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Since launching on Oct. 23, “The Queen’s Gambit” has become Netflix’s biggest scripted limited series to date. Following the journey of orphan and chess protégé Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) throughout the late 50s and 60s, the seven-part series has not only influenced fans to try their hands at chess, but is catching the attention of fashionistas, too.
According to Munich-based online search platform Stylight (which carries over 27 million fashion, beauty and home decor products worldwide), the number of clicks for checkered coats — often worn by Beth — increased nearly 384% on the site following the debut of the series, compared to the month before its release. White wool coats and turtleneck sweaters — also key pieces in Beth’s wardrobe — saw an increase in clicks by at least 56% in the same time period.
“Anya wears the clothes with so much grace and elegance,” said the show’s costume designer, Gabriele Binder. “When you spend seven hours with the character, you really start start to like her, and I imagine the style, too.”
Binder explains that Beth’s outfits are inspired by the chess board itself, seen in the use of classic checkered prints and black and white palettes. The ensembles also pay homage to American style icons, such as actresses Jean Seberg, Edie Sedgwick and Audrey Hepburn, as well as avant-garde designers of the French New Wave Era like Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent and André Courrèges.
“Those starlets always dressed very simply, which was quite fitting for the era,” said Binder. She added that the French designers’ creations “were straight and graphical,” making them a perfect complement to the often no-frills, decisive approach of chess players during a game.
In terms of footwear, Binder shared that the styles not only stay true to the narrative’s time period, but are also meant to be symbolic of Beth’s character evolution.
“We chose shoes to support her walk from childish to more feminine to really elegant,” said Binder. For example, Beth wears chunky creepers while living in the orphanage, sleek ballet flats during her college years and chic low heels while traveling abroad in Paris and Moscow — including a pair of Roger Vivier’s famed buckled pumps with roots in the 60s.
To get an up-close and interactive look at Beth’s full costumes, you can view a selection of them digitally rendered on the Brooklyn Museum’s website.
Thanks to their timeless appeal, many of Beth’s outfits can easily translate today. And for those that are decidedly more old-fashioned (we’re looking at Peter Pan collar dresses), modern versions offer an easy way to bring them into the 21st century.
Ready to emulate Beth’s effortless ensembles for yourself? Check out our step-by-step guide, below.
Peter Pan Collar Dress + Heeled Oxford Shoes
Although not the most common silhouette you’ll find on the market, a 60s-inspired Peter Pan collar dress remains an elegant piece. Try a slightly embellished style for an updated look (we love this lace trimmed, bow-adorned option from RedValentino, pictured below) and pair it with some minimal oxfords following Beth’s lead.
RedValentino Broderie Crepe Mini Dress
Stuart Weitzman the Kiran Pearl Fla
Soft Tan Tee + Jeans
As the show progresses, Beth begins to embrace more laidback pieces typically worn by her generation. You can channel her casual yet polished combos by opting for a neutral-colored tee and relaxed fit jeans. For an even bolder look, choose flared denim, which first gained popularity in the mid to late 60s.
Banana Republic Factory Luxe Spun T-Shirt
Gap High Rise Flare Jean
Long Checkered Coat + Black Top
A checkered or plaid coat is a standout piece on its own, so pairing it with basic layers is always a good idea. This look will never go out of style, and is quite easy to emulate.
Lulus Bedford Top
Tanming Women’s Plaid Wool Coat
Sheath Dress + Block Heel Slingbacks
The sheath dress dates back to ancient Egyptian times, but is most widely associated with 50s and 60s style. Characterized by its form-fitting silhouette featuring clean lines and a defined waist, the classic look can still be found all over Instagram feeds. And it’s quite versatile. Try dressing it up with slingback heels like Beth does, or pair it with simple slides for a more casual look.
Toccin Colorblock Tie-Front Sleeveless Sheath Dress
Anne Taylor Brielle Slingback Pumps
Geometric Print Blouse, Black Mini Skirt + Tied Headband
Balance out a boxy button-down with a mini skirt and silk headband for a fun, retro look. Bold geometric prints are key here. Bonus points if they’re is done in bright, nature-inspired colors like green, orange and yellow — all of which were popular hues in the 60s.
Fonvye Satin Head Scarf
TopMan Geometric Print Shirt
Everlane the Almost Mini Skirt
Chevron Print Blouse, Pleated Mini Skirt (or Shorts) + Round Frames
Another archival print, Chevron will add major throwback vibes to your outfit. A top done in the print looks elevated with a deeper cut neckline and flounced sleeves. You can pair it with a pleated front skirt or shorts to create even more dimension. Oh, and don’t forget to accessorize with round frames for an extra touch of nostalgia.
Frame Striped V-Neck Top
Express Button Flap Pleated Shorts
Pastel Cardigan + Coordinating Camisole
Even Beth’s lounge outfits serve up major fashion inspiration. An oversized pink cardigan and pastel blue camisole make a cute, comfortable getup for quarantining at home. And just like Beth, you won’t even need to wear pants, since you’ll likely only be seen from the waist up on all your Zoom calls.
Calvin Klein Lounge Cami
Universal Thread Cozy Duster Cardigan
Black and White Shift Dress
It’s hard to forget the episodes that showcase the Tournament of Champions in Moscow — not only for Beth’s display of world-class talent, but also for her array of stunning match-day outfits, including this black and white shift dress. Even if you won’t be challenging anyone to a game in the near future, this piece is great to for semi-formal gatherings on your calendar.
Alice + Olivia Coley Princess Shift Dress
Pleated A-line Dress, Checkered Wool Coat + Horsebit Loafers
Perfect for transitioning from fall to winter, this sleek look features a pleated knee-length dress and pink checkered coat for a delicate pop of color. The outfit is styled with horsebit loafers, a silhouette that’s gaining renewed interest thanks to consumer appetites for more relaxed footwear choices. It’s easy to recreate the entire look with similar pieces on the market, and when temperatures really drop, you can add in tights and a layered turtleneck (a la Beth) for ample warmth.
Banana Republic Factory Pleated Dress
Steve Madden Wool Fashion Coat
& Other Stories Equestrian Buckle Loafers
Arguably the pinnacle look of Beth’s fashion evolution, this bold monochromatic look is a perfect match for the character as she fully steps into her own. To replicate the stunning, winter-ready getup, you’ll need a white wool coat, trousers, booties and a beret hat (an accessory that’s also currently making a comeback).