The 1960s brought an invasion of style icons to our TV screens, beginning with Emma Peel's slinky leather catsuits and continuing into the 1970s with the Purdey Cut.
By Jennifer AJ
TV series come and go but some leave enduring legacies through various measures. One of them is via fashion. Sartorial choices often elevate a story beyond what’s on the page: it can define a character, reflect different moods and tell its own story. Here are the top 10 most stylish modern TV shows that did it best!
Sex and the City
The benchmark of how to style a show, the HBO series is responsible for defining the “It” fashion of late 1990’s-early 2000’s as well as launching little-known brands to stratospheric fame. Everything Carrie wore became an instant must-have, from the Fendi baguette bag to her countless pairs of Manolo Blahnik.
The scandalous lives of these Upper East Side teens aren’t complete without their glamorous attire. As part of their distinct personalities, resident Queen Bee Blair Waldorf often dons preppy looks – headbands, pleated skirts, coats – while cool-girl fashionista Serena van der Woodsen wears lots of boho-chic outfits with big, big bags.
Emily in Paris
As a spiritual successor to SATC, the Netflix comedy doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fashion. Being a marketing executive working in le Paris, Emily is surrounded by fancy wardrobes. The intrepid girl loves audacious mix-and-matching: orange with brown, tartan with stripes - you get the gist. And if you’re wondering why SATC and EIP share similar sartorial boldness, that’s because they are both costumed by the same woman: the iconic Patricia Field.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
The Amazon Prime comedy’s fashion ambition is as bold as its heroine’s stardom aspiration. Fashion is inseparable from Midge Maisel’s identity, who would literally wake her friend at the crack of dawn to fuss about clothing. Midge’s glamorous 1950’s style looks like it jumped straight out of a vintage catalogue: hats, coats, frocks, bags – in every bright colour imaginable.
When it comes to 90’s fashion, The Nanny captured it best. Serving as a foil to the grunge aesthetics so prevalent in that decade, Fran Fine embodied another side of 90’s eclectic sensibility. Her iconic form-fitting dresses, bold prints, and tight leggings are so unabashedly feminine yet still reflecting Fran’s plucky personality.
No show is more emblematic of Gen Z’s style than Euphoria. From Rue’s rebellious grunge look, Cassie’s cute Y2K fits, to Maddy’s sexy skin-hugging ensembles, every character’s style is so well defined and totally suits their personalities.
The Queen’s Gambit
The Netflix miniseries may only be 7 episodes long, but the ingenuity of its costume design cannot be overstated. Set during the Cold War era, Beth’s outfits reflect every step of her journey to chess stardom. There’s the dress she wore to win her final match, a simple shift dress made symbolic by its chessboard-esque pattern. And then, of course, the all-white ensemble Beth wore in the final scene, made to resemble the White Queen.
Throughout its 7-season run, the ad world drama sparked renewed interest in 1960’s office looks; both men and women. Suit-and-tie for the gents, knee-length dresses complete with bouffant hairstyle for the ladies perfected the series’ cool throwback to a swinging time in American history.
When she’s not murdering people in gruesome fashion, Villanelle is totally killing the fashion game. Among her iconic sartorial choices: pairing a Molly Godard poufy pink dress with leather boots and that time she wore a Dries van Noten suit to a (literal) killer job.
Navigating the treacherous water of Washington politics requires a high level of savviness and apparently, a keen sense of style. Olivia Pope’s range of power suits is both chic and commandeering. Her outfits employ strong silhouettes and are dominated by beige to grey tones, perfect to strut in on her way to winning cases.
Published on July 20th, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.