Lucy Liu on the Set of “Elementary”

Posted on August 13, 2013

It’s difficult for Lucy Liu to look anything less than fabulous, but we remain as puzzled by the costuming here as we were the last time.

Lucy Liu on the set of her show “Elementary” in New York City.

Is this how they dress the poor girl for the show? Shapeless, colorless sacks and unflattering booties? We had to double check to make sure it wasn’t the same costume as the last one we featured. Does she dress like this all the time on the show? Because that’s kind of a huge waste.

Can’t do a thing to dim that smile, though. It’s like they put Lucy Liu’s fabulous head on some other, less fabulous lady’s body.


[Photo Credit: Wolff/]

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  • shinobi42

    If I remember from last season she USUALLY looks better than that. But her character is an ex surgeon who helps with recovering addicts, not exactly fashionista territory.

    • Kate Andrews

      Yeah, I haven’t actively cringed at her clothes — until now. The dress looks too sacklike.

    • fursa_saida

      I’m wondering if maybe it’s a matter of motion vs. stills? She wears a lot of soft, drapey things, and I feel like on the show she almost always looks good but in the set photos we’ve been seeing it’s…not so good. Or maybe whoever was doing costuming last season got replaced (which would be criminal, the choices they made in the progression of JLM’s clothes were brilliant) and the new person is trying to do the same themes but isn’t doing it as well?

  • The Versatile Chef

    She looks like a whole other person when she smiles.

  • Well, she’s smart and funny and she hasn’t fallen hopelessly in love with her male counterpart, so of course she must be frumpy.

    • Cz

      She’s not always frumpy though. I’ve seen her in cute clothes in some of the episodes. But, funny enough, she was wearing this adorable circle skirt and a couple of layered shirts with 5-inch mary janes in one episode, and I turned to my husband and said, “That outfit is so inappropriate for crime-solving adventures.”

    • Tanzina Ahmed

      She once wore 5-inch heels to go walking into a blizzard. Frumpy is not the word for her.

      • Nobender

        Lucy Liu hasn’t said anything…but my vote is that she’s pregnant!

  • crash1212

    Huh. I really like this look…it’s comfy and chic (to my eye) city wear. I’m going to watch the next episode and see if this is how she’s always dressed. I hear it’s a good show, just never checked it out.

    • JosephLamour

      I agree. it fits her character. She wears a lot of beige and white. This is how a lot of monied citywomen dress. Not everyone has to like… turn it out all the time.

  • berkeleygirl

    You’ve clearly never seen the show. Her character is pretty much the opposite of anything she’s done before – very introverted, quietly fierce. She’s fantastic. This is actually a lot hipper than most of the stuff she wore last season. It’s certainly lighter in color! She also wears very little makeup and looks gorgeous.

  • birdhead

    She often wears clothes with a lot of drape and some bulk. But I never think she looks frumpy – I think she looks natural and comfortable and usually quite beautiful (perhaps her outfits come across better in motion?). I mean, she’s a live-in sober companion who helps to solve murders, I don’t think glossy outfits and six-inch heels are really on the cards.

  • elemspbee

    Dear T’Lo, to answer your question, yes, they generally dress her in completely uninspired wardrobe and irritating ankle boots. I enjoy the show but highly disappointed at how unhip her character dresses.

  • Daisy Walker

    I love her, and the show, but I hate those booties with the fire of a thousand suns.

  • ErmengardeGreen

    She does usually look a little better than this, but this is nevertheless pretty representative. Her costuming on this show is distractingly quirky. (Jonny Miller’s outfits are also outside the typical detective-show mold, but his character’s wardrobe feels more cohesive and natural.) For LL, it’s mostly gray neutrals, lots of diaphanous tops, lots of booties, and a lot of weird proportions and textural contrasts that don’t read as contemporary. La Liu’s character is a bit of a cipher/foil for Holmes’s brilliance (disappointingly/unsurprisingly for the genre), so maybe the wardrobe is meant to give her dimension (or camouflage her innate volcanic hotness), but yeah, weirdsies. The show isn’t a must-see (though I do enjoy it), but I often wish for the TLo take on some weird parachute-type garment of hers.

    • fursa_saida

      Man, I wouldn’t say she’s a foil for Holmes’s brilliance–she solves her own cases several times, and she has often been the person to make a suggestion or point out a weird fact that ends up being the catalyst to his solving the case. But I guess YMMV.

      • ErmengardeGreen

        She is pivotal in some cases, so you’re right that she’s not only a foil. But there’s just not much to her character. She’s kind of Holmes’s conscience, and his participatory sidekick, without having a lot of interesting attributes beyond that. She’s got a (small) backstory, but as far as her character goes she mostly is the straight man/reactor to Holmes’s more fleshed-out character. (In my opinion.) Don’t get me wrong; I’m not offended by her portrayal or anything. I just think there are some missed opportunities, and that the wardrobe might be adding interest where the script fails to do so.

        • fursa_saida

          Once again, I disagree (which is still totally fine)–I think that she and Holmes have beautifully parallel stories in that they were both once brilliant, useful people at the top of their game, and then fucked up royally and in different ways withdrew from their lives and themselves; now they’re finding their way back, together. I think her guilt over the incident that caused her to stop practicing medicine is still very evident and touching. Her relationship with her mother isn’t perfectly comfortable, but it’s not awful in the clichéd sense family relationships often are on TV. (Also I appreciate that her mom isn’t a Tiger Mom.) She gets love interests, but they don’t consume her; she’s shown to have friends outside of Sherlock.

          I think that she’s more than his conscience: she sets boundaries, which he desperately needs but which she needs also in order to be able to live/work/deal with him. She doesn’t put up with his shit (refusing to bring him his coffee, knocking over the rack of locks after he’s been a dick because she knows how to get him where it hurts); she’s learning to pick locks from Alfredo, which I LOVE. I could go on, but it doesn’t really matter, as clearly we’re seeing her differently and that’s okay. I just have a lot of love for Joan Watson.

          • ErmengardeGreen

            Yes, you’re right — I think we’re seeing the same attributes but take different things from them, which is well in the arena of okay. I love the feeling of having a lot of love for a character, even if I’m not as moved by this one. Happy viewing!

          • fursa_saida


    • RuthGo

      I agree with you on a number of points. It’s also for me enjoyable, I record it, but if it went away tomorrow I wouldn’t be broken up about it. Also, I too find the costuming bizarre and distracting. It’s almost as if they’re trying to actively hide her light under a bushel full of some crazy ass clothes.

  • thecitysleeps

    I don’t particularly love this dress but I like the styling of her character on the show. It has spunk and personality and not the usual ‘sexy’ shift dresses and stilettos.

  • redhead with tattoos

    It fits her character (because she is, in fact, playing a character and not herself). Liu’s Watson has an established kind of subtly feminine, comfy style: lots of skirts and sweaters and heeled boots, sometimes jeans (but really, lots of skirts and dresses and tights), all in understated colors, all with understated cuts. Frankly, I think she looks cute and, more importantly, she looks *real.* Elementary isn’t even remotely the right setting for fashion. Joan Watson looks very much like a woman who makes a comfortable living but who is essentially ordinary on the surface. It’s what’s beneath the surface that is so very extraordinary, but that facade of simplicity and mundanity serves her well. (*cough*iwon’tspoilthefinalebutreallyyouneedtobewatchingthisshooooooow*cough*)

    • birdhead


    • Donna Tabor

      Unlike Dana Delany’s character in Body of Proof, where she attends gruesome crime scenes in spike designer heels and couture clothing.

      • redhead with tattoos

        Haaaa. That is seriously one of my pet peeves. And I’ve had my moments with Joan Watson (perhaps most notably during “Snow Angels” when she was supposedly walking around NYC in a giant blizzard in her 3 1/2 inch heeled boots… but at least they were THICK heels and not stilettos!), but overall I think her costuming is really appropriate for the character. And the lack of “fashion” is a huge part of that. (But I can’t say I’ve ever seen Body of Proof.)

      • formerlyAnon

        YES. I often thought in the first episodes “well, maybe you’d have less trouble getting along if you didn’t come in dressed like your income was four times anyone else’s.”

      • kimmeister

        Same with Beckett in Castle – constantly chasing criminals in stilettos.

        • terpsichory

          I was told that’s because she would look tiny next to Nathan Fillion – kind of how Scully wore those KILLAH heels and was shot from a lower angle.

          I’m much more interested where she keeps her apparently limitless supply of gorgeous designer outerwear. I swear, she solves every case in a different coat!

  • Chuck Barthelme

    Might have worked if they’d put her in a better shoe. Almost didn’t notice the booties though- she has a helluva sexy smile.

  • julnyes

    I thought she looked good during last season. Doctors are not known for their fashion sense and I would think her work as a sober companion would encourage simpler understated styles. The clothes fit her character.

    • formerlyAnon

      And her role is not that of a femme fatale. She’s not supposed to have us thinking “why aren’t they standing around three deep hitting on her?” Which I have to admit I sometimes wonder anyway . . .

  • Rand Ortega

    Do you think maybe they’re trying to detract from her off screen rep for being such an amazing fashionista so the focus is on her character? I’ve only seen a couple of eps, so I can’t say for sure. The problem is, she’s so stinkin’ gorgeous, is that even possible? Isn’t that kind of like trying to separate SJP from CB?

  • teensmom99

    I think it’s a smock covering her real outfit so it doesn’t get dirty (can’t explain the booties, though).

  • jen

    Her costumes on the show are really odd. She’s always in booties, short round skirts and some kind of drapey t shirt with a cardigan over it. And usually she’s dressed like this in the winter, while she’s running around the city solving crimes. Her outfits always strike me as very impractical for running around the city solving mysteries. Although normally they aren’t so shapeless. Is she pregnant in real life maybe??

  • MilaXX

    Stank boot 2: Electric Boogaloo

  • Diego!

    She is playing Watson, so she is the main supporting role in the series… And I agree, this is a pregnant dress

  • prettybigkitty

    Just say no to booties.

  • ashtangajunkie

    Man, I love her, ever since Ally McBeal – Ling Woo, soft ‘L.’ She always looks gorgeous, but that is a sad sack they’ve put her in. Also, I feel like a memo was sent out to stylists, celebrities, and random young ladies I see around, claiming that booties go with everything. Not so, fashionistas. Not so.

    • Celandine1

      In my head, I still hear a growl whenever Lucy enters a room and the camera pans to her.

  • sagecreek

    I’m so hating this trend for suede booties in August. Stinky!

  • CeeQ

    She is so cute!!! But yeah, fug outfit. Those booties belong somewhere else.

  • snarkykitten

    Well since they stripped her of the army doctor backstory, why the fuck not put her in hideous clothes?

  • kimmeister

    In the first few shots, it looks like the shapeless shift has a clear plastic bustle/train! At least that would have added interest to the outfit.

  • Carrieanno

    She’s fabulous. Full stop. Booties are a whole other issue that I choose not to connect to her.

  • Shawn EH

    Maybe the shoes are what she wears off-shoot? They’re comfortable? Miss Watson does tend to avoid bright colors; the whole show is kind of brown-shaded.

  • Erika Schultze

    I can safely say that I don’t remember a single thing that Joan Watson has ever worn on ‘Elementary,’ But Joan Watson is awesome in every way so she could be wearing a shower curtain in every scene and she’d still be awesome.

  • Nonmercisansfacon

    Knowing the show, she’ll probably wear the exact same outfit with thights in a snow storm!

  • ThaliaMenninger

    I know I’ve said this before, but she really is a good actress. I saw her on Broadway when she was in the replacement cast of GOD OF CARNAGE (not an easy play, plus she was on stage with Jeff Daniels, Janet McTeer and Dylan Baker, all heavy hitters) and she was terrific. Maybe they’re putting her in potato sacks for ELEMENTARY to try to force people to notice she’s an actress, too, and not just a beauty.

  • Judy_S

    Yes, that’s our Joan Watson. She sleeps in a big T-shirt, the better to be decent when Sherlock comes in to brainstorm at 3 am, and only rarely seems to have time to get dressed up. The whole show is mostly brown-and-gray, cocoon colors. It’s possible this is a way of making it look less like the BBC Sherlock, which tends to be blue and purple, much brighter and cooler.

    • fursa_saida

      I love the colors/look of the interior of the brownstone. It always looks like an old painting to me; something about the textures, I think.

    • J. Preposterice

      Honestly, when the first outfit was posted, I figured Sherlock had dragged her out of bed, and she’d tossed on a cardi-shirt and a pair of booties to follow him off somewhere. This one looks a little more intentional, though.

  • Laurie Landry

    Yeah, whatever Lucy. Who’s the Beef-Snack smiling yonder?!

  • Trisha26

    The booties are horrid, but honestly, it’s so refreshing to see an actress in something that isn’t made of lycra or 5 sizes too small – and that looks like interesting/unconventional fashion – I can’t complain.

  • frannyprof

    She looks like she’s wearing her hair/makeup smock.

  • Tanzina Ahmed

    She’s dressed much better in the past! Not sure why they’re putting her in shapeless sacks all of a sudden — she’s worked the casual chic look to perfection before. And her shoes are usually *killer.*

  • HVM

    I’m not a fan of boots like that but if they’re worn it should only be with jeans. I still don’t get the trend of wearing floaty dresses with heavy booties.

  • Getoverit

    HA! Until I scrolled down I thought the piece of plastic was a mermaid tail on the dress. Obviously more coffee is necessary this morning.

  • A Shiny O’Connor

    So very Lohan.

  • SM

    How do I get a job where I get to wear Metallica shirts and laugh all day and be gorgeous?

    • Molly

      Looks like a fun set to work on! They look so happy!

    • vahtel

      Right? WHO IS THAT MAN??

  • Lilyana_F

    They dress her terribly in the show, good thing she’s gorgeous and can pull off almost anything.

  • Nondescript

    There are a lot of shapeless, colorless sacks on her in that show. She kinda makes it work. Those booties are awful, though.

  • butterflysunita

    She is so fabulous that she makes that schlumpy grey ouftit look kind of hip.

  • Imasewsure

    I actually like the frumpy comfy outfit but not the boots. Probably this is the TV equivalent of “smart girl”

  • MTE

    I love her new designer this season. classic, young, edgy. Style that elevates the standard of dress on the entire show. I am really enjoying the newer look.

  • mary

    I think she is pregs

  • livesarah

    My husband loves her clothes on the show and says he wishes I would dress more like her. I think it’s just the fact that her character is willing to wear short skirts in winter and I’m not. Plus a weakness for Lucy Liu. His tastes usually run far trashier!

    As for her character, I’m not sure that looking fabulous is supposed to be on her radar. All things considered, her character is pretty chic, I thought. Her clothing budget seems way too large given her job, though (TV!).

  • Beach Beth

    In almost every episode she wears a white drappy long cardigan. It’s so strange? Has anyone else noticed it? Maybe it’s my eyes!!