Whether you checked into the White Lotus or tried out Chicago’s best Italian beef sandwich shop on The Bear, there was no shortage of stylish TV moments in 2022 (including these summer highlights). We rang in the year with Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) enviable closet, followed by prom in the wilderness with the Yellowjackets soccer team. 2022 closed with Michael Shannon making a strong case for country fashion and Wednesday Addams proving she is always in vogue.
2022 has been a sartorial blast. Here are our picks for the most stylish TV costumes of the year:
In a year dominated by breastplates in fantasy shows like House of the Dragon and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) offered a reminder that fashion can also act as a shield in a fraught environment. Not only has Baranski been playing this role for 13 years, but costume designer Dan Lawson has been with her since day one on The Good Wife. At no point has the legal maven shied away from statement jewelry and exquisite tailoring.
Many, many words have rightly been dedicated to the chaos of Portia’s (Hayley Lu Richardson) closet, Harper’s (Aubrey Plaza) chic getaway attire, and Tanya’s (Jennifer Coolidge) dress clues. One unsung sartorial star is White Lotus manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) in a rotation of colorful tight pantsuits that costume designer Alex Bovaird purposefully matched to Armond’s (Murray Bartlett) work attire from Season 1. Some pattern gets thrown in the mix, and the knotted rope Moschino blazer is an overt nod to Valentina’s repressed sexuality. Thankfully, things end better for Valentina than they did for Armond.
Whereas Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) is loyal to branded Beef restaurant merch, Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) sets a different tone in a staple white t-shirt and blue apron that has set the internet alive. Sydney’s (Ayo Edebiri) collared look reflects her professionalism, while the colorful and patterned bandana injects some fun. Cristina Spiridakis and Courtney Wheeler are the costume designers who prove that it isn’t always the flashiest or most unusual garments that hit audiences hard. The white tee hasn’t been this influential since Marlon Brando or James Dean lit up movie screens.
For some people, buttons on shirts fulfill a purpose, but Bottom Dollar Publications owner Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson) only needs half of them. The adult magazine mogul also hasn’t met a man-made fabric patterned shirt that he doesn’t want to own, and TV viewers everywhere are all the better for it. In Minx’s first season, Beth Morgan showcases ’70s sleaze done right, with Doug oozing bucketfuls of charm. His staff is equally suited to the period: Tina (Idara Victor) serves office chic, Bambi’s (Jessica Lowe) got the So-Cal mood down, and Richie (Oscar Montoya) also eschews buttons.
Purging clothes is a common new year ritual, but thankfully, Sarah Jessica Parker kept an extensive archive of memorable pieces from Sex and City. Designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago (Rogers worked in the costume department on the original series, and Santiago joined the team on the first movie) have crafted many new memorable looks throughout the first season, including the incredible couture Valentino in the finale. Charlotte’s daughter Lily (Cathy Ang) in Carrie’s hangover poncho is a delightful blast from the past. It is gratifying as a longtime fan to see Carrie’s decades-long journey through fashion, emphasizing original designer Patricia Field’s contribution to costume.
Even in the 1890s, traveling across the Wild West is a dangerous prospect (it is in the name). Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt) quickly discovers that pink frocks and trunks full of clothes are not going to cut it in Hugo Blick’s sensational The English, and designer Phoebe de Gaye more than rises to the challenge. Cornelia quickly adapts to layered garments (and pants!), which get more distressed as the ride continues. Travel companion Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer) sports a naval tunic to denote his time in the U.S. military paired with a trade blanket, breechcloth, and leggings reflecting his Pawnee roots.
Plotting to kill their abusive brother-in-law John Paul (Claes Bang), to save their sister doesn’t go according to plan for the Garveys. One thing they do have is each other, but they are not one homogeneous unit mirroring each other’s style. Yes, Becka (Eve Hewson) is inclined to borrow garments without asking, but that is her prerogative as the youngest sibling. Sometimes playing dress-up with other people’s clothes is necessary to accommodate colder temperatures. Of the four siblings, Becka looks most at home in the vintage outerwear taken from Minna’s (Nina Norén) closet, and costume designer Camille Benda ensures this family has always dressed the part.
Emily (Lily James) is still in Paris, and her love of flamboyant fashion continues in the Season 3 premiere in an eye-popping pink and red ruched dress paired with a feathered pink coat in the same girlish shades. She might be terrible at making decisions about her personal and professional life, but you can be sure that her outfit will serve drama to the max. Stacked slingback pumps add additional height and flair to a character you will never forget is on screen. Marylin Fitoussi’s dedication to whimsy and playful notes in Emily’s closet is evident from the jump.
Every music luminary from Elvis to Dolly Parton has worn a suit by design legend Nudie Cohn. What makes a Nudie creation unique is the intricate embroidery and fit that allows it to stand out in any location. Country singing sensation George Jones (Michael Shannon) was also partial to rhinestones in his show attire, and Mitchell Travers emphasizes this throughout the series via the singer’s eclectic sartorial taste. In Showtime’s George & Tammy, he visits Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors store to find the perfect Las Vegas ensemble. Nothing says casino like sequin dice, in a design that pays homage to Nudie and emphasizes George’s love of clothing — and looks great on Shannon.
In the first season, looping through the same day (sometimes two if she was lucky) meant a minimal closet for Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) and Maxine (Greta Lee). Jenn Rogien gets to deliver a few more outfits in the time-bending follow-up, which showcases Nadia’s fondness for black outerwear, skinny jeans, and boot staples. It makes sense to wear something comfortable when traveling through time and briefly to Budapest. Here the flash of red is a degrading heart print, which fits some of the themes. Meanwhile, Maxine has packed to party, and they are in luck as the Columbo statue watches over them — another character fond of a coat.
Making a late play for most influential is Jenna Ortega as the iconic Wednesday Addams, a character whose signature black dress with a white collar and cuffs is still on trend more than 80 years after Charles Addams first drew her. Four-time Oscar-winning designer Colleen Atwood pays homage to the different iterations of this character while breathing new contemporary life via her out-of-Nevermore uniform clothing. Checkerboard sweaters pair nicely with bomber jackets, and Wednesday proves how many options this limited palette gives throughout the monster hit series.
Hacks costume designer Kathleen Felix-Hager won an Emmy for her work on the second season, which saw Deborah (Jean Smart) leave the safe confines of headlining a casino to hit the open road. The veteran stand-up comic has an ensemble fit for any town, and Kayla (Meg Stalter) follows this themed example when they return to Las Vegas. Going full girlboss in pink as Jimmy (Paul W. Downs) tries to hold onto one of his only clients is a hilarious power move made even better by her tiny purse.
Ramy is grounded in the everyday, but that doesn’t mean the Hulu dramedy lacks heightened moments, from religious influencers to elves with diamonds in their forehead. Wealth (or the lack of) and the reality of the American Dream is an overarching theme, which includes patriarch Farouk’s (Amr Waked) fantasy of appearing on an Egyptian version of Shark Tank (called Sharp Bank). His whole family is in their best mogul finery alongside actual Shark Tank investor Robert Herjavec. Costume designer Nicky Smith ditches Ramy’s (Ramy Youssef) go-to knit beanie or New York Giants baseball cap for a sharp business fit.
Luckily, when the Yellowjackets soccer squad packed for the championship, they also had a formal event on the cards. It is less fortunate that they still have not been found, but the high schoolers are making the most of a bad situation. Before horniness takes over in “Doomcoming,” Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) shows how much she cares for Van (Liv Hewson) with the gift of matching masks she has made, whereas everyone else opts for flower crowns. Designer Marie Schley has a contemporary-set reunion in the following episode, but here she has to use what is at the girls’s disposal.
Blending in is vital when building a rebellion, whether donning a uniform or picking out the finest couture extreme wealth can buy. Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) may come across as a “sometimes indecisive senator who spends her day fighting and failing to protect separatist do-gooders,” but she is as shrewd as her party attire is elegant. At one such function in the seventh episode, details on the bodice — including metal adornment — underscore the dressing for battle theme that dominates 2022. Oscar nominee Michael Wilkinson drapes her in a golden hue that reflects her status without betraying Mon Mothma’s goal.
Emma Fraser has wanted to write about TV since she first watched My So-Called Life in the mid-90s, finally getting her wish over a decade later. Follow her on Twitter at @frazbelina.
TOPICS: The White Lotus, And Just Like That, Bad Sisters, The Bear, Emily in Paris, The English, George & Tammy, The Good Fight, Hacks, Minx, Ramy, Russian Doll, Star Wars: Andor, Wednesday, Yellowjackets