TV’s most stylish characters

By Kirstin Buick
10 June 2013

Our TV blogger has made a list of her five best-dressed TV characters and throws in a few more after battling to cut it to just five.

Am I the only one . . . who’s loving the fashionable characters on TV right now? I tried to select my five best-dressed TV characters but this turned out to be too hard to narrow down. So I’ve picked five characters on TV right now and four who aren’t on at the moment. See if you agree with me or list who you’d add.

The top five

1 Emily Thorne (Revenge)

I wouldn’t want to cross the revenge-driven Emily Thorne (played by Emily VanCamp). Actually, being her friend sounds just as dangerous so I’ll admire her style from afar, hidden in the sandy dunes of The Hamptons, watching through a pair of binoculars. “We always go for a classic old Hollywood look for her,” Revenge costume designer Jill Ohanneson told The Hollywood Reporter. “In the first season, Emily was more innocent and fresh (which explains all those white outfits she was wearing). In the second season, she’s got into some misadventures, so we’ve made her more sophisticated, with tighter fitted dresses, more tailoring, darker colours and some leather to toughen her up a bit.” The fashion is an important part of this series so it’s not a surprise that a line of dresses and accessories inspired by the show will go on sale in America.

2 Olivia Pope (The Fixer)

I have written about Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) wonderful wardrobe before in an earlier blog (CLICK HERE) so I won’t go into too much detail about how much I adore her style. Though I’ve gone with Revenge’s Emily as No 1, Olivia is a close second with those cool gladiator suits and gorgeous dresses.

3 Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife)

Okay, I’m cheating. I said I would only put characters on TV right now on my list and she should really be on my second list as the season ended a few weeks ago, but I can’t, I can’t; she’s just too fabulous. Alicia’s (Julianna Margulies) love-life may be a mess but this attorney knows how to turns heads with her expensive suits and spectacular shoes. And can you imagine how big the show’s wardrobe room must be? “I probably have in the vicinity of 300, 350 [suits] for Alicia, and probably 250 suits for Diane [played by Christine Baranski],” the show’s costume designer Daniel Lawson told news website The Daily Beast. And how are her outfits planned? “I start with the script and then try to think like the character and design the wardrobe for the specific episode and the situations the characters have to go through,” he told The Washington Post.

4 Joan Watson (Elementary)

Creating a female Watson for Sherlock Holmes was a genius move. And Watson (played by Lucy Liu) dresses in gorgeous outfits that actually look affordable and effortless, which is what they were going for. “Watson wears clothes from a lot of stores that we all shop in . . .” mixed up with more expensive pieces, costume designer Rebecca Hofherr told Entertainment Weekly. But it’s her earmuffs and cute beanies that I especially want!

5 Melinda Gordon (Ghost Whisperer)

I devoured every episode of this sweet but dark series when it was on DStv and can’t resist watching it again on SABC2. The show ended in 2010 but most of Melinda’s clothes don’t look dated and there are quite a few Pinterest boards dedicated to her timeless fashion. She wears lovely vintage pieces, perfect for the owner of an antique store, and a ghost whisperer, I suppose. “If she were playing a lawyer or a cop, we wouldn’t be able to have nearly as much fun as we do here,” the show’s costume designer Joseph Porro told entertainment website zap2it.com. Jennifer Love Hewitt, the actress who played her, told USAToday, “It's the kind of clothes young girls can find by raiding antiques stores. Her elegant gowns and nightgowns are designed to be flowy so that they move when they turn on the wind machines.” Yup, I would definitely not send her clothes “into the light”.

Four fashionable characters not on TV right now

1 Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)

He really should be in my top five, he’s so legen-dary (season 7 back on e.tv near the end of June) Since the beginning of this series, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) made it clear a good suit is important. “Barney is very label-conscious,” costume supervisor Sandra Jensen told zap2it.com. “He wears Marc Jacobs, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Paul Smith.” And his signature look is the skinny tie. “If I can’t get a lot of skinny ties, I alter them and make them narrower and give them that thin look. It’s edgier and shows off the shirt a bit more.”

2 Neal Caffrey (White Collar)

This gorgeous man wears a suit with style and has to be the best-dressed man on TV. The inspiration is the style from the 50s and 60s, says the show’s costume designer Stephanie Maslansky. And all the suits are tailored to fit actor Matt Bomer. “We have a full-time, Savile Row-trained tailor on our staff. It is really, really important, in TV as well as in life, to have clothes fit properly. It makes all the difference in the world,” she told fashion website gilt.com

3 Olivia Duran (666 Park Avenue)

I didn’t really get into this horror series when it was on TV recently but did hang around for a bit simply to see Olivia’s killer outfits. Played by the always-stylish Vanessa Williams, Olivia wears names such as Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Victoria Beckham, Yves Saint Laurent. The show was cancelled and I then lost interest but Olivia’s gorgeous dresses are memorable.

4 Oliver Queen (Arrow)

To be honest, I kind of like this character when he isn’t wearing much at all, but I have managed to stop staring at actor Stephen Amell’s impressive unclothed abs to notice he dresses rather well. Oliver Queen, of course, is a multimillionaire who can afford slick suits and chic designer jerseys and jeans so he should dress well. And his fabulous costume when he’s fighting crime as the Green Arrow was designed by Colleen Atwood who’s won Oscars for her incredible costume work in the movies Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Alice in Wonderland.

& Revenge is on M-Net on Thursdays at 7.30 pm

& The Fixer is on M-Net on Mondays at 8.30 pm

& Ghost Whisperer is on SABC2 on Saturdays at 6.30 pm

& Elementary is on M-Net on Wednesdays at 8.30 pm

-Natalie Cavernelis

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