Every once in a while, a TV character comes around that just speaks to us – it was Carrie Bradshaw it the 2000s, Hannah Horvath in the 2010s, and right now it’s Mickey Dobbs played by Gillian Jacobs on cult Netflix original show Love. (Yes, we realise we are a year late to the game. Yes, we did spend this entire weekend binge-watching series one and two, newly added).
Not only is Mickey from Love the most fully realised character on the show, and the reason we keep tuning in episode after episode, she’s also got some serious cool-girl style credentials. We’ve put our analytical hat on to decipher Mickey Dobbs' style and what Mickey Dobbs outfits tells us about her character… spoilers abound.
The Swimming Costume As A Top
In the first episode of Love, Mickey is in the midst of a tricky break-up with an on-off non-boyfriend. (So far, so true to life, right?) After a rash decision to get high on Ambien (she’s a recovering addict and is supposed to be sober) she gets invited to meet said ex at what she thinks is a bar and dresses as only someone who’s a little buzzed would: she wears an incredible Special K red swimsuit with a low scoop back layered underneath true blue denim jeans. It sounds like it shouldn’t work (after all, isn’t that ‘swimming costume as a top’ thing a little bit teenage-at-a-festival?) but it really does and she looks incredibly hot. It sets the tone for the rest of Mickey’s sartorial choices throughout the season – a hot mess who isn’t afraid of dressing how she wants – she’s confident in her fashion choices and eschews traditional dress codes (more on that later) – even if she does apologise for it at the new age church meeting later on.
The Flannel Shirt
The other key piece from the premiere of Love only features at the very end of the episode (and throughout the second, as each episode happens in real time) – a blue flannel shirt layered over the outfit from the night before as she goes on that fateful coffee run. Fateful why? Because this is where our meet-cute with leading man Gus (played by Paul Rust) occurs. The entire first episode has set up how diametrically opposed their lives are: while Mickey is too-cool for school Gus is Mr Nice Guy – but for some reason they find themselves attracted to each other. This is illustrated perfectly by the decision to have them both wearing flannel shirts in their first scene together – mirroring each other despite their differences. It's also a nod to Mickey's slight outsider complex - after all, flannel shirts were the grunge uniform of choice.
At the midway point of season 1, Mickey is in denial about her growing feelings for Gus, instead deciding to set him up with her new, equally nice roommate, Bertie. Her outfit in this episode perfectly reflects this attitude of indifference – she’s in a pair of oversized dungarees – but it also reveals her pragmatism. Despite the chaos of her life as an addict struggling to stay sober, she knows deep down that she needs to take control of her life. After all, this is the episode in which she sets her sobriety clock back to zero days. The overalls also align her with the so-called 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' trope (her outfit here could just as easily have been worn by Zooey Deschanel's character in well, anything) - something she's actually not. If anything, she's the Manic Pixie Dream Girl made real. She's a little messed up, she knows she's cool and she's not here to save anyone, least of all Gus.
The Sequinned Dress
When Gus and Mickey finally go on their first date, she makes him choose what she should wear. The resulting silver sequinned mini dress feels like a very un-Mickey – it’s overtly girly and glamorous, and is exactly the kind of stereotypical thing that a guy would choose for a girl to wear on a date. What’s more, the date doesn’t exactly go to plan, with the pair being kicked out of the Magic Palace when Mickey flouts a dress code rule by borrowing Gus’ jacket. Sign of things to come? Yes, as it turned out.
The Denim Skirt
Later on in the series, Mickey begins to freak out about the status of her budding romance with Gus. Her move? She invents a fake reason to visit him at work. What does she wear? A totally on-trend A-line denim skirt with tucked in band t-shirt – a nod to her career at the radio station, too. Plus, despite the fact that this is LA and it’s probably quite warm out, she still teams the look with tough ankle boots – once again beating her own sartorial drum. It's also distinctly more girly than what she wore when she was comfortable in her relationship with Gus - namely sports jerseys and jackets teamed with skinny jeans and shorts. When we saw this look, we dug out our trusty denim mini and wore it immediately.
The Oversized Sweater And Leather Skirt Combo
The final look of the season and the one where Mickey’s all but given up hope on her relationship with Gus was this leather skirt and oversized grey jumper combo. The topic of much discussion online (every girl who watches the show wants this outfit, basically), it symbolised both her resignation to the situation but also her innate ability to make everything look ridiculously good. Plus, we’re big fans of the sexy-meets-scruffy vibe here. Just contrast it to the ridiculous busty red dress worn by love rival Heidi, and there’s no doubt over who’s winning in the style department… (if not the relationship one).
The Oversized Bomber
When her estranged father comes for a surprise visit, Mickey chooses a girly dress but toughens it up with an oversized New York Yankees bomber jacket - a pretty obvious metaphor for her mixed emotions regarding her dad. On the one hand, she wants to be his little girl and impress him, but on the other, she's mistrustful and wants to shield herself from harm. Pop psychology 101.
The Seventies Tank Top
One of the pieces that crops up in both season 1 and 2, Mickey's beloved striped Seventies tank top is what she wears when she's feeling the most 'her'. Associated with scenarios when she's super comfortable and happy, she notably re-wears it in season 2 when she goes on her magical beach day date with Gus.
All images courtesy of Netflix