How to dress like Anya Taylor-Joy's Beth Harmon in Netflix's the Queen's Gambit
The Queen's Gambit on Netflix has been the break-out hit of the last part of 2020.
Besides watching the show, people have been taking to google enthusiastically to learn more about the history of the chess players that inspired protagonist Beth Harmon's (Anya Taylor-Joy) young chess master. Sales of chess sets have sky-rocketed, as have searches for how to play the game itself.
Call us shallow, but our main focus was one thing: how do we replicate her fabulous wardrobe?
Yes, as the story's hero, she was riddled with flaws - a substance abuser and socially awkward. Nevertheless, thanks to costume designer Gabriele Binder's replication of the most stylish aspects of mid-sixties fashion, Beth Harmon always looked cool, chic, and collected.
Classic style with subtle chess motifs
As well the on-point use of sixties clothing styles - A-line dresses, high-waisted mini skirts, capri pants - Binder underlined young Beth Harmon's passion for chess by bringing in chess motifs for much of her wardrobe. Our heroine was dressed predominantly in black and white, (or black and beige), or, when in colour, in plaid and check patterns to remind us of a chess board.
Binder sites sixties style icons such as Edie Sedgwick and Audrey Hepburn to inform Beth's look - you can see the latter in Beth's fondness for high-neck black jumpers, cat-eye glasses and Mary Jane shoes, as well as her penchant for watching for outerwear: her amazing coats always pair with her gloves and hats.
Delightfully, as fashion goes, Beth Harmon's look has a timeless quality, meaning you can recreate her wardrobe without looking like you're indulging in cos-play. Here's how.
In broad strokes, there are certain brands that capture the classic, well tailored styling of Ms Harmon. We would recommend French brand Sandro, or, closer to home, Reiss, for clean lines and effortless style.
Perhaps most iconic of all her looks, Beth Harmon's 'White Queen' outfit in the final episode lingered long in our memories. The white woollen overcoat has the faintest hint of a Hitchcock Heroine (hello, Kim Novak in Vertigo). It's similar to this cream Reiss overcoat, £190. Pair it with this House of Bruar beret, £19.95. Complete the look with these white Italian leather gloves from Forzieri, £114, and you'll look every inch as regal as the Chess Grandmaster herself.
Lounging in Tulum, chess is still on Beth Harmon's mind - a gingham swimsuit is hardly subtle about hearkening back to those 64 black and white squares. This beautiful, flattering piece from Solid & Striped is a dead ringer for the Tulum swimsuit - for £75. After a halter-neck gingham version? Other Stories has a lovely one, for £55. Pair it with a White Company robe for ultimate lounging, £70.
And that gingham motif was there at the American chess championships, too, when Beth was coming into her stride as a serious international contender. With a full-skirt and flattering, feminine silhouette, this gingham linen dress from Sleeper is very similar, £166.60. More winter (and wallet friendly), if not as literal, is this houndstooth dress from Phase 8, £59.
Pair with a cropped boxy black jacket, such as this one from Monki, £40.
Peter Pan collars are on-trend in 2021, in any case, but the black and white of this dress looks especially dramatic and is excellent for framing the face.
This fine knit top from New Look replicates the look perfectly, £15.99. For Peter Pan collared black dress (very French school girl, a la Collette) - try this Phase Eight dress, £169. Or if your budget is a little higher, this Sandro dress is a dead ringer, £249.
If you have Celtic (i.e. pale) colouring, this rich green roll knit jumper will suit you every bit as much as it does our intrepid player. From Monsoon, £30. If you want it in basic black - as Beth Harmon wears, unsurprisingly, when she's living in New York, try this essential roll neck from Boden, £28.
If you want to talk about an evergreen look: a high-waisted mini, stylish blouse, and killer cat-eye glasses is never not going to look great. For a side-buttoned high-waisted skirt, try this berry number from Dorothy Perkins, £22. It'll look great with this navy blue top from River Island, £28.
After a tweed dress that's ridiculously easy to wear? Boden will fit the bill, with this number, for £70. To take emulate the Queen's Gambit look, pair it with a pale pink overcoat. We like love this baby pink version from Ganni, £118, or for a slightly deeper pink, this boucle midi coat from White Stuff, £59.
Anya Taylor-Joy is a former model, so she has certain natural advantages in creating her put-together look. That aside, she goes through several make-up iterations in the Queen's Gambit to end with this look: classic Hollywood starlet.
To replicate, apply a matte red lipstick, like MAC's Russian Red, £18. Winged, 60s eyeliner can be achieved with a flicky, liquid eye liner, like this one (also MAC), though for the less sure of hand, a thick kohl pencil is more forgiving. Achieve the proper Bambi-look with the addition of thick false-lashes, then pull your look together with the light-reflecting shimmer of a champagne face powder, like this brilliant Illamasqua one, £27.20. And that beautiful copper hair? Achieve it - albeit temporarily - with this incredible Christophe Robin hair tint, £31.20.