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Geek Chic: Fashion Inspired by Firefly


Geek Chic: Fashion Inspired by Firefly
Photo credit

Ever since I began writing the Geek Chic column, I’ve been told several times by friends and CF readers alike that I was not allowed to bear the title of “geek” until I watched Firefly. Although it took me a while to get around to it, (hey, I had to finish Buffy first!) I finally sat down and watched all 14 episodes in a single day.

It’s easy to see why Firefly carries such a cult status, with its oh-so-Whedon witty dialogue, unique take on humanity’s future in space, and bizarre mishmash of Old West and Chinese motifs. Plus, the show stars fan favorites Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass. Shiny!

Know Your Geek: About Firefly

  • Created by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, and The Avengers fame), Firefly premiered in 2002 but was cancelled only three months after its debut.
  • Despite its short run, Firefly garnered a strong fanbase; members of the fandom refer to themselves as “Browncoats.” Although the show was not revived, Serenity, a movie based on Firefly, was released in 2005.
  • The show is a Western space drama set in 2517 that follows the crew of Firefly-class ship Serenity, which specializes in cargo runs and smuggling deals.
  • The renegade team is led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds, who fought on the losing side of a civil war and now must tread carefully when it comes to dealing with the government, known as the Alliance.
  • In the Firefly universe, the United States and China were the two remaining superpowers when mankind left a barren Earth to colonize space. As such, the official language is a blend of English and Mandarin (as a Chinese speaker, though, I have to say that the actors have pretty terrible pronunciation).

Outfits Inspired by Firefly

Ready to take to the skies? Try out these outfits inspired by the crew of Serenity!

Captain Mal Reynolds

Mal header
Photo credits: 1, 2, 3

Mal Reynolds, played by Nathan Fillion, is the crew’s fearless leader and one of science fiction’s most beloved anti-heroes. Like Han Solo, another famous cargo smuggler, Mal doesn’t always play by the rules. In the gritty world of Firefly, he has to do whatever it takes to ensure his and his crew’s survival. Mal aims to misbehave!

The captain can be gruff and cynical at times, but ultimately retains his faith in humanity. Once he accepts someone as a member of his crew, he is unwaveringly loyal to them.

Mal new.
Product Information: Jacket, Dress, Boots, Belt, Earrings, Bracelet, ScarfNail Polish

Mal typically wears a maroon shirt and beige trousers, along with his signature brown coat. During the civil war, the independence fighters with whom Mal sided were known as “Browncoats” (which is where the term for a Firefly fan comes from). Additionally, the captain always keeps his trusty gun holstered at his side, in case of Reaver attacks or unexpectedly dangerous cargo dropoffs.

Give Mal’s style a feminine spin with a burgundy shirtdress that resembles his top. Add a pair of over-the-knee taupe boots and a soft blush scarf to lighten the look.  A braided leather belt and revolver-shaped earrings recall the Western themes of the show, while a stamped silver cuff quotes the theme song. Finally, add the all-important brown coat in the form of a chocolate-colored parka, as well as a “coat” of espresso nail polish.


Zoe header
Photo credits: 1, 2, 3

Zoe Alleyne Washburne, played by Gina Torres, is Serenity’s first mate. She and Mal go way back: the two fought alongside one another during the war. Though the two have never shared a romantic relationship, Zoe and Mal have an indelible bond and always have each other’s backs. The only time she expressly went against Mal’s orders was when she married Hoban “Wash” Washburne (played by Alan Tudyk), Serenity’s pilot.

Zoe new
Product information: Jacket, Top, Pants, Boots, Necklace, Earrings, Bracelet

Zoe is Malcolm’s right-hand woman, so she’s always cool, calm, and collected. Her sleek style matches her demeanor; Zoe’s usually seen in streamlined pants and leather vests. Snag her look by pairing a silky olive blouse with a trendy two-tone leather jacket. Dark brown jeans and knee-high boots add to the earthy color palette.

Now it’s time to accessorize: tie on a knotted leather necklace that resembles Zoe’s, and slip on a dinosaur bracelet. (There’ll be no sudden and inevitable betrayal with this charm bracelet!) Finally, add a pair of delicate leaf earrings as a tribute to ace pilot Wash. After all, he’s a leaf on the wind, watch how he….

(Sorry, that was mean.)


Kaylee header
Photo credits: 1, 2, 3

Kaylee Frye, played by Jewel Staite, is Serenity’s chief mechanic. Though she’s never had official training, Kaylee has an intuitive understanding of the ship’s inner workings and refers to Serenity as a “she”, not an “it.” Mal regards Kaylee as a younger sister and is often highly protective of her.

Kaylee is very affectionate and optimistic: she truly loves and cares for the other members of the Serenity crew. Over the course of the show and movie, Kaylee develops feelings for Simon Tam.

Kaylee new
Product Information: Jacket, Top, Pants, Boots, Umbrella, Earrings, Bracelet

Kaylee’s fashion sense perfectly matches her sunny disposition: it’s fun, bright, and feminine. She has a penchant for all things frilly and pink, as evidenced by her choice of formalwear in the episode “Shindig.”  Her job requires her to wear a cargo jumpsuit most of the time, but she always adds a girly touch to the uniform.

Kaylee’s fashion sense is perfect inspiration for a rainy day outfit. After all, she could brighten up the cloudiest sky! A peplum adds a little flair to a basic white tee, while a pair of bubblegum pink jeans complements a dusty olive anorak. Motorcycle-inspired rainboots toughen up the look; keep dry with a rainbow umbrella inspired by Kaylee’s parasol. Finally, add a cute gear charm bracelet to represent Kaylee’s skills as a mechanic.


Inara header
Photo credits: 1, 2, 3

Inara Serra, played by Morena Baccarin, is a highly esteemed Companion; Companions are licensed courtesans who belong to a guild and are well-regarded by society. She rents one of Serenity’s two small shuttles, where she entertains clients.

Although she definitely has a sassy side, Inara is gentle, compassionate, and dignified. She serves as a surrogate older sister to Kaylee, who often seeks Inara’s advice about romance. Malcolm and Inara have a constant romantic tension throughout the show, though they never act on these feelings.

Inara new
Product Information: Top, Jacket, Skirt, Shoes, Lipstick, Eyeliner, Bangles, Earrings

Inara’s profession demands grace and sophistication; her elegant style certainly meets these requirements. She often wears long, silky gowns embellished with Eastern-inspired details, as well as intricate jewelry.

Get the Companion’s look for yourself with a pale pink maxi skirt and pretty lace top. Top it off with a sheer black kimono jacket that resembles one of Inara’s gowns. Inject some sparkle into the look with a stack of bangles and chandelier earrings. Finally, add a sensuous touch in the form of vampy red lips and sultry black eyeliner.


River header
Photo credits: 1, 2, 3

River Tam, played by Summer Glau, is a child prodigy who attracted the attention of the Alliance with her precocious intelligence and psychic abilities. She was admitted into the Academy, a school for the gifted which in reality was a government experimental facility trying to create the perfect assassin.

River and her older brother, Dr. Simon Tam, are on the run from Alliance agents after he broke her out of the Academy. The Alliance’s operations on her brain have left River mentally unstable, unable to distinguish reality from hallucination. Nevertheless, she has uncanny fighting abilities.

River new
Product Information: Red Dress, Black Dress, Gray Dress, Boots, Flats, Nail Polish, Necklace

River frequently wears loose sundresses and goes barefoot while wandering the ship, although she occasionally slips on a pair of heavy leather boots. Choose a flowy dress in a gauzy fabric to imitate this child prodigy’s laid-back look. Tough combat boots are a great contrast to a girly frock; if you prefer River’s barefoot look, choose a pair of ballet flats instead. (Fun fact: Summer Glau’s first professional acting role was as a ballerina in Angel…which is also how she got to know Joss Whedon!)

A slightly creepy skull necklace refers to the operations performed on River’s brain, while a glossy coat of periwinkle nail polish alludes to “two by two, hands of blue,” the chilling chant a delirious River uses to describe the Alliance agents who are pursuing her.

Bonus Look: The Hat

Jayne header
Photo credits: 1, 2, 3

Since I didn’t include an ensemble for Jayne Cobb or for Serenity, I felt it was only fair to include a bonus look inspired by what might be sci-fi’s most famous piece of millinery: Jayne’s hat. When the normally surly Jayne receives a care package from his mother, he’s thrilled by the “cunning” hat enclosed within. As Wash says, “a man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.” Who wouldn’t want that kind of confidence?

Put some Jayne-like swagger into your day with an oxblood sweater, orange skirt, and yellow knitted hat. Bone-colored moto boots toughen up the look while a metallic star ring adds some glitz. Finally, pay tribute to Jayne’s beloved gun Vera with a spritz of Vera Wang perfume.

Jayne new
Product Information:  Sweater,  Skirt, Hat, RingBoots, Perfume

What did you think?

Would you wear these outfits? Are you a loyal Browncoat?  What other geeky inspirations would you like to see? (Next time, we’ll be getting our fill of Fillion by tagging along with Detective Beckett and best-selling mystery novelist Richard Castle!) Let us know in the comments! 

Posted on on January 22, 2013 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , , , ,

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54 Responses to “Geek Chic: Fashion Inspired by Firefly”

  1. 1
    January 22nd, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I think you are now officially my favorite person, but I’m still a little disappointed there was no Wash, preferably complete with dinosaurs.

  2. 2
    January 22nd, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    “After all, he’s a leaf on the wind, watch how he….”

    Ohhhh, that WAS mean! Now I’m going to go cry quietly into my hands…

    Loved the post, though, especially the Mal and Inara outfits!

  3. 3
    January 22nd, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I’m really happy that you included River, she is a huge fashion inspiration for me, I love the dresses she wears. They also have cool looks in Serenity, if you guys continue with Firefly themed articles :)

    Also, just one thing to point out “two by two, hands of two” should be “two by two, hands of blue”.

  4. 4
    January 22nd, 2013 at 6:35 pm


  5. 5
    January 22nd, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this post ever since the Geek Chic columns started!! And you have definitely made it worth the wait!!!! Thank you so much :D

  6. 6
    January 22nd, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    This is perfection. I love and want every outfit

  7. 7
    January 22nd, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    i love the zoe look, though that was mean, you’re mean D: the mal look is really nice too, i’m fond of that feminization. i’m a little sad not to see a wash look, if only because there’s a lot to go on, but great post :)

  8. 8
    January 22nd, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    That was so cruel. And I’m talking about both Firefly’s cancellation and Wash’s leaf on the wind. But the fashions are lovely!

  9. 9
    January 22nd, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Please, please, do (The Adventures of) Merlin!!

  10. 10
    January 22nd, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    The link to the bracelet leads to the Essie page, could you fix that? I *MUST* have that bracelet!

  11. 11
    January 22nd, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  12. 12
    January 22nd, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Awesome inclusion of Firefly into the column. I absolutely love the show, and love your choices. But seriously, Serenity is an important character. She is essentially Mal’s TARDIS.

  13. 13
    January 22nd, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    great outfits. I agree you should do the ship and you should totally do BBC’s Merlin!

  14. 14
    January 22nd, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Its “Two by two, hands of blue”!!!



  15. 15
    January 22nd, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    I literally just screamed because you’re doing Castle next.

  16. 16
    January 22nd, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    i am a total sci fi geek too.. i tried watching an episode and had a hard time getting into it, but now I feel like I have to try watching it again after your recap!!


  17. 17
    January 22nd, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Boss. Firefly is The Best.

  18. 18
    January 22nd, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I love love love this. Firefly is one of my all-time favorite shows. I am kinda sad that there isn’t a Simon look or Wash one.

    Oh god, I love Wash and his Hawaiian shirts!

  19. 19
    January 22nd, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    No Jayne or Wash :/
    The bracelet link for Mal leads to an Essie link :(

  20. 20
    January 23rd, 2013 at 12:21 am

    I was hoping to see a play on Jayne’s many graphic tees. I’ve put together many ‘inspired by’ outfits for the annual “Browncoat Ball”, love seeing your ideas!

  21. 21
    January 23rd, 2013 at 2:48 am

    These are gorgeous outfits, never watched the show but like the costuming!

  22. 22
    January 23rd, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Ladies looking for the bracelet:

  23. 23
    January 23rd, 2013 at 8:38 am

    The bracelet is here:
    This chick has a whole store of “geek” bracelets, and a handfull of Firefly ones, but she’ll also customize one for you.
    I’m ordering the Browncoats one. :)

  24. 24
    January 23rd, 2013 at 9:06 am

    @Jenna: Thanks for pointing that out! Don´t know how I missed that.

    @Jackie & Kayla: Sorry about the bracelet link…should be fixed now!

    @Lauren: I had a hard time getting into the show at first too, but once you get into it, it´s really easy to marathon through the whole series! :)

    Merlin is pretty high up on my must-start-watching list. I´m studying abroad right now though, so first I have to figure out how to set up my computer so I can access Netflix!

  25. 25
    January 23rd, 2013 at 10:25 am

    HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY! I love the outfits! The gun earrings, the Jayne Cobb hat, River’s flowy dresses, Zoe’s vest, Kaylee’s rainbow umbrella. In love! Is there a part two for Wash’s and Simon’s outfit inspirations?

  26. 26
    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Great article, Firefly is such a great show. Glad you finally found time to watch it :)
    Love Kaylee’s outfits, especially the rainbow umbrella :)

  27. 27
    January 23rd, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I love these! Fantastic post :D

  28. 28
    January 23rd, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Please please do Pushing Daisies!

  29. 29
    January 23rd, 2013 at 6:17 pm


  30. 30
    January 24th, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Must have more Firefly! You left out Wash, and Shepard and Simon! Great post but please continue it!

  31. 31
    January 25th, 2013 at 2:18 am

    You are a geek chick goddess! My favorite– Kaylee you nailed her sweet to steampunkery style.

  32. 32
    January 26th, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Been waiting for this for SO. LONG. Ever since the genesis of Geek Chic!! Thank you!! <3

  33. 33
    January 27th, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    This is one of my favorite shows ever, so thank you for doing this! I love all the outfits!

  34. 34
    January 27th, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I LOVE your Geek Chic column. Its fantastic! It gives me some fun inspiration for my fashion. Please keep it up :)

  35. 35
    January 29th, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Did you see what Zoë wore in her hair?

  36. 36
    February 2nd, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I love these outfits. I am particularly in love with Mal’s. Does anyone know how they tied that scarf? I would love to learn how to wear my scarves like that.

  37. 37
    February 3rd, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Love love love love love! Please do a part two! Missing Wash, Simon, Shepherd Book, and Jayne! Would also love a YoSaffBridge and a Serenity ship inspired look! Or even a reaver look! But all of these are fabulous!

  38. 38
    February 9th, 2013 at 9:02 am

    would love a post on Lizzie Bennet Diaries so much material there for style inspiration!

  39. 39
    April 5th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    I don’t like inara’s very much.

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