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Look of the Week: Ana Helstrom's timeless turtlenecks and leather jackets
Welcome back to Look of the Week, celebrating the best in TV and film sartorial excellence, past and present across sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genre classics!
Possessing powers doesn't come with a particular dress code or suggestion to wear a specialist signature uniform. Marvel comics are full of characters who do the latter, but the Helstrom siblings fall into a similar costume trend as a character like Jessica Jones, wearing regular garments whether they are using their abilities or not. The first season of the demon-tracking adaptation is now available to watch on Hulu, and one character stands above the rest when it comes to a fashion flex.
Rather than a private investigator, Ana Helstrom's (Sydney Lemmon) day job is as an auctioneer. Appraising artifacts that date back hundreds of years is her main line of work, but it is also a useful cover story for her real passion and mission in life. Being the daughter of a serial killer is going to have an impact, particularly when a supernatural twist is a factor. Expensive suits, such as the slick white number worn during her introductory scene, keep up appearances of her business interests. The clothes she wears play into her high life, but it is far from a chore for her to be wearing such fine garments.
It is quickly established that Ana's profession also lets her hunt down bad rich guys and dispose of them without getting a drop of blood on her crisp white suit. Dexter could never be this smooth or sartorially adventurous. Ana doesn't require a dorky apron or a room covered in plastic to get the job done, and her history with violent men has informed her present. She has built a life for herself that exists separately from her traumatic childhood, and, notably, her costumes shift toward black after her brother makes contact.
Clothing as armor is something Look of the Week has covered, from actual breastplates and leather battle attire to everyday garments to draw strength from. Ana's collection of leather jackets and pants offer a hardened edge, which comes in handy as the threat level escalates. Hunting comes in various forms, including a nightclub, to which she wears leather pants to get the attention of the men she wants to put a stop to. There is a touch of Buffy Summers (or Faith) to this getup, but without the '90s spaghetti-strap top staple.
The revolving selection of outerwear helps against the seemingly endless rain — the classic umbrella selection on Helstrom gets top marks — but it is also using clothes as a form of protection and to project a hardened exterior. It is easy to understand why when her family history is unspooled via flashbacks and conversations with her estranged brother and institutionalized mother. Twin Daimon (Tom Austen) is less flashy, sporting the typical genre dude collection of tight henleys, button-down shirts, and jackets to match the seasonal climate.
The severity of Ana's haircut falls in line with the bob style that is favored by women in genre who are often presented as aloof (but incredibly smart). Blunt bangs suggest she has little time for fools even though this is a rather high-maintenance cut. Her DGAF attitude does not mean her presentation to the world is effortless. The precision is matched by the clean lines of her costumes — Aieisha Li designed the first two episodes, Farnaz Khaki-Sadigh the following eight.
While a structured white suit makes a statement during an auction, the choice of stilettos for a graveyard meeting in "Mother's Little Helpers" is less practical. Not only is she having to traipse across wet grass — hello, sinking heels into the mud — but the crypt she is entering is far from ideal for expensive open-toe footwear. Thankfully, her associate known as the Caretaker (Robert Wisdom) has bought a pair of Wellington boots that are not to her taste. Clearly she has not paid attention to cool model types who attend Glastonbury music festival every year. Plus, they are in black to match her ensemble.
Dealing with expensive antiquities and assessing who is trying to sneak in a fake requires a certain brand that Ana has perfected over the years, but events in the pilot mean she has to venture back to Portland for a not-so-happy family reunion. For this occasion, Ana chooses a leather jacket worn with windowpane check pants that are a very Shiv Roy from Succession aesthetic — a show Lemmon guest-starred on. An expensive handbag and the requisite umbrella help protect her 'do and project an image of success toward her twin.
Despite not wanting to deal with Daimon, of course their paths continue to intersect as the involvement of both parents increases. Ana delivers a lesson in how to dress for the colder and wet climate, with my only quibble being: Where does she store all this outerwear if she is traveling as much as it appears?
Ana effortlessly switches between edgy moto jackets and tailored long black coats with racing-stripe wide-leg pants, and a different long black coat paired with a rare tan pants sighting, a fabulous red lip, and a confused expression.
Not only is it time to dig out your best coat, but we have also entered turtleneck season (best time of the year!), which Ana also serves up strong contenders for in gray and traditional black. This is a mostly monochromatic wardrobe in neutrals, so it is notable when she mixes it up. Bold color only comes in the form of her lipstick.
Slash neck leather jackets, regular moto fit, and a fur collar variation that looks good with a creepy powerful skull is all part of her collection. Whereas Jessica Jones sticks to one style, Ana Helstrom has the cash to splash on multiple designs. In a dark and chaotic world, her one constant is the structured lines and hardened image that these costumes project. As the events of her childhood are revealed, it is clear that her assured exterior is a coping mechanism.
Moving confidentially through the world in high-end fits, Ana and her overflowing closet are a Helstrom high point. Even her bedwear is cool, which sees her embracing the band trend (move over, Hughie from The Boys) in an AC/DC shirt. The black and white matches her signature palette and play into the edge she cultivates. The comparison to Jessica Jones isn't just in the jacket she wears, and this show should be called Ana Helstrom — sorry, Daimon.