Best of TV Costuming 2014: The John Oliver Check Shirt Parade on Last Week Tonight

8 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2014″ costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items that we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking, we want to look at this year’s TV through the prism of costume.

When John Oliver hosted The Daily Show over the summer of 2013 it became clear that when Jon Stewart returned, if Oliver went back to his correspondent position then this would be a huge missed opportunity. Thankfully this wasn’t the case and one of the best new shows of 2014 is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; a weekly show (sadly finished for the season) covering a range of global news stories as well as a more in-depth investigations ranging from student loans to FIFA to the failed prison system. It has been a breath of fresh air and while The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are still both producing excellent material covering a much shorter time frame, Last Week Tonight has taken the satirical current affairs genre to new heights.

IMG_8665The look of the show is similar to pretty much every other late night talk show, satirical or otherwise. There is a desk with a city backdrop and the image box appears to the left of Oliver’s head a la The Daily Show/Colbert. Aesthetically though, Oliver’s wardrobe is different and striking as he has embraced a variety of check color shirts and ties. In his role as correspondent he stuck to a run of the mill look never venturing too far from the conventional. By injecting color and pattern in this way he is not only signals that this is his show, he also sets himself apart from those performing a similar role that have come before him.

Shots were fired quickly in the strong shirt and tie game with Oliver wearing the red pairing in the shot above in the second episode. One presenter in Australia wore the same suit every day to see if anyone would notice to show how little attention is paid to what men wear in comparison to women. While it is far from surprising that no one called him out for this repeat outfit, it is noticeable when the wardrobe department mixes things by pairing such striking colors together and Oliver’s attire is a visual bonus on top of everything else Last Week Tonight has achieved in its first season. This isn’t to say there is anything particularly radical about Oliver’s attire; however it is striking because the talk show look is a standard approach looks more like this:

IMG_8670Check isn’t the Last Week Tonight uniform as such because this pattern isn’t worn every single week; however patterned shirts make up about half of what has been worn by Oliver over the first season adding to the fresh look of the show. Maybe we can throw in some paisley for season 2?

Below is a gallery of the best of John Oliver’s check (and the occasional plaid) shirt stylings on Last Week Tonight.




6 Responses to “Best of TV Costuming 2014: The John Oliver Check Shirt Parade on Last Week Tonight”

  1. Vivian Hight February 28, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

    I have been trying to find where John Oliver buys his trendy checked shirts so that I can purchase a few. I like to buy nice wardrobe items for my husband. I particularly like the black and red checked one. I googled, but was unable to find one that I considered a match. Could you shed some light on that subject?

    • Al March 2, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

      I also would like to know if anyone has this information. Thanks!

      • Emma Fraser March 2, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

        I’m trying to track it down. It’s a little harder to find out, but I will let you both know if/when I do.

    • Vivian March 3, 2016 at 1:23 am #

      Thank you, Emma. Your effort is appreciated.


  1. HBO’s Best of 2014/What’s to Come in 2015 Video Includes New Game of Thrones Shots | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 23, 2014

    […] for the Future,” outrage and laughter in equal measure with a side order of shirt approval while watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, bringing back Valerie Cherish and introducing […]

  2. Best of TV Costuming 2014: The Collection | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 31, 2014

    […] The John Oliver Check Shirt Parade on Last Week Tonight […]

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