Like many people, I am fascinated by the fashion in films and television. A great costume designer or wardrobe department can add deft and profound layers of interest to an otherwise meh production.
Details are key: I’ll often lose track of the plot because I get fascinated by the mud on the hem of a Victorian skirt, or a jewelled hair pin in Downton Abbey, or Meryl Streep’s amber beads in Out of Africa.
I watched dozens of episodes of the UK series Harlots recently, which was essentially just a turgid British soap opera, but it was set in an 18th century brothel, and was a visual chocolate box of luscious fondant coloured gowns and interiors and powdered wigs.
I could watch an entire movie about shawls. Especially shawls clutched over nightgowns, there is so much drama in that gesture alone.
I’m also very fond of the tattered men’s military jacket worn sassily over a white linen chemise which appeared in the recently released Little Women film, and also rocked by Claire in Outlander.
But suffering through another stifling hot Sydney summer, binge watching TV on the lounge in front of high speed fan, I have become obsessed with knitwear.
I have cold weather envy. In Line of Duty, there were two detectives talking in the front seat of a car – wearing coats and scarves the lucky things – and I was transfixed with the sound of rain pattering on the window. I haven’t heard that lovely sound for years.
I will watch anything with rain or snow in it, no matter how dreary. It thrills me to see someone put on a coat as they leave work, maybe adding a muffler. Imagine needing layers of clothes, or wearing a jacket in the office.
It must be nice for the costume designers in the northern hemisphere productions, such choice, like, ‘What cardigan will the worried mother whose child is missing wear indoors? A chunky hand knit, or oatmeal cashmere twinset?’
How about the hot wife and mother at home when she receives news her undercover cop husband has been wounded – how about an oversized textured sweater with slightly messy hair?
These people get to wear knits IN THE HOUSE my friends, sometimes with a roll collar, not elastic waist shorts and a slightly damp singlet from Cotton On.
The knitwear wardrobe in the Nordic dramas is next level fantastic also. I’ve never recovered from Daniel Craig’s expensive indoor sweaters while the wind and snow lashes the windows in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Just imagine, the sheer joy of being able to roll around in your house in wool, or cashmere or even crunchy cotton knits rather than a pool of your own sweat.
And the outdoor options are endless – the actor Idris Elba wore a grey tweed overcoat pretty much all year round in the Luther TV series and looked phenomenal – but I don’t know if I would have watched all one zillion episodes if his daily uniform had been shorts and thongs. Well, maybe.