Every distinct personality in the Seinfeld core four has a look all their own. Jerry’s known for his affinity for sneakers, Elaine has the big hair, and Kramer has a style that’s been best described as “hipster doofus.” No member out of the foursome seems to fall into the category of “terrible dresser” more frequently though than George Costanza. From the very first episode, it’s apparent that George is destined to make some horrible fashion choices, both in an effort to acquire sex, and in a complete disregard for any desire of it.
The most noticeable of George’s fashion preferences is his affinity for plaid. I love a comfy flannel shirt as much as the next guy, but Costanza might as well have a copyright on plaid. Over the years, George has had many clothing blunders, but these are the entries that would almost certainly make him a punchline for the late Joan Rivers. There are many moods of George Costanza besides “morning mist,” and these are the moods that land him the title of “worst dressed” in Seinfeld gang.
George Costanza is a simple man, he finds something that he likes and sticks with it. Which would explain why George wears virtually the same jacket over the course of the series, only with slight variations — sometimes there’s a hood sometimes not. It’s his security blanket and it comes in four colors, with red seeming to be George’s most frequent color of choice. It’s exactly the type of jacket that a successful architect/latex salesman/marine biologist would wear.
The Trench Coat
Now an importer/exporter needs something a little heavier with more room. Occasionally we see George wearing a trench coat, and I’m fairly certain he was the only person wearing one in 1993 not named Columbo or Dennis Franz, which would explain his inspiration for the coat. George’s trench coat might not do much for his stature, but it’s plenty roomy and just the type of coat one needs for smuggling a marble rye.
“Again, with the sweatpants?”
Sweatpants were invented for George Costanza. No belt, no pockets, it’s really the closest thing to pure comfort that one can get before tossing all sexual aspirations to the wind and draping themselves in total velvet. Jerry tries to cue George in on the message he’s sending to the world, but it’s a pointless endeavor. George has given up and can’t compete in society, he’s unemployed and lives with his parents so he might as well be comfortable in his misery.
That Bowling Shirt
As Burnsy pointed out in his analysis of the Seinfeld pilot, George’s earliest fashion blunder was this bowling shirt. It’s definitely out of line with the rest of George’s shirts in the show as there’s zero plaid anywhere. There’s a bowling ball and pins on the shirt, which has me wondering if George might have possibly been on a team. Could there have been another group of individuals willing to socially associate themselves with a man as slow-witted as George Costanza? Out of all the bad hats George wears on the show, this one looks the best on him, which leads me to believe it was a mistake, because we never see him wear it again.
The Velvet Tracksuit
A hideous fashion choice? Most definitely. Still, somehow George has managed to find a woman who will not only be seen in public with him while wearing his velvet suit, but also have sexual relations with him. You can’t fault a man for that. Forget the haters and do your thing, Velvet Fog.
The Fanny Pack
Jerry doesn’t hesitate to call George out his fanny pack, telling him “it looks like your belt is digesting a small animal.” The fanny pack never had much acceptance from the general public and was largely the choice of Florida retirees and Dwayne Johnson circa 1995. Then again, I did see a hipster wearing one last week, so maybe George was on to something.
The Rat Hat
Elaine’s Russian sable hat might be the prize of the J. Peterman winter collection, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not an ugly hat that makes one look like a furry wine cork. Elaine foolishly allows George to borrow the hat, which he then loses when he attempts to hide it in the apartment of his love interest after his “co-stanza” jingle falls flat. In a classic George move, he buys a cheap knockoff “rat hat” that leaves rat fur all over Kramer’s beloved Kenny Rogers Roasters — and that’s not good for anybody.
There are far worst toupees out there than George Costanza’s (looking at you, John Travolta) but George still looks pretty bad wearing it. The hair hat does boost George’s confidence, though, leading him to pick up nearly any woman he desires before Elaine crushes his dreams and tosses it out the window. In the end, it was the best move for everyone and gave the group back their regular insecure, spiteful George Constanza.
The Gore-Tex Coat
George’s Gore-Tex coat may be warm, but it also makes him look like the Michelin Tires Man. It resembles one of those novelty inflatable sumo suits, and I’m confident that it could probably double as a life raft in the event of a plane crash in the ocean. The coat might be warm and ridiculous looking, but its true downfall is its bulkiness that has the destructive potential to wreak havoc in liquor stores.
The Painted Black Timberlands
Nothing wrong with a good pair of Timberlands. It’s one of the few fashion choices George makes in the series that doesn’t make him look completely ridiculous. The boots elevate his stature and boost his self-esteem. The only problem of course is that once George puts them on and meets the lovely Nina, there’s no going back to his normal 5’5″. The Costanza solution to this problem? Wear them forever! The real issue happens when Nina begins to notice that George never takes them off and asks him if he plans on wearing his Timberlands to an upcoming wedding. Now a normally healthy mind might just buy some dress shoes with a slightly fuller heal, but not George Costanza. George decides a far better solution would be to use a can of spray paint to paint his Timberlands black, transforming them into refined formal wear.