Between scandal, broken deals, a hostile takeover bid, and an unexpected trip to Washington DC, the Roy family has been taking hits from all sides this season on Succession. Through it all, there has been one consistent bright spot -- one that's never let audiences or the Roy family down. That's right: I'm talking about the Season 2 Succession wardrobe of one Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook).
Often it's a new job or a change in relationship that will prompt someone to shake-up their style. In Shiv's case, we can say with some confidence that it's unlikely her marriage to Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) had anything to do with the makeover she underwent between Seasons 1 and 2 — even though said makeover had to have happened at some point between their wedding reception and their honeymoon. The transformation kicked off when she debuted that new power haircut on her marriage yacht, but it was her dad’s serious (at the time) offer to give her the keys to the Waystar castle that cemented this style shift.
Season 1 placed Shiv on the outside of the family. She worked for liberal political candidates who vehemently opposed the core of the Waystar empire. Her costume palette consisted of warm tones including blush pinks and soft burgundy. Silk blouses and plain pant suits dominated. In the pilot episode, when they went to play baseball on Long Island, she changed out of her soft corporate attire into an oversized fair isle sweater and a baseball cap. That sweater probably cost more than the average person’s rent, but it didn’t come across as luxurious. Cut to Season 2, and every sweater is straight from the pages of Vogue. As she leans into her family legacy, the lines get sharper, matching the focus she has for the job at hand.
If you're going to look to one TV character for fall inspiration, Siobhan Roy everything you might need. She may not end the season crowned the new CEO — really, who wants that scandal-riddled throne now? — but it's unlikely she'll be the "blood sacrifice" that Logan (Brian Cox) threatened last week. Whatever his decision, we can be certain his only daughter will have a fabulous outfit for the victim’s funeral.
Here's a look back at Shiv's Season 2 sartorial highlights:
Triumphant Turtlenecks - 2.01 "The Summer Palace"
A trip to the Summer Palace in February doesn't exactly mean it's time to break out the Hamptons wardrobe. Other than the forthcoming Season 2 finale, Succession is very much a winter-set show. The first sign Shiv is open to her father’s offer of becoming CEO is all in the changes made by costume designer Michelle Matland. The oversized fair isle sweater from the pilot is long gone, replaced by a ribbed grey turtleneck that straddles the line between business asset and supportive daughter. Paired with dark high-waisted pants, it's sleek without drawing too much attention. Presenting a turtleneck united front now that they're married, Tom’s knit is chunkier, which is more Aspen than the Hamptons, proving yet again why his father-in-law will never take him seriously.
The High-Waisted Pants of Power - 2.02 "Vaulter" and 2.06 "Argestes"
After Logan’s offer, the high-waisted pants truly come into their own in an array of heritage prints. First, at Roman’s (Keiran Culkin) double-date dinner party, showcasing Shiv’s new signature look pairing Prince of Wales check with a black 'turt, thankfully reclaiming this garment from the clutches of Elizabeth Holmes. Her simple gold jewelry only adds to the effortlessly chic aesthetic. It's versatile in that it doesn’t feel out of place over dinner and drinks, but a version of this is also work-appropriate on stage in "Argestes." Shiv has worn pants throughout, but the wide-legged statement of this Katharine Hepburn silhouette demands attention. As she gets more involved in the business she ups the masculine-meets-feminine tailoring. She isn’t mimicking the suits her brothers wear, instead, she's putting her own authoritative stamp on her wardrobe.
Shiv is called in to deal with the beginnings of the cruise scandal going public at a panel that was originally only going to feature her brothers. On stage, the three are out of sync sartorially and strategically: Kendall (Jeremy Strong) is working the casual jeans and puffer corporate vibe, Roman’s wearing a jacket paired with a T-shirt, and Shiv’s wide-legged window-pane check trousers and trusty T-neck ensure all eyes are on her.
Bring Your Daughter to Work Day Grey Suit - 2.04 "Safe Room"
To blend in while she observes operations at ATN, Shiv opts for the most neutral of outfits, a grey pantsuit with a collarless cream blouse. It's professional but doesn’t suggest any lofty ambitions. Grey is a shade she returns to time-and-time again, which is symbolic of the murky world she is now very much a part of. Kendall favors black, which matches his darker mood in Season 2. The light and dark elements are at their most overt when he asks his sister for a hug at the end of this episode.
Scottish Tweed - 2.08 "Dundee"
The neutral palette that has dominated Shiv’s Season 2 costuming gets (briefly) thrown out when she is in full battle mode against Rhea (Holly Hunter). They’re in Scotland, so Shiv is indulging in her father’s heritage by wearing a checked Highland Tweed pantsuit. This isn’t as obvious as purchasing his favorite soccer team (albeit buying the wrong one) or as awkward as an ode in rap form — there is a reason Shiv is probably Logan’s favorite. Still, this subtle gesture is a power grab maneuver.
Business up front, party in the back - 2.08 "Dundee"
If that pantsuit was about saying sorry, the alluring backless turtleneck was sending a message that Rhea needs to watch out. The front is all business, but a surprise reveal when she turns around implies a level of devious seduction. Later, when discussing Rhea, she tells her brothers, "It is time we killed her dead." She is no longer in the backless turtleneck, but this message has already been implied. It's also a prelude to the halter-neck frock she wears to the event celebrating their father. Another classy gown, which wouldn’t look out of place in a James Bond movie. Here, Shiv is the silent assassin laying the trap for her opponent.
Weaponized femininity - 2.09 "DC"
Day dresses haven’t been outlawed from Shiv’s closet, but it's notable that the first time she wears a frock in a purely business setting this season is on this trip to DC. Her femininity is being weaponized from a PR perspective, as it is during the trip to the playground when she convinces Kira (Sally Murphy) to stay quiet. This dress is feminine-meets-masculine, reversing the suit trend she has leaned into. Structurally this has all the makings of a Prince of Wales Check double-breasted suit, but it acts as a reminder that Shiv isn’t our avatar for good or the center-leftie who will keep her family in check. She's just as complicit.
The artifice of this outfit is matched by Shiv's manipulation of Kira. She takes off her pumps, in part because it is awkward walking around a playground in heels, but it also puts her at Kira’s level. In fact, Kira is wearing a jacket that mirrors Shiv’s dress, but the crisp lines are lacking in her far more affordable outfit. Shiv’s even had a trim, blunting her bobbed style to give the sheen of perfection. We wanted Shiv to be good, we wanted her to be different, but she is the same as her brothers, no matter if she wears a dress or a pantsuit.
Yacht Florals - 2.10 "This Is Not For Tears"
Cousin Greg is wearing a pink Lacoste polo, Logan has indulged in linens, and everyone is waiting to see who will be the blood sacrifice, all within the comfort of a luxury yacht. The Season 1 premiere ended in a snowy castle in England, now they're lapping up the sunshine. Topping up a tan is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind, and Shiv’s smartly covering up her fair skin. However, in the promo, there is a rare peek at a pattern that isn't in a heritage print. That’s right, she is wearing florals! Is this a funeral wreath for her husband or a celebratory print because he isn’t on the chopping block? Only time will tell!
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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: Succession, HBO, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen, Sarah Snook, Fashion