Small screen style: the 5 most stylish TV shows of the last decade

The twentieth century may have been the era of Hollywood, huge blockbusters and A-list film stars, but the twenty-first century is undoubtedly the era of the small screen and of generation-defining, incredibly stylish TV shows (looking at you, Breaking Bad).

Yes, film stars are still huge. Matt Damon, Ryan Gosling and George Clooney are about as famous as famous can be. But – La La Land aside – name one film any of them have been in that’s dominated the cultural zeitgeist in anywhere close to the same way that TV programmes do?

Even then, does all the hype surrounding La La Land come close to touching the hype surrounding Stranger Things? Does the excitement surrounding a huge Hollywood blockbuster compare to the excitement before a new series of Game of Thrones is released?

TV is coming for Hollywood’s crown. And while we used to look for cinema for lessons in cool and for tips how to dress, that responsibility now falls to the small screen.

In fact, stylish TV shows can have a huge effect on the fashion world. By 2014, the sales of suits doubled in the US. Why? The Mad Men effect – men around the world were pulled into the world of Don Draper et al, and wanted to dress like them. (It doesn’t stop at fashion either. Sales of Canadian Club whisky saw a boost thanks to Don Draper drinking inordinate amounts of it across the show’s 7 seasons.)

So, if you’ve just finished watching a series – or just have nothing better to do – why not be entertained and pick up some fashion tips from these five stylish TV shows?

Our Top Five Stylish TV Shows:

#5: Suits

Let’s start with the obvious one, shall we? While the show might be a little formulaic (not to mention more than a little far-fetched), that doesn’t mean that Harvey and Mike don’t have envy-worthy suits every episode.

Put together by Garrison Bespoke in Toronto, each of the characters has a suit that has been tailored to fit not just the character’s physique, but their personality. Harvey, the alpha, makes bold choices when it comes to his tailoring, while Mike, his junior, makes slightly more conservative choices to reflect his youth and standing.

Whatever they’re wearing, there are a thousand lessons you can learn from Suits – from how to rock a silk suit to how to rock a pocket square. And if you’re looking for somebody to steal ideas from, you could do much worse than choosing Harvey Specter..

#4: Narcos

You wouldn’t think that the story of Pablo Escobar would make for a particularly stylish TV show. Unlike Scarface and the stylish drug lords we’re used to seeing on the screen, Pablo Escobar was a portly, round man who wore the loose-fitting clothes and didn't much care for fashion – so why is it included on the list? Why is it higher than the incredibly slick suits in Suits?

OK – we’ll admit the style in Narcos might not be to everybody’s taste. And you certainly couldn’t wear it around the office. (Unless, of course, you’re a DEA agent with a penchant for retro fashion.) But there’s something about the 70s leather jackets, floral shirts and sweatshirts with logos on that just works.

As we’ve said before (about The Nice Guys) late-seventies-early-eighties style is making a comeback – get ahead of the curve and learn a thing or two from Narcos. (Plus, it’s a gripping and incredibly watchable show. If you like The Departed or Donnie Brasco, give it a watch. It’s on Netflix.)

#3: Hannibal

Who knew that serial-killing cannibals dressed so well?Hold on – here’s a better joke: In Hannibal, Mads Mikkelsen is dressed to kill.Another show dressed by Garrison Bespoke in Toronto, the show is a tour-de-force of plaid suits, spread-collared shirts, and paisley ties. The sartorial choices aren’t conservative – like Hannibal, they’re bold, brave and sophisticated. They’re daring and willing to take risks. They’re cool, calm and incredibly confident.In short, be like Hannibal Lector in every way you can. (Aside from, you know, eating human flesh, hunting your best friends and doing that weird tst-tst-tst-tst inhale thing.)

#2: Mad Men

Mad Men could quite easily have been number one. Easily one of the most stylish TV shows of all time, the story of Don Draper et al was full of impeccable 60s and 70s suits – from the preppy styles of Don to the rakish vibes of Roger Sterling – and a fairly decent lesson in how to be the coolest guy in the office.

The dawn of Mad Men saw thousands of men wanting to be Don Draper – the side parts, the tailored suits and the drinking of Old Fashioneds. And, while they probably could do with a closer look at Don Draper’s character (spoiler alert: he’s not a great guy), they got one thing right: he dresses like a boss.

And the winner is: Peaky Blinders

If you’ve seen the show, you’ll know that it’s almost impossible to talk about it without adopting Arthur Shelby’s gruff Brummie accent and putting an expletive in the title. Peaky Blinders is – there’s no other word for it – the epitome of cool. Not only do they all rock incredible haircuts, walk around in slow-motion to blues-garage-rock and rule the whole of Birmingham, but they’re also dressed incredibly well.

If you’re in any doubt over the sartorial merit of rounded collars, flat caps and tweed three-piece suits, check out the trailer for the first series (to save you from spoilers). But if you haven’t seen the series, what are you waiting for? You’re missing out.