On Sunday night, the last half of the last season of "Breaking Bad" begins, already leaving a path of emotional destruction and anxiety in its wake. (Or maybe that’s just us.)
Thus, as we finish off Season 5, we’ve chosen to pay homage to the layers of meaning the series has cultivated through its wardrobe department. After all, creator Vince Gilligan is renowned for leaving hidden meanings and symbols in the wake of every episode, so we’re going to take a look at "Breaking Bad’s" style lessons to see if we can crack any codes.
However, it’s only fair to issue a spoiler alert: Walter White wears glasses.
Story continues below the slideshow:
1. Walter’s Original “Cook” Outfit
Think back to the pilot. Remember the button-up? The trousers? The tight, white briefs? Of course you do: Walter White began as a scared, insecure, teaching doormat, who was so afraid to get dirty, he literally disrobed. In episodes now, Heisenberg would rather be caught dead than be caught chasing after a rival gang powerless and half-naked (especially since he prefers to be actually naked, according to how often he is). Mr. White may still wear simple pieces, but they’re a part of his disguise -- not because feels invisible.
2. Jesse’s Toned-Down Wardrobe
When we were first introduced to “hip-hop” Jesse, we met a guy who embraced colour, accessories, and even high-tops with dollar signs. However, as Walter’s power surged, the zest was drained from Jesse. Once a bright colour-wearer, he now opts for neutrals. Once flashy, he goes for t-shirts and jeans. Even hats: while Jesse previously donned toques and sports hats in earlier seasons, he’s now even shaved off his hair, leaving Walt with the trademark chapeau: his Heisenberg fedora, which began as just a disguise. When Jesse starts wearing black, that’s when we worry.
3. Wearing Black
If you wear black clothes in "Breaking Bad," you’re doomed. Jane wore black. Mike wore black. Gus Fring wore black. Even Tuco wore black. True, we may be reaching in terms of jacket colour choice, but nothing in "Breaking Bad" is by accident: black infamously symbolizes death. (Maybe Walt wears it well because he’s dead already.)
4. Marie And Purple
Hank’s wife and Skyler’s sister Marie wears a lot of purple. She wears it constantly. She has never not worn purple. Wherever she is right now, she is probably wearing purple. BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN? If you remember, Hank went through his “mineral” phase after being shot two seasons back – and some of those gems matched his wife’s preferred tone. But other than that? Purple is usually reserved for royalty: will Hank be crowned “king” once he finally busts Walter? Or will Marie somehow be responsible for his ultimate downfall?
5. Hank’s Neutrals
The last thing any of us would describe Hank as is flashy, so his wardrobe of neutral-toned short-sleeved button-ups and t-shirts make sense: they’re practical, they’re work-appropriate, and they suit him. Hank himself is not an attention-seeker (at least personally), and despite wrestling with his own ego, he’s tragically underestimated by Walter nearly 100% of the time. Of course, we know how the last episode ended: Hank, on the toilet, finally figuring out who Heisenberg is. So perhaps like Walt, Hank’s clothes are a camouflage, too, and out of nowhere, he’ll sneak up to ruin his murderous brother-in-law.
6. Saul’s Flashiness
Every show deserves comic relief, and through Saul’s outlandish suits and clip-on ties, we’re treated to the joy we deserve. Also, it’s been rumoured that Saul will actually get his own spin-off, so any fears about him being killed off can be squashed and we can all sleep like peaceful little babies. So what we can surmise is this: the lawyer simply dresses his part. Face value! Let’s embrace it.
7. The Heisenberg Hat
Not since the Harry Potter sorting hat did an accessory make such an impact. Upon wearing the hat for the first time in season one, Walt transforms into his meth-making alter ego, “Heisenberg” – a name he loves so much he makes his enemies say it. Ironically, the black fedora was first used to help keep White disguised when meeting Tuco – now, he wears it with pride, nearly daring the police and the public to recognize him. Destroy the hat and destroy Heisenberg? (Come on, Jesse – at least try.)
8. Walter’s Classic Americana Style
Walter White has changed, yes, but has his wardrobe? No – because while still representing Walt’s old life (that he somehow hopes to still be attached to), it already represents the commonality of crime and criminals among us. "Breaking Bad" is a series about choices and their consequences: arguably, Walt became Heisenberg when he found himself in a position that required him to become Heisenberg. There was no makeover montage. He’s not using his money to build a better life. Walter White has terminal lung cancer – wardrobe is his last concern. That, his “suburban dad” uniform is a testament to how the most powerful criminals walk among us, unseen. The flash-forward opening from early this season saw him looking sloppy and suspicious – because he’s finally a suspect.
9. Skyler White’s Unchanged Uniform
Aside from fearlessly donning colours (pastels, usually), Skyler’s look has remained the same: basic t-shirts, basic sweaters, basic jeans, basic staples. Why? Because now that she’s merely waiting for Walt’s cancer to return and kill him, she’s just going through the motions. She spends time with her kids sometimes, she’s lost her excitement for the car wash, her affair with Ted ended (and he’s now paralyzed – because of her, indirectly), and she’s trapped being Mrs. Heisenberg. The day we see her make a statement is the day she’s taking major action.
10. Walt Jr. And Breakfast
Okay fine we know he’s not intentionally dressing to represent his favourite (and most important) meal of the day – but he does dress like a typical teenager. Which makes sense. Walt Jr. is like all other teenagers: he’s concerned with being a teenager. He’s concerned about driving, he’s concerned about his parents, he’s concerned with what’s on TV, and he’s concerned about eating breakfast. His consistency, unlike Skyler’s, merely represents a stage in his life – one removed from everything going on around him because he’s at a self-centered age. If he clues in, that aesthetic will change. It has to – everything Heisenberg touches fades.