I have a new fictional fashion hero.
She has an unwavering penchant for silk blouses, loves a classic pump, and relaxes with a stiff whiskey and a satin robe. She is Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson from BBC’s The Fall. And she is fabulous.
Played by the incredible Gillian Anderson, Stella dons a smart and sexy wardrobe to match her no-nonsense, yet mysteriously seductive character.
Her style reminds me of none other than Claire Underwood in a slightly less severe manner. It is pretty and professional in the most unforgettable way.
After finishing both seasons of The Fall, I still cannot get enough of the DSI and her scene-stealing looks. So while we eagerly await season 3, here are 6 things I’ve learned from Stella’s wardrobe, and how it can work in real life.
1. Silk blouses are the new power suit.
Stella looooves silk blouses, and is not afraid to wear them every day, in every way. Throughout the series, she sports a variety of styles, worn with either a pencil skirt or classic black trousers. It is a professional choice with an unabashed feminine touch. Unlike a cotton button-down, which Claire prefers, the silk makes the outfit appear more fluid and approachable, yet still entirely work-appropriate.
While silk can tend to be transparent, I would recommend either a nude bra in one shade darker than your skin tone, or a fitted tank underneath. (I often sing the praises of this reversible one from Anthropologie.)
2. Neutrals are more than just black, white and grey.
Stella’s palette is made up of blushes, taupes, and creams teamed with blacks, olives, and browns on the bottom. Those lighter hues are what I like to call new neutrals, as they play well with a variety of other colors, but provide a welcome break from standard white. It goes to show that you don’t have to go to extremes in order to insert some color into your wardrobe.
3. Tucking makes a difference.
Stella is very much into the full tuck, and it improves the look immensely. Many women are wary of tucking, as they believe it will draw attention to their mid-sections. However, tucking can be beneficial, especially with a silk blouse, as it decreases volume, and anchors the silky feel. And she’s not afraid of tucking into a pant with belt loops without wearing a belt. Belts are not mandatory just because the pant allows for them!
4. Off-duty style can go beyond jeans.
When she’s not in work clothes, we either see Stella in a satin robe, or an off-duty hotel bar look that makes the rest of the patrons look like slobs. I can’t get this particular outfit out of my head. It is so simple, yet so genius, and I give major kudos to the costume designer Maggie Donnelly for creating this believable, memorable night look for Stella. Of course Stella wouldn’t wear jeans. That’s so plebeian. Instead, she opts for a sporty take on the black trouser in the form of Rag & Bone slinky drawstring pants, with a sleek draped cardigan over a simple silk shell.
Yes, Stella makes a cardigan look sexy. All bow to Stella.
5. Mix & match pieces are crucial.
While Claire re-wears entire outfits, Stella is more of a mix & match kind of gal, donning the same separates in different ways. This is where those neutrals come in handy, as everything in her closet goes seamlessly with everything else. It’s akin to a professional male’s wardrobe of a few suits and a plethora of shirts to wear under them.
Some may consider this approach to dressing boring, but it can also be read as highly efficient. Especially if you are in charge of a murder case and barely have time to grab a meal, let alone waste precious seconds in front of your closet each morning.
6. Shimmer shadow for the win.
Lastly, I want to take a moment to acknowledge makeup. Stella’s use of shimmer eyeshadow works incredibly well for her. It’s a daytime look that offers a flattering finish without being too extravagant or distracting. I’ve actually stumbled across Laura Mercier’s shadow stick in my own search for subtle daytime makeup, and find it to be an amazing little pick-me-up for the eyes.
For your own take on Stella style, scroll through my top silk blouse suggestions. And follow my latest Pinterest board for more Stella-inspired gems!