3 ahead.
“Look at my outfit! Look at my outfit! You think I just wear this?! Think I’m a spy in sailor’s uniform?”
When Steve and Robin are captured by the Russians in Episode 6, Steve thinks his uniform is enough to prove he isn’t a spy. Clearly, Steve has not been watching enough spy shows or movies; otherwise, he would know this is exactly the kind of attire an undercover secret agent would wear on a mission. Just look at the many different costume changes in the new Charlie’s Angels trailer.Steve has spent his whole life being popular but is leaning into the “peaked in high school” cliché after his father refused to help him get into any college. Instead, company policy means he is forced to squash his “best feature” beneath the embarrassing sailor-themed hat. Costume designer Amy Parris explained to Fashionista that this uniform is meant to be appealing enough to viewers while also ruining Steve’s flirting game: "I feel like we bridged that gap of embarrassing, but also really cute."
Other than the "Three Months Later" scene and the rain-soaked moment in Episode 3 when they get to wear the appropriate outerwear over their sailor attire, Steve and Robin spend the entire season in these uniforms. It is wonderfully absurd when they are captured by the Russians while dressed like this.Rather than being entirely matchy-matchy, Steve and Robin’s work looks complement each other — much like their friendship. Steve’s flash of stripes is red to Robin’s dominant blue. His shorts are baggier, whereas her high-waisted pair is good enough to wear out in both 1985 and 2019. Just ditch the waistcoat and add a non-corporate Bretton stripe top for those chic nautical vibes. Robin’s both a band geek and a theater nerd, so it makes sense that she would take to this themed attire with more flair than Steve, who just seems perpetually embarrassed by his look.
Robin also puts her own spin on her uniform by flouting health and safety rules, adding two chains and an arm full of guitar string bracelets on one arm with a studded cuff on the other.
Steve’s blue Adidas Gazelles and Robin’s red Converse perfectly match their personalities and overall style. This is another case of Parris tying their look together via the red, white, and blue color scheme. After all, it is the Fourth of July weekend. This visual is at its most striking in their post-puking scene, when the two reveal their deepest secrets to each other. Instead of leaning into the obvious romance angle, Robin comes out to Steve, demonstrating that clothing mirroring isn't just for love interests.
Steve “The Hair” Harrington has come a long way since he was first introduced as the hot guy douche archetype. He no longer has the girl, but in Season 3 he gets to wear his hero hair well while realizing that all those high school image trappings don’t really mean anything. When talking to Entertainment Weekly about wearing this costume all season, Keery said, "And I was just talking to myself, 'Oh, Jesus, am I ready for a billion people to see me in this dinky sailor uniform?' But after we shot the first day, to be honest with you, it grew on me. It really is perfect for the character. It’s such a good grounding tool.”The Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Steve pairing was one of the high points of a disappointing Season 2. This year builds on this Odd Couple relationship by expanding this group with the introduction of Robin.
Lucas' (Caleb McLaughlin) younger sister Erica (Priah Ferguson) was already a fan favorite, so having her join the Scoop Troop is another inspired move.
Style-wise, Erica’s bold color mixed with pastels is perfect for a 10-year-old cool kid, but it is also practical in terms of crawling through vents. Meanwhile, Levi's have turned Dustin’s Camp Know Where apparel into part of a larger Stranger Things collaboration —sadly, a lot of the pieces have already sold out, but it is his cassette print tape that has taken my fancy. It looks vintage, but it is actually still available from Penguin. A Weird Al T-shirt, bold colors, layering, and tube socks are all must-haves for that Dustin summer look.
Sadly, there is no Scoops Ahoy official merch; however, there are already a number of options over at Etsy. I have a feeling this will be a very popular Halloween costume come October. Team Scoop Troop are style squad goals in 1985 and 2019.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.