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Small Screen Style: Wardrobe Wishlist (or Watchlist?) 2013

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Anna Hart on the clothes and the characters that made the sofa such a great place to be in 2013.

1. Daenerys Targaryen’s Galliano-Marchesa mash-up, <Game of Thrones>

You’d imagine that warmongering would keep this girl busy, but even in S3 she found time to pull together an almost schizophrenically diverse wardrobe; think floaty Grecian gowns and tough-as-hell <Mad Max>-esque leatherwear paired with reclaimed sackcloth. Her style is like a kickass collaboration between 1990s John Galliano and contemporary Marchesa. We love.

2. Claire Underwood’s shift dresses, <House of Cards>

Unquestionably the most alluring new female character to hit the small screen, Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood immediately told us there was a deeper side to congressman Frank Underwood, played equally robustly by Kevin Spacey. A masterclass in power dressing, tailoring and understatement, she also made me seriously reconsider a haircut I had in the 1990s that makes me look like Philip Seymour Hoffman.

3. Lady Edith’s jazzy frocks, <Downton Abbey>

Series four was somewhat turgid, and occasionally inexplicably grim, so thank <goodness> for Lady Edith and her collection of jazzy dresses, which she sure showed a good time around London, during a racy affair with a raffish newspaper editor. Sybil <who>?

4. GJ’s man trousers, <Top of the Lake>

Holly Hunter’s GJ didn’t exactly progress the plot of Jane Campion’s masterful miniseries; instead, as the reluctant leader of a shambolic cult of damaged females, she functioned to add gravitas, atmosphere, beauty and some serious style kudos to the smalltown setting of rural New Zealand. When we grow old, if we aren’t wearing purple, we’ll wear man-trousers like GJ.

5. DSI Stella Gibson’s slinky white shirts, <The Fall>

Right, I’m still not sure about this series. I watch all crime shows with a vague ‘prurience:dramatic effect’ ratio in mind, and so far <The Fall> adds up to a lens that lingers, like a flasher in a park, over scenes of sexual violence, and a plot that hasn’t learnt to punch yet. The one thing I can’t fault is Gillian Anderson’s Stella Gibson, who combines the familiar noirish elements of the femme fatale and the ice-cool star detective in one single, mesmerizing character. With her manizing ways and her shirts unbuttoned a button too far, she’s steely, sexy and utterly unmissable.

6. Victor’s creepy maroon pullover, <The Returned>

Maroon is the preppiest colour. Make it velour and put it on an angelic-looking tiny French boy with a flat, timid smile, and you’ve got boyish innocence bottled. Or do you? No, you don’t! Aiiieee! Allez plus vite, series deux, we are desperate to know if Victor is evil or not.

7. Hannah Horvath’s ironic print dresses, <Girls>

Hannah’s crazy print dresses are horribly familiar to every girl who went through a stage of getting a kick out of anything awkward, ugly, lurid or polyester, just as long as it was <vintage>. (I once convinced myself that the wine stain on a clover-print tabard ‘just added a bit of character’.) Hannah’s wardrobe is meant to be adorably awkward, but mostly it’s just awkward, and that’s why we love her.

8. Walter White’s Tighty Whities, <Breaking Bad>

Generally I believe that we Brits have far superior words for things than our American counterparts (see: eggplant; fannypack; eaterie) but ‘tighty-whities’ kicks the cotton-clad arse of ‘y-fronts’. And what viewer, meeting a character stranded in the desert with a lime-green-shirt and gun tucked into his underpants, didn’t immediately want to know more about Walter White?

9. Carrie Mathison’s flappy grey suits, <Homeland>

People have called Carrie Mathison’s suit-based wardrobe ‘power-dressing’, but as the show progresses I realise that what we’re seeing is powerlessness-dressing. In S3 her slate-grey or black suits swamp her frame, structure (or tailoring) is nowhere to be seen, and the suits appear to wear her, rather than the other way around. I could swear that her clothes are a size larger than they were in the first series - and it’s all intentional. The more aggrieved, stressed-out and alienated Carrie gets, the more her suits flap, the less they convince, and the more evident it becomes that the modern-day CIA is a very poor fit for her, indeed.

10. Philip Jennings poloneck sweaters, <The Americans>

I’ve written about <The Americans> in this column before (http://www.stylist.co.uk/fashion/small-screen-style-suburban-mom-style-in-the-americans#image-rotator-1) but let’s just say that as dorky American dad/badass KGB agent Philip Jennings, Matthew Rhys made us seriously reconsider our policy on men in black poloneck sweaters. Perhaps it’s okay if he’s a spy? <Or> if he’s Matthew Rhys? We can’t work it out.

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