“I love that woman. I love her more than sharks love blood.” This says Frank Underwood about his wife Claire in the hit series House of Cards. Previous weekend the second season of House of Cards aired on Netflix and Kevin Spacey still plays the vindictive Machiavellian politician as brilliantly as he did in season one, supported by his calculating wife, played by Robin Wright.
When watching the second season, apart from enjoying all the political backstabbing, I was drooling over all Claire Underwood's outfits. She always looks so intimidatingly perfect, any professional woman would kill for her wardrobe.
Claire Underwood’s outfits are structured and severe, with an understated elegance. Tom Broecker, House of Card’s costume designer for Season 1 said in an interview that he feels that Claire Underwood wears her clothes as armour, protecting herself behind a shield that is both masculine and sexy. Ready to do battle everyday. And although Broecker refers to her as a modern-day Lady Macbeth, her character actually is far more complex than that, because while she benefits from her husband’s political ties, she wants them for her own benefit, constantly balancing options and playing the field.
For Claire Underwood's wardrobe, House of Card's costume designers mostly chose classic minimalist labels like L'wren Scott, Zac Posen, Theory, The Row, Armani, Ralph Lauren and Akris. But according to Johana Argan, the costume designer for season 2, the precise fit of Claire's clothing is more important than the labels. And indeed, everything is perfectly tailored to Robin Wrights to-kill-for body (if only I had the bone structure for a pixie cut like that!). Claire Underwood makes it look effortless, but there is nothing casual about her. The same kind of intention plays out in the neutral, dark palette of her wardrobe.
The only real colour she wears is blue (the rest is a strict palette of blacks, greys and neutrals, to abide by the unofficial dress code for Capitol Hill), but Claire never looks stuffy. In fact, she makes a mockery out of the traditional ‘power suit’. Summing up her wardrobe as rigid categories like ‘Oxford shirt’ and ‘Sheath dress’ would do it a terrible injustice. It makes Claire’s wardrobe sound rather boring, when it is the exact opposite. There is always a certain element that makes the pieces she wears interesting. An asymmetrical zipper, a square neckline or beautifully placed seams.
To analyze Claire Underwood's style, let's take a look at some of the pieces she wears.
When watching the second season of House of Cards, as an avid Duchess Kate follower and huge fan of Reiss (one of her favourite brands) I immediately recognised this navy blue dress. It is their Angel dress in Indigo from the A/W 2013 collection, currently on sale for €125, down from €260. This piece is a perfect example of the simple, yet interesting dresses she wears!
Claire's perfectly tailored shirts are actually more affordable than they look, as they are the 'Oxford Shirt' from Banana Republic. It always takes me ages to find a shirt that is 'just right' (sometimes I am a bit of a Goldilocks ;-) ) so I just ordered one in white and one in blue for myself!
The white dress with bolero as seen on Claire below is actually a favourite among costume designers it seems, as it is also worn by Lara Pulver as Irene Adler in Sherlock and by Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne in Revenge. Unfortunately it is beyond most of our reach, as it is the Illusion Bolero Sheath dress by Alexander McQueen.
Even when it comes to accessories and jewellery Claire opts for a minimalist look. (If you have such gravitas of your own you don't need bling-bling to get attention, right?) Her go-to bag is the large black leather 'Muse' tote by Yves Saint Laurent. Simple and practical, but of exeptional quality.
Although Claire Underwood mostly sticks to brands that are not very friendly to your wallet, her look is actually quite achievable. In my experience the best places to look for a quality, yet affordable office wardrobe are Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, Zara and Mango. It's also a good idea to check L.K. Bennett, Reiss and J.Crew whenever they have a sale.
If you are trying to channel your inner Claire Underwood, these items might fit the bill.
PS. If you've fallen in love with a specific Claire Underwood item, the Tatiana's Delights shop on Etsy might be able to help you out. Don't hesitate to contact me!
- ABOUT TATIANA -
Hi there! I am a fashion and travel enthusiast living in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Tatiana's Delights is your online resource for preppy and minimalist fashion, travel tips, affordable home decor and adorable cat photos. You can find out more about Tatiana's Delights here.
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