Iconic workwear looks from our favourite TV muses
Words: Lindsay Samson | Images: Instagram
From classic sitcoms to political dramas, some of our greatest workwear heroes have only ever graced our TV (and laptop) screens. And while we know that certain (*cough, corporate*) professional spaces tend to enforce slightly stricter dress codes, we’re not going to let that stop us from nicking some style tips for some early back-to-work dressing inspo. Here, we round up some of our favourite fictional workwear muses and shine a spotlight on their signature looks.
In between getting kidnapped, covering up a murder and having an affair with the leader of “the free world”, Scandal’s Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) still managed to look flawless nearly every time she was on screen. Never with a single hair strand out of place, the Washington, D.C. crisis manager’s looks were all perfectly polished and styled. We’ll never forget her outfit in the show’s pilot episode: an impossibly chic, off-white Tory Burch coat that set the tone for what would become her signature look and colour.
The women of the hit 90s legal drama, Ally McBeal, were all committed power dressers, but it was the title character’s penchant for pulling off miniskirt suits that stood out. It was a style that seemed to suit Ally’s skittish, neurotic personality and one that hardly ever went unnoticed by the show’s other characters and viewers alike. With each season, her hemlines became increasingly short – and she pulled it off each time.
Though Sex and the City featured some of the most iconic fashion moments in TV history, our favourite workplace power dresser was the bold and brassy Samantha Jones. Portrayed by Kim Cattrall, the PR maven worked as hard as she played and, when it came to her workwear, she was no shrinking violet. Samantha rejected traditional ideas of professional dressing, favouring loud, bright colours and rocking plunging necklines in the boardroom. Ruthless and successful, her workwear choices demanded that you sit up and pay attention.
The queen of corporate sophistication, Suits’ Jessica Pearson (played by Gina Torres) doesn’t do business casual. Whether it’s a form-fitting blazer or a flawless pencil skirt, everything she dons in her practice is tailored to perfection and elegantly accessorised. The lawyer’s dress sense never fails to exude a sense of authority and power – two qualities she’s in no shortage of – and she’s yet to appear in a high heel she didn’t glide through the office wearing with effortless grace. Though Jessica definitely has a slightly more conservative style than her co-workers, her penchant for sharp necklines and asymmetrical cuts always adds an irresistible edge.
Truth be told, Fran Fine aka Fran Drescher (aka the nanny on The Nanny) really had one of the cushiest gigs in the world. She took care of a millionaire’s three considerably independent young children, a job that gave her plenty of time to strut around Mr Sheffield’s New York mansion in some of the most eye-popping, retro matching outfits. Today, there are Instagram accounts dedicated to the show’s boundary-pushing costume design and iconic fashion moments, including a mint-green, vintage Moschino jacket and skirt set that were both perfectly professional and still very much Fran.
When Rachel finally landed her dream job working as a buyer for Ralph Lauren, she instantly ditched the Central Perk waitress garb and upped her fashion game. The Friends character kept her outfits simple and understated, but made sure they exuded the classic, “all-American air” that her employer had become known for. She opted for fitted midi skirts, cashmere pashminas, tailored shirts and tartan prints. And so iconic were her sartorial choices that, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the show, Ralph Lauren created a Wear to Work collection that was wholly based on Rachel’s work looks.