The Queen’s Gambit
A look at the men’s style from the hit Netflix series
Happy Thanksgiving. 🦃
As always, I’m thankful to have you here. I hope you were able to enjoy some time off, rest and decompress, all while stuffing yourself with delicious food.
I’m excited to see the reception of this newsletter so far, and it’s continually motivating me to make it incrementally better every week. Again, I appreciate you reading.
This week—after binge-watching the most-watched limited series of the past month—I’ll breakdown some of my favorite outfits worn by the male cast members.
Volume is a newsletter where you’ll learn about the history of my favorite brands, my opinions on dressing well, and great pieces to add to your wardrobe. See past volumes here.
The Queen’s Stylish Pawns
Like millions of other people worldwide, I recently watched The Queen’s Gambit, a coming of age story about a young woman who became the world’s first female chess champion. She endures many struggles and overcomes, most of which I won’t get into here, but one thing that I admired about the miniseries was the style of the supporting male actors.
Caution, spoilers below.
In the show, many people played a role in helping the hero of the story, Beth Harmon, reach her full potential and ultimately beat the world chess champion, Vasily Borgov.
After watching, I realized all of those who helped her were like pawns in a game of chess. They felt strategically placed at points in her life when she needed them. They also remained long enough to learn from and, in some cases, progress past as an opponent in chess. And they protected their queen. I genuinely enjoyed how the story established her as an independent woman while also recognizing it took others to achieve success in her life.
Talk of the Townes
While there were many different male characters in the series, only two stood out as ones I thought had great style. Even though both of their styles were drastically different, I thought it would be fun to take a more in-depth look at their outfits and breakdown the pieces I enjoyed the most.
In my opinion, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd’s character D.L. Townes—referred to as just “Townes”—had the best style of the entire series. I’d call his style simple, elegant, and slightly elevated compared to his male counterparts.
The earlier episodes are not representative of the look I’m describing. It isn’t until Beth arrives in Las Vegas towards the second half of episode three, where his style shines. If you look closely, you’ll see he’s wearing a classic Oxford button-down shirt (more on this in next week’s Style Advice section), a navy fisherman sweater, a pair of dark grey wool trousers, a black leather belt, a gold signet ring, and lastly, a pair of black leather double monks.
While Townes disappears for quite some time in the remaining episodes, his sense of fashion does not. He returns in the final episode with two excellent looks. After stopping Ms. Harmon in her tracks during a break from the final championship match, we see him wearing the following: a dark grey wool jacket, an oatmeal ribbed-knit turtleneck sweater, a white cotton t-shirt, a long ribbed, black wool scarf, and the same pants, shoes, and ring as before.
The last time we see Townes, he’s taking one last picture of Beth, now crowned world chess champion after taking down the former Russian champion, Borgov. My favorite and final look here is him wearing: a long-sleeve black turtleneck sweater, a dark grey blazer, a pale grey overcoat, and a black scarf.
Benny and the Jets
In the third episode, you’re introduced to Benny Watts, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who had a very particular western-grunge look, most notably due to his brown suede western boots, washed blue denim, black cotton long-sleeve turtleneck shirt, brown fedora felt hat, and vintage, black leather, full-length coat. From the looks of it, Benny would have been a massive fan of Double RL by Ralph Lauren, like myself.
Benny’s style didn’t change much throughout the series, but it didn’t need to. Other than removing his hat and coat, the rest of his outfit remained pretty much the same, swapping blue denim for a pair of black denim. I like that this character owned the idea of having a uniform. Even as he grew older and became less important in the chess world, his style became more minimal and less “showy,” but he continued wearing much of the same clothes as he did before.
In the final two episodes, his monochromatic attire, composed of a black t-shirt, brown leather belt, and washed, black denim jeans, is a classic combination. He elevates this look by adding accessories, like the multiple silver chains around his neck, along with the silver rings on both his hands. If you’re finding that your outfits feel too simple, jewelry is a great way to liven things up, just like our pal Benny.
Lastly, I wanted to point out the colorful, floral-patterned silk robe he wears in one of the kitchen scenes inside his rundown NYC apartment. While it looks like it might have belonged to a previous lover, it reminds me of something you might see Harry Styles wear today. I dig it. I will say that it’s a hard look to pull off outside the house and only modern-day hip-hop rappers seem to be able to wear it, at least judging by their music videos anyway. I’ve been on the lookout for the perfect robe and will keep you all up to date when I find one I like.
With the show set in the 1960s, there are various undertones of fashion trends that are more representative of the ’70s for Anya Taylor-Joy’s character, Beth Harmon; however, I found the men’s attire to be spot on for this era.
Thank you for reading
I kept this week’s newsletter slightly shorter than usual, as most are on holiday, and I’d hate to take you away from more important things, like spending time with one another, be it virtually or in person.
Next week, I’ll continue the series on How to Dress Well and talk more about one of the most classic staples to have in your wardrobe.
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Enjoy the rest of your weekend and see you next Friday. Stay safe everyone.