Starter episode: “A Dressed Guide to Dressed, Part 1”
“99% Invisible,” the long-running radio show-turned-podcast, considers the hidden or unappreciated role of design in our everyday lives, often focusing on architecture and physical structures. “Articles of Interest,” hosted by Avery Trufelman, started out as a clothing-focused mini-series within “99% Invisible” but spun off into an independent series about how clothing design both mirrors and shapes society. Now in its fourth season, the show has examined gender constructs within clothing, the surprisingly complex history of Hawaiian shirts, and Cher Horowitz’s iconic closet in “Clueless” (more specifically, the question of why it doesn’t exist in the real world yet). Last year, the show debuted its first mini-series, “American Ivy,” on the perennial popularity of the preppy look. Preppy style, which evolved from Ivy League style, favors neat and understated staples — Oxford shirts, chinos, blazers — and has become so ubiquitous that it’s now, to quote Trufelman, “not the clothing of a subculture … but the clothing of the dominant culture.” That provides plenty of fodder for the insightful seven-part deep dive that follows.
Starter episode: “Pockets”
Begun in 2014, this weekly fashion podcast offers a rare blend of down-to-earth comedy and sartorial commentary. With a stated aim of appealing to industry insiders and outsiders alike, Lisa Rowan. a finance writer, and Kaarin Vembar, a fashion journalist, talk fashion news, breaking down what’s happening with retailers, designers and celebrity labels, as well as on the runway and the red carpet. As hosts, Rowan and Vembar are well-informed, but never in a way that feels alienating to novices. And the range of subjects makes for enjoyably unpredictable listening: In a given episode, you might hear about Estée Lauder buying Tom Ford, how the pandemic affected retail worker pay, or the extraordinary story of the biggest diamond heist in world history.
Starter episode: “Fashion Inferno”
The Business of Fashion, which started life as a Typepad blog in 2007, has grown into a resource for news and analysis within the fashion industry. Its accompanying podcast has found similar success, with Imran Amed, its chief executive and founder, delivering coverage geared toward fashion creatives and executives. But it’s not the most accessible entry point for non-insiders, which is where “The Debrief” comes in. Hosted by Lauren Sherman, the former chief correspondent for The Business of Fashion, this shorter-lived weekly show offered deep dives into more mainstream fashion subjects, like the much-exaggerated downfall of skinny jeans, the rise of direct-to-consumer clothing, and how Gen Z is reshaping the industry as both consumers and employees. “The Debrief” wrapped up its run in January when Sherman departed BoF, but the back catalog is well worth the delve for anyone seeking a better understanding of modern fashion.
Starter episode: “The Decline of the Skinny Jean”
“Who What Wear” was one of the first digital-only fashion brands, founded in 2006 by the former Elle magazine editors Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power, and in the years since the duo have launched clothing lines, a media company and written books on style. In May 2021 came the brand’s first podcast, offering trend analysis, runway coverage and interviews with designers, stylists and celebrities. Kerr, who also leads “Second Life,” a podcast about career pivots, is a warm and affable host whose interviews go deeper than many others in the genre. The show is also an especially smart resource for anyone curious about Hollywood costuming; interviewees have included designers from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Daisy Jones & the Six” and the original “Gossip Girl.”
Starter episode: “WWW 100: Your Definitive (and Exhaustive) Guide to Spring Shopping”