With half the town hunkered down binge-watching the second season of House of Cards (Shop Around included), there’s been endless chatter about the show’s mind-boggling plotlines and anticipation for season three. But now it’s time to address a vital component to said plot: the wardrobes. Specifically, the sleek, designer-laden closet of Claire Underwood.
While Claire’s morality gets mixed views, one thing is certain: She looks, at all times, indisputably powerful. Her polished yet feminine wardrobe paired with unfailing poise catches our attention episode after episode; the minor but transformative details of her clothing take the standard power suit to a very fashion-forward place. The asymmetrical neckline on her black dress in episode four, shown above, is a beautifully edgy upgrade to the LBD, while slight peplum hems add a ladylike flair to otherwise nondescript blazers and pencil skirts.
Tom Broecker, the show’s stylist from season one, described Claire’s wardrobe as “running the gamut” brand-wise, with the Second Lady’s closet containing “Theory, Banana Republic, one or two Ann Taylor Loft items . . . for night it was Narciso [Rodriguez], Gucci, Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Zac Posen.” Her office looks, Broecker added, usually combined Banana Republic with high-end pieces by L’Wrenn Scott, Calvin Klein, and Prada.
Not too shabby.
That a woman can exude such stature through her personal style—much like our other fictional style crush, Scandal’s Olivia Pope—is a feat to aspire to here in Washington, where the addictive shows are set. Prim and professional, both Claire’s and Olivia’s work wardrobes speak for themselves—nothing more than a minimal diamond stud here and there call any extra attention to their appearances.
A new stylist has replaced Broecker this season, and the costumes have lightened up a smidge, but we remain fans of the neutral, sleek pieces shown off by a strong female lead. While Claire is our by-far favorite clothing-wise, she’s not the only standout: Remy Denton, who plays a cunning lobbyist, dons pieces by master suitmaker Tom Ford; twentysomething reporter Zoe Barnes wears a realistic mix of Zara, Topshop, and Urban Outfitters.
Click through our slideshow for a peek at some of Claire’s best looks.