We joined Rita making her way to work while carefully studying the Wedding Edition of Postal Living Quarterly. She sported a bold, coral, structured A-line dress with an accent bow at the waist. We've come to expect seeing Rita in dresses constructed in this manner, and of course, matching Norman. This dress is no exception, her color represented his plaid as he meets her with a gorgeous array of flowers just across the way. It appears their entry into a season of engagement is blooming beautifully.
Though she retained the knee-length of her dress, the construction was distinctly less structured and more reminiscent of the '60's. While retaining a very light blue base color that hung onto Norman's hues, the plethora of bright yellow sunflowers aligned Rita's wardrobe more distinctly with her father, Bill.
While she attempted to further endear Norman to her parents by lauding his "special handling" abilities and sharing about the bear he delivered, she remained close to her mom and dad in vicinity, holding her mother's hand the entire time. It's a physical attachment that illustrated her deep psychological attachment to them. She did appear unsettled from time to time, especially when her father questioned if "insanity runs in [Norman's] family."
"Please---I mean, of course, of course!"
It's quick, but the "please" suggested Rita needed a break because mom---but more likely her increasingly gruff dad---were stressing her out, followed by "of course, of course," to cover it up. But then her, "They're so great, aren't they?!" once mom and dad were otherwise occupied, made it clear Rita was struggling to balance allegiances with her parents (particularly her father) and Norman. The struggle followed her the remainder of the day.
At the Post Office in Edgewood, Rita adopted a teal cardigan that blended very well with Norman's plaid shirt, yet as they stood at the counter, Rita and Norman were separated by Shane and Oliver, who stood between them.
By the time they arrived at the Kellser farm, Rita was sans cardigan once more, carrying it around with her instead. We saw her standing next to Norman during this time. When Abby appeared, Rita volunteered she and Norman were "going steady," but clammed up when asked to see the ring. This is the second time news of their engagement prompted requests to see her still missing ring, and she appeared sheepish to say the very least. Later, they were seated separately, but next to each other, on the Kellser porch---in contrast to Shane and Oliver, who shared a bench---hinting at some kind of invisible, un-verbalized rift hanging between them.
This departure signaled Rita's internal struggle coming to its height. Unable to bridge the gap between Norman and Bill up until this point, Rita distinguished herself visually in this dress, as if trying to get some perspective on her situation, though at a loss at what to do. She stood distinctly on her own in this way, and asserted a certain independence throughout the scene with Bill.
A young lady becomes a woman when she defends her man to her father. Bewildered by his behavior towards Norman, which took a turn for the nasty with Bill's comment about the cleaners, Rita finally confronted the elephant in the room. Hesitant to defend Norman up until this point, she expressed her confusion and hurt by offering "pick[ing] up [her mother's] glasses, inviting [them] to dinner" and even "milk[ing] a cow" to illustrate the lengths to which Norman went to gain his approval, and called out her father's unwillingness to get to know Norman point blank.
Frustrated by "it's just not what I imagined for you," Rita broke with the past. Where she spent the majority of the film struggling to let go of her parents, and even her father's approval to some degree, Rita not only verbalized, but clearly defined, what she "imagined for herself" and what meant most to her in this moment. Where Bill chose to emphasize the absence of her ring and struggle to understand Norman, Rita emphasized Norman's heart and character, deciding for herself that the ring wasn't the most important thing. In doing so, she erased the subtle rift between her and Norman that popped up when the ring was mentioned previously.
Forced by the circumstances to stand her ground, Rita's wardrobe complimented a moment of growth and independence that allowed her to define her relationship with her past and her future. It's a conclusion we witnessed Rita refine through her wardrobe during the remainder of the film.
After Norman's second proposal, and Bill welcoming him to the family, it was time to finally celebrate Norman and Rita's engagement.
At Bistro Ramon, Rita's outfit consisted of a tropical-print skirt, solid blue cardigan and solid yellow blouse. The tropical print skirt drew from her father's shirt that evening, and the blue was a close match for that found in the plaid of Norman's shirt. But the yellow blouse was very uniquely Rita, a lingering artifact of her only recently settled struggle. Interestingly enough, after she accepted Hudson from dad and sat next to Norman at the table, the only pieces visible are those which connect her to Norman. It's a cute look, but it doesn't quite say "Rita."
On Saturday, however, something interesting happened. At the farm, the construction---or "foundation"---of Rita's dress was reminiscent of her father in its '60's flair, but the majority solid bright blue aligned her well with her POstables family once more, and Norman in particular. Both the construction and color of the dress were in equal measure here. The green belt at her waist and subtle floral accents across the dress, as well as her consistent statement necklace, were touches exclusive to Rita, and a decidedly more modern look overall than the previous prints we encountered.
Throughout the course of Home Again, Rita's wardrobe saw a fluctuation in color, construction and print that reflected her struggle to let go of mom and dad, and bridge the gap between her father and Norman. At the same time, Rita defined and discovered herself---a balanced mix of past and present---a woman fully prepared to move into her future.