Written by Hannah Cole
Sometimes, when you least expect it, sartorial guidance suddenly appears. Roll with it.
Lately, I’ve begun to consider that a television show is much more than just a piece of easy viewing. It’s not all mindless switching off and episode-after-episode watching. If it were simply a binge activity, why would I spend so long curating my ‘to-watch’ list (the sign of an extremely Type A list-obsessive)? In that case, anything would go.
My media feed is always selling new viewing recommends; one minute Dead to Me is the dark comedy I need, the next, it’s a nostalgic turn to The Baby-Sitters Club. Or Grand Designs is the new The Great British Bake Off (but we already knew that). There’s a lot out there and in a very first-world-problem way, it can become overwhelming to sift through. So, I take time to determine the picks worthy of my eyes and time. I sit out on zeitgeisty memes and catch up months later, much to the chagrin of friends desperate for a popular culture conversation.
Normally, the shows I eventually select are those that have held up in longevity — if conversations are still circling in the ether, and friends claim sincere favouritism, it is a hot contestant. In recent months, my viewing choices have come to reflect a haven of sartorial inspiration though. If a character has style, and particularly a vibe I would like to emulate, you can count me in.
Maybe it’s a sign of these Covid-dominated times we now live within. While I was wearing trackpants and chunky sweaters daily, my TV friends were experimenting with style in the wide world of the before times. Now we are making our way out of these hovels and figuring out our post-quarantine style (ideally, the perfect balance between athleisure and professionalism: elastic waist meets structured blazer). It’s these very characters that, for the most part, are helping me determine the way forward.
If, like most of us, you are finding getting dressed a little lacklustre, might I recommend a weekend of style-induced viewing? Find your launching pad below.
If you have a small Zoë Kravitz-sized hole in your life, it needs immediate filling via Hulu’s High Fidelity. Whether you are a fan of the book, noughties movie, or not, come for Kravitz and stay for the costumes. Nick Hornby’s classic novel finds a feminine twist in the series, with the main protagonist, Rob, played by Kravitz, as she figures out love with a side of music knowledge. Story-wise, it’s a slow burn, but episode 5 onwards had me calling for a binge. Regardless, stay for the grungy looks. Pleated skirts, band tees, high-waisted jeans, chunky boots and granddad vests — I have saved every outfit for future inspiration. Once vintage stores are back in business, this stuff will be flying out the door.
Style cues from the 80s and 90s aren’t going anywhere; lap up the nostalgia. While some may be fans of Jerry’s put-together polo shirt or button up with crisp blue jeans, Elaine and Kramer are the style tokens I carry with me. Kramer is the expert when it comes to cleverly mismatched patterns, checked trousers, bowling shirts (and his famed lucky jacket). Adaptable and easy to emulate: just scour your dad’s closet. Every morning I ask myself, what would Elaine wear today? She is my style queen and inspires the oversized blazer, brogues and beautifully buttoned shirts. Wear socks with sandals, embrace coiffed hair and let a few bellowing laughs loose throughout the day (because if you’re not having fun with fashion, then what is the point).
A sartorially led watchlist wouldn’t be complete without a hint of preppiness, would it? I am yet to watch season 2 (see comment above), but the costuming from the first dispatch is still reeling in my mind. I could hit play and watch the colours blur by on mute if need be. Mentally save Astrid’s extremely Gucci-fied style: bows, sweaters, pearls and just the right amount of puff. Take cues from McAfee’s bold suiting and playful colour combinations. Or layer your turtlenecks and designer tees with aptly tailored suiting à la Payton. It’s prime for the modern workplace.