Celebrity Look for Less: Kerry Washington's 'Scandal'ous Wardrobe
She's ultra-powerful & ultra-feminine
Crisis management guru Olivia Pope, Kerry Washington's character on ABC's hit show "Scandal," spends her days putting out five alarm fires. And thankfully for her devoted fans, her enviable wardrobe never gets covered by the soot of Washington politricks. Sealing the deal in six inch heels allows for an executive work wardrobe that's human resources tested, and fashionista approved. Her ensembles are awe-inspiring, ever-feminine and far from what the show's title implies.
As the first African American female lead on a network television show in nearly 40 years -- salute! -- Washington's Pope is inspired by real-life, former White House press secretary Judy Smith. Can there be any doubt that exuding professionalism with a pop of power in attitude and dress in front of the POTUS is de rigueur? We spoke to Lyn Paolo, the award-winning costume designer behind "Scandal," to find out how everyday working women can perfect their power suit look for less.
How would you describe Olivia's style? Olivia Pope's style is 'elegant business.' Tonally, it is all about shades of white. I try to always reflect the story through the color of the clothing, so if she is a gladiator in a suit, or a white knight, then she should be in white; however, as her character is evolving we are playing with darker tones as we learn more about her past and the challenges she is facing.
What favorite brands are used to dress her? Mainly, we use Armani, Max Mara and Escada, but we have used Tory Burch, Theory and Valentino, too.
What is the inspiration behind Olivia's look? Creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes' amazing pilot script. Shonda wrote about a strong, driven professional woman who has a fatal flaw -- her love of the President. And, like all tragic heroes, Olivia needed a silhouette and a sense of self to tell Shonda's amazing story. Early on, we talked at length in our concept meetings about Olivia's look and the palette of the show and we settled on using a light palette so that Olivia would always stand out in a group. We also wanted Olivia to be essentially feminine and we talked about soft fabrics which we felt would accentuate Kerry's amazing figure, hence Olivia's iconic trench was not made out of a stiff wool or gabardine, as most trench coats usually are.
How can others emulate the look for less? I would strongly suggest keeping things simple. Find a suit, slack or skirt style that suits your body and stick with that silhouette. If you can sew, tailor your go-to items. If not, find a local person or a family member who sews who can take up that hem or narrow a sleeve. You can look amazing and turn a fairly inexpensive garment into a custom piece with just a little alteration.