Geek Chic: Fashion Inspired by BBC’s Sherlock

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When it came to picking an inspiration source for this week’s Geek Chic post, the answer was really quite elementary: BBC’s hit show Sherlock is smart, gripping, and surprisingly stylish — the perfect choice for a fashion/geek interpreter! The show stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as the original bromance/dynamic detecting duo, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

Unlike most American shows, Sherlock has only three episodes per season, but each is 90 minutes long. Since there are only 6 episodes total, it’s a show you can definitely marathon in a weekend, but be warned: you may suffer withdrawal afterwards, since there won’t be new Sherlock episodes until mid 2013! It’s a fantastic program, so watch at once if convenient. If inconvenient, watch anyways.  

For more Geek Chic, check out previous posts about Star Wars-inspired fashion,Hunger Games-inspired fashion, Doctor Who-inspired fashion (and Part 2), The Lord of the Rings-inspired fashion, The Big Bang Theory-inspired fashion, and Star Trek-inspired fashion.

Know Your Geek: About BBC’s Sherlock

  • Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (both of Doctor Who fame), Sherlock is a modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic series.
  • Many canonical elements have been retained, but given a contemporary twist. For instance, Doyle’s stories were narrated by Dr. Watson, who served as Holmes’s biographer. In this show, John blogs about his flatmate’s cases as an assignment from his psychiatrist.
  • In the Doyle stories, the protagonists addressed each other as “Holmes” and “Watson”; in the update, they go by the more personal “Sherlock” and “John.” The episodes are also updates on the original stories: for instance, the first episode, “A Study in Pink,” is loosely based on the first Sherlock Holmes novel, “A Study in Scarlet.”

Outfits Inspired by Sherlock

According to Sherlock, breathing is boring. The fashion of the series, though, is anything but! Since technology plays a large role in Sherlock, I’ve included an iPhone case in each of these outfits inspired by the characters of Sherlock.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock, played by the incredible Benedict Cumberbatch, is the world’s only consulting detective; Scotland Yard turns to him when faced with seemingly unsolvable crimes. Sherlock is a self-described high-functioning sociopath with incredibly astute powers of observation and deduction. Despite his keen ability to understand other human beings and their actions, he distances himself from the world. In his mind, the rules of society don’t apply to him.

Sherlock can be unapologetically arrogant and manipulative; he sometimes gets so caught up in his own brilliance that he’s unintentionally cruel.  Nevertheless, when it comes to John and Mrs. Hudson, their landlady, he does show rare signs of affection and devotion.

sherlock

Product Information: Trench, Shirt, Skirt, Vest, Shoes, Ring, Scarf, Phone Case 

While the man himself is incredibly mysterious, his wardrobe is not hard to decipher. For someone who is utterly absorbed in science and logic (and supposedly has zero interest in fashion), Sherlock is quite well dressed and favors streamlined fits and a dark palette of black, navy, purple, and gray.

To get his look, start off with the all-important black coat: this mid-length trench is totally timeless. Pair a refined purple blouse with a sleek faux leather skirt, then add a sleeveless jacket for a feminine take on a menswear suit. As a boy, Sherlock aspired to become a pirate, so reference that childhood whimsy with a tallship ring. Finally, a hot pink iPhone case echoes the pink phone that Sherlock acquires in the first episode.

John Watson

John, played by Martin Freeman, is an army surgeon who’s just returned from Afghanistan. In his search for an apartment, he’s introduced to the resident of 221B Baker Street, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. John is often frustrated with his eccentric flatmate, especially with his habit of leaving forensic experiments in the refrigerator. Despite his complaints, John still craves the adrenaline rush of the battlefield and becomes a willing partner in Sherlock’s cases. He and Sherlock achieve minor celebrity status due to his blog about their adventures.

john

Product Information: Jacket, Jumper, Blouse, Trousers, Boots, Satchel, Coin Purse, Phone Case

John dresses for comfort and utility, not for fashion, but his casual style is easily adapted for the college campus. Layer a slouchy fisherman sweater over a periwinkle blouse, then slip on comfy cargo trousers that reference John’s military background. If spring hasn’t yet sprung where you live, a waxed cotton jacket will keep you warm and protect you from the elements.

Heeled hiking boots look both rugged and stylish and lend a bit of polish to the otherwise casual outfit.  A doctor bag is quite fitting for an outfit inspired by a surgeon; a red phone case references John’s trusty red laptop.

Jim Moriarty

Moriarty, played by Andrew Scott, is Sherlock’s arch-nemesis (the consulting criminal to Sherlock’s consulting detective). This “Napoleon of Crime” is traditionally played by a grim, older man, but this modern Moriarty is hilariously terrifying and more than a little bit bonkers. He might be batty, but he’s got a huge criminal network at his disposal and an intellect that rivals Sherlock’s. (Also, he has a groovy ringtone.)

moriarty

Product Information: Tank, Vest, Shorts, Shoes, Scarf, Ring, Sunglasses, Phone Case

With his slicked-back hair and devious grin, Moriarty has a polished look that always makes me think of Prohibition-era mobsters. For a fun, spring-appropriate take on the menswear trend, try a combination of high-waisted shorts, a slouchy tank, and a pinstriped vest. A pair of classic saddle shoes adds to the retro appeal, while cool aviator sunglasses reflect Jim’s devil-may-care attitude.

In the show, Andrew Scott wears an Alexander McQueen skull tie; the designer’s skull scarves are super-popular among celebrities, but will set you back around $300 a pop. Luckily, there are tons of inexpensive versions on the market! Last but not least, slip on a cool charm ring to reference one of Moriarty’s more dastardly feats. (Honey, you should see him in a crown!)

Irene Adler

Irene Adler, played by Lara Pulver, is the only person to ever outsmart Sherlock Holmes and the ultimate femme fatale. In this modern spin on the iconic character, she’s a dominatrix who has compromising photos of a British royal family member on her cell phone. She’s practically oozing with confidence and definitely knows how to use her looks and charms to great advantage; the first time she meets Sherlock, she greets him in the nude in hopes of throwing him off his game. Sherlock is fascinated with her (and she with him) not because of real romantic interest, but because they represent a rare challenge to one another.

irene

Product Information: Blazer, Dress, Pumps, Necklace, Ring, Gloves, Lipstick, Nail Polish, Phone Case

When she’s not in her battle/birthday suit, Irene dresses in a sophisticated yet seductive manner that highlights her dangerous curves. Snag her sultry look with a tailored dress; not only are peplums totally hot right now, they’ll make your waist look tiny! Peep-toe platforms (pick a pair that’s close to your skin tone) will visually elongate your legs. For a more professional occasion, slip on a sharp blazer.

Next, pile on the fun extras!  A tassel necklace (tassels are vaguely whip-like, no?) references Irene’s profession, while a lock ring relates to an important plot point. Vampy red lips and nails are always chic, and leather driving gloves up the femme fatale factor. Finally, an iPhone case emblazoned with a seductive gaze is absolutely perfect for this sultry villainess. You’ll be fielding your fair share of dinner invitations in this Irene-inspired outfit!

Mycroft

Mycroft Holmes, played by show co-creator Mark Gatiss, is Sherlock’s older brother and the very picture of British decorum. Sherlock concedes that Mycroft is more intelligent than he, but is too busy with his mysterious governmental position to be bothered solving everyday crime. The brothers frequently have hostile, snarky exchanges that typically involve Sherlock mocking Mycroft’s weight.

mycroft

Product Information: Blazer, Dress, Boots, Scarf, Belt, Umbrella, Watch, Phone Case 

Since so much of this post has focused on menswear, I took some liberties with this Mycroft-inspired outfit to make it a cute ensemble for a rainy day. A crisp shirtdress and sharp blazer make a polished but effortless outfit; add refined accessories like a red patent belt and classic watch for extra pop. Mycroft is never without a trusty umbrella; equestrian rainboots, an umbrella-covered scarf, and an actual umbrella will keep you cute (and dry) in inclement weather.

According to Sherlock, his brother is the British government, so this “Keep Calm and Carry On” iPhone case seems incredibly appropriate for Mycroft. Finally, have some fun with your nails: reference Mycroft’s reading materials with newspaper nails!

Molly Hooper

Molly, played by Lou Brealey, is a forensic pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital and an original character created for the show. She’s endearingly awkward (there’s a reason she works in the morgue) and harbors a serious crush on Sherlock. Although she knows he’ll never return her affections, she maintains a fierce loyalty for him and proves to be an invaluable resource.

Unlike the larger-than-life Irene Adler, Molly’s just a normal girl. Personally, though, I think that’s what makes her a compelling character: we can all see ourselves in Molly and aspire to be the kind of person and friend that she is.

molly

Product Information: Jacket, Blouse, Vest, Trousers, Shoes, Nail Polish, Earrings, Phone Case

Since she spends most of her time in the morgue, Molly is almost always seen wearing a traditional white lab coat and sensible shoes. Despite her macabre profession, she’s a girly-girl at heart and favors floral prints and ruffly cardigans. Channel her cute look with a tie-neck blouse and pink sweater vest; a white jean jacket is a stylish take on her lab coat.

Cropped trousers and oxford flats are trendy, but still fit the long pants and closed-toe shoe requirements of a lab setting. A few coats of lavender nail polish are definitely cuter than a pair of latex gloves. Finally, tone down the girliness of the outfit with these slightly-creepy earrings that reference Molly’s job.

What did you think?

Would you wear these outfits? Do you watch Sherlock? Which character’s style do you like best? What other geeky inspirations would you like to see next? (We’ll soon be taking one final trip on the TARDIS…next stop: everywhere!) Let me know in the comments! 

P.S. Apologies to Lestrade fans for his absence in this post. Fashion: not his division.

64 thoughts on “Geek Chic: Fashion Inspired by BBC’s Sherlock”

  1. This is absolutely fantastic! I love all the outfits, they reflect the characters and their personalities so well.

    Only question: the watch link in Mycroft’s is dead and I NEED that watch! Can you please re-link?

    Reply
  2. You’re a hero for including ‘Martin Freeman is a hedgehog’ in to the John outfit.
    This is perfect. I particularly love the Mycroft dress!

    ((A bit sad you didn’t include Lestrade though!)

    Reply
  3. Sherlock is my FAVORITE show, and I absolutely love the styling in it! You don’t know how happy I was to see this post. My favorite outfit is definitely Sherlock’s (except the scarf! His navy scarf! D: ). It’s so true to his character.

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  4. I LOVE this show!!!!! i’m so sad that i’ll have to wait untill 2013 for season 3 :(. But i absoutly love the Mycroft inspired outfit!!!!! I’m so glad that you’ve no only looked at american show for your Geek Chic posts bust also british ones!!!!!

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  5. Did you guys know that moriarty has his own mathematical sentence… I am not talking about the fictional, but a sentence SO ugly that nobody would put their name on it, so now it is known as Moriaty’s theorem 😉

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  6. Loooove Sherlock. Well done on these outfits! I love the quirky accessories – and Irene’s outfit is amazing!

    I am NOT looking forward to the US remake of Sherlock….there’s only one Benedict Cumberbatch!

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  7. Ah, the references. I accept your apology for the lack of Lestrade haha. Wonderful post, I might just start wearing these when I come back from Spring break.

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  8. I adore this post!! The outfits are just perfect, especially the Moriarty and Irene Adler ones 🙂 I’d like to see a post about Game of Thrones (the tv series) next 😀

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  9. this is amazing, but for Sherlock that scarf should be a darkened blue and not infinity, and the trench should go down to the knees or longer, and have that double buttoned thing otherwise, amazing job on the others!

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  10. This is a lovely post, spot-on with all of the characters’ personalities! I would wear each and every one of those ensembles. The hedgehog is a nice touch, and I love your comment about Lestrade! =D

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  11. I know this post is fairly old, but does anyone know a similar shirt to the purple one in the Sherlock inspired set? The website says it’s not available anymore :/

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  12. I’ve just recently finally started watching Sherlock and I’m so happy I did! I’ve been avoiding reading this post because of potential spoilers :b I LOVE all the outfits in this post! And the addition of the phone cases is a nice touch 🙂 Great job with the creativity in Moriarty’s outfit!

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  13. I’m looking for the Sherlock hat, but can’t find it anywhere and there’s not a link to give me a hint. I’d appreciate it if you could let me know! 🙂

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  14. Damn, I’ve heard such great things about this show! Once I’m done with my last course I’ll be able to watch it without feeling guilty.

    Awesome outfits!

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  15. Yes, see, this is why you are my favorite blog. Sherlock has literally been my obsession since I watched both seasons 2 months ago. I still watch it often and talk about it quite often with other Sherlockians. This post literally made me squeal. You guys are the best. Thank you so much. Absolutely perfect.

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  16. I love this show! if Moriarty and Sherlock (both beautiful in the extreme) don’t fall in love-angels will cry.

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  17. I love the geek chic posts!! I would like to see either a superhero OR Chronicles of Narnia in the future… 🙂

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  18. I LOVE all the geek chic posts 🙂 the lord of the rings post was great! I really like John and mycroft’s outfits.

    PLEASE do a post on Game of Thrones!!! That show is AMAZING

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  19. BRILLIANT! when you hinted last time that you’re doing Sherlock I was only expecting Sherlock, John, and Irene Adler, but turns out you covered a lot… you even included Molly! Lou Brealey is such a role model <3 One thing though, I&#039m kinda disappointed that Sherlock&#039s scarf is not blue, since it&#039s what defines and highlights his wardrobe to me… but other than that, everything&#039s perfect 🙂 Now let us weep while waiting for 2013 to come

    PS. As for what&#039s next suggestion, I&#039d be really happy if it&#039s another British-based show… Game of Thrones please 🙂 Since it&#039s coming back and all, haha

    Reply
  20. I really love how you managed to find the female versions for all the male outfits. I always fail to make male-inspired outfits look good on me, but you did a great job!

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  21. I haven’t been watching this BUT I’M SO GOING TO!!!! I had no idea there was a show with modern Sherlock Holmes. The sets are really awesome. I also wanted to say that I loved the Star Wars- post and it would be so cool if you could make a post about the first three episodes. I realize it would be a little difficult with all those dresses and outfits that Padme wore during the 3 movies but I would really like to see other characters as well. Or maybe you could make a different post with only Padme. (I’m sorry I’m such a Star Wars geek) and even if it’s impossible the first Star Wars post was really awesome!

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    Reply
  22. Thank you for doing the Geek Chic series! As a die hard fangirl, it’s always nice to have these posts to draw on for fashion inspiration. 🙂

    If I could, I think the style of the Supernatural cast is definitely worth a mention. And it’s definitely geeky. (Bonus points for Superwholock, haha!)

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  23. love how you also added an iphone cover for each character as it is featured throughout the series and is their phone of choice

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  24. dakl;jfd;aljfeowiaur;weajf;s.
    SHERLOCKIANS UNITE.
    This post is all that is beautiful. I am totally going to get my Irene Adler on. 😀

    Reply
  25. This is BRILLIANT! College Fashion, I hereby profess my undying love for you. Sherlock is a super series and your take on the fashion is awesome. My favourite was Mycroft. I love his prim and prosy Brit act. Please do a post on Coupling. 😀

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  26. Aaah one of my all-time favorite shows 🙂 I have a Sherlock type hat at home that I have bene dying to wear since my obsession started. A little too warm here for many of these looks, but I love the Irene Adler outfit!

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  27. Dear goodness, I was so excited when I saw this. I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, both new and old. Lovely interpretations of each character’s style, each was spot on! Moriarty is my favourite. 😀 Honey, you should see him in a crown. 😉

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  28. Thank you so much for this article! You surprise me every time, and now, even more! I love Sherlock, it’s one of my favorite tv shows and never in a million years would I’ve thought that you guys could inspire one of your fashion geek chic articles with this BBC show. I knew you guys were cool, but now you’re beyond it!

    I specially loved the outfits inspired by the characters of Mycroft, Irene Adler and Molly Hooper! As always, keep up the good work!

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  29. I LOVE the show, this post was awesome, lots of cute ideas. Love the prim but cool britishness of Mycroft´s outfit, and Holme´s trench. Great job all around!

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  30. You don’t even know how EXCITED I was to see this come up on your homepage, Sherlock is and has been my favorite show since it aired, not to mention Sherlock Holmes has been my favorite fictional character since i was 14, I LOVE this!!! 🙂

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  31. Sweet Jesus, I have waited so long for this post. Sherlock himsel already has the kind of simple yet elegant wardrobe I’m trying to build mine up to (maybe with a few John influences along the way).
    Bless this post!

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  32. Loved all your geek chic posts! You should do one for some of the new superhero movies that are coming out.

    Reply
  33. LOVE this show!! Also love the Watson outfit and the Adler one too..
    You should do a post inspired by Game Of Thrones. If you guys haven’t seen it: DO!!!!

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  34. I loove this show and this post!!

    @Jenna: Season 2 has already aired in the U.K. and can be found online. It will air in the US on PBS in May.

    Yay Sherlock!

    Reply
  35. Gorgeous! I particularly enjoy the summer take on Moriarty and the sleek looks of Mycroft and Adler. A well crafted post, both in content and clothes. 🙂

    Reply

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