‘Law & Order: SVU’: Fans Hate Olivia Benson’s Clothes

Law & Order: SVU is a series that has captured the imagination of viewers of all ages. Since 1999, fans have been tuning in to watch Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, and her team of cohorts, solve disturbing, often heinous cases.

While viewers love the characters on Law & Order: SVU, as well as the plotlines and performances, there’s one distinct element of the series that many fans have spoken out against: Olivia Benson’s style. In spite of the fact that Benson is often viewed as a style icon by fashion magazines, some fans have taken to Reddit to protest the outfits that she wears. 

Fans don’t like the way Olivia Benson dresses

Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU
Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU | Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Olivia Benson, played by Hargitay, is a hardboiled detective who always gets her man – or woman. She doesn’t spend a lot of time on her appearance, although she always looks polished. Still, some fans on Reddit have pointed out that there’s something that just doesn’t ring true about her choice of clothing in Law & Order: SVU, especially when compared to the character’s look on Chicago P.D

“Mariska looks so beautiful here. I hate how they dress her in SVU,” a fan wrote, commenting on Benson’s appearance on an episode of Chicago P.D. Another fan chimed in, writing “Yeah, I’m not sure why she looks so different in her Chicago appearances. Her SVU look post-Stabler is convoluted and dressed way up. It’s very simplified and almost bare bones in Chicago.”

What impact has Olivia Benson had on the fashion world?

While some fans might not love Olivia Benson’s “simplified” style, there are those in the world of high fashion who have nothing but flattering things to say about her look on Law & Order: SVU. In an early 2020 report from Vogue, a critic pointed out Benson’s distinctive pantsuits as a “style standout for more than 20 years.” The critic gave a nod to the minimalist look of the suits and claimed that it is the very fact that Benson’s suits are unremarkable as proof of her believability as a character.

The Vogue report details how “Benson’s wardrobe of suits rotate in benign, neutral hues of slate grays, blacks, and dark blues. It feels realistic. Her suit probably gets a little dirty. Benson, after all, knows how to throw a punch.” The report compares Benson to the way that other professional women have been depicted on TV, with her look being a bit more realistic than some other high-powered female characters.

This has served to make Benson relatable as well as stylish, even when her suits don’t vary a lot in terms of color or tailoring. In a separate Reddit thread, some fans discussed the Vogue article, and one even agreed with the author, stating “Love it!! Olivia always looks amazing. I think the costume designer does a great job.”

What do fans appreciate about Benson’s style?

There’s no doubt that fans are sharply divided when it comes to Olivia Benson’s wardrobe. However, her hairstyles have become a major point of appreciation with fans. A Reddit thread posed a question about which season of Law & Order: SVU featured Benson’s best hair, and fans were quick to weigh in. “Seasons 1, 7, 10-14. The way she does her hair now does not flatter her at all,” one fan wrote. Another replied, noting “They need to part it to the side and give her some waves like they used to. Back when Amaro was on the show. Liv had fantastic hair.”

One fan on Reddit praised her shorter cut, writing “She could rock the short hair look. Not in the beginning but later on n-not sure of the season number but she had the cut when she delivered Stabler’s baby in the ambulance.” Ultimately, while Benson’s clothes will always be a point of contention among the Law & Order: SVU fan base, most are in agreement that Benson looks fabulous, no matter what. 

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