Beth Harmon wears a memorable all-white outfit that represents the end of her story arc in the final scene of The Queen’s Gambit, transforming her into a queen.
The Netflix miniseries is a drama guided by characters that follows the rise of Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy. The show is critically praised, earning praise for its tight storytelling, fully formed characters, and rich symbolic content, such as its capacity to connect through her clothing choices with Beth’s inner world.
The Gambit of the Queen follows Beth Harmon’s rivalry with Vasily Borgov, the Grandmaster of Russian chess. The output starts with her humble and tragic origins as an orphan who learns to play chess at the orphanage from the janitor, Mr. Shaibel.
As Shaibel observes her natural talents, even though it’s a male-dominated sport, he promotes her skills and encourages her to continue playing competitively.
When Beth is a child in The Queen’s Gambit, Isla Johnston plays her (and in the earliest flashback sequences, Annabeth Kelly). However, Beth is played by Anya Taylor-Joy for most of the season. The passing of time is reflected by Beth’s transformation into a polished, sophisticated woman from a gawky, awkward teenager. Although her growth is partly expressed by the subtle gestures of Taylor-Joy, evolution is more evidently signified by the change in the outward appearance of Beth, particularly her chess-inspired wardrobe.
Beth displays an interest in fashion as a young teenage woman, using her chess winnings to purchase clothes for herself. In reality, one of her favourite dresses tends to be the checker print she wears to play. The black and white dresses (and shoes) are a direct reflection of Beth’s love for the black and white pattern of the chessboard. Other times in two distinctive shades, she wears ensembles. She often wears things with geometric prints when not in dual tones,
Yet her outfit takes on an entirely new sense in the final scene of The Queen’s Gambit: the white hat (with its distinctive shape), A-line suit, trousers and boots, does not reflect the chess board, but one particular piece: the queen.
In her final scene, Beth’s silhouette is identical to that of the queen’s chess piece to symbolise her accomplishments. Beth has just secured the highest ranking for a player in his home country, Russia, with the current Grandmaster Borgov, similar to how the queen is the most important piece in the game, and its capture is worth the most points in the game (other than the king, of course, which ends the game). The all-white look of Beth also reflects how she’s grown as a player. In The Queen’s Gambit, her narrative arc ends with her triumph, over not only the game, but also her own addictions and self-doubts.