Fashion Analysis: Beth Harmon from The Queen’s Gambit

It’s Friday, which means another Fashion Analysis post! This one is an analysis of Beth Harmon from the Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit. If you’re not familiar with my Fashion Analysis series, every Friday I analyze 5 different outfits and how they work (or don’t work) for the wearer’s body type.

Just a warning, I will be mentioning some minor spoilers for The Queen’s Gambit. Since the show is about addiction, I will also be mentioning the subject of addiction and pills, so if these are triggering for you I recommend skipping this post.

Beth’s Body Type

Beth Harmon is played by Anya Taylor-Joy, and I’ve seen some debate online about what body type she has. While Anya has a very Gamine-ish face, she is fairly tall, with her reports of her height varying between 5’6″ and 5’8″. Based on my research though, I’d put her height at around 5’7″, which is right at the cutoff point for Flamboyant Gamines.

However, I don’t think she’s a Flamboyant Gamine, but a Soft Dramatic. She has more curves and softness than is typically seen in an FG of her height (Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn, who are both on the taller side for FGs, have very willowy appearances), and the distribution of her soft and sharp traits fit well with the Soft Dramatic balance.

However, many outfits in The Queen’s Gambit were inspired by Audrey Hepburn, so in this post I’ll be explaining how some of the looks in the show blend the Soft Dramatic and Flamboyant Gamine lines (literally).

Outfit #1

The Chessboard Look

In the first oufit we’ll be looking at, Beth is wearing:

  • Black and white checker print dress
  • Black capelet

At first glance this may seem like a typical 1960s Gamine dress. But it isn’t quite, for a few reasons.

The first being that the neckline doesn’t work as a Gamine neckline. While the black strip of fabric does create a nice color block, the neckline is a bit low for a Gamine, with a pretty strong v-shape.

The second thing that doesn’t work is the fitting at the waist. The way the dress is cut, the fabric at the waist fits throughout and then flares softly through the hips. This actually works really well on Soft Dramatics, which is part of why it looks so good on Beth.

The last thing that makes this more of a ’60s Soft Dramatic dress is the skirt. It flares out quite a bit, and balanced out with the soft flare of the capelet, the silhouette is one that highlights a soft, hourglass figure.

So while this outfit does have some Gaminish details (namely the small checker pattern and some color blocks) I find that the silhouette works better for a Soft Dramatic, which is why it suits Beth.

Sidenote: I really want capelets to come back into style, they’re so cute!

Outfit #2

The Chevron Look

In this outfit, Beth is wearing:

  • Navy blue and wine red chevron shirt
  • Navy blue skirt
  • Rounded cat eye sunglasses

Here’s another outfit that at first glance seems great for a Gamine, but as a Flamboyant Gamine I would look very awkward in this look, mainly because of the shirt.

It’s a small detail, but the neckline is slightly rounded, as are the sleeves, which softens the silhouette of the shirt a lot.

This is getting into some color theory, but the chevron stripes don’t work well at creating a color block. The colors are too close in value to create any meaningful contrast. For those that aren’t familiar, colors can be described by three things, their hue (where they fall on a color wheel), their saturation (how pigmented it is), and their value (how light or dark the color is). Since the shades of blue and red have almost the exact same value and saturation, the stripes create very little contrast. If you squint you’ll see the whole ensemble looks like it has one long line of color, which is great for Soft Dramatics.

Outfit #3

The Green Look

In this outfit, which was chosen to reflect the colors of the pills she has an addiction to, Beth is wearing:

  • Mint green and dark green contrasted dress

This is one of the outfits that leans more towards Gamine lines than Soft Dramatic ones, as the contrast and color blocks on this dress are quite prominent, and the shapes of the color blocks are pretty geometric.

The thing that actually bothers me most about this dress isn’t the color blocks though, it’s the loose fit. When it comes to just the silhouette of the dress, it’s something that I’d recommend to a member of the Natural family who is looking for a ’60s inspired style, not a Soft Dramatic.

If I were to make one change to this dress to have it suit Beth more, I’d make it fitted around the waist and flaring out over the hips, like the first dress she wore. However, that’s admittedly more of a late ’50s / early ’60s style, so I can see why they went with the straighter silhouette and looser fabric here.

Outfit #4

The Study Look

If you’ve read my other fashion Analysis posts then this may not surprise you, but this outfit is my favorite in the entirety of The Queen’s Gambit. My favorite pullover is one that I got specifically because I wanted a sweater like the one Beth wears in this scene. Here Beth is wearing:

  • Cream mock neck pullover
  • Skinny black trousers

This outfit is one that was really inspired by Audrey Hepburn, which is probably why one of my favorite things to wear is black skinny jeans paired with the sweater that is similar to the one Beth wears here.

So, why does this outfit work even though it’s more of a Flamboyant Gamine look? Honestly, it’s because of how simple it is. It creates an almost universal look. Really, the details of the sweater are going to be the biggest player in determining if it’ll work for any given body type.

The sweater Beth wears here has some tapering at the cuffs, which creates an ever so slight rounding of the sleeves. The length of the mock neck on the pullover is also really long, to the point where it’s almost a cowl neck, and cowl necks work pretty well on Soft Dramatics.

With small changes to the details of the sweater, this outfit could work for a lot of people. My sweater has a stiffer knit, squared off shoulders, and a skinnier mock neck, so I find it fits really well with my Flamboyant Gamine lines.

Outfit #5

The White Queen Look

This is the final outfit Beth wears in the series, and it’s one designed to mimic the silhouette of the white queen chess piece. This outfit is made up of:

  • White beret
  • White wool coat
  • White gloves
  • White straight leg pants
  • White boots

I love that this outfit is monochrome white, as it creates such a long vertical line of color. It works great with Beth’s longer lines! And the rounded shape of her hat (1960s berets are surprisingly different than modern day ones) and hair really helps to accentuate the softer parts of her lines, as do the large round buttons and rounded collar. This outfit plays a lot on the Dramatic undertones Beth has, so it’d also work well on a Dramatic.

That’s all for this week! Next week I’ll be covering a movie that’s a little bit lighthearted and fun, so if you enjoyed this post then stick around. Thanks for reading, and thanks to my friend Samia for helping me with line edits!

2 thoughts on “Fashion Analysis: Beth Harmon from The Queen’s Gambit

  1. I’m glad you see her as a SD. I was thinking either SD or pure D. She’s in no way a Gamine. I loved a lot of her outfits in this movie but they did seem separate from her.

    Like

  2. Rebekah, you actually wrote you are soft gamine in “about” section, and in this article you are describing yourself as flamboyant gamine so where is truth?

    Like

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