Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Look of the Week: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina delivers timeless style and fall inspiration

Contributed by
Nov 4, 2018

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!

Halloween is over, but Sabrina Spellman’s (Kiernan Shipka) glorious fall wardrobe is here to inspire you long after October 31. Before The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina debuted it wasn’t initially clear if the ‘60s aesthetic was simply an homage to the decade in which the Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa comic was set or if seven seasons of Mad Men had been the perfect prep for Shipka's first leading TV role. However, this version of Sabrina takes place in the present day, but with a distinct nod to that era. The early promo images did make it clear that Sabrina would join the long list of super stylish witches on TV and film.

Warning! Spoilers for Episodes 1-3 within.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Netflix 

Cell phones and computers are barely touched; Sabrina prefers to use a landline to talk to her boyfriend, Harvey (Ross Lynch). The movies they watch are old classics like Night of the Living Dead and Carnival of Souls, and the music they listen to could easily come from an old-school diner jukebox. Even when the date title card appears in the pilot it simply reads “Tuesday, October 28th of This Year.” A timeless vibe seeps into every corner. At the start of the pilot, Sabrina also notes the town of Greendale feels like Halloween all year, so the stylized costumes, particularly for the characters who possess magical powers makes sense.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Netflix

On Riverdale, the weather is reminiscent of the Crowded House song “Four Seasons in One Day” as characters switch from winter attire to short shorts in quick succession. Autumn dominates on Chilling Adventures; Sabrina’s cute knit and mohair sweaters, turtlenecks, high waisted skirts, and an array of outerwear is a reason to celebrate the stable Greendale climate. Netflix is doing an excellent job on the red coat front — first with Lara Jean's (Lana Condor) Gloverall duffle in rom-com hit To All the Boys I Loved Before and now Sabrina’s take on a classic style.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Oscar-winning costume designer Angus Strathie has created a strong visual palette for each character while also paying homage to the original Robert Hack artwork — used to great effect in the opening credits. Sabrina’s thick black headband is ever present, as is the white gown Sabrina wears to her “dark baptism.”

The origin of this dress takes on a deeper meaning in the television series as it was her mother’s wedding gown, providing a link to the mortal world on the night she is going to sign her name away. It also doubles as her Halloween costume and is perfect for twirling to the “Monster Mash,” followed by a slow dance to “Sixteen Candles” by Stray Cats. Get you a dress that can do both. I got an extra kick when I first saw this beautiful sweetheart neckline frock, as it also looks a bit like my wedding dress (I ditched the lace sleeves on mine). ELO’s dreamy “Strange Magic” kicks in when Harvey first sees Sabrina in this get-up, his jaw on the floor. In the comic, this gown ends up covered in goat’s blood, but the transformation here is less Carrie and more The Craft.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Netflix 

Rushing from the birthday party of her dreams with her mortal friends to a ceremony she isn’t even sure she wants to go through with takes a dramatic turn when the gown turns from white to black just before Sabrina walks through the blue flames. Out goes the wedding dress vibes for something more funereal. When Hilda (Lucy Davis) shows Sabrina this gown for the first time, her niece asks, “Aren’t witches only allowed to wear black to their baptism?” Hilda points out this hasn’t been a rule for years, but as we keep finding out in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the Church of Night likes to say one thing and do another.   

Sabrina is disrobed for the actual baptism part; her white slip makes her look more vulnerable and this ceremony feels even creepier. Her choice of dress comes back to bite her in the following episode, “The Trial of Sabrina Spellman,” when Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) suggests that wearing a wedding dress shows she was willingly courting the Dark Lord. Consent and choice is a big part of the discussion Sabrina has regarding her “dark baptism” and Blackwood is using the patented “you asked for it by what you were wearing” BS reasoning. This gown had nothing to do with the Dark Lord; instead, it is Sabrina’s way of feeling a tangible connection to her parents.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Netflix 

Clothing is an instant way to feel connected to someone else, whether it is an old sweatshirt from a boyfriend or something a relative wore. I have a tweed jacket of my dad’s that he had stuffed in his wardrobe for 30 years that I now wear regularly. There were still things in the pockets from 1987 when I first tried it on. My wardrobe is a mix of decades; I own shoes from the 1940s, a ‘70s faux fur coat I picked up in a thrift store last year, and plenty of off-the-rack garments inspired by other decades. It feels like we have been in this ‘90s style comeback cycle for nearly as long as the ‘90s themselves, but both the ‘70s and ‘80s have been jostling for attention on the runway and in stores. What I’m saying is while there are definitely trends that define each era, we are now also at a point where you can play pick and mix with garments across the 20th century.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Netflix

Everything Sabrina wears wouldn’t look out of place in a town that isn’t Greendale. There is a timeless quality to her entire aesthetic from her bob that is similar to her comic book hair to the lipstick she wears. In fact, Sabrina’s striped A.L.C. turtleneck from Episode 4 also popped up on this week’s The Good Place on Kristen Bell. Two shows with very different looks, but appropriate for both characters.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Netflix 

This everyday vibe isn’t true of all the characters with magical powers, as Zelda’s (Miranda Otto) fox furs would surely raise a few eyebrows. Also leaning toward the more stylized fashion lane are the Weird Sisters; their love of a strong collar and cuff contrast is part Edwardian, part 1960s Mary Quant styling. 

In the first half of the season, Sabrina is yet to show any sign of the enviable talent of changing your outfit with the flick of a finger, which Melissa Joan Hart possessed as this same character. But there are plenty of other tricks up her sleeve. When it comes to fall styling with a '60s twist, Sabrina has already mastered this particular sartorial spell. 

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