12 of Buffy Summers' most important outfits — from wedding gowns to yummy sushi pajamas

Source: Netflix
Source: Netflix

Buffy Summers, the iconic TV heroine played by Golden Globe-nominee Sarah Michelle Gellar, will be remembered for many things. She saved the world — a lot. She stole an anti-tank missile from the United States army and used it to blow up a powerful demon sent to wipe out the human race at the local mall — on a school night, no less. And she nabbed a 1430 SAT score, not bad.

But she's also unforgettable for another reason: as a fashion icon of the late '90s and early '00s. Just look at her enviable sunglass collection for proof:

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
Source: 
Netflix

Over the course of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer's 144 episodes that aired over seven years, from 1997 to 2003, Buffy experimented with ascots, scrunchies, animal print, beanies, "stylish yet affordable" boots and, so, so much leather. Fearless in the face of evil, she was also unafraid to go bold with her look. 

Here are 12 of her most quintessentially Buffy Summers get-ups in order by appearance.

1. "Prophecy Girl"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season one, episode 12
Source: 
Netflix

"Big hit with everybody," Buffy tells Xander in the final moments of Buffy's first season finale, referring to her silk white empire waist evening gown, gifted by Buffy's mother Joyce earlier in the episode. "We can't afford this," Buffy tells her mother when presented with the dress. "The way you've been eating... we can afford it." 

This dress is significant not only as the outfit Buffy wears when she dies (the first time), but as her first outstandingly fashion-with-a-capital-F moment (minus the shoes).

And, can we just say, accessorizing the dress with a leather jacket and a crossbow was absolutely the right decision.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season one, episode 12
Source: 
Netflix

2. "Becoming (Part 1)"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season two, episode 21
Source: 
Netflix

For one of the most significant moments in her life, one where she would be forced to come to grips with the fact that she would be forced to kill her lover, Buffy shows up wearing a seafoam blue trench — the unofficial uniform for teenage girls having to kill their undead boyfriends.

It's notable not just for the color and fit, but for providing this slow-mo action shot of Sarah Michelle Gellar running in it.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season two, episode 21
Source: 
Netflix

3. "Homecoming"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season three, episode five
Source: 
Netflix

To her senior year homecoming, Buffy opts for a classic Oscar de la Renta-esque ruby red dress — both sophisticated and event appropriate. It shows a dramatic maturity in Buffy's aesthetic sensibility from just two years earlier.

Plus, even bloodied and tattered from battle, she still managed to look like a queen despite losing the crown.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season three, episode five
Source: 
Netflix

4. "The Zeppo"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season three, episode 13
Source: 
Netflix

This is a good coat from afar, yes, but is it a good coat close up?

Can confirm:

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season three, episode 13
Source: 
Netflix

5. "The Prom"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season three, episode 20
Source: 
Netflix

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy who?

To a dream sequence wedding to Angel in the lead-up to his undramatic series exit, Buffy wore, appropriately, a fairytale wedding gown complete with three-quarter-length sleeves, designed by none other than Vera Wang.

If this dress could speak (which wouldn't be too unlikely a premise in the Buffy-verse), it would tell the story of its perfection made complete by the kiss the two share post "I do."

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season three, episode 20
Source: 
Netflix

6. "Graduation Day (Part I)"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season three, episode 21
Source: 
Netflix

"Look at you, all dressed up in big sister's clothes," Faith tells Buffy in the big lead-up to a fight that would put Faith into a coma.

No outfit ever worn on the show can come close to this one. It makes sense that this is one of the looks chosen for a Buffy action figure, as it embodies everything that Buffy stands for: It's bold, it's powerful, it's feminine, it's tough. If Buffy outfits had the ability to win awards, this one would surely EGOT.

It's also durable as fuck:

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season three, episode 21
Source: 
Netflix

7. "Pangs"

Let us take a moment to remember the one time Buffy wore a cowboy hat. Important reminder:

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season four, episode eight
Source: 
Netflix

And here it is in close-up, as it deserves to be.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season four, episode eight
Source: 
Netflix

8. "Goodbye Iowa"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season four, episode 14
Source: 
Netflix

In the lead-up to battle, Buffy offered up this powerful speech: "I'm going to the crime scene to see what I can find out. You guys research the Polgara demon, I want to know where it is. When I find it I'm going to make him pay for taking that kid's life. I'll make him die in ways he can't even imagine."

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season four, episode 14
Source: 
Netflix

Then: "That probably would have sounded more commanding if I wasn't wearing my yummy sushi pajamas."

9. "Restless"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season four, episode 22
Source: 
Netflix

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy as a flapper in a college production of Death of a Salesman. What more do you need?

10. "Intervention"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season five, episode 18
Source: 
Netflix

This two-toned pink-on-pink look, complete with a bejeweled heart broach at the waist, symbolized a more adult-dressing vampire slayer. It's also a significant moment for the show, the first instance of Buffy showing some kind of affection for Spike.

And can we talk about the movement on the skirt? Perfection.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season five, episode 18
Source: 
Netflix

11. "Doublemeat Palace"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season six, episode 12
Source: 
Netflix

Though her stint flipping burgers at the Doublemeat Palace was brief on account of being attacked by a human lamprey (the worst), her uniform will forever live on. 

Though Buffy had many side jobs through the years (waitress, guidance counselor, construction worker), no career afforded her the opportunity to where a hat with a cow head on the front and chicken feathers on the back. And let's not forget the miniature chicken buttons expertly placed throughout.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season six, episode 12
Source: 
Netflix

12. "Chosen"

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season seven, episode 22
Source: 
Netflix

For Buffy's final getting-ready-for-battle speech, our beloved slayer chose a two-toned vertical integrated mullet top (business on top, party on the bottom, if you will) with a concave crescent hem — a far departure from our heroine's less sophisticated (but still iconic) style during the show's infancy.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', season one, episode one
Source: 
Netflix

Thank you for your many sartorial contributions, Ms. Summers. Saving the world may be your legacy, but fashion is how we'll always remember you.

Mic has ongoing Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th anniversary coverage. Check out the main Buffy the Vampire Slayer hub here.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Evan Ross Katz

Evan Ross Katz is Mic's style editor. He previously served as managing editor for Logo's NewNowNext. Bylines: The Advocate, Refinery29, Men's Health, Thrillist, Out, Men's Fitness, Instinct, F*cking Young, Schön, Essential Homme, The Manual, and WetPaint.

MORE FROM

When cops kill, paying their victims' families can be a cold, calculating process, attorneys say

Black lives are often seen as having less monetary value in the eyes of the law.

Ava Le'Ray Barrin, 17-year-old transgender girl, killed in Georgia

Barrin, 17, wanted to be a model.

Ten Commandments monument at Arkansas Capitol destroyed

The suspect appears to have broadcast the crash on Facebook Live.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care vote, Charges in Laquan McDonald shooting, U.S. image

The important stories to get you caught up for Wednesday.

Venezuela's Supreme Court targeted in helicopter attack amid ongoing crisis

The apparent helicopter attack is the latest escalation of an ongoing political crisis.

Iran calls Supreme Court's travel ban decision "racist" and "unfair"

Iranian officials criticized Trump's de-facto Muslim ban this week.

When cops kill, paying their victims' families can be a cold, calculating process, attorneys say

Black lives are often seen as having less monetary value in the eyes of the law.

Ava Le'Ray Barrin, 17-year-old transgender girl, killed in Georgia

Barrin, 17, wanted to be a model.

Ten Commandments monument at Arkansas Capitol destroyed

The suspect appears to have broadcast the crash on Facebook Live.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care vote, Charges in Laquan McDonald shooting, U.S. image

The important stories to get you caught up for Wednesday.

Venezuela's Supreme Court targeted in helicopter attack amid ongoing crisis

The apparent helicopter attack is the latest escalation of an ongoing political crisis.

Iran calls Supreme Court's travel ban decision "racist" and "unfair"

Iranian officials criticized Trump's de-facto Muslim ban this week.