I love Gossip Girl more than a rational person should, given that it is essentially a show about slightly terrible people doing terrible things to each other, all the time. I have had to talk myself out of my desire to be Blair Waldorf, but if I can’t be Blair, it’s not for lack of trying. Specifically, there was that time I decided that my best friend had to eat yogurt with me on the steps of the Met.
If you haven’t seen the show, in earlier seasons, Blair is her high school’s Queen “B,” and her court is the steps outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she and her friends eat lunch (if you consider yogurt to be lunch, which clearly I do not).
While in New York for a business trip a few years ago, I decided that it was absolutely vital that I experience lunch on the steps for myself. Should you wish to also recreate this quintessential television experience, here’s a handy checklist of things you will need:
A best friend and/or posse of minions
Part of the whole ‘lunch on the steps’ thing is it makes the whole clique hierarchy extremely literal – whoever sits on the highest step has the most power. If you’re a moderately evil high schooler with three or four girls to terrorize, this sort of power game might be fun, but I’m a moderately nice young adult, so that wasn’t going to work for me. Fortunately, like Blair has Serena, I also have a best friend whose name begins with S and who is always game for my ridiculousness, and she was willing to take the bus down from Boston to don headbands with me.
This is pretty much the most key part of the Blair Waldorf look. You want something in a classic color (red, white, black) with the biggest bow you can possibly find. If you look like your head has been gift wrapped, you’re on the right track.
I was thrilled when Gossip Girl officially made colored tights cool. S and I loved them all through college, so it was quite validating to watch some of the best styled characters on TV sporting them as well. Between the two of us, I think we had like ten different colors to choose from, but if you’re not a hosiery hoarder, I recommend investing in a red pair.
The rest of your outfit
While tights are key, as Blair has decreed, they are not pants, so you’ll need some sort of preppy miniskirt (bonus points for pleats and/or plaid), cute ballet flats, and some sort of collared shirt/cardigan combination. If you shop at J. Crew even half as much as S and I did back in the day, you should have no problem assembling an appropriate ensemble.
You would think that remembering to bring yogurt to a “we’re going to get dressed up and eat yogurt on the steps!” experience would be a pretty basic thing. Unfortunately, S and I spent a lot of time planning our outfits, and not a lot of time planning the rest of the logistics of our adventure. S and I didn’t quite make it on time for lunch on the steps. In fact, we didn’t really even make it for dinner. Due to various mishaps – our need to get pedicures, the vagaries of the LIRR schedule, our ill-fated decision to take the subway to one side of the park and then walk across – we made it to the Met just as the sun was setting. We then realized that the UES in the area of the Met happens to be one of the rare places in Manhattan where there isn’t a bodega and/or drug store on the next corner over, so there we were, hungry and yogurtless. We sat on the steps just long enough to say we’d done it, and then headed off in search of dinner. The moral of the story is, if you want to do this, do it right, and bring yogurt from elsewhere.
Given my inability to accomplish the rather basic task of sitting outside a museum and eating a dairy product, you’d think this adventure should be deemed an epic fail, but I like to think that it’s all about how you spin it. I don’t think Gossip Girl is a show about terrible people being terrible, I think it’s about two friends being awesome, and I think S and I replicated that experience perfectly.