I Will Never Forgive Netflix for Dressing Lindsay Lohan in Shein-Chic

I wasn’t going to say anything about this, but now that Netflix has shortchanged the great Lindsay Lohan, I can stay silent no longer. For years, I’ve held my tongue (mostly) about the heinous costuming that befalls certain Netflix productions. When they slapped a “Chicago” hat on Vanessa Hudgens to indicate that her Princess Switch character lived in Chicago, I gently chuckled. When they stuck Christian Serratos in a heinous wig, ridiculous thigh pads, and ’80s attire that bordered on parody in Selena: The Series, I grieved quietly.

But weeks after I first watched Falling for Christmas—a holiday romance in which Lohan plays a hotel heiress who falls for a small-potatoes ski lodge manager—my rage is still piping hot. I feel my intelligence has been insulted; my good taste has been impugned; my knowledge of what is and is not expensive fashion has been deemed nonexistent. How else can we explain why anyone at Netflix believed that these costumes would convince anyone?

Yes, the most memorable outfit in the film does include a pair of festive red and green Gucci sunglasses. But the aggressively ruffled jumpsuit Lohan wears with them, which is also featured on the film’s poster? I simply refuse to believe that it costs even half as much as the sunglasses. Everything about that garment—from the fabric, to the seemingly untailored fit, to the elastic seam at the top—screams “targeted Instagram ad.” The best “rich girl” outfit we get might be the furry, hot pink ski gear Lohan wears just before (spoiler alert) she loses control and goes careening down a ski slope—which, ironically, happens to be a bargain compared to actual high-end ski gear. (Translation: It looks like you can buy the fur vest for a couple hundred bucks.)

Improbable costumes are certainly not the exclusive purview of Netflix. Let us never forget when the CW series Reign decided that, sure, cable-knit sweaters might’ve existed in the 16th century. And plenty of Netflix productions, like Bridgerton and Do Revenge, feature costumes to remember. But then there are the Selena: The Series, the Princess Switch-es, the Daredevil suit that had to be redesigned at least in part for maneuverability. Has anyone really accepted Henry Cavill’s The Witcher wig, or are we all just staying silent about a low-level travesty?

Costumers can find themselves limited by all sorts of restraints—chief among them, time and money. Selena’s writers even called Netflix out regarding the budget their series received. It’s not surprising that Netflix would choose to keep costs for, say, cheesy Christmas movies like The Princess Switch and Falling for Christmas low. I guess I’m just flabbergasted that they believed they had the right to do so when Lindsay Lohan was involved. If anyone could make the most of actual couture while playing a hotel heiress, it would be LiLo.

If anyone could make the most of actual couture while playing a hotel heiress, it would be LiLo.

After all, immaculate costuming is basically a pillar of Lohan’s brand. Before she’d even grown her 12-year-old molars, she’d gotten an entire generation of young girls interested in tweed suits by playing the exquisitely posh Annie James in The Parent Trap—the same movie in which she also played Annie’s edgier twin, complete with blue nails. In 2003’s Freaky Friday, and especially 2004’s Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Lohan’s costumes were a painfully precise snapshot of the early-aughts fashion victim. As one of the “Plastics” in Mean Girls (also 2004), she lived and breathed shopping mall chic. And does anyone else remain obsessed with each and every coat in 2006’s Just My Luck?

Much like a pop star, Lohan’s movie fashions become emblematic. Give her a good costume, and she’ll make the memory stick forever. She doesn’t just capture the moment; she is the moment. So why, oh why, would Netflix pass up the opportunity to throw her in some over-the-top gowns from Bergdorf’s and instead choose to dress her in some “bold” gown that looks like it arrived via a targeted ad on Instagram? Hell, forget Bergdorf’s—just give us anything that’s at least tailored and doesn’t feature obvious elastic.

I understand concessions must be made when it comes to costumes. You can put Bobby Cannavale in a thin, rumpled suit and call him rich if you want to, and you can slap as many cheap, sequined gowns as you want on Vanessa Hudgens and call it “monarchy chic.” But please, for the love of God, leave Lindsay Lohan out of it, unless you’ve got costumes that have come to play.

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