By Jennifer Davis
Updated Jan 07, 2015 @ 6:40 pm
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Credit: John P. Fleenor/FOX

New year, new chapter for Dr. Mindy Lahiri! After accepting a fellowship at Stanford, Mindy has officially left New York City and landed in Palo Alto to begin her 8-month training, and right off the bat Mindy is embracing over-the-top collegiate attire.

“This is the back to college episode,” costume designer Salvador Perez tells InStyle. “We were inspired by Elle Woods [from Legally Blonde], so lots of pink and girly clothes.” Case in point: The pink and red ensemble she wears in the opening scenes (below). “The red velvet mini skirt with sequin lipsticks from House of Holland was a great find,” Perez reveals. He kept the rest of the outfit pink, dressing her in a C. Wonder blouse, an I Heart Ronson jacket, and a Chanel Bag. However, to make sure it was a Pepto-Bismol explosion, he toned down the tights. “I wanted to keep it hip, so we added charcoal tights.”

Credit: John P. Fleenor/FOX

Her love affair with the color pink doesn’t end there. For what she assumes is a kick-off party, she wears a bright pink Herve Leger dress adorned with Swarovski crystals—an addition made just for the show (below). “We wanted the most inappropriate dress for a school function we could find,” Perez explains. “I went subtle with the earrings by Rachel Roy, as the dress was loud enough.”

A photo posted by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on Jan 5, 2015 at 9:18am PST

As you can expect, this outfit made her stick out like a sore thumb. Needing to make a better impression, Perez outfitted Mindy in a schoolgirl look a la Clueless. “I couldn't resist this homage to [the film],” says Perez, who chose to dress her in a J. Crew blouse, a Theory vest, and an Alice + Olivia skirt (lead). “It's very Mindy-centric, but playful.” However the outfit’s real standout was the Phillip Lim backpack. “The backpack is a little extravagant, but that’s sort of why I loved it,” admits Perez. We agree!

Credit: Jordin Althaus/FOX

Still trying to undo her first-day faux pas, she agrees to go on a double date with her new professor and Danny. For the scene, Perez dresses her up in a BCBG dress (above). “It was appropriate that she was overdressed for a casual dinner because New Yorkers dress up for dinner,” he says. To make it a little less “fussy,” he paired it with a Bebe leather jacket.

We’ll be chatting with Perez every week about our favorite looks from The Mindy Project, so be sure to check back in next week!