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!
It has been 30 years since Bill (Alex Winters) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) first unleashed their signature air guitar riffs on the world. This summer, Winters and Reeves will reunite to shoot a third Bill and Ted adventure, but in the meantime let’s take a look back at the quintessential slacker styling of Bill S. Preston Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan.
Costume designer Jill M. Ohanneson — her recent work on Preacher includes SYFY FANGRRLS style fave Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga) — was behind the cropped sweatshirt, but Winters explains that it was his idea to draw the Wyld Stallyns symbol on the back using a magic marker.
Movies are not the only thing that constantly seems to be getting rebooted; fashion draws on the past as much as pop culture does. Cropped sweatshirts and hoodies are back on trend and on TV; resident Queer Eye style expert Tan France is a big fan, as are his co-stars Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski. France knows this look isn’t for everyone, but did explain how versatile it can be: “I do think a crop top hoodie is appropriate for most young guys. If they layer. Or if they've got the confidence to wear it on its own.”
France gets a professional to crop his top, but Bill is more inclined to do some clothing DIY. Not only are the hemline uneven and sleeves hacked off, but the shirt is on inside out. Bill’s name can be read — in magic marker, of course — on the collar line. He’s also colored in one seam with a red pen because why the hell not?!
Ted doesn’t have the same level of penmanship on his outfits, but he does have an interesting take on accessories. A shoelace hangs through the buttonhole of his orange shirt, a “Save the Humans” bumper sticker and smiley-face logo adorn his black shorts. And in case Ted gets cold later, he has a pair of gray sweatpants rolled up beneath his shorts, which is the kind of costume detail you might not initially notice, but then when you do spot it, it is all you can think about.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a movie that is free from cynicism, which is reflected in their costuming. They are not trying too hard, and pretty much every item looks like it has probably been scooped up off a bedroom floor rather than carefully chosen from a closet. They are definitely not pulling a Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) when picking out what to wear to school. But this isn’t to say they aren’t delivering A+ adolescent sartorial styling, ready for whatever history throws at them. Sure, ripped jeans and a shirt tied around the waist aren’t time-period accurate for a trip to medieval England, but Bill does branch out with some armor. The latter doesn’t really go with his whole low-slung denim aesthetic.
However, considering how many holes their costumes had in the first movie, it is unlikely these garments have survived, nor do most people wear the exact same clothes they had in high school, no matter how cyclical fashion is.
Plus they still have to save the world -- the new film is called Bill & Ted Face the Music, in which they will find out exactly what Rufus (George Carlin) was talking about in the first movie. And there is no doubt that Bill and Ted will somehow make the aging wannabe rock star vibe seem more excellent than bogus.