Lydia Tár Is Problematic—but She’s My Travel Style Icon Anyway

Here’s how to recreate the airplane outfit Cate Blanchett wore in the Oscar-nominated film that is low-key and high-brow all at once.

Airplane Outfit Collage

The New York Rangers hat really ties the outfit together, does it not?

All photos courtesy of the brands

In recent years, one of the things that’s changed most about my travel is not just how I do it (read: slower and more intentionally) but how I pack. Thankfully, gone are the days when I would look at the weather forecast in my destination and think, “Sure, but weather can change” and adjust by trying to solve for not one or two days of different weather, but all of it. Slowly, with time, I’ve found power in layering and in neutrals. It’s perhaps little wonder, then, that I was drawn to Oscar contender Tár once I saw the trailer—for Cate Blanchett’s outfits.

I did end up watching the film, and Blanchett, who plays titular character Lydia Tár, did not disappoint in the sartorial sense (her faults in, uh, other senses are hardly up for debate). Though nothing she wears is flashy, costume designer Bina Daigeler dressed her in wool, silk, tweed, and cashmere. And while I wouldn’t spend $3,450 on the coat from the Row that Blanchett wears in the film even if it weren’t nearly sold out, the film did get me thinking again about how sustainable fashion is as important as sustainable travel. When you consider that petroleum-based plastics can take more than 100 years to decompose—and that it takes more than 650 gallons of water to produce one new cotton T-shirt—spending more on quality staples doesn’t seem so ridiculous.

And aside from the coat (in virgin wool and cashmere), there are a lot of quality staples from brands like Lemaire and Dries Van Noten in the movie to be inspired by, all of which are at once structured and suitable for moving from airplane to meeting to evening: high-waisted, flexible trousers with wide legs; a soft, form-fitting black turtleneck worn with an oversize blazer; a herringbone coat (yes, another coat!) that elevates a more casual outfit into elegant territory.

Despite coveting nearly everything Blanchett wears in the film, my favorite look might actually be her airplane outfit: a somehow-still-glam mix of high and low (see: beautiful coat paired with tennis shoes and a baseball hat) that is at once chic and comfortable. Even if you aren’t flying on a private jet, there is a way to recreate Tár’s airplane uniform with quality items that won’t set you back thousands of dollars. Here are a few suggestions:

Dark, double-breasted Reformation Leighton Coat

The Row coat Blanchett wears in the movie is nearly sold out, but this Reformation version is more affordable and a close dupe.

Courtesy of Reformation

Oversize double breasted wool coat

Buy now: Reformation Leighton Coat, $398,

Aside from its gobsmacking price tag, Blanchett’s black overcoat from the Row is only available in XS right now. Meanwhile, the Leighton Coat from Reformation is about $3,000 less and is still made with quality materials including recycled wool from Italian mill Manteco. The great thing about these coats is that they’re ultra chic, but because they’re not as bulky as a puffer coat, you can cocoon yourself in one—and still fit in an economy airplane seat.

New York Rangers Hat

Blanchett wears a Rangers hat because her character is originally from Staten Island, so choose your own team accordingly.

Courtesy of ’47

Unexpectedly casual baseball hat

Buy now: New York Rangers Classic 47 Franchise Hat, $40,

The New York Rangers cap Blachett wears to travel incognito as Tár is probably the only thing she wears in this movie under $50. It doesn’t match the rest of her upscale wardrobe, but it does scream undercover celebrity originally from Staten Island. It’s paired best with a pair of round oversize black sunglasses.

Gobi Gray Turtleneck Sweater

A gray cashmere turtleneck is cozy, chic, and goes with everything.

Courtesy of Gobi

Gray cashmere turtleneck

Buy now: Gobi Lightweight Turtleneck, $159,

Daigeler revealed to the Guardian that many of Tár’s sweaters in the movie are from British clothing designer Margaret Howell. There aren’t any currently in stock in the same gray turtleneck style Tár wears in several travel scenes, but Gobi’s similar lightweight gray turtleneck has a loose fit and layers well—exactly what you need while flying. The brand uses 100 percent cashmere sourced and manufactured ethically in Mongolia.

Wolfen cardigan

Of all of Tár’s menswear-inspired looks, this beautifully crafted cardigan from Wolfen is one of the best.

Courtesy of Wolfen

Hand-knit wool cardigan

Buy now: Wolfen Franny Lambswool Cardigan, €180/US$192 (was €249/US$266),

Eliza Brooke of reported that one of the cardigans Tár wears while working alone in her second apartment is a hand-knit number from German brand Wolfen. Though the exact color isn’t available online, you can pick up a similar lambswool version from the brand in a marled blue/brown combo that would layer nicely over the gray turtleneck for extra coziness.

On Running Cloudstratus Running Shoe

Monochrome sneakers are comfortable and polished.

Courtesy of On Running

All-black sneakers

Buy now: On Running Cloudstratus, $170,

At work, Tár is seen wearing black suede oxfords with lug soles and other more professional yet practical shoes. But the first time she flies between New York and Berlin, she goes way more casual with a pair of all-black running shoes that still look polished. Since most of her clothing is logoless, it’s hard to tell exactly what brand she’s wearing. But it’s not hard to imagine Tár being a fan of On Running’s Swiss design and engineering.

With additional reporting by Lyndsey Matthews

Katherine LaGrave is a deputy editor at AFAR focused on features and essays.
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