"Don Bellisario is a genius for writing Abby as a Goth," says costume designer Rachel Good ("JAG," "Pacific Blue," "The Rock," "Batman & Robin," "Best in Show"). "Not only is Abby the only reoccurring Goth character on TV, she is probably the smartest character, period. I think her intelligence permits her sometimes over-the-top wardrobe. In fact, Pauley has been known to say, 'The shorter the skirts, the higher the ratings,' and I absolutely have to agree with her," Good says with a laugh.
Network programmers - are you listening?
But as is so often the case with stylish characters, viewers clamor to re-create the look themselves, which can often be a daunting and expensive challenge.
"From the beginning Pauley and I agreed to make Abby's wardrobe accessible to the fans," says Good. "Therefore I try to utilize national chain stores such as Hot Topic or labels with online service such as Tripp, Lip Service or Jared Gold who is a great designer - very macabre - based out of Utah. I find inspiration for Abby everywhere; the Army surplus is a great spot. They have all kinds of random things with skulls; I like to cut out images, turn them into patches or appliques, and then sew them onto skirts and dresses to make one-of-a-kind items." A technique that is simple but rarely tried by consumers unwilling to take the time to make something their own.
"I like to think that Abby has created a supply and demand of her look," adds Good. "It seems that skulls and the sort of plaid skirts are everywhere - Lucky Jeans made some great sweaters with skulls on them, as did Emily the Strange. And if I can't find exactly what I want, I've been known to take bracelets and hammer them onto boots with nails. Pauley's even made socks into gloves."
It turns out that Perrette is a former New York club girl and has a natural ability to modify looks. One of the club scene's trademark styles is to cut holes at the ends of long sleeves and stick your thumbs through them. Not surprisingly, Abby has done that look on the show.
But what if you want to pull together the Abby look? Good says start at the top. Black pigtails are a must, followed by a studded choker or dog collar, a black T-shirt incorporating skulls, and a supershort plaid skirt. For the legs go with knee socks in black, red or white, and finish off with a pair of sky-high bootsM with 6-inch soles. And don't forget studded cuffs for the wrists.