On-screen icons of vintage style

by Meagan Dill

If you’ve ever watched a television show just to swoon over the fashion, or plotted ways to somehow sneak on-set to steal a particular character’s clothes – you’re not alone. Fashion and television have long been involved in a love affair, resulting in plenty of characters to draw fashion inspiration from. Here follows a list of some of the most enviably stylish characters on television at the moment.

Joan Holloway in Mad Men, played by Christina Hendricks

Since its debut in 2007, Mad Men has enjoyed critical success. This year, it leads the Emmy award nominations with a whopping 19 nominations. And yes, this does include a nomination for the costumes. Mad Men is a drama set in 1960s New York, centred around Don Draper, an art director at advertising agency Sterling Cooper.

Joan Holloway, a ravishing red-head, is the head secretary at Sterling Cooper. In contrast to the often meek-minded women of the day, Joan has a strong presence. This is emphasised by her generous curves, which have been the subject of much discussion – and it can certainly be said that this silhouette influenced fashion. Designer Michael Kors, for example, made no secret of his Mad Men obsession, and this inspiration could be seen all over his Fall 2008 collection.

To get Joan’s look, go for skirted suits of thick fabrics in rich jewel tones. Jewellery should be kept simple; just one or two key pieces will do it. Joan usually wears her hair neatly pinned up. This sexy yet sophisticated look is well suited to a professional environments.

Blair Waldorf (in Gossip Girl, played by Leighton Meester)

Fast forward fifty years, and you have ultra-modern Gossip Girl, set in present day New York. The show follows the lives of a group of super rich, super beautiful young people from the glamorous Upper East Side. The show, based on a series of novels by the same name, leaves much to be envied, but top of the list is Blair Waldorf’s wardrobe.

As the daughter of a fashion designer, it is unsurprising that Blair should have a defined sense of style. She idolises Audrey Hepburn and adores old Hollywood. In early seasons of the show, Blair’s trademark is headbands – often worn with a bow to one side. Her hair is usually worn in romantic, loose curls.

All in all, Blair’s look is nothing if not refined. The key to this style is obtaining a well put-together, seemingly effortless look. She is rarely seen without tinted lip gloss – usually in a shade of dark pink. This modernisation harks back to the classic red lip. Delicate stockings, intricate lace and luxurious fabrics are essential for the girly element of Blair’s style. Some find this look a bit over the top, though, so practice some caution when imitating it. Less is sometimes more.

Rachel Berry (in Glee, played by Lea Michele)

Far from the glamour of the Upper East Side, Glee is set at an Ohio high school. The members of New Directions, the high school’s glee club, are decidedly misfits within the school. Glee charts their personal lives and their journey through the show choir competition circuit.

Although Glee is better known for its music than its costumes, Rachel Berry’s vintage chic is a good source of fashion inspiration. In early episodes, her style is ultra conservative – her look is somewhere between Catholic schoolgirl and librarian. As endearing as this is, the change in her style later in Glee is a vast improvement. The knee high socks and plaid skirts are gradually traded in for patterned dresses and cute cardigans. As for colours, navy and red appear often.

For this look, it’s important that the clothes fit well. Go for simple but flattering silhouettes. Rachel wears almost no make-up, but long, black lashes add girly allure. In winter months, Rachel usually adds stockings and berets to her usual repertoire. Her style leans towards the cute side of vintage. The best thing about this look? It’s casual enough to wear every day.

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