When Riverdale was announced, many believed it had to be a joke. A CW take on the classic Archie comics with a dark motif sounded like some comedy sketch. But when it premiered in early 2017, the show stunned everyone by taking off huge with both viewers and critics alike. Mixing moody murder mysteries alongside some great twists, it took off majorly. Fans loved the turns like Archie involved with a student and how the classic “love triangle” took a turn with Betty hooked up with goofball Jughead. But what really makes it shine is the cast: KJ Apa as a buff Archie; Lili Reinhart as a Betty who’s not as innocent as she seems; Camila Mendes making rich Veronica loveable; Cole Sprouse as an introspective Jughead; Ashleigh Murray as a sassy Josie; and Madelaine Petsch as a nutball Cheryl Blossom. That’s not to mention older faces like Marisol Nichols and Madchen Amick as Veronica and Betty’s moms.
Yes, like any CW series, the cast looks amazing. But the show has helped in giving them a unique sense of style with outfits that are almost uniforms, but pulled off well. That’s not to mention that with fame, the cast has been invited to a lot of red carpet events and magazine shoots in a variety of outfits that could be crazy. But somehow, they make them all work, no matter how ridiculous some of them may seem to be. Most of the outfits are for the show, but the cast has shown that off the set, they can shine well in some great clothes or costumes that few others could try. From the show itself to some of their off-camera antics, here are 20 outfits only the actors of this show could make look so great, and why Riverdale has a vibe and style few other shows can touch.
Born in Cleveland, Lili Reinhart had the acting bug as a kid. She moved to New York and then Los Angeles for her dream. She’s been open about her struggles with depression and that landing the role of Betty “saved me from a dark place.”
On the show, she’s clad mostly in sweaters (which hide her arm tattoos) and rare to show off too much (aside from a controversial striptease). But off screen, Reinhart is great flaunting her body off. That includes this appearance at the iHeart Radio Music Festival. The green dress is lovely with sequins but also a hot design that flaunts the chest without being too revealing. The skirt showcases Reinhart’s underrated legs and puts her lovely smile on full display. It’s a great dress that could have been messy on someone else but Reinhart makes it a red carpet standout to show she’s far hotter than Betty usually gets on the show.
19 Forest Chic
At first, fans had to wonder what made Cheryl Blossom such a nutcase. Then they met her mother. Dedicated to appearances above all else, Penelope Blossom is willing to bury slews of family secrets from the dirty ways they made their fortune to some ugly "take out" scenes, all in the name of their “legacy.”
Nathalie Boltt is top notch as is Penelope, whose behavior is so crazy it makes people just stare in shock. She also showcases where Cheryl got her fashion style. The two are meant to be on a search for a missing person but instead look like they’re attending a British hunting lodge. Nathalie wears a purple tweed top, open to show tan sweater underneath with a brooch and cap. Madelaine is clad in a reddish top under a grey vest, the two with matching pants and gloves. It’s a nutty look but both manage to make it appear amazingly stylish and show off the unique Blossom style that’s made the show a major hit.
18 Red Riding Hood
It’s as if the producers go out of their way to create the nuttiest outfits possible for Cheryl and see if Madelaine Petsch can pull them off. The woman makes sure to always look her best, no matter the setting (she famously lounged at a pool like it was a Vogue photoshoot…in September).
With her nutty banter and hot vibes, Petsch can shine in so many ways and this is a great example. Having her as Red Riding Hood plays into the episode, complete with meeting with Archie in the woods for some fun banter. The outfit is spectacular, mostly black dress with red belt, going all the way up with a collar to her neck. The red coat is like blood to emphasize her dark side yet also flaunting her legs in stylish boots. The hood is up but her red curls spill out in just the right way to be eye-catching. It’s an outfit only Cheryl could put on just for a walk and shows the nutty spirit Madeline sells so well.
17 Tropical Josie
One of the bigger risks of the show was the casting of Josie McCoy. The character has long been a white gal with orange hair and a hot vibe to her (Rachael Leigh Cook played her in the 2001 flop movie). But the show has cast Ashleigh Murray in the role with the added touch of her mom being the semi-corrupt mayor of the town. She still continues with her rocking edge and even briefly dating Archie, carrying on with a fun attitude and sass.
Murray is notable in the role, managing to make the cat-themed outfits work well on the show. This Instagram post shows Murray can rock other fun outfits like this island-themed outfit. The white lace top is good showing off her abs with jean shorts and the lovely orange covering adds more vibe to it. Topping it off is the straw hat, shades and large necklace to show this cat can shine in any setting.
16 Leopard Prints
It’s natural for magazines to get Camila Mendes and Lili Reinhart in photo-shoots together. After all, Betty and Veronica are part of pop culture as the greatest “frenemies” known in comics. The series has been great building on how, rather than rivals, the two are close allies and the great chemistry of the actresses has built the show up. The two are also good friends in real life and bond a lot as well.
An interview with Cosmopolitan showcased that, as they discussed how they immediately got along together on the first day. They talked with each other on any subject and each was surprised with how open the other was. The actual photo is fun because of the great prints they have to match each other. Mendes’ is great with a black fishnet layer that flaunts the leg slit. Meanwhile, Lili has a nice leopard skirt with an interesting blue and white checkered coat and dark bra to show her torso off. It shows the great connection the two have that’s made their roles on the show such a huge success.
15 Intellectual Jughead
Many would do a double take at Cole Sprouse today...no pun intended. The actor rose to fame as a kid when he and his twin brother Dylan starred in the hit Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Cole was Cody, the smart and mature one who, with his wilder twin, got into crazy antics. The show was so big that it got a spin-off, Suite Life on Deck, that also ran for a while. When the shows ended, both brothers decided it was better to pursue separate careers, not wanting to get typecast in just “twin projects.”
As Jughead, Cole has given the role a dark vibe with humor, the film geek Jughead getting involved in his dad’s gang and the dark mysteries of the town while also narrating the series like a noir film. This picture shows a much different view of him in glasses and amazingly stylish coat with tie. He looks like a truly brilliant guy here, totally different from any of his TV roles and much harder to mix him and his brother up.
14 90's Chic
Given it’s based on a comic created in the 1950s, it’s no surprise Riverdale has a bit of a backward motif. It’s a world that uses social media, yet the old-school charm of the town is part of the vibe and adds some dark fun to it. The kids are well attuned to pop culture to use it in comments and throwbacks to the past.
For this dual pic, Reinhart and Mendes are clad like teens out of the mid-1990s but are making it work well. Mendes has purple pants with glitter on them that shines well, her bare belly showing off with a dark shirt on top. Reinhart appears to have a white dress with silver sequins, a Mickey Mouse shirt and multi-colored vest on top. The whacky “rainbow” drop cloth they’re on adds to the special vibe of the shoot and both ladies look like they could have handled the ‘90s quite well to show their fun bond.
13 Siren Look
Madchen Amick has been a long-standing popular face on television before Riverdale. Her breakout role was on the cult classic Twin Peaks, so she was used to towns with deep secrets. She also got attention as Ariel, the shape-changing aid on a remake of Fantasy Island that showed her off nicely. There was also her turn in Witches of East End as a woman who turned into a cat frequently.
While her role as Alice Cooper is a bit offbeat, it has given her some good stuff and showing off a nice sexy side on her own. This pic proves that, at 47, Amick has more sexiness to her than most of the co-stars half her age. The dark dress is great with its open flow at her chest and the slit showing off a very shapely leg. While her wardrobe on the show mostly consists of sweaters and slack, this outfit shows Amick can outdo almost anyone in terms of rocking such an outfit.
12 Juicy Look
This Petsch outfit would be totally in tone for Cheryl which makes it all the better. The girl has admitted to having faced bullying as a child due to her dark red hair as well as having been raised in South Africa. Thankfully, she rose above it to find success with Cheryl being a terrific role for her to sink her teeth into and do great in.
She’s put up with some wild outfits on the show but a fun style all her own, as often shown on her Instagram page. This one is great, a pink pair of sweatpants and matching jacket, a more laid-back look than she usually enjoys, and just the sort of thing to go jogging in. The “all you need is juicy” shirt is terrific on her, it shows just enough while remaining very cute. On the show, Cheryl wouldn’t be caught dead in anything less than designer clothes but Petsch shows she makes just a jogging outfit look sexy.
11 Pussycats Roar
In the comics, the Pussycats have long been known for their matching costumes, complete with tails. Like so many comic book outfits, that would come off rather goofy on TV but the producers have done a good job at making it work. This episode featured them clad in newer versions, darker than the comics to fit a “cat” vibe with spots and leopard style.
Veronica, naturally, looks great with a dip to her chest while Josie herself is great with the fun outfit and collar. What makes it better is in the episode is what happens when Veronica realizes Cheryl is about to be taken advantage of by the slimy Nick. Charging to the hotel room, the Pussycats not only stop the attack but proceed to beat the living hell out of the guy, a moment that had fans cheering. Thus, these outfits show the Pussycats more than a band but a sisterhood that’s ready to go on the hunt against any predators.
10 Scholar Style
Whenever KJ Apa speaks in an interview, many fans will be astonished to hear his New Zealand accent flow out. He’s actually the son of a Samoan chief yet somehow inherited all of his mom’s looks. That gave him the All-American style needed to play Archie. The character is famous for flaunting his chest a lot, and affairs with some ladies while handling the dark town. Apa has done his best to handle the fame.
This Esquire photoshoot is notable for Apa looking like he stepped out of Hogwarts instead of Riverdale. The brown tweed suit is top-notch with a long dark tie mixed with a long blue coat. One might think Apa is auditioning for the next Doctor Who series but he manages to make it look dashing and amazing. It seems odd that a New Zealander plays an iconic American character but Apa has done a great job and this outfit shows he doesn’t need to be shirtless to get female fans going.
9 Red Hot Hermione
Marisol Nichols had been a veteran actress for some time thanks to her alluring exotic looks. Her biggest role was on 24 but also various short-lived shows like GCB, The Gates and others. Her role as Hermione Lodge has been great, showing a woman who started off a fallen rich gal and wanting to help her daughter out. However, she’s shown a very conniving side, helping her husband with his illegal activities and clashing with others. But this is a woman who will arrange for her daughter’s would-be attacker to suffer an “accident” and enjoy it while looking glorious in various outfits.
This dress would be totally fitting for the show, Nichols in a solid red gown, showing her thin yet also shapely form. The pose showcases her lovely beauty and why it’s gotten so much attention. While she doesn’t show off on the show like others, she does prove the “mature” ladies can bring the heat as much as the younger ones.
8 The Jughead
One highlight of the show was a brief dream sequence showing the cast in their original 1950s comic outfits. It showcased just how ridiculous those would look today and thus modernizing them was needed. But you don’t have Jughead Jones without that weird cap of his. True, it’s more of a beanie than the spike crown of the comics but still a good design, wool with a bit of spike to it and thus captures the comic version well.
It could be nutty but somehow, Cole Sprouse manages to make it work. The key is that he wears it constantly, making it a running gag of folks asking if anyone has even seen Jughead without it (and for the record, he’s never been filmed without it). It’s a great thing as fans have been buying copies of it to wear. Sprouse makes it look stylish and thus what could have been a goofy look instead is part of the show’s style.
7 Madeline As Jessica
If you’re a gorgeous redheaded actress, sooner or later, you have to dress as Jessica Rabbit. It just makes sense. To this day, the character from the 1988 hit Who Framed Roger Rabbit? has been a part of costume parties and cosplay. A stunning redhead (helped by animation giving her inhuman curves), she stole the show with a silky musical number and pushing her sexuality majorly (“I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”)
It makes total sense Petsch would dress up as her for a Halloween party and it looks great. The dress isn’t too showy but pushes up her nice chest and the sequins let it shine. The purple gloves match but her long red hair (brushed to keep one half of her face covered) looks gorgeous. It’s an astounding look that she pulls off beautifully and proves most any costume looks sensational on Madelaine but especially this terrific look.
The differences between Mendes and Reinhart make them natural for the polar opposites of Betty and Veronica. Yet somehow, that also makes them a great couple on screen. Indeed, a famous bit of the pilot was Veronica locking lips with Betty during a cheerleader tryout that got a lot of buzz going. It makes sense magazines will have the two photographed together a lot and this showcases a fun vibe.
Shot at a roller rink, the two wear outfits that may be a bit too daring for skating but still look great. Mendes has a reddish skirt with a white muscle shirt and fun cherry motif on it. Reinhart has a white top and white shorts to show off her mid-riff, the red jacket like something an athlete would wear. The suckers they’re chewing on are a good touch, a bit erotic yet not too much so. The gals seem to be having a good time here with Mendes’ fun smirk and Reinhart’s nice glow to give this classic duo a modern edge.
5 Camila Movie Ready
There was some controversy over the casting of Camila Mendes as Veronica. This was, after all, a character known as a classic WASP type with her ultra-rich lifestyle but now played by a woman with Brazilian heritage. However, Mendes silenced all those critics by showing Veronica’s rich upbringing but balanced by a desire to help others out and a good relationship with both Betty and Archie.
She also has a fun sense of humor, shown by this magazine pic. The red dress shows off her leg with white tennis shoes and the lighter red jacket on top. You might think it's too much red but she pulls it off. She just seems to enjoy herself in this theater setting, legs kicked up and a bucket of popcorn in her lap. Her bright smile indicates she’s ready to check out a big film and enjoy herself like a real teenager to get into her role quite well.
4 Madeline Is Poison
This pic should be paid attention to by whoever makes the next Batman movie. Poison Ivy has been a popular face in the mythos for years, a scientist who takes protection of the Earth to a new degree. Mutated into a woman who can kill you with a kiss, Ivy controls plants as she prepares her plans to wipe out humanity for Mother Earth. Many a redhead has put on that costume but somehow, Madelaine makes it look even hotter.
The “leaf” style to the suit is great, better than the usual latex to flaunt her curves off very well. Her hair billows out and there’s even a green tint via eye shadow to help it out. There’s also the forest setting, perfect for Ivy and makes it look even more natural. Somehow, Petsch elevates an already sexy costume to a new degree and while Ivy’s kiss may be lethal, she makes it more than worth risking.
3 Dark Betty
Lili Reinhart has been great showing Betty as more than just a “nice gal” but no one expected this. In an early episode, Betty, Veronica and other girls figure out that the football team has been “keeping score” of conquests in a book and then shaming girls who refuse their advances. Betty is rocked to find her sister, Polly, had been among these victims and suffering a breakdown because of it. So she joins with Veronica in a plan to fake seducing star Chuck Clayton and getting him to confess to what happened.
Veronica is taken aback when Betty comes out in a black wig and matching black bra and skirt and plays at being Polly. It’s a wild bit as she actually comes close to boiling Chuck to death and seems on the verge of a breakdown. But it also came off very hot with her dark hair and darker side to show the edge that made this role a nice breakout for the actress.
2 Alice's Thunder
For the most part, Alice Cooper has been a strong motherly figure, albeit a bit controlling and judgmental. That was shown clashing with the Lodges and dominating Betty’s life a bit too much. In season two, Betty discovers her mother was actually from the rough Southside of Riverdale and even hung out with the Serpents motorcycle gang. She published it in the local paper and folks saw Alice as a hypocrite for her chastising of that life. It was expected she would be lying low but she decided against it.
At a posh party, folks look off with wide eyed expressions. As Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” plays, Alice saunters into the party in an absolutely stunning orange dress that flaunts her legs and cleavage, the trail flowing behind her like a cape. The golden serpent necklace is a clear shot on her critics and her face clearly knows the effect she has. Madchen Amick comes off hotter than any of the younger gals in this scene and proves how the series knows to showcase its cast in a great light.
1 White Funeral
This was really the first sign to fans that Cheryl was not playing with a full deck. When the body of her brother Jason is found (kicking off the central mystery of the show), the Blossoms go all out with what’s practically a state funeral. Cheryl is in her room, devastated at the loss of her twin and her mother wanting her to be “all for appearances.” After thinking it over, Cheryl shows up at the funeral clad in a completely white dress that looks like something out of a Gothic Victorian novel. Everyone just gawks at her as she does a bizarre eulogy and it’s no wonder more than a few folks are wondering how “close” she and Jason were after that.
It’s a gorgeous look with Petsch’s bright red hair, making it a direct contrast to the white dress, the nice veil hat highlighting it, and it comes off amazing. It was a great dress that showcased her lovely beauty but also the off-kilter style that would make the show a hit.
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