Published: Thursday May 8, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday May 8, 2014 MYT 9:58:17 AM

Bring on the wow: Say hello to fashion-conscious TV characters

On Pretty Little Liars, each character embodies a different style.

On Pretty Little Liars, each character embodies a different style.

Here are some of our top picks for best-dressed TV characters.

Olivia Pope, Scandal

When Prada sends you a handbag from their archives in Italy for your show, you know you are a big deal.

Scandal, just like Sex And The City in the 1990s, is watched for style tips as for the storyline (we think). The show has made Kerry Washington a style icon thanks to the glamorous gowns, luxurious coats and fitted jackets she wears.

“We do shop from really great designers,” Scandal’s costume designer Lyn Paolo said about Olivia Pope’s outfits which are from labels such as Gucci, Max Mara, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Alexander McQueen and Ferragamo.

“But it’s really more about colour and silhouette. We are loyal to some pieces because they work for us. Max Mara and a lot of Christian Dior, which is just a wee bit more girlish in its designs.”

If there's one person on TV who's dressed for success, it is Diane Lockhart.
If there’s one person on TV who’s dressed for success, it is Diane Lockhart.

Diane Lockhart, The Good Wife

From the power suits to the statement necklaces, if there’s one person who’s dressed for success, that’s Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski).

The man responsible for making Diane look like a million bucks is Daniel Lawson. The costume designer scours high-end brands like Oscar de la Renta, Caroline Herrera, Prada, Givenchy, Saint Laurent and Armani for Diane’s wardrobe.

But of course, half the battle is won with a regal-looking Baranski.

“Christine is so elegant anyway. You can put a burlap bag on her and she’d look great,” said Lawson.

Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey

Corsets, frocks and elbow-length gloves – fashion from the 1920s is back in a big way thanks to Downton Abbey.

For Lady Mary’s understated yet glamorous look, Downton Abbey’s designer Susannah Buxton found inspiration in Chanel.

“The simplicity of Chanel’s designs helped me with the direction for (Lady Mary),” said Buxton who together with her team make a third of the costumes on the show.

Norma Bates, Bates Motel 

No one does vintage as well as Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga). While the show is set in the present day, Norma prefers fashion from the 1960s.

Bates Motel costume designer Monique Prudhomme explained: “Norma is such an amazing female character. She expresses herself totally without self-consciousness. Sometimes she thinks she is Marilyn Monroe or Florence Nightingale, or Audrey Hepburn. My goal was to express all these sides of her.”

And to do that, Prudhomme makes most of Norma’s custom outfits on the show. However, some pieces are from mid-range labels like J Crew, Liberty and James Perse.

Norma Bates loves fashion from the 1960s.
Norma Bates loves fashion from the 1960s.

Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project 

When it comes to fashion, it is no holds barred for Dr L (Mindy Kaling). She loves bold colours (hello fuchsia!), prints and patterns ... and she wears them all at once with aplomb.

Costume designer Salvador Perez, Jr works closely with Kaling on what the bumbling doctor wears on the show.

“It’s a great collaboration. I love dressing the character and Mindy personally has a love of fashion,” said Perez who shops at Alice + Olivia, Tory Burch, Trina Turk and Kate Spade for the show.

When it comes to fashion, it is no holds barred for Dr. Lahiri.
When it comes to fashion, it is no holds barred for Dr Lahiri.

Jennifer Lopez's fabulous outfits are probably the only reason to tune into American Idol.
Jennifer Lopez’s fabulous clothes are probably the only reason to tune in to American Idol.

Jennifer Lopez, American Idol 

OK, so technically Lopez doesn’t play a character but she steals the spotlight week after week with her sizzling outfits – from skin-tight dresses to short shorts.

“It’s so key to have an artiste who’s willing to try literally anything,” Lopez’s stylist Rob Zangardi said.

Another stylist, Mariel Haenn, who also works with the singer, added: “She has so many different sides, so we get the opportunity to do everything.”

The message Lopez seems to send across is: “All eyes on me”, and we gladly comply.

Hanna/Aria/Spencer/Emily, Pretty Little Liars

You can’t possibly pick just one best-dressed character from this fashion-forward TV show. Each girl embodies a different style. Hannah is all about high fashion, Aria loves vintage finds, Spencer is preppy and Emily is sporty chic.

Bearing in mind that a lot of young girls look up to these characters when it comes to fashion, Pretty Little Liars’ costume designer Mandi Line keeps the clothes affordable.

“I mix H&M, Zara and Forever 21 into these girls’ closets, and if they do get a Rebecca Minkoff, it’s one item and it’s not head to toe,” Line explained.

Her favourite character to dress is Aria. “One day she’s a 1960s rocker, then she’s a goth chick, then she’s vintage, then she’s sweet,” Line said of Aria’s “schizophrenia fashion”.

Nolan Ross sure loves eccentric outfits.
Nolan Ross sure loves eccentric outfits.

Nolan Ross, Revenge

The only guy in the list, Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) is picked for his eccentric outfits. The Hamptonite millionaire loves something out of the ordinary and when it comes to colours, he prefers pastel for his day look and bolder ones for his night attire.

“We always play with textures and patterns to make his look more interesting without making him a complete caricature,” said Emmy-nominated costume designer Jill M. Ohanneson.

Mann, a model turned actor, loves his character’s sartorial style so much he doesn’t mind wearing it himself ... if only he got the chance. “I have tried many times to steal from the wardrobe department, but I have not been successful,” Mann said jokingly.

Rest of the best

Jessica Pearson, Suits: In her sky-high heels and muted Victoria Beckham dresses, this lawyer takes the lead in the court of style.

Carrie Bradshaw, The Carrie Diaries: Before she became the fashion icon (and the annoying single lady in NYC), Carrie ruled the 1980s style scene.

Juliette Barnes, Nashville: She might be a bit country, but her outfits are definitely rock ‘n’ roll.

Related story:

Move over, Hollywood: Today's TV stars are so much more in vogue

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, Entertainment, Scandal, Bates Motel, Downton Abbey, The Mindy Project, Revenge, TV, Fashion

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