Since releasing her sophomore album Punisher in 2020, musician Phoebe Bridgers has made a habit of wearing a set of skeleton-print pajamas that more or less resemble a children’s Halloween costume. She’s worn the uniform—one part Cobra Kai, two parts Donnie Darko—on the Punisher cover art, in three of the four videos from the album cycle (“Garden Song,” “Kyoto,” and “I Know the End”), and during various late-night performances and shows. Bridgers is big on Halloween and loves “corny, creepy stuff, which is why my first record’s [visual theme] is a ghost and the second one is a skeleton,” she told Variety.
“I put on the skeleton suit, and it’s like, ‘Damn, this is comfortable,’” Bridgers told The Ringer last year. “So I think being a character is funny but it also, it is rooted in reality. Like I really have been wearing the same pajamas for like two months. I wash them every three days, and tried to get another pair online, but they’re sold out.” She later revealed on GQ’s very own Corporate Lunch podcast that she owns “like, 15” of them, which she originally purchased from “this little boutique called Amazon.”
But as Punisher became one of the biggest releases—and Bridgers herself, one of the biggest breakout stars—of the High Quarantine era, her skeleton PJs got a glow-up of their own. She wore a beaded skeleton dress from Thom Browne’s spring 2018 collection to the Grammys back in March, which turned out to be the impetus of it all: “I wear a skeleton costume all the time, but one of the reasons I do is because I saw this Thom Browne dress forever ago and thought it was so cool,” Bridgers told E! on the Grammys carpet. “And I asked for it. I basically stole it.” Naturally, late last month, she wore a custom Gucci beaded skeletal waistcoat, draped like a ribcage, at the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City.
There are few things more trying in this life than having a corporeal form. A constant reminder of our own mortality, inhabiting a body requires a lot of internal and external upkeep, and spurs a lot of mental and emotional acrobatics. Wearing a skeleton costume throughout a global pandemic may be a little more morbid than Bridgers intended. But her costume is also thematically in line with the way growing up can also mean feeling more at home in our bodies, even as we become more painfully aware of how all those bones and joints move just so. “It’s so much more fun to live in my body,” Bridgers told GQ in 2019. “I’m better at acting out the things that make me happy now.” And if the skeleton’s beaded and bedazzled, all the better.