Law and Order: Special Victims Unit have been fighting sexually based offenses that are especially heinous for 25 years. As the show evolved in every way through every case and cause, so did each and every character on the show. If there is one specific character that's had the most character development it's Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay. As she grew from a detective, to captain of the squad room, she's had a number of mountains to climb, and she does it with style.
As Benson developed her character, she also developed her sense of style. The more that she continued to elevate in her career on the show, the more that her style evolves as well. As this show starts in the late 90s, the fashion showed a professional yet comfortable vibe.
As Hargitay made her debut as Olivia Benson, her fashion evolution starts as the normal detective ready to fight crime specializing in sexually based defenses. If anyone watches any cop show, the normal uniform of a suit and tie for men, or a simple blazer suit for women. Yet, with the character of Olivia Benson, we see her change the story of how a detective should dress. If anything, the designers from SVU dresses her character like this, as a sign of independence that Benson's character gained.
Previously said, when it comes to women choosing their career paths as a detective, society puts them behind the desk and following commands from their captain. However, there's a consistency with change in Benson's character, so her ensembles change as well. From season one, she wears the simple blazer suit to go with the 90s look. Eventually, as she is promoted to more title from the NYPD, she dresses the part as well.
Source: All Things Law and Order
Going into season 15, Benson is made sergeant of the squad. As she's been through circumstances such as her partner of ten years leaving unexpectedly, getting kidnapped, adopting a baby, and dealing with relationships, she has one look the entire season. With her 3/4 black sleeve, her black slacks, and black boots, she shows her sincere character. She is more closed off with people, and she shows lack of trust. Eventually, she learns to trust herself and her team more, because of everything that's happened.
During the years of 2012-2017, her look itself never changes, because she never changed. Even though she changes her look through adding blazers and different color blouses, she shows a representation of simplicity. She's more about her business, then she's more about her look. She puts others and her career first before she puts her personal growth.
In season 17, Benson was promoted to lieutenant. However, her peak season is season 21, when she was promoted to captain. Throughout this time, she presents herself in a business chic way. She went from sticking with one outfit, to wearing key elements in her ensembles such as a blazer, a blouse, slim slacks, and boots. Even her hair being in beach waves shows her feminine side.
This look gives a rebellious fighter look. No matter what she goes through, she will always have her position as captain for SVU. Each look she's had since 1999 have shown her strength, compassion, and determination to keep her squad going. As she is the main protagonist in this show, she shows her unstoppable personality.
Olivia Benson is one of the best female detectives in television history. As she continues to slay with her ensembles and crime solving skills through the show, we hope to see her evolve in her character and her fashion appearance. Fans look forward to seeing more of Olivia Benson in Law and Order SVU.