Declassifying the Mystery of How Special Agent Dana Scully Looked So Good in Those Giant Suits

Declassifying the Mystery of How Special Agent Dana Scully Looked So Good in Those Giant Suits

Illustration for article titled Declassifying the Mystery of How Special Agent Dana Scully Looked So Good in Those Giant Suits
Screenshot: Hulu

The X-Files premiered in 1993, gifting America with our first glimpse of a 25-year-old Gillian Anderson playing Special Agent Dana Scully, who was somehow both a medical doctor and an FBI agent at an age just five years older than the fictional Dr. Dougie Howser, boy genius, would have been when his show was canceled that same year. So who’s the genius now, Howser? Certainly not you, who never even used your medical degree to autopsy aliens or monsters. Hack.

Perhaps to offset the fact that Anderson was far too young for the role in which she had been cast, or maybe because it was the ’90s and shapeless garments were very in, or possibly due to the fact that the fledgling show did not have the budget to buy Gillian Anderson any clothing that fit, Gillian Anderson’s early-season suits are legendary for their frumpy appeal. Perfect squares in shape and generally the color of unfired pottery, those Seasons 1-3 X-Files suits positively scream “This is how a no-nonsense lady doctor detective dresses, right?” And the answer to that question is a resounding, it sure as shit is now.

As the show became a hit (and Anderson aged into somewhat believably looking old enough for all her character’s credentials) someone in the wardrobe thought to nip in the waists of Scully’s suits and give Gillian Anderson a sleek chin-length bob that more closely resembled the impossibly attractive, yet undeniably competent detective character that would become Anderson’s trademark, in The X-Files but also in other roles like The Fall.

But before she was Gillian Anderson Couture Detective, M.D., she was Dana Scully who owned hot rollers and borrowed suits from a much taller, spinster aunt, and yet somehow managed awaken all of us sexually in them. How did she do it? Well let’s just gather some clues from early episodes.

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Season One, Episode One dares ask, “Need all buttons serve a purpose?”

Season One, Episode One dares ask, “Need all buttons serve a purpose?”

Illustration for article titled Declassifying the Mystery of How Special Agent Dana Scully Looked So Good in Those Giant Suits
Screenshot: Hulu

From the pilot: Our first introduction to a woman who would become a shining example of smart lady television representation wearing a jacket I may have recently purchased from Free People to wear as a dress.

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Off duty, Scully wonders: “Are vests fun?”

Off duty, Scully wonders: “Are vests fun?”

Illustration for article titled Declassifying the Mystery of How Special Agent Dana Scully Looked So Good in Those Giant Suits
Screenshot: Hulu

While Mulder investigates the mystery of the Jersey Devil, Scully interrogates whether or not suede vests are a good decision.

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Season 2 Scully begs the question: “How many episodes can we use this giant trenchcoat to hide a pregnancy?”

Season 2 Scully begs the question: “How many episodes can we use this giant trenchcoat to hide a pregnancy?”

Illustration for article titled Declassifying the Mystery of How Special Agent Dana Scully Looked So Good in Those Giant Suits
Screenshot: Hulu

Ultimately, it was decided putting Scully in a coma and having her dream she was in a rowboat for several hours of television was more believable than asking audiences to buy that Scully just didn’t take this man’s XL London Fog number off for several months.

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Season Three explores a shocking phenomenon

Season Three explores a shocking phenomenon

Illustration for article titled Declassifying the Mystery of How Special Agent Dana Scully Looked So Good in Those Giant Suits
Screenshot: Hulu

That of hot lady detectives shedding their coats to reveal suits that fit.

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And the season ends in an even more shocking twist

And the season ends in an even more shocking twist

Illustration for article titled Declassifying the Mystery of How Special Agent Dana Scully Looked So Good in Those Giant Suits
Screenshot: Hulu

Scully finds a tailor, scales down her buttons, and uses more than half of them! For the rest of the series, Special Agent Dana Scully, M.D. would be a by-the-book, regulation hottie in clothes that look purchased for her and not a stack of children wearing a tent-sized trench coat. But never forget early-season Scully solving the mystery of whether or not oversized clothing is fucking great with a big ole yes.

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