Lessons in Chemistry: Brie Larson’s 1950’s Styling in Elizabeth Zotts Desirable Outfits 

It isn’t the first, and it certainly won’t be the last television show to plunder the history books in an attempt to reinvent the fashions of the 1950’s and 60’s. But when Lessons in Chemistry debuted on Apple TV+ the Elizabeth Zott style captivated and inspired its eager fanbase. 

The official trailer for Lessons in Chemistry starring Brie Larson.

Based on the Bonnie Garmus novel of the same name, we follow Elizabeth, a scientist and soon to be grieving single mother, as she picks herself up after being fired from the lab to become the adored host of Supper at Six. Using her television platform to inspire housewives to dream bigger than the world wants them too, while teaching them lessons in chemistry. 

But it isn’t just her perceived disrespect for the patriarchy that gets men fired up, there’s also that incident when she wears pants on national television. And with 12 outfit changes an episode, you’ll see that the Lessons in Chemistry Elizabeth Zott style has plenty of memorable moments.  

So, let’s begin shall we…

Elizabeth Zott’s 50’s Style Lab Coat

During her time on Supper at Six, Elizabeth Zott’s lab coats, that she wears instead of an apron, go through quite a transformation, with cinched waists, piped edges and even sequin embellishments like this one. Lessons in Chemistry, Apple TV+ . 

Let’s start at the end with one of the most recognisable looks in Elizabeth Zott’s wardrobe, her lab coat.

But not just any lab coat, because if you’ve watched Lessons in Chemistry you will know that there are many, changing in silhouette and levels of embellishment as Elizabeth redefines her look. Yet her 50’s style cinched waist sequin collared lab coat, that calls back to Christian Dior’s “New Look” of the 1940’s is special. With its hourglass shaping, monogrammed breast pocket and matching green sequined belt and collar lapels.

Plaids, Plaids and Plaids: Elizabeth’s Lessons in Chemistry Utilitarian Style 

In contrast to the well put together secretaries, who see their work as a stepping stone on the way to becoming a wife, Elizabeth doesn’t want to get married and just wants to be a scientist that changes the world, Lessons in Chemistry, Apple TV+.
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When we first meet Elizabeth Zott, a scientist and lab technician at the Hastings Research Institute, she is one of the only females who doesn’t work as a secretary in the male dominated establishment. Shunning the prim and proper colorful outfits of the secretaries, Elizabeth favors comfort and a utilitarian style.  

Elizabeth’s dark tartan plaid 50’s style skirt and brown blouse help her fade into the background rather than stand out from the crowd. Apple TV+.

Opting instead for simple dark and moody plaid a-line skirts, button-up shirts and beige jackets, her wardrobe aligns her with her less capable male colleagues. But as well as just choosing the commonly masculine plaid pattern for that purpose, its dark browns, tans and greens allow her to fade into the background. Effectively just becoming one in the crowd of the institutes scientists. 

Although Elizabeth can’t wear her plaid crop pants until she is fired by Hatings, as women have to wear skirts at the institution, it is a subtle powerplay that she uses her masculine “work” pattern in her new life as a single mother. Apple TV+

Argyle Sweater Vests Worn by Brie Larson as Elizabeth Zott 

Elizabeth doesn’t feel the need to conform to the typical female standards of dressing, choosing to also wear her argyle sweater vests with her blue jeans. A look not often worn by women of the time, even at home. Lessons In Chemistry, Apple TV +.  
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The Lessons in Chemistry Elizabeth Zott style didn’t just rely on plaid 50’s style skirts and simple dark colors to connect her look to the male scientists, there was also Elizabeth’s penchant for sweater vests. With costume designer Mirren Gordon-Crozier, choosing the sleeveless, and often nerdy, knitwear to add texture and flashes of Zott’s bold personality to her look, from underneath her stark white lab coats.

Brie Larson in a vintage sweater visit in autumnal colors, as Elizabeth Zott in episode 7 of Lessons in Chemistry. Apple TV+.

Elizabeth’s Wool Crop Pants and Bold Patterned Shirt in Lessons in Chemistry

Elizabeth’s dog Six-Thirty might technically just be a bit part, but he is quite the scene stealer and has his own story to tell, especially in episode 3. Lessons in Chemistry, Apple TV+.

If Elizabeth and her stylish wardrobe taught us anything during Lessons in Chemistry’s eight episode first season, it is that you don’t need to conform to the societal standards forced on you. A typical staple of a modern woman’s wardrobe, Elizabeth’s tailored high-waist crop pants were seen as revolutionary for the decade. Even when paired with a modest button-up shirt, in her favorite color of green.   

Softer and More Delicate: Elizabeth Zott’s V-neck Knit Sweater and Matching A-Line Skirt

A softer, more romantic side of Elizabeth comes out when she falls in love with Dr. Calvin Evans, even if her happiness is to be short-lived. Lessons in Chemistry, Apple TV+ . 

Although Elizabeth didn’t go to work at the Hasting Research Institute to find a husband, even a focused and determined lab technician like her wasn’t immune to the charm of Dr. Calvin Evans. Softening her overall look as she slowly falls in love, adding fine knit v-neck sweaters to her flowing a-line skirts. And momentarily wearing lighter beige and cream colors opposed to the bolder greens that she is best known for.   

Black and White Check A-Line Skirt Worn by Brie Larson in Lessons in Chemistry

As Elizabeth finds success with her television cookery show Supper at Six, her style starts to look more polished. Like she has spent time on pairing her clothes and accessories to make sure they match. Lessons in Chemistry, Apple TV+ . 

It isn’t just plaid a-line skirts that gives Elizabeth’s Lessons in Chemistry outfits that prim and proper 50’s style that was expected of women of the era. With her hourglass figure accentuated with her cinched in waist, this full skirt with its small black and white check print is a perfect example of her growing wardrobe of stylish looks. Simply finished with a black button-up blouse and accessorized with a matching handbag and shoes, Elizabeth looks put together and polished.   

Bold and Outspoken: Elizabeth’s Black 50’s Style Dress in Lessons In Chemistry

Elizabeth doesn’t appreciate being told to smile by a man, even if he is her boss, while she is trying to do her job. Lessons in Chemistry, Apple TV+.

Just like Florence Pugh in Don’t Worry Darling (who also has an equalling statement making black dress) Elizabeth Zott does not like to be told what to do, or how to act by a man. Even if he is her boss. 

So it seems only right that when she decides to explain why she will be doing Supper at Six the way she wants, that she is wearing a feminine yet strong statement black dress. Sleeveless, with a cinched waist and full skirt, the patterned dress is typical of the era. But the dark and striking color, and Elizabeth’s strong will, definitely gives her the look of being in charge.  

Elizabeth doesn’t back down when the station owner tries to force her to do Supper at Six his way or no way.  

Elizabeth Zott’s Green Silk Head Scarf and Plaid Patterned Coat

Costume designer Mirren Gordon-Crozier chose green to be Elizabeth’s signature color, adding it into her outfits in her bold plaids or even subtly in this silk head scarf. Lessons in Chemistry, Apple TV+.

There is only one finishing touch that any plaid loving scientist and television cookery host could need, and that would be a beautiful matching plaid coat. Although Elizabeth has opted for a simpler and less fussy print than she wears on her a-line skirts and crop pants, the distinctive dark color with lighter pattern lines, adds an extra level of style to her outfits. Especially when paired with her black knee-length dress and silk head scarf in her signature green color. 

With the story of Lessons In Chemistry having a real focus on the societal standards faced by women, particularly in the 1950’s and early 60’s, it isn’t hard to see how outspoken and straightforward Elizabeth Zott became the show’s feminist hero. But it wasn’t just her attitude and rise to the top that cemented that status, with the Lessons in Chemistry Elizabeth Zott style having us all ready to dream big and fight the patriarchy one outfit at a time. 

MOVIE:Lessons in Chemistry