Euphoria is back, and viewers can’t get enough. Attracting mass numbers each week and even breaking HBO Max’s record for a digital premiere performance, it’s safe to say that the TV show is a cultural phenomenon. If you don’t watch Euphoria when it airs at 9 PM every Sunday, you'll have to stay off of almost all social media platforms to avoid spoilers. People simply can't stop talking about it.
One of the reasons for Euphoria’s incredible success is the individual styles of each of its characters, which have sparked trends across the globe. While the prices of their clothes are some of the most unrealistic parts of the high school TV show, fashion plays a crucial role in each of the protagonists’ development.
In season one, some of the clothing items were so well–known by millennials and Gen Z that dressing up as a Euphoria character on Halloween was one of the most recognizable costumes of the year. Maddie’s pants with cut–outs at the hip, Rue’s tie–dye t–shirt and maroon hoodie, and Jules’s mini skirts, layering, and pink fur–covered backpack all became iconic looks.
Another instantly recognizable trend sparking from the show was its makeup. As the show aired throughout the summer of 2019, many viewers were inspired by the creative looks. They went to parties—and even classes during the fall—in the glitter, eyeliner, and gemstones so commonly seen on the show.
If you scroll through your TikTok “For You Page” right now, chances are you will see at least one video where users dress to attend “Euphoria High.” The trend has TikTokers first wearing seemingly “normal” clothing for high school: jeans, maybe a hoodie or a jacket, and sneakers. Then, they come back on screen, this time in looks that would only fly at East Highland—the school that Rue and her classmates attend on the TV show. Some wear skimpy dresses, while others wear full patterned sets or high–fashion ensembles.
Some are much more serious about their obsession with Euphoria fashion, buying the exact items worn by the characters. In fact, the heels—with thigh–high, crystal–covered straps—that Maddy wears to a New Year's Eve party during the season two premiere are already almost sold out.
After a COVID–induced two–year hiatus, season two of Euphoria has upped the intensity on pretty much every facet of the show, from brutal fights and graphic sex scenes to deep and darkly emotional conversations. Much like how show creator Sam Levinson pulled out all the stops to make this season captivating, Heidi Bivens, who heads up the costume department, did not come to play.
Bivens seems to have selected each character’s style for the season based on how they are evolving. Rue, who is using drugs again but hiding it from her loved ones, is trying to appear more put together, ditching the oversized hoodie and instead, wearing some unique vintage finds. Her clothes are still baggy, grungy, and dark, but she seems to be putting more thought into getting dressed in the morning—a change from last season.
Jules, who the audience learned during a special episode last year is considering going off her hormones, is no longer wearing pink skirts and dresses but rather experimenting with a much darker look. Perhaps this is a reflection of her changing views on gender expression as Jules says she’s no longer interested in appealing to men’s views on women. Or perhaps the darkening of her style is more about the developing tension in her relationship with Rue, caused by Rue's continued drug use.
Maddy, so clearly destined to be a star since the very first episode, is one of the characters who has evolved the most over the course of the show. After ending a toxic and abusive relationship with her ex–boyfriend, Nate, Maddie is now entering a more independent phase of her life. She’s maturing—she speaks more seriously, reaches out to make new friends, and gets a job—and it seems clear that her style is maturing as well. Her clothing is also a lot darker this season, perhaps to show how she is unpacking her trauma from her previous relationship.
Cassie, who is single for the first time on the show, is grappling with what it means to be a woman without a man by her side. Her struggles with her femininity and identity can be seen through the “girly” pastel pinks and blues in her wardrobe. “She’s still trying to figure out how to present herself to the world,” Bivens told Vogue. “I think so much of what she does and how she dresses is about wanting to be loved.”
The fashion in Euphoria isn't just an emulation of what was in style when the show was filmed—the pieces that each character wears highlight their own personal development and struggles as well. While the clothing that each character puts on is so tied to each of their personal identities, their style is emulated by the masses. In other words, Euphoria isn't just a TV show—it's a trendsetter.