Small Screen Style: Who’s Your Fictional Fashion Inspiration?

When I was 15, I bought myself a black pantsuit and a pinstripe skirt suit. No, I didn’t have ambitions of running for political office. I just wanted to dress like Sydney Bristow, the hero of ABC’s espionage thriller, Alias. Sydney wore a lot of suits and a lot of turtlenecks, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me to look at my wardrobe from my sophomore year in high school and see it filled with blazers, black dress pants, and fitted turtlenecks. Even today, whenever I wear an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, I feel like I’m harkening back to Sydney’s climactic last scene in the Season Two finale, “The Telling.”

What started with Sydney has grown to include fashion inspirations from all corners of the television landscape in the 10 years since I bought that first pantsuit. We all have those TV characters whose styles we envy and ultimately try to emulate, with varying degrees of success.

When we dress like our favorite characters, we channel a little bit of their personalities into our daily lives, too. Wearing a red leather jacket might make you feel like you’re giving yourself a dose of Emma Swan’s strength. Putting on a killer pair of shoes could give you the feeling of being as fashion-forward as Carrie Bradshaw. Investing in a new pair of thick-framed black glasses might allow you to believe you can be as smart as Orphan Black’s Cosima.

My closet is filled with wardrobe pieces inspired by TV characters I love, but there are four whose styles I most often imitate when I want a boost of confidence.

1. Jess Day (New Girl)

jess day dress

Jess’s style leans more towards the “cute” side of her “cute and quirky” personality. It’s defined by flirty dresses and skirts, polka dots and stripes, vintage-inspired pajamas, and plenty of pairs of flats.
My Favorite “Jess-Inspired” Look: A fit and flare dress with a cardigan and ballet flats. If the weather is too cold for dresses, substitute with jeans and a polka-dotted sweater.

2. Jessica Pearson (Suits)

jessica suits white dress

All of the women of Suits have killer wardrobes that are perfect for that extra shot of confidence for a big day at the office. But none of them are quite as striking as Jessica’s “corner office chic” style. Jessica’s taste leans towards monochromatic looks, blazers and skirts with dramatic details, classy dresses in solid colors (specifically white, black, and gray), and the perfect pair of stilettos.
My Favorite “Jessica-Inspired” Look: A tailored blazer with a pencil skirt and high black stilettos.

3. Regina Mills (Once Upon a Time)


Yes, the Evil Queen’s wardrobe in the Enchanted Forest is all kinds of dark fairytale fun. However, I’m drawn to the realistically regal look Regina wears in Storybrooke. Her Storybrooke style is marked by bold colors (royal blue, red, and black) and shades of gray. Her dresses are always tailored to perfection and usually accompanied by accessories that are simple but striking.
My Favorite “Regina-Inspired” Look: An elegant, fitted dress in red, black, or royal blue with a tailored black coat, black leather gloves, and black pumps.

4. Kate Beckett (Castle)

beckett coat

Beckett’s look is all about two things: the heels and the coats. The rest of her wardrobe is basic “procedural couture”—button-down shirts, blazers, turtlenecks, tailored dress pants, and dark denim. But the height of her heels and the sheer variety of her coat collection are what she’s really known for. From trench coats to pea coats to leather jackets, putting on the right coat is the key to finding your inner Beckett.
My Favorite “Beckett-Inspired” Look: A tailored, white dress shirt with skinny jeans and high-heeled ankle boots. To complete the look, cover it with either a black leather jacket or a fitted trench coat.

Which TV character has a sense of style you most want to copy? Have you ever bought something to wear just because it reminded you of a favorite TV character?


9 thoughts on “Small Screen Style: Who’s Your Fictional Fashion Inspiration?

  1. Now I want to watch The Telling.
    I’ve definitely bought things because my favorite fictional characters tell me to. I bought a fall jacket once that just felt like something I needed, and then THAT DAY I went home and rewatched “End of the World” and Ann Perkins was wearing what I think is that SAME jacket. (Leslie also has the jacket in navy, which I think is adorable.) And I have a button up shirt with little elephants on it that I think Leslie would be ALL OVER. Everything I know about professional attire, I’ve learned from Leslie Knope, basically.
    I also have a little dress that gives me Clara Oswald vibes when I pair it with tights, boots, and a jacket. ( I mean, character wise, Rose Tyler’s my girl, but I’ll give Clara credit for her outfits.
    I really want to start channeling Mindy a little more, while I’m at it.

  2. Beckett for sure! but you have to have at least some of Stana Katic’s height, stature and sheer bad a– nature to wear the outfits properly, but we can dream!!

  3. I am totally with you on the Jessica Pearson wagon. I live to have her style and flare. I actually own 2 different colors of the fade away sweater Beckett is wearing in the closing scene when Castle and her discuss the apartment in DC. But for me the pinnacle of wardrobe has always been an armani power suit – which dates me because the desire comes from watching LA Law back in the 80s and wanting to be a lawyer just like Grace Van Owen. These days I aspire to have access to Diane Lockhart’s wardrobe, but even more so her jewelry.

  4. I implement the “Jessica Day cosplay” method for every holiday party attend. There have actually been more than one occasion where I have watched the show and she was actually wearing a dress that I own.

    I would say most of the time I end up dressing like fictional or historical figures subconsciously. I will go halfway though my day and then realize…hey, this white shirt, bright orange scarf and jeans combo is pretty much Fred from Scooby Doo…

  5. Pingback: The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (6/22 – 6/29) | Nerdy Girl Notes

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