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Riverdale Style: Get the Look

All eyes are on Riverdale this season, and it’s not just for the dark and exciting plot lines.

October 24, 2018

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People are talking about the fashions in a “gotta have it” kinda way, and it’s easy to see why. "Riverdale" style is so effortlessly iconic and pretty easy to replicate on a budget that it’s showing up in high schools across the country.

Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and ArchieBetty, Veronica, Jughead, and ArchieCourtesy of Riverdale Wiki

Archie Andrews

Everyone’s favorite comic book redhead has been transformed into a real live boy, played by New Zealand actor K.J. Apa (whose real name, BTW, is Keneti James Fitzgerald "KJ" Apa.) Costume designer Rebekka Sorensen-Kjelstrup has kept Archie’s all-American varsity style from the comics pretty simple. His everyday wardrobe consists of plain denim jeans, a basic leather belt, a plain gray t-shirt, and, in a nod to the 1940s where his character was originally based, a button-down cardigan.

You may be surprised to learn that classic Archie used to be a lot more fashion-forward for the 1940s, wearing colorful, patterned shirts, mixing and matching prints, and wearing his varsity sweater. Funny how things come full circle, and now Archie is dressing as a more conservative version of a mid-century teenager!

Archie’s personality in comics is a bit different from his current portrayal on the CW. The Archie Comics website states his interests are limited to: “Girls, milkshakes, girls, sports, girls, going to the beach (to see more girls!)”. The original Archie was a pure-hearted easygoing teen who got into awkward scrapes every now and then and had on-again / off-again relationships with Betty and Veronica. While that may have been his vibe back before murder, heroin, and gang violence hit the suburban town of Riverdale, poor Archie has become a kind of emo, brooding character who is just trying to make sense of it all.

Archie has a more conservaitve look with muted colors to offset his iconic red hairArchie has a more conservaitve look with muted colors to offset his iconic red hairCourtesy of CW

Betty Cooper

Betty, played by actress Lilli Reinhart in "Riverdale", is the iconic version of “the girl next door”, with her ponytail, pastel pink and blue sweater sets, and girlish Peter Pan collars in the comics. Her spirited vibe and complex backstory on "Riverdale" is a stark contrast to her original portrayal as a good girl, but her practical sweater sets and ponytail have persisted.

Betty Cooper from comics to small screenBetty Cooper from comics to small screenCourtesy of Archie Comics and the CW

Veronica Lake

The comic book version of Veronica was also referred to interchangeably as Ronnie. Her backstory in the comics was that she came from a whole lot of money, but it wasn’t until the CW show that we caught a glimpse into Veronica’s family life, or learned that Veronica Lodge, portrayed by Camilla Mendes, was a newcomer to Riverdale from the big city. Her posh beginnings explain her sophisticated city-girl style, carrying a designer clutch instead of a backpack to school and always wearing pearls or other non-costume jewelry. Like Betty, Veronica also dresses conservatively, with Peter Pan (rounded) collars, modest-length dresses, and cap sleeves or long sleeves instead of a tank top or sexy bustier, but while Betty is pastel cashmere and cotton, Veronica is black lace and linen.

While it would cost a fortune for you to replicate Veronica’s look complete with designer labels and pricetags, chain stores like Forever 21, H&M, and Zara have lacy dresses, little black dresses, preppy plaid suits, and other urban sophisticate styles that would help you look the part.

Veronica Lodge: cool and aloof since 1941Veronica Lodge: cool and aloof since 1941Courtesy of Archie Comics and the CW

Cheryl Blossom

"Riverdale’s" attention-grabbing vixen, Cheryl Blossom, is played by Madelaine Petsch. In the comics, Cheryl is a wealthy girl who looks down on almost all the "Riverdale" kids who live on the other side of the tracks — except for Archie Andrews. In the CW version, Cheryl has a much more prominent backstory than just another rich girl who rivals Veronica for money and attitude and competes with Betty and Veronica for Archie’s attention. Cheryl dresses the way she approaches everything — with maximum attention drawn to herself in mind. Her basic palette of red, white, and black, usually with bright red lipstick, is accented by a va-va-voom element, as the show’s costumers refer to them. Whether it’s a black spider brooch or an extra-short skirt, Cheryl’s wardrobe choices consistently turn heads wherever she goes.

Cheryl has always been an attention-craving vixenCheryl has always been an attention-craving vixenCourtesy of CW

Jughead Jones

Jughead Jones, played by Cole Sprouse in the CW show, is a tough gang member with a strong backstory and a soft side that viewers get to see, thanks to his role as narrator in the series. While "Riverdale" is seen as “the other side of the tracks” from Cheryl’s upscale neighborhood, Jughead Jones’ neighborhood closer to Southside is a few steps farther down on the wealth and safety scale.

His look is 90s grunge, with a seemingly endless parade of plaid shirts that are just as often seen tied around his waist or thrown over a chair as they are actually worn. His style is composed mostly of layers — jeans, a t-shirt, a plaid shirt (worn unbuttoned), and a sherpa-lined denim jacket (when he isn’t wearing his tough-guy gang jacket handed down from his dad.) Of course, Jughead’s outfit wouldn’t be complete without his signature knit cap, but did you know the origins of his iconic headwear? According to vulture.com, “it was inspired by whoopee caps that were popularized in the ’20s, complete with the knitted, zigzagged texture that makes Jughead look like ‘a mechanic or a factory worker.’”

Jughead’s character in the show is the biggest departure from the original Archie comics lore. In his 1941 debut, Jughead’s full name was Forsythe Pendleton "Jughead" Jones III, which implies that he may also have had less “humble” origins and was probably on the wealthier side. Always hungry and characteristically lazy, Jughead was basically the opposite of his BFF Archie — detatched, analytical, and completely opposed to dating or drama. His CW incarnation has him obsessed less with food, more involved with drama, and completely involved with his girlfriend Betty.

Old Jughead and his new and improved incarnation in Cole SprouseOld Jughead and his new and improved incarnation in Cole SprouseCourtesy of Business Insider

Josie McCoy

Lead Pussycat and solo singer Josie has big talent and even bigger dreams. Her signature leopard print is incorporated into every outfit she wears from those cute little cat ears to wardrobe accents to full-on leopard. Classic Josie from the comics was more of a flighty, flirty, happy-go-lucky sweetie — a lot like classic Archie from his early days. CW Josie has a tough edge and a whole lot of ambition that says: “look out world, Josie’s on her way to the top!”

Josie McCoy could always rock, but now her vibe is edgier and way coolerJosie McCoy could always rock, but now her vibe is edgier and way coolerCourtesy of Business Insider

Tell Us What You Think

Who is your favorite "Riverdale" character? Which version do you like better — classic 1940s Archie, or today? Which "Riverdale" character’s vibe would you most like to recreate in your wardrobe? Join the conversation!

An original cover of an Archie comic from 1942An original cover of an Archie comic from 1942Courtesy of Pep comics, now in the public domain.