Warning: The following post contains spoilers for HBO’s Succession but also some helpful tips on how to look good in high-waisted pants, so I guess you should weigh which one is more important to you?
HBO’s Succession is a show about media mogul Logan Roy trying to decide which of his terrible large adult children will take over his empire once his organs harden into gold (I think that’s how the megawealthy die). Will it be the narrow-shouldered manslaughterer Kendall? Greasy-haired necro-troll Roman? Libertarian failson Connor? For a second, it looked like it might be the ethically nonmonogamous Bernie bro, Shiv, until she imploded this week under the force of Cherry Jones’s steely gaze. While none of these options inspire particular confidence, one figure has emerged this season as being far and away the most competent, inspired, and qualified individual to take over Waystar Royco. I’m talking about Shiv Roy’s pants.
Shiv’s pants are more thoughtful, capable, and sexually well-adjusted than any of Logan Roy’s children. Their high waists, wide legs, and perfect tailoring demand attention and respect and intentionally so; according to the show’s head costume designer, Michelle Matland, the look is meant to signify her desire “to be seen as an equal in the board room.” Indeed, these are pants that could single-handedly orchestrate a hostile company takeover or convince you of the merits of a media monopoly. For them, I would happily be a boar on the floor.
The pants, Matland explained over the phone, show how Shiv has gone from distancing herself from her family’s name and work to increasingly embracing it. “In the first season, she was wearing sort of tighter pants. The colors, the tones, were much lighter. Before, she wanted to not identify herself as a Roy. She wanted to be Shiv, who was going to work with Gil, and do her own thing.”
In the second season, however, with the possibility of taking over the company being dangled in front of her by her father like an emotionally toxic carrot, Shiv’s look becomes more masculine, more timeless — “It’s a much more 1930s, the Katherine Hepburn–Greta Garbo–type thing.” Whereas on season one Shiv wore a lot of Theory, this season her wardrobe consists of Hobbs, Armani, Gabriella Hearst, and some Ralph Lauren.
“In my backstory, because she grew up with all these brothers in this world of competition, she has a lot of tomboy in her,” says Matland. ”She’s not interested in being flashy. She wants to be able to fit in with the men. She really wants to meld in but still keep her power.”
Matland also notes that while Shiv’s pants are more stereotypically masculine, “they’re still incredibly sexy on her because she’s got such an incredible figure.” But could laypeople — say, bloggers with figures that could best be described as “identifiably human” — also pull off the style without looking like small children who snuck into their parents’ closets?
The key when wearing high-waisted, wide-legged pants, Matland says, is to pair them with a simple top, like one of Shiv’s turtlenecks. That way, “the pants become the piece that you look at.”
While things don’t seem to be looking good for Shiv right now, maybe Logan will finally see the light, that her pants are the only logical successor to take over Waystar Royco. I mean, who else is it gonna be? Connor’s vests?