HBO Max’s The Gilded Age brings 1880s New York to life in a way that has rarely before been seen, and it paints a narrative about the restrictive and absurd expectations of the time. The divisions between old and new money are also readily apparent in this show in more ways than one.
All this being said, this show is filled with amazing period clothing that both represents each character’s personality and their status in New York society. Only some characters can be considered to have the best fashion sense in the entire show, however.
10 Larry Russell
Larry Russell is the son of the powerful new money family trying to break their way into New York society, and his style reflects his new age ideas. He doesn’t wear the same stiff, upright color that is conventional of the time and generally wears more muted tones and fabrics that don’t overly highlight his wealth.
He doesn’t really care about the rules and, as a very educated young man ready to take on the world, he doesn’t see the benefit of trying to dress or act in the ways of the past. He is a forward thinker and this translates into his clothing, as it is also way more modern than anyone else in the series as of yet.
9 Mrs. Chamberlain
Mrs. Chamberlain is frowned upon for her child that she had out of wedlock, even though she is married and a member of a well-to-do old-money family. She has great fashion sense and doesn’t take risks with her clothing, but that’s okay because she stays sophisticated in her high necklines and richer color palette.
She is not the model citizen that others in her community like to associate with, but she does have great taste. Her sense of style even becomes a way for her and Marian Brook to connect and create a secretive friendship.
8 Mrs. Astor
Mrs. Astor is one of the most powerful members of high society in this series, which means she decides what’s in style. With all this said, she makes really modest clothing choices herself and tends to rely on the quality of her fabric rather than its ostentatiousness.
Mrs. Astor has a very important reputation which means that she can’t just make risky fashion choices and she has to be respectable in everything that she does. This means her clothing is more restrictive and less ornate than most others.
7 Peggy Scott
Peggy Scott, who most Capricorns on the zodiac chart will relate with, is a perky young woman with a deep passion for writing. She is well educated and she comes from a pretty well-off family even though the color of her skin makes it harder for her to have the same opportunities as other writers.
Her clothing is full of bright colors and patterns that highlight how different she is from the rest of the New York elite. She still looks sophisticated, but she makes much more bold choices when it comes to her wardrobe, which suits her.
6 Ada Brook
Ada Brook is Marian’s protective aunt who is a kind and gentle soul. Though she still has her old New York superiority, she loves helping others and staying social. The secret meaning behind her character’s costumes is simple, as she dresses in welcoming earth tones.
Ada often wears warm colors and never in anything too bold. Her clothing is as approachable as she is and it also has a few feminine flares like bows or ruffles. All in all, she doesn’t make too much of a statement and helps others see how bubbly her personality is.
5 Oscar Van Rhijn
Oscar is Agnes’ only heir and he is one of the most cunning characters in the show so far. He is extremely well versed in old money fashion and he is constantly dressed in the finest patterns and richest colors that money can afford.
He wears exactly what New York expects of him and always looks extremely well polished. Oscar pays attention to the small details in his outfits and likes to have at least a little bit of tame, acceptable fun in every ensemble.
4 Marian Brook
Marian Brook had nothing to her name when she arrived in New York, but with the help of her Aunt Agnes, she was able to buy a whole new wardrobe that suits her blonde hair and will help her get the attention of the New York socialites.
She is often in golds and blues, which bring attention to her eyes and hair. Her clothing is typically sleeved with lace to accentuate her small arms and draw attention to her framed waist. Though she’s only just getting used to the styles in the city, her Aunt Agnes has aided her in becoming a fashionable member of the elite.
3 Bertha Russell
Bertha is a bold woman with a budget that allows her to do practically anything she could ever desire to do. She wears extravagant and outrageous outfits that turn heads. She loves wearing tall hats and having statement pieces that don’t necessarily fit in with the old money ways of dressing.
There are many great shows like The Gilded Age, but none can recreate Bertha’s extravagant style. She is known to take numerous fashion risks and likes to keep all eyes on her, especially during important events. Though she desperately wants to fit into New York’s social circles, she can’t help but stand out with her show-stopping wardrobe choices.
2 Gladys Russell
Gladys Russell is often overlooked in most social settings and because her mother keeps her under a watchful eye, but she is actually a bright young girl that just wants to be free and see what the world, and potential suitors, have to offer her.
Her clothing choices echo her innocence and naivety with its many flowers, bows, and pastel colors. With this said, she has some of the best outfits in the entire show because they are intricate, flowy and light to extenuate her youth.
1 Agnes Van Rhijn
Agnes Van Rhijn dresses in rich, dark colors that compliment her terse personality and her fair skin. She knows exactly what is in fashion and she likes to keep an intimidating edge to all of her outfits so that she is taken seriously by her female and male counterparts. Fans might also recognize Agnes’ cast actress, Christine Baranski, from The Good Wife, where she also has a serious disposition.
Agnes is, unlike most women at this time, the head of her grand estate, and she realizes the importance of making strong impressions. Her clothing is an extension of her ability to use her power as a woman to do all that a man can do, but with more grace.
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