OldVenue, TV

Doing Joan: Fashion in TV

Ever been watching your favourite TV show and wished you could replicate a certain character’s look? I guarantee everyone has wanted to dress and style themselves on their favourite character at least once. Think the “The Rachel” hairstyle that seemingly every woman wanted in the late 90s thanks to Friends. But it’s the clothes that get people talking. Yes, the actual show may be tedious, but that doesn’t stop you from getting serious dress envy over the gorgeous 1920s dresses in Downton Abbey. Or, if the Jazz Age isn’t your thing, the 60s fashion in Mad Men is bound to catch your eye.

Sadly, we don’t all live in a glitzy TV show, with access to stylists and costume designers perfecting our every look. Lucky for you, you can still replicate the looks from your favourite TV show, simply by shopping on your local high street. Fashion retailers are looking to popular TV now more than ever as inspiration for their latest collections. The reason is simple: the more people who watch a TV show, the more people want to dress like the characters, especially in period shows such as Downton Abbey and Mad Men. They’re called ‘costume dramas’ for a reason, after all. And if people want to dress like them, it’s only common sense to sell clothes that Lady Mary or Joan Holloway might buy. Quid’s in.

A Google search for ‘dress like Downton Abbey’ has hundreds of thousands of results, with everyday online retailers such as Asos providing their own Downton-esque clothes. And, of course, the ultimate costume drama of the past few years, Game of Thrones, has also had an effect on fashion. Designers have taken elements of the costume from the show, such as statement jewellery –- mainly featuring images of dragons and wolves –-  and long, sweeping dresses in rich colours, which can be seen on the runway and the high street. So now every woman can look like Margaery Tyrell (or dress like her, at least. As painful as it is to accept, we’re not all blessed with looks like Natalie Dormer.)

TV shows set in the present day are also influencing fashion, viewers being desperate to dress like Scandal’s effortlessly stylish Olivia Pope, for just one example. Then there’s shows like Sex and the City, Girls, and Gossip Girl which have created characters that are fashion icons in their own right. Although women’s fashion is perhaps the most influenced by stylish TV characters, men’s fashion is seeing the effect of popular TV too, with 60s suits Don Draper would be proud to wear appearing on the high street.

But fashion designers and those in charge of the next collections are missing a trick. Some of the most popular TV shows and iconic character styles are being ignored. I’ve got some suggestions for the styles that should be everywhere in SS16. Firstly, what’s one of the biggest and best shows of recent years? Breaking Bad. Who wouldn’t want to rock ‘The Heisenberg’, the oh-so-stylish shades ‘n’ pork pie hat combo? Or another of his best looks, the unforgettable yellow hazmat suit, guaranteed to get you noticed (hopefully not by the DEA). Move over Carrie Bradshaw, Walter White is fashion’s new icon.

How about another huge show, The Walking Dead? I want to see walker-brain splattered tops, ripped jeans and maybe even the odd riot suit on the high street. Then there’s the obvious new fashion inspiration. Since it’s been proven that Orange truly is the New Black, then surely those brilliantly bright orange jumpsuits should be all over the runway and in shops.

Mark my words, fashion designers will soon spot the potential for money-making in stealing – sorry, imitating – these hugely popular shows’ unique fashions. These looks will be everywhere in the next couple of years! Even Anna Wintour will be rocking the prison jumpsuit look on the FROW of NYFW. The new Dandelion, maybe?


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May 2022
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