Jake Johnson as Nick Miller, grumpy bartender
Los Angeles, December 23, 2010 (“Christmas Eve Eve“)
Series: New Girl
Episode: “The 23rd” (Episode 1.09)
Air Date: December 13, 2011
Director: Jason Winer
Creator: Elizabeth Meriwether
Costume Designer: Debra McGuire
Nick: All dressed up. What, are you in The Temptations tonight?
Winston: That’s so cute, Nick, you’re intimidated by my style. But one of us is walking out of here with a job.
Nick Miller is easily the least fashion-conscious of the dwellers of the 4D loft. Between Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris) with his colorful printed “bird shirts” to the materialistic Schmidt (Max Greenfield), who is obsessive about his tailoring and whose heart could be won over by a pair of gray Calvin Klein slacks, Nick is the most content to roll out of bed in a stained henley shirt and unwashed sweatpants before heading straight to work at his bar.
However, in New Girl‘s first holiday-themed episode, set on the 23rd of December (hence the timing of today’s post), Nick shows that his laidback look can be effective when he easily outdresses Schmidt at the latter’s own office Christmas party… then again, pretty much any outfit trumps the skimpy Santa costume that Schmidt is forced to wear by the domineering women at his company.
Established “bad gift giver” Nick Miller reluctantly attends the Christmas party at Associated Strategies, the generically corporate-named workplace that Schmidt abbreviates to “Ass Strat”, though he spends a fair amount of his evening panicking that he won’t make it to the airport in time for his flight home for the holidays.
The party itself is ripe with tension as Jess (Zooey Deschanel), the roommate whose move into the loft gave the show its title, also attends with her new boyfriend Paul (Justin Long), a kind but perhaps overly emotional fellow teacher at Jess’ school whose first declaration of love earlier in the day had met with a “thank…you?” response from her. Nick, trying to be helpful, steps in to mediate and ends up overly complicating things when he reveals to Paul that Jess doesn’t love him, then reveals the fact that he said that to Jess, and finally finds himself locked outside with the couple (“this is my nightmare!” he declares for the first of many times) as they are now forced to work out their issues.
The sequence is pretty entertaining, and – in true New Girl fashion – the comedy is balanced with a positive emotional punch when Nick makes up for his blunder by driving the whole crew to Candy Cane Lane (“the crème de la crème of decorated streets”) so that Jess could see the holiday lights that make her happy… though the sweet moment is hilariously halted when all the houses have their lights off for the evening. Like the grumpy old man at heart that he is, Nick bickers until he gets his way:
We got a girl out here who’d really like to see the lights! Sorry to wake you up! This is rude! Make it the Candy Cane Lane or whatever! You spend all this time to show off and do it, so show off, you got an audience! You all show off so turn on the lights! Just go in the shed or whatever and turn your damn lights on, you show-offs!
The detour all but guarantees that Nick will miss his flight home for the fifth year in a row, but he doesn’t seem to mind as it puts a smile on his friend’s face.
What’d He Wear?
I’m a sucker for including some seasonal color in my holiday party attire, so Nick’s comfortable, textured layered outfit of a red plaid shirt balanced by dark jeans and a neutral tweed jacket and desert boots strongly appeals to me.
Though he’s not one for dressing up, Nick pulls out a surprisingly sophisticated taupe tweed sport jacket for this party. The single-breasted, single-button jacket has notch lapels, a welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, slightly padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads, four-button cuffs, and a single vent.
When the time comes for Nick to leave the walls of the loft, he can invariably seen wearing one of many plaid flannel shirts.The sport jacket may be uncharacteristic, but he wears it in a way that’s authentic to his own sense of style by pairing it with one of these shirts.
Despite his “slovenly” reputation (and Schmidt’s insults), his shirts across the show’s seven seasons have often been sourced from reputable retailers like J. Crew, John Varvatos, Lucky Brand, Pendleton, Scotch & Soda, and Urban Outfitters as well as everyday classic brands like Billabong, Levi’s, Patagonia, Vans, and Target’s in-house Mossimo line.
This particular red flannel shirt is patterned in a black-on-red plaid with a white wide-scaled grid overcheck. The inside – and underside – of the collar is lined with the same plaid pattern but with yellow (instead of red) and a red overcheck (instead of white) for an interesting contrast. Although not an exact match, the primary shirting is a variation of the Clan Munro tartan in red, black, and white plaid while the inside lining is a variation of the Clan MacLeod tartan in yellow, black, and red.
The shirt has a slim spread collar, black buttons down the front placket, two chest pockets with button-down flaps, and long sleeves with button cuffs on the ends.
Nick’s dark pants are black denim jeans, a casual alternative to chinos for the gent who desires the comfort that jeans offer while still going a step dressier. He wears them with his usual wide dark brown leather belt with its large steel single-prong buckle.
As a man who embraces self-comfort, Nick often resorts to crepe-soled desert boots to complete his look. Online speculation and visual hints suggest that he’s wearing Clarks Original Desert Boots.
The two-eyelet boots he wears in “The 23rd” are a light taupe suede that looks like the “Cola Suede” offering in the current Clarks lineup.
And if you’re curious about the unseen aspects of Nick’s wardrobe…?
“We all wear each other’s underwear!” Nick exclaims in the closing moments of “Jess and Julia” (Episode 1.11) after Schmidt discovers that the two men have been accidentally sharing a towel and wonders to what depth he and Nick are sharing items in the loft.
One More Appearance
Nick revisits the tweed jacket and red plaid flannel shirt in “Normal” (Episode 1.20) when he and Schmidt attempt to pitch their Real Apps concept to Jess’ “fancy man” boyfriend Russell (Dermot Mulroney). This time, Nick wears a different flannel shirt with a navy shadow plaid on a red ground, plus the addition of a solid black tie to double down on his supposed professionalism.
Heard at the party is Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run”, a 12-bar blues released as the B-side of “Merry Christmas, Baby” in December 1958. Covered by dozens of artists over the sixty years since its debut, “Run Rudolph Run” has been particularly embraced by rock-oriented artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, Joe Perry, and Keith Richards who may have wanted to perform a known Christmas song without straying too far from their comfort zone.
Thematically similar to Berry’s hit “Johnny B. Goode”, “Run Rudolph Run” provided a bluesier alternative to the pop-friendly “Jingle Bell Rock”, introduced by Bobby Helms the previous year as one of the first major holiday hits in the rock-and-roll genre.
Series star Zooey Deschanel had recorded her first holiday album with M. Ward, A Very She & Him Christmas, released less than two months before the episode aired. The album consists of She & Him’s delightful takes on mid-century Christmas classics, beginning with my personal favorite “The Christmas Waltz”, which had been originally written for Frank Sinatra in 1954.
The episode features She & Him’s recording of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, the fourth track of the album. The melancholy song, ostensibly from a soldier’s perspective, was written by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent during the height of World War II and became an instant hit when Bing Crosby’s recording of it was released in December 1943.
Closing the episode with “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” offers the poignant commentary that – while Nick may be missing his flight to Chicago to be with his family – he truly is home for Christmas as he’s already with his roommates in the loft… and isn’t your real family the people that you’re group-hugging and high-fiving after vocally harassing a streetful of people to turn on their Christmas lights at 2 a.m.?
She & Him followed up with a second holiday album in October 2016. Christmas Party follows the formula of A Very She & Him Christmas, including exclusively popular holiday songs written during the mid-century era of the mid-1930s through the early ’60s, with the exception of a cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” that leads the album. Worth noting is that the seventh track of the album is the duo’s take of Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run”.
How to Get the Look
Nick Miller rarely dresses to impress, but his holiday party outfit in “The 23rd” combines casual comfort and seasonal style without sacrificing Nick’s own subdued aesthetic.
- Taupe brown tweed single-breasted 1-button sport jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and single vent
- Red-and-black plaid (with white overcheck) flannel shirt with slim spread collar, front placket, flapped chest pockets, and button cuffs
- Black denim jeans
- Dark brown wide leather belt with steel single-prong buckle
- Light taupe suede desert boots with two-eyelet open lacing and crepe soles
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the series, which just completed its final season in May. New Girl is available to stream on Netflix and Hulu and also on DVD from Amazon.
Hey, Ma, how ya doin’? I can’t talk right now, I’m in a real weird situation… No, Ma, I’m not high, I’m done with that phase.