When I moved to D.C. in late 2004, the opinion about the District was that our city was Hollywood for ugly people. Almost no one outside of the city talked about the culture of D.C. unless they were talking about political scandal or maybe the 9:30 Club. But in the past three or four years, that’s all changed.
Every day…no, seriously, every day…I receive an e-mail from someone who wants to dress like fictional D.C.-denizens Olivia Pope from Scandal or Claire Underwood and Zoe Barnes from House of Cards. I also receive e-mails from women who want to dress like Diane Lockhart from The Good Wife, Jessica Pearson from Suits and Camille Saroyan from Bones.
It’s great that television writers are putting more dynamic female characters on TV, and it’s wonderful that the costuming departments are dressing them so well. I spent a couple of hours googling costume information for Scandal and House of Cards, and recreating a television character’s look presents a lot of challenges because television costume departments often have extravagant budgets and tailoring on the premises.
The main character on Scandal wears Dior, Armani and Christian Louboutin. There is no bargain shopping happening on the Scandal set. Even a D.C. power broker would have trouble rebuilding Olivia Pope’s closet without charging up her Amex.
There isn’t as much information on the wardrobe of House of Cards character Claire Underwood. This Tumblr has a lot of pictures and quotes from the show, and it looks like the character is wearing clothes in the smartly tailored vein of Burberry and Calvin Klein.
First let me say, that having now looked at every still photo that I could find from these shows that the key to recreating these looks is choose sleek, classic pieces and then having them tailored to fit. And I mean fit. (In fact, just looking at all these pics has made me feel like I should call Cheryl Lofton and make an appointment.) So if you’re looking for an easy way to achieve the look take your button up shirts, pencil skirts and jackets to your friendly neighborhood seamstress for some refining.
Secondly, the barrage of e-mails on this subject have inspired me. I may try to use some of the stills I’ve found to create posts in the future. This may prove difficult given the designer nature of many of the wardrobes, but I’m going to give it a go. So if you have an outfit from a TV show that you’re particularly drawn to, drop me a line at capitolhillstyle (at) gmail (dot) com.