TV characters influence fashion

Viewers adopt trends, signature looks established by star characters.

11/12/2012 6:30 AM

11/12/2012 6:31 AM

Carrie Bradshaw introduced many of us to avant-garde clothing — plus super-expensive designer shoes, nameplate necklaces and exposed bra straps.

Ally McBeal made us think ultra-mini skirts were perfectly appropriate for the office.

And Rachel Green … hers was the haircut that kept salons busy for years.

When it comes to fashion and style, few are as influential as the characters that come into our lives via satellite and cable and Hulu. In many cases, we see these characters more often than we see friends or family members and spend more time with them than we do with any fashion magazine.

“Mad Men” characters Don Draper, Betty Draper Francis and Joan Holloway Harris inspired a “Mad Men” collection at Banana Republic.

And a blog has been devoted to the quirky and girly stylings of Jess Day — played by Zooey Deschanel on “New Girl.”

It can be difficult to know what fashions will translate into trends.

But with the fall TV season in full swing, some characters are definitely making an impact.

Among them:

• Rayna James (played by Connie Britton) on “Nashville,” Wednesdays on ABC. Between her down-home jeans and cotton shirts and T-shirts she wears around the house and the rhinestone-accented clothing the aging country singer wears on stage, there could be something in James’ wardrobe for just about everyone. The show has gotten good reviews from critics and viewers. We’ll be seeing lots more of Rayna.
• Mindy Lahiri (played by Mindy Kaling) on “The Mindy Project,” Tuesdays on Fox. As an ob-gyn who is trying to get her life together by weaning herself from making bad choices when it comes to men, Lahiri is quirky and awkward — and oblivious to the fact that the co-worker with whom she spars the most has a bit of a crush on her but will never admit it to her or even to himself. Anyway, Lahiri’s clothes, which tend to be cute and girly but also a little too short or too tight, indicate she’s perhaps not quite as realistic or self-aware as she might be.
• Jenny Lee (played by Jessica Raine) in “Call the Midwife,” Sundays on PBS. It’s 1957 and Jenny, after a romance gone bad, has left her upper-middle class home to become a midwife in London’s impoverished East End. Her Peter Pan collars and blue trench coat are classics — as are the full skirts she wears when she’s off duty. Bloggers around the world have taken a shine to her style. Will we?
• Olivia Doran (played by Vanessa Williams) on “666 Park Avenue,” Sundays on ABC. As wife of the mysterious owner of the even more mysterious and perhaps possessed-by-the-devil Drake apartment building in Manhattan, Doran is monied and privileged and sophisticated. And it shows in her super-high-end clothing choices — perfect for a woman on the high society circuit. And yet, beneath the sophistication … OK, we haven’t gotten there yet because we’re still mesmerized by her wardrobe. It’s perfect, just like Doran appears to be. Unfortunately, low ratings have spurred talk of cancellation.
• The Zabvronians on “The Neighbors,” Wednesdays on ABC. The Zabvronians, from the planet Zabvron, live in a gated community in New Jersey and seem to favor white belts. When non-aliens from New York move into the exclusive community, hilarity is supposed to ensue. I’m not sure about hilarity, but the white belts are mesmerizing.

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