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As 'Girls' returns, its quirky fashion continues to fascinate

TODAY's Savannah Guthrie chats with the cast of HBO's hit series "Girls" – Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, and Zosia Mamet – about the show's second season, with Dunham saying she feels "so inspired by the people I work with."

Much has been reported on the fashion of the hit HBO series “Girls,” which begins its second season Sunday, Jan. 13: whether it’s the anti-“Sex and the City,” or authentically “Brooklyn enough.”

In several interviews, costume designer Jennifer Rogien has explained that she took a more realistic approach to the characters’ wardrobes than most female-driven shows – going so far as to purposely dress Hannah (played by show creator Lena Dunham) in a “disheveled” and “scattered” style, and insisting that the ladies repeat their affordable footwear (no collection of Manolo Blahniks here).

“We fit the clothes with Spanx, and then I didn’t wear the Spanx for the show, so everything fits slightly wrong, it tugs a little bit,” Dunham said of the show’s purposely un-perfect fashion. You don’t tailor your thing from the Urban Outfitters sale rack.”

The often mismatched outfits are meant to reflect the messy, regrettable choices many people make in their 20s, a prominent theme in the risque series. “We wanted to embrace all those factors — the youth, the first job, the insecurity in relationships, both romantic and friendship — and see if we could reflect that through the clothing,” Rogien told The New York Times. 

HBO

In character: HBO's "Girls" stars Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, and Zosia Mamet.

It’s an unorthodox move criticized by some (“where’s the fantasy?!”) and applauded by others who think it a valiant effort to capture an average girl's closet. "I appreciate the styling not being over the top (i.e.: SATC), as it doesn't distract me from the actual people in them,” wrote one fan on Racked.com.

In real life, however, the stars of “Girls” are a bit more grounded (it seems) in their sense of style. Allison Williams (Marnie) is often spotted in polished, sophisticated designs including Oscar de la Renta and has publicly spoken about her future style plans (such as wearing predominantly American designers, like Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan).

Michael Buckner / Getty Images

Allison Williams, in Oscar de la Renta, arrives at HBO's Annual Emmy Awards Post Awards Reception on Sept. 23 in West Hollywood, California.

Evan Agostini / AP

Actress Allison Williams attends the 8th Annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball on Nov. 27 in New York.

Evan Agostini / AP

Allison Williams attends the Target and Neiman Marcus holiday collection launch on Nov. 28.

Jemima Kirke (Jessa), much like her character, exudes carefree confidence, as displayed in the pregnant (and topless) photo shoot she did with Vice magazine in October.

Getty Images

Jemima Kirke attends the New York premiere of HBO's "Girls" on April 14 in New York City.

Richard Kern / Vice

Jemima Kirke, shown eight months pregnant, poses for her Vice magazine shoot.

Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna) has enjoyed a  few fashion-forward moments, including wearing a beautiful, interesting gown by Indian-American designer Bibhu Mohapatra.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Zosia Mamet, wearing Bibhu Mohapatra, at the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 23 in Los Angeles, California.

Fernando Leon / Getty Images

Zosia Mamet attends the premiere of "Stand Up Guys" at the MOMA on Dec. 9 in New York City.

Evan Agostini / AP

Zosia Mamet appears backstage at 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief on Dec. 12 in New York.

And as for Dunham? The fearless show creator proves she does what she wants, when she wants: she recently defended a no-pants look and took off her Brian Atwood sky-high heels halfway through Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards in November, garnering both applause and severe criticism, both of which she’s quite used to. In discussing season 2 on TODAY Tuesday, Lena promised “We’re continuing to push the envelope, I hope… If you loved what we were doing last season, we’re going to push it further. And if you hated what we were doing last season, you will hate it even more.”

David Livingston / Getty Images

Lena Dunham attends the 3rd Annual L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade Culinary Event on Sept. 29 in Culver City, California.

Evan Agostini / AP

Lena Dunham attends Glamour Magazine's 22nd annual Women of the Year Awards on Nov. 12 in New York.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Lena Dunham attends the premiere of "This Is 40" on Dec. 12 in Hollywood, California.

 Confidence, always in style.

 HBO’s “Girls” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. (ET) starting Jan. 13.

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