The Best Costume Design On TV In 2023

Apple TV+

This year there were a bevy of notable moments in which costume design took center stage on television shows. Many might underestimate the sheer ingenuity and originality that designers must have when mapping out characters’ clothing. Their choices, whether minimalistic or the polar opposite can assist with major scenes and also nail down the characterization of brilliant actors and actresses on screen. From The Morning Show where Nicole Beharie shined this season to The Bear which stars the talented Ayo Edebiri, their respective costume designers were spot on in expressing who these leading women were through their clothing. 

What is also most compelling about this year on TV is how impactful the costume choices were. Aside from adding to plotlines, these decisions revitalized how exciting it can be to watch well-written characters live in an imaginative world created to evoke joy, laughter and beyond. Many fashion moments we paid attention to this year on TV are what made these past 12 months bearable. Below we’re exploring the most compelling costume design of 2023.

First Wives Club

The Best Costume Design On TV In 2023: The Morning Show, Rap Sh!t, And More
BET Plus

For the latest season of Tracy Oliver and BET+’s First Wives Club, Derron Cherry spearheaded the fantastic outfits worn by Hazel (Jill Scott), Bree (Michelle Buteau) and Jayla (Michelle Mitchenor). First Wives Club nails it in the fashion realm largely because it has to, especially in a time when many shows centering friendships are being compared to Sex and the City or Insecure. Whether in sequins, bold colors or a vibrant suit Scott’s Hazel stole each scene she was in. Since she’s the titular character it’s fitting that her outfits were statement makers. Cherry’s penchant for dressing curvy women is admirable and we also see her expertise displayed on Buteau.

The Morning Show

The Best Costume Design On TV In 2023: The Morning Show, Rap Sh!t, And More
Apple TV+

The elevation of the style displayed on Apple TV+ series The Morning Show felt like kismet since fleshed-out storylines were the norm. Costuming for this satirical show highlighting the drama that happens at a New York City news network was helmed by head costume designer Sophie de Rakoff, Debra McGuire, and Beth Lancaster. For the newest season, Mia, a producer played by Karen Pittman wore hues like black, maroon and navy throughout the latest season to assert her new powerful position–these colors show up in the form of suits, midi skirts and blazers which evoke the essence of “quiet luxury.” And Chris (Nicole Beharie), a new anchor comfortably wears jade green, magenta and tones of blue. In one memorable scene, she leads a crusade against racism in a maroon dress that felt like a nod to military uniforms. 


The Best Costume Design On TV In 2023: The Morning Show, Rap Sh!t, And More

The most stylish woman on Starz’ Minx is Tina played by Idara Victor. Her character, a woman who holds a magazine publishing company together, is never underdressed. Tina’s costuming is filled with patterned wrap dresses, pastel two-piece suits, coordinated sets and gorgeous glitzy gowns. Since it’s the ‘70s, this character often embraces colors that speak to her confidence: yellows and hues of oranges. These hues stress the importance of her character to significant plotlines, and they also delve into the confidence, wit and cleverness on screen. Tina’s elegance shines through too with each outfit because all of her pairings are perfectly tailored. The individuality of each of Tina’s looks was special to Minx’s lead costume designer Beth Morgan who felt this was essential to the series. 

The Bear

The Best Costume Design On TV In 2023: The Morning Show, Rap Sh!t, And More

Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) might be who many flock to watch on The Bear for his laidback style created by costume designer Courtney Wheeler and his acting chops. But Syd (Ayo Edebiri) is another breakout star of this anxiety-inducing dramedy detailing the rise of a nearly closed Chicago restaurant. Like Carmy, Syd also embraces minimalistic pieces like crisp white shirts–but she also mixes things up with vintage T-shirts. There are also moments where she understates her quirkiness in Carhartt overalls and a Paloma Wool textured puffer coat which was worn with a chic balaclava. When Allen White’s Carmy gifted Syd a Thom Browne chef’s coat that felt like such a rewarding moment in the season.

Rap Sh!t

The Best Costume Design On TV In 2023: The Morning Show, Rap Sh!t, And More

Florida style is often viewed as rudimentary or dated, but this season on Rap Sh!t the costuming was taken up a notch. Since the rap duo, Shawna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion), are on tour, every outfit matters. Alongside them, their manager Chastity (Jonica Booth) dresses them for the aspirational lifestyle they pursue. Despite having a nearly nonexistent tour budget, Shawna and Mia are fierce advocates for stylish women in rap. Throughout the season, they showed up for lunch meetings, events and shows in pieces by Dior, Miaou, Mugler, and Kim Shui to name a few. Each intricate look speaks to the level of dedication these three women have for their career aspirations in the music industry. 

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

The Best Costume Design On TV In 2023: The Morning Show, Rap Sh!t, And More
Liam Daniel/Netflix

The breathtaking gowns on Queen Charlotte exude the glamour that was a part of the infamous Georgian period. In the binge-worthy Netflix series, the love story unfolds between Queen Charlotte played by India Amarteifio, and King George (Corey Mylchreest). The former has an obsession with ornate gowns which consist of detailing that includes hooped cages and oversized ruffles–since the show spans through years of her life, the dresses get more regal as time goes on. Lyn Paolo did an excellent job designing the costumes for this emotionally riveting show this season.

Abbott Elementary

The Best Costume Design On TV In 2023: The Morning Show, Rap Sh!t, And More
ABC/Gilles Mingasson

Teachers throughout the country feel seen each time an episode of ABC’s hilarious show Abbott Elementary is released. Susan Michalek, the sitcom’s costume designer, skillfully crafts the main characters to resonate with audiences as familiar figures. Emmy-winner Quinta Brunson, who not only portrays Janine, but also serves as Abbott’s showrunner, creator, and writer, sports a signature look featuring printed maxi dresses, colorful tees, and quirky accessories. In the series’ latest season, Barbara (played by Sheryl Lee Ralph) wears sophisticated knit cardigans, tasteful button-ups and stunning necklaces. Their superb costuming alludes to how they are essential to the heartbeat of Abbott Elementary, a fictional school in Philadelphia. 

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