I’ve had many a request for this one, and I too was very keen to delve deeper into Claudia Winkleman’s ‘The Traitors’ wardrobe. Firstly though, if you haven’t watched it, you really must. It’s a gripping series based loosely on the old ‘wink murder’/‘murder in the dark’ game, whereby the contestants have to guess who are the traitors in their midst. But the other star of the show has to be Claudia’s outfits. They range from Jilly Cooper novel heroine to androgynous, Agatha-Christie-style femme fatale. With a lot of fingerless gloves and a wide array of leggings.
To get more intel, I thought it best to get in touch with stylist Sinead McKeefry who is the visionary behind the outfits. Sinead has worked with Claudia since 2006. Her stylist career began while studying knitwear design at Central Saint Martins fashion college in London. During this period she also worked part-time in a shop on Oxford Street, and it was there that a stylist came in to borrow some clothes for the band All Saints. Sinead took her chance and asked the stylist if she needed an assistant, and immediately got to work helping on a shoot for ‘Dazed & Confused’ magazine. A year of unpaid work experience led to Sinead moving into the fashion department at ‘The Face’ magazine where she styled some of the artists for the music pages.
This in turn led to a styling job with Virgin Records, where she worked with the likes of Billie Piper, Atomic Kitten and various Spice Girls. Sinead went on to meet Fearne Cotton at ‘TOTP’, and she still styles her to this day. Around 2006, Fearne and Claudia Winkleman were on a shoot together and that’s where Sinead met and styled Claudia for the first time; they have worked together ever since. So all those dazzling ‘Strictly’ outfits you love also come from the mind of Sinead McKeefry.
I thought I’d put a few questions to Sinead about the looks for ‘The Traitors’.
1. Did you take inspiration from anyone/anything for these looks?
Princess Anne, Ronnie Corbett and Madonna (the Guy Ritchie era). I also love Amanda Harlech so she was another inspiration.
2. Do you work closely with Claudia to come up with the outfits?
Yes, it’s a collaboration. Claudia brings lots of ideas to the table.
3. Did you use pieces from her existing wardrobe?
Yes, we used lots of tailoring which we have as her base wardrobe. For example, a Kooples blazer which we have used for years. She wore that for the final episode.
4. Are there specific brands/designers that you always turn to?
Wardrobe.NYC and Zara are two favourites.
5. What was your favourite look from the series?
6. How on earth did you find so many good wrist warmers/fingerless gloves?
Now that we know a little more about the thought process, let’s get into how to build your own looks from these ideas. Most of these won’t be the exact items as the show was filmed last year, so call it a ‘homage’ if you will…
Let’s start with one of Sinead’s favourite looks: the full-length coat and snood worn with leggings and a chunky boot. There are lots of leggings coming up. I, for one, am very happy that it’s now almost universally acceptable to wear leggings as trousers. Especially at this time of year when a stretchy waistband is most appreciated. I love a snood too. It’s much less faff than a scarf and it also hides the waddle/wattle (I can never remember which is the correct term for that super-attractive loose skin under the ‘cheese chin’. Not that Claudia has ANY; I’m talking about myself here).
It wasn’t all muted colours and wrist warmers, you know. Actually yes, it was all wrist warmers, but I am so down with them. Better than gloves, as they keep you warm while leaving the fingers exposed for all your texting and scrolling needs. They are also useful if you have a runny nose and no tissues. Sorry, was that a step too far? Don’t tell me you’ve never done it. I did go back and look on BBC iPlayer to see what was worn on the bottom half of this outfit: it was slim-leg checked trousers and brogues. I’m also a BIG fan of this shade of green. You might know that by now.
Very happy to see that Sinead and Claudia picked out the iconic Barbour jacket to wear. After all, it is THE best jacket for outdoorsy events at Scottish mansions. Completely waterproof AND (as I found out earlier this year when a bastard mouse ate the front of mine) for a small fee you can send it to Barbour in South Shields and they can repair, clean and re-wax it for you. Comes back as good as new.
I think this one is probably my favourite. I love the lacy blouse just peeking out under the jumper. Excellent layering action. If leggings are not your bag, you could easily go for this look with a wide-leg trouser or a pair of straight-leg jeans. A good blazer is a must to pull it all together.
Finally, a smarter look. A classic blazer with extra details to elevate it from the standard black version. This tweedy one from Zara is probably the closest I could find to the one Claudia is wearing. I’m not actually sure what she wore on her feet with this outfit, so I’ve used artistic license and added the Givenchy studded boots (for more budget alternatives, see the scroll bar below). It was down to Claudia and Sinead that I bought these boots back in 2016. We worked on a Michael Bublé special and they were both wearing them. I coveted thy celebrity’s boots and eventually found them in the sale at 45% off. I still wear them, they’ve been resoled twice and the price-per-wear has made them almost a bargain (almost: they’re still THE most expensive shoes I have ever bought).
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. I’d love to do more TV-inspired articles (I did ‘The Split’ last year, that was excellent) but maybe not on my current favourite show, ‘Happy Valley’. They make Sarah Lancashire look like such a unit in all those hi-vis layers…