The Sweaters on Big Little Lies Are Getting Increasingly Unhinged

Photo: HBO

Four episodes into season two of Big Little Lies, it seems the Monterey Five have become the opposite of hinged. There’s no “middle ground,” to quote the unflappable Ed Mackenzie. His wife, Madeline, put it a little less delicately: Everything is “fucked.” No more rainbows. The lie is coming to get them. They’re drowning. They’re poor. They’re popping pills. They’re even slapping Meryl Streep! And no one is coordinating the calendar apps on their phones, for God’s sake.

Madeline’s daughter made this crystal-clear in a school project on “opposites,” which was basically a giant cardboard meme aimed at her mom. (What’s the opposite of a door hinge? You!) A+ work. As Ed explained in the most recent episode, the Monterey Five are “charged” women who need to express themselves at “full speed” all the time, which is why keeping a secret bottled up inside has caused them to swerve dangerously off the road. But where does the charge go? It can’t just disappear. The answer, I think, is into their sweaters, which have become equally unhinged as the season progresses.

Photo: HBO

According to the internet, it is actually quite cold in Monterey, California, despite its being located in the so-called sunny state. (The biggest lie of all?) The projected temperature high in Monterey Bay on July 1, for example, is a cool 62 degrees, compared to New York City, where it’s going to be a disgusting almost-90. As I sink further and further into my own personal couch swamp, I can’t help but appreciate their breezy cashmere sweaters.

Throughout the show, the characters’ sweaters have reflected some aspect of their personality. Celeste is the queen of seemingly cool, calm, collected cashmere. Madeline is always in some Legally Blonde cardigan with a print that’s yelling at you; Bonnie is all about the moody shawl; Renata’s decked out in the latest fashions; and, well, thank God for Jane’s aquarium uniform.

In season two, though, the cashmere is starting to get a little cuckoo. In the second episode, for example, Celeste wakes up from an Ambien trip wearing nothing but a cashmere robe and Ugg boots, her car totaled. “Babe, you gotta be careful with Ambien,” Madeline says gently before pulling over and interrogating a wondering Bonnie to see if she’s tripping balls. Maybe Bonnie was just hiking on the side of a highway, but that drug rug she’s wearing says otherwise …

Photo: HBO
Photo: HBO

Of course, the season’s most unhinged sweater so far was worn by Renata. Over coffee and avocado toast with Madeline one afternoon, she raises her hands and says that she feels like everything is “unraveling,” while wearing an off-the-shoulder top that is literally made of broken chains. Online, the top is listed as being an Alexander McQueen “cold shoulder” sweater, in case the metaphor wasn’t abundantly clear. Also, Renata must have forgotten to declare it in bankruptcy court, because it goes for $2,775.

So, yes, the Monterey Five are not fine, and neither are their sweaters. But maybe we’re all focusing on the wrong thing. Maybe the problem isn’t murder, or bankruptcy, or syncing iCals. Maybe what all these unhinged sweaters are trying to tell us is … global warming.

[Cue crashing waves.]

The Sweaters on Big Little Lies Are the Opposite of Hinged