Once a month at the very least, I get nostalgic for the 2011 dramedy, Hart of Dixie. The show is set in the small fictional town of Bluebell, Alabama, it has a stacked cast led by Rachel Bilson, and it crucially features one of the greatest wardrobes I’ve ever seen on television.
Though I only rewatch Hart of Dixie once every few years, thanks to my favorite fashion blog, WornOnTV.net, Zoe Hart’s stylish shorts and Lemon Breeland’s elaborate dresses are available for me to gaze at in admiration and longing whenever I please.
I’ve been visiting WornOnTV since I was a teenager. And at age 27, the blog remains my go-to resource for finding cute clothes I see on TV, getting some fresh wardrobe inspiration, and revisiting memorable outfits from my favorite off-air shows.
The website, which was created in 2012 by Linda Wilks, catalogues wardrobes from older shows like Glee, Revenge, and Nashville, along with current shows like Insecure, Good Girls, Dead To Me, and The Baby-Sitters Club.
WornOnTV sorts through shows episode by episode and catalogues the clothes and accessories worn by your favorite characters. Wilks lets you know where you can buy the exact clothing items featured on-screen, and if they’re not available online she provides several similar options that you can shop.
Wilks, who still runs WornOnTV in 2020 with the help of two contributors, is now a 36-year-old mom living in Queensland, Australia. But she’s loved creating websites ever since the 90s.
At age 26 she kicked off her career as a fashion blogger with a little inspiration from Zooey Deschanel. In 2010, Wilks created WWZDW.com (What Would Zooey Deschanel Wear?) — a site dedicated to celebrating the actor’s wardrobe both on and off screen.
“When I started WWZDW celebrity style blogs weren’t really a thing, at least from what I knew,” Wilks said in an email to Mashable. “Zooey was my own style inspiration at the time and I really just used WWZDW as a glorified Pinterest board. Then so many other people started using the site too!”
In 2011, after WWZDW grew a significant fanbase, Wilks created a similar fashion blog about Taylor Swift. And a year later, she decided to expand her fashion finding efforts with WornOnTV.
“It just became habit to wonder where all these clothes are from while I was watching TV,” Wilks said. “I figured I may as well catalog what I was finding. I never ever thought that in a few years I’d be doing it as a job!”
WornOnTV started off small, with a few shows Wilks was watching at the time: Community, The Big Bang Theory, and How I Met Your Mother. “They aren’t particularly fashionable shows, but I found their clothes to be realistic and wearable,” she said.
But after receiving an overwhelming number of “thank you” emails and requests for future show wardrobes, she decided to make a suggestion box where fans could submit their favorite series for review. Now, 250 shows later, Wilks loves scouring the internet for TV threads even more than she did when she started the site.
Browsing the virtual closet
For those who haven’t visited WornOnTV in the past nine years, it’s worth noting that a major part of the blog’s charm is the fact that it absolutely looks like it’s a decade old.
While WornOnTV has been keeping up with changing TV fashions since 2012, the website’s own look has barely budged since I was 19. Its simplistic setup serves as a reminder of the old, good internet, and that’s one of the things I love most about it. WornOnTV isn’t here to “wow” you with a flashy user experience. The blog is solely made to help you search for shows, characters, episodes, and outfits as simply as possible. And that’s exactly what it does.
Once you enter the expansive virtual closet, you can type a specific show in the search bar up top or browse the full list to see what’s been catalogued over the years. (Faded shows are off the air, and most of the time their clothes are out of stock. But you can still look back at what characters were wearing.)
After clicking on a show, you have the option to browse outfits of a single character, or even search by episode.
Wilks separates her finds into categories like talk shows, reality shows, and series on Netflix and Hulu to make searching easier. And she breaks clothes down by latest outfits, available items, items under $100.00, and mens to enhance your shopping experience.
Once you select a look — like this jean jacket/plaid pants combo that Devi Vishwakumar wore in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever — the “Shop This Style” section links to the exact matches.
I frequently browse wardrobe pages of fashionable shows I love, such as New Girl, The Mindy Project, Schitt’s Creek, Younger, Gossip Girl, and Scream Queens, but I also recreationally check out clothes on shows I don’t watch. (That’s how I found this perfect star coat from Days of Our Lives.)
WornOnTV is great for nostalgia, but it’s also helped me find new stores and brands to shop that I wouldn’t have otherwise checked out.
Though Wilks will always adore the New Girl wardrobe, these days she’s a fan of the casual wear sported by Eleanor from The Good Place and Issa from Insecure. But the site offers something for everyone.
Wilks explained that Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars were “the most requested shows in the early days,” but nowadays page popularity depends on what shows are in season. “The soap operas always get good traffic, they are always on air,” Wilks explained. “Riverdale is a consistently good performer. Veronica, Betty, Cheryl and Toni all have their own defined and specific style, much like the Pretty Little Liars in their day.”
What it takes to be a TV fashionista
While WornOnTV started as a side passion project, in 2013 the website became so popular that Wilks felt comfortable leaving her day job as a web developer to maintain the blog full time.
“I work on all sides of it, technical and content creation,” she explained. And over the years she’s mastered the art of locating clothes.
“Netflix’s binge release method is absolutely difficult. People want the info NOW as they’re watching it.”
“[It] depends on the show. Some costume designers regularly shop at the same stores/brands, and after a while of covering it, we can develop a pattern of checking certain places first,” Wilks said. She also noted that it can take anywhere from 20 seconds to many hours to find a single outfit.
When clothes can’t be located through popular retailers such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, ModCloth, and ASOS, Wilks searches Google using some extremely detailed terminology. Unfortunately, not all outfits can be catalogued, since oftentimes shows use costume designers to create original apparel.
Since Wilks has been combing through television fashions for nearly a decade, she’s able to easily recognize and label duplicate outfits, like this one floral print mini dress that’s been featured on Netflix’s Selling Sunset, Sweet Magnolias, and The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia.
Though streaming services have made accessing character outfits, scrubbing through episodes, and screenshotting certain scenes easier, the speed at which episodes are released and consumed has made managing WornOnTV significantly harder.
“Netflix’s binge release method is absolutely difficult. People want the info NOW as they’re watching it. Meanwhile we’re frantically trying to get a few weeks of work up in a couple of days,” Wilks said.
In 2014 and 2015, Wilks found herself “working 16 hours a day, feeling completely overwhelmed,” and was still unable to keep up with the show demands. Finally in 2017, she hired two contributors to help manage the site who have been “invaluable” to WornOnTV’s growth.
“There is just so much demand for new shows to be added all the time, and there is no way I could have done it by myself,” she said. “I’ve since had kids and chose to prioritize them. I am on strict hours now!”
Another decade of WornOnTV
Wilks is currently on maternity leave, so she’s temporarily closed the WornOnTV suggestion box. But she plans to return to the site later this year and hopes to add to the fashion finding team soon.
WornOnTV has endured nearly a decade on the internet and remains an online safe haven for television and fashion fanatics. It’s has competed with other sites such as shopyourtv.com, famousoutfits.com, and blogs dedicated to specific shows, but Wilks has always taken pride in delivering original content and working to find outfits that have yet to be identified online.
My one complaint about WornOnTV is that I needed it earlier in life. Some of my favorite TV fashion moments took place in the early to mid 2000s, on shows like Gilmore Girls, The OC, Friday Night Lights, Smallville, and One Tree Hill. But there’s understandably only so much Wilks can do with off-air shows.
Hopefully in 2030, WornOnTV will still be around and we’ll be nostalgically scrolling through some of today’s most popular series.