Vampirecore has been a pillar of TikTok’s style subcultures for some time now, with over 6 billion views and counting dedicated to all things of the Victorian Gothic aesthetic. But while some of us are still channelling the mystique of the supernatural, our attention has pivoted to the keepers of our Earthly realm, namely, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The series, which is based on the 1992 film of the same name, followed reluctant hero Buffy Summers, a high school student in the little town of Sunnydale — a place that happens to be home to the gates of Hell — who comes from a long line of young women chosen by fate to fight evil forces from wreaking havoc on humans. And though the plot may seem like a rich tapestry of clichés, the outfits were anything but.
Airing between 1997-2003, the show captured the best of fashion during Y2k, seamlessly transitioning from timeless basics and flattering cuts of the ’90s to the hero-worthy party looks of the ’00s. Which is why we’re still mining the cast’s style for our own outfit inspiration, more than two decades after its air date.
Throughout its seven seasons (not including the spin-off, Angel), Buffy & Co take on ghouls, Gentlemen, syphilis and song-churning demons, all while dressing exactly how we would have hoped to one day dress at our high schools, had it not been for uniform mandates and trends we’d rather forget.
Some viewers may recall these outfits with an eyeroll, and that’s completely understandable. Are a crop top, leather pants and stiletto boots to stake some vamps a practical choice? Who’s to say, but does it make us want to wear exactly that? Absolutely.
The evolution of Buffy’s style is a steady transition from a naive teen grappling with her destiny in pastels, bedazzled denim and dainty tops, with hair just thrown together — to a more mature slayer; one that has come to terms with her mission in black leather coats, knee-high boots, mini skirts and slicked-back hair. Slinky going out tops were also aplenty.
But even beyond the titular character, who can look past the rest of the cast’s fits? I personally have a soft spot for the dopey best friend aesthetic of 2000s romcoms, which brings me to Xander’s signature look of a loose printed button-down shirt layered over a beat-up t-shirt, or a classic chunky sweater. Despite his fragile masculinity, we must admit his style still stands.
Then there’s Willow, played by Alyson Hannigan, who was an LGBTQ+ icon and inspired many of us to take our layered hair to new heights, that could never be styled right post-salon visit. Her style leaned towards a grungey bohemian, that felt both put together and extremely cosy.
Of course, we’d be fools to ignore Spike the tortured vampire’s style (who may I add invented the silver chain look). From the leather dusters and combat boots to the studded belts, singlets and silk shirts, it’s the kind of style we might avoid in a stranger, but definitely adopt ourselves.
And we’re definitely not the only ones clocking onto the wardrobe genius. Instagram pages like BuffyTheOutfitSlayer, BuffyTheStyleSlayer and EveryOutfitBuffySlayed dedicate themselves to documenting the sartorial moments of every character. All of which we can now look back on with renewed appreciation (except maybe this ‘Bomb’ beanie).
Scroll on for some of our favourite looks from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So it’s really just facts that Buffy is the enduring ’00s TV show fashion icon, beating out The Simple Life and even The O.C. perhaps (sorry). Period. As for how functional it was for both school and monster-slaying? That’s a little more debatable.
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