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TV's Best Looks: Summer 2022 Edition

From Stranger Things battle attire to For All Mankind’s Mars fashion, TV was styling this summer.
  • Photos: Netflix, HBO, Hulu.
    Photos: Netflix, HBO, Hulu.

    It wouldn't be summer TV without some signature looks, but the summer of 2022 went above and beyond, gifting TV viewers with enough sartorial lessons to see us through to the end of the year. From the sharp tailoring of Only Murders in the Building to the throwback styles of Stranger Things, Paper Girls and Physical, fashion played a central role in most of the season's most-talked about shows.

    Summer fashion, we had us a blast. Here are our picks for the most stylish TV costumes of the season:

    Boldest Travel Attire: Nicholas and Molly, Loot

    As one of the wealthiest women on the planet, Molly Wells (Maya Rudolph) is going to have a room packed with outfits for all occasions. Molly excels at loungewear, whether it be the feather-trimmed pajamas she wears around her house or the matching looks specifically selected for flying private. In the show's second episode, Molly finds out not everyone is as pumped to jump on a PJ as the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. This trip is a disaster, but costume designer Kirston Mann’s choice to dress Molly head-to-toe in bold floral Selva Bianco by La DoubleJ is inspired. Meanwhile, Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster) is never one to miss a fashion moment as Molly’s assistant, and this matching green set is a strong statement.

    Best Workout Attire: Vincent Green, Physical

    Nothing says ‘80s excess quite like Spandex. On Apple TV+’s dark comedy Physical, Rose Byrne’s Sheila is trying to become the aerobics queen of California (then the world), but in Season 2 she gota rival who is doing it bigger, better, and with TV infomercials. Vincent “Vinnie” Green (Murray Bartlett) has the merch to go with his brand, and designer Ernesto Martinez made his short shorts the perfect length for the period. Now where can we snag a Vincent Green muscle shirt?

    Strongest Space Branding: Dani Poole, For All Mankind

    For All Mankind is forever upping the stakes, whether it be the three-way race to Mars in its third season, or the show's enviable fashion. NASA’s famous logo is licensed by retailers, fromthe affordable H&M to the more expensive Coach, which means you don’t have to become an astronaut to wear the gear. On the first human-crewed mission to Mars, the U.S. space program won the best-dressed title — the Soviet cosmonauts come in second in retro brown athleisure — with snappy Post-It yellow polo shirts bearing the mission logo. Yes, this color is hard to pull off, but Dani Poole (Krys Marshall) did so with aplomb. Costume designer Alonzo Wilson also delivers on the cozy-looking NASA shawl collar knits. Apple TV+ is missing a trick by not releasing a capsule collection.

    Biggest Dave Matthews Band Stan: Erin Tieng, Paper Girls

    Borrowing clothes from your future self is enough to wrinkle anyone’s brain, and young Erin Tieng (Riley Lai Nelet) finds out in time-bending Paper Girls that she will go through a significant Dave Matthews Band phase in the coming years. Adult Erin (Ali Wong) still has a substantial amount of DMB attire, which is useful when a change of clothes is required. “My brother tells me to never wear anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable passing out in,” is Mac’s (Sofia Rosinsky) way of saying no to the DMB shirt. Instead, Mac sticks with the moody-looking late ‘80s threads that designer Marci Rodgers established in the pilot.

    Sharpest Summer Fit: Baltasar Frías, The Resort

    The story at the center of The Resort is a twisty mystery, but one element that doesn’t need solving is why Baltasar (Luis Gerardo Méndez) is so sartorially sharp even when his entire world is falling apart. He's from a family of tailors (who also dabble in dangerous affairs), and his job at the now abandoned Oceana Vista was his way of stepping out of his family’s long shadow. Costume designer Vanessa Porter ensures Baltasar doesn’t ditch the impeccable tailoring, which includes this stunning yellow blazer for picture day. This garment pulls focus both on the sunny beach and in Alex’s (Ben Sinclair) dark hotel room.

    Best Reality: X, Claim to Fame

    One of the summer's most fun watches came courtesy of ABC leaning into (yet another) low-stakes reality competition. Trying to guess who the un-famous person is related to is a game we can all get behind, but contestant X won our sartorial hearts in an edgy all-black ensemble. Yes, his sister has appeared on many Best Dressed lists after strong serves on red carpets, award shows, and magazine covers, but it turns out that an eye for fashion runs in this family.

    Most Likely to Love Red Dawn: Steve, Nancy, and Robin, Stranger Things

    Hellfire Club t-shirts have become a staple in the closest of Stranger Things fans, and no doubt Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) will be a favorite costume this Halloween. Traveling to the Upside Down to wage war against Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) requires a version of battle attire, and it seems that the time Robin (Maya Hawke) and Steve (Joe Keery) spent working at a video rental store has rubbed off on them. This look from designer Amy Parris gives full Red Dawn vibes right down to Robin’s beret. Nancy (Natalia Dyer) hasn’t gone with the camo theme, but she is still leaning toward the Patrick Swayze 1984 movie aesthetic.

    Factory Ready: Clance and Max, A League of Their Own

    A late summer entry offered 1940s baseball attire, cute floral dresses, impeccable tailoring, and making a boiler suit work. Trayce Gigi Field captures the different A League of Their Own elements, and BFFs Max (Chanté Adams) and Clance (Gbemisola Ikumelo) hit a home run in the tweaks made to their work attire. Both women protect their hair with boldly patterned scarves, and Clance is cranking up the style scale with cat eye sunglasses, her own non-regulation belt, and the splash of color underneath the standard factor uniform.

    Puppet Master Chic: Charlotte Hale, Westworld

    Even in a sea of greys, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) stands out in an exquisite, belted dress and matching boots. Hello to monochromatic minimalism done in the way of the ultimate puppet master. Sure this particular robot deity is bored of the world she created, which includes the ability to conduct humans to dance or become furniture for her to sit on. Regardless, designer Debra Beeba ensures everything Charlotte wears screams power. Perhaps Charlotte would be more interested in her creations if she let anyone dip into the primary color wheel. (No, navy does not count.)

    Best Fall Inspiration: Mabel Mora, Only Murders in the Building

    Some might consider it too early (and too hot) to be thinking about outerwear, but Only Murders in the Building made it easy to think about the colder months ahead when the outerwear looks this good. Designer Dana Covarrubias turned to Alfred Hitchcock (and costume design legend Edith Head) for inspiration this season, including the connotations behind black and white clothing. Mabel’s argyle & Other Stories sweater paired with a canary Cinq à Sept is one of the most memorable ensembles of the TV season.

    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: For All Mankind, Claim to Fame, A League of Their Own, Loot, Paper Girls, Physical, The Resort, Stranger Things, Westworld