Television series are like visual Cliff Notes when it comes to romance. In the span of a half hour or an hour, each episode must hit emotional high notes that romance novel builds up to in 300+ pages. Naturally, since TV is a visual medium, clothes are the easiest ways to hit these notes. Sometimes the cues are subtle: In the series, Justified, for example, Marshall Raylan Givens, wears an off-white Stetson—the first sign that this good guy might not be quite so good. He also wears the dark colors that are the uniform of the bad boy, usually an elegantly tailored sport coat, paired with jeans. This combination signals to the viewer that while Raylan has gained a veneer of sophistication during his time away from his hardscrabble Kentucky home, at heart, he’s still a rough and tumble cowboy.
Some visual cues are even more obvious. Dyson in Lost Girl favors black shirts and a dark blue and black vest with his jeans. (That is, when he’s not half, or completely, naked.) Occasionally, he tosses on a leather jacket. No doubt about it, black makes a bad boy even badder and when it’s black leather…rowwrrr. (If you doubt me, Google Richard Armitage and Guy of Gisborne. Or Richard Armitage and black leather. In fact, there are entire websites devoted to evolution of the 6’2 blue-eyed, black-haired actor’s leather costume in the BBC’s Robin Hood series.)