Ten things I’ve learned from Claire Underwood’s closet

By February 28, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

Fair warning! – House of Cards wardrobe spoilers ahead.

Like most of America, I finished season 2 of House of Cards last weekend. And all I can say is wow to both the plot and the consistently fabulous wardrobe of Robin Wright’s character, Claire Underwood. Her closet continues to inspire me, many of my clients, and a whole lot of the internet.

Interestingly, this season was outfitted by a new costume designer. Claire’s pieces do come across a bit softer (just a bit), but the underlying impression remains the same: sleek, powerful, and no nonsense.

As I’ve mentioned before, clothes speak volumes about us, whether we like it or not. Claire (or more specifically, the costume designer for Claire) chose to use this power to her advantage, creating the exact image she wants to convey to the world.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned from Claire Underwood’s closet.
(Disclaimer: I will be speaking as if Claire is a real person. I hope we’re all ok with that.)

1. It’s in the delivery, not the acquisition. 

Claire’s pieces are tailored, tailored, tailored! This means they don’t necessarily come in looking the way they do when she wears them. A button-down from Banana Republic might seem ho-hum on the rack, but after being altered to your body, it will deliver a sophisticated, flattering punch.


The big picture is what matters. 

Once the pieces fit, Claire knows the complete look is what offers the most impact. She chooses modest pieces that mix well together for an overall cohesive feel. She also pays close attention to her hair, accessories, and shoes. While they may seem insignificant in her minimal look, you can bet the vice presidency that every detail is meticulously thought out.

3. Neutrals don’t have to be boring. 

 In fact, they can have an astounding impact on your closet’s versatility. Claire’s wardrobe consists of blacks, whites, creams, blues, and camels. This makes morning dressing easier because you know everything goes together!  Claire also masterfully mixes different textures of the same hue, creating an interesting visual impact that’s still uniform.


Re-wearing the same outfit is more than fine.

Claire boldly recycles entire outfits. Many times in the second season she appears in the same dress and skirt/button down combo. This is another perk to neutrals – they tend to be less noticeable than loud colors or prints, so you can easily re-wear them without anyone noticing. Not that Claire would care if you noticed.


Good pieces make you look great, even at 4 in the morning. 

During one episode, Claire is woken up in the middle of the night and has to catch a plane. She whips out a simple camel dress, zips it up, and pulls on brown heeled boots. She’s out the door in under five minutes. When you know everything in your closet fits, then choosing something in the dark can be pretty darn easy. This is also a perk of minimalist dressing. Claire doesn’t bother much with layering or accessorizing. She simply doesn’t have time for it.

6. Accessories are overrated. 

And I say this as a huge fan of costume jewelry. Seeing Claire don simple diamond studs and the occasional slim watch has made me want to toss my entire jewelry box. This doesn’t mean you should, but it demonstrates that with confident pieces, you don’t have to depend on accessories to complete the outfit.


There is such a thing as age-appropriate. 

The term age-appropriate gets such a bad rap! It can be a good thing. Claire’s character is 47 years old. I don’t know how 47 years olds are supposed to dress (if you do, please enlighten me), but I do know that what she wears feels right for her age and position in life. Her style emanates sophistication, sensibility, confidence, and understated sex appeal. Those are all things I’d love to be known for in my 40s. If Claire wore Zoe’s wardrobe, wouldn’t we be a little confused?

8. Clothing is armor. 

Clothing offers protection in unsure situations. This is partly why Claire’s wardrobe has gained such notoriety. It speaks directly to how the character wants to be portrayed. And it offers a barrier from vulnerability. They may be just clothes, but they can feel like a suit of armor when you need support to face the ruthless public (or your husband’s colleagues).

9.Small details can speak volumes. 

Case in point, Claire’s interview dress. A subtle asymmetrical neckline turned a standard black sheath into the evening’s most popular frock.

10. Posture makes everything look better. 

Claire’s posture is so good, she almost arches backwards. And that is a large reason why her clothes come off as so stunning. She carries herself in a confident way. Let’s all practice a little high head holding once in a while. It can make even our H&M pieces seem sophisticated.

To start your own Claire-tastic wardrobe, I suggest beginning with these key items:

Non-iron blue button down from Banana Republic.
Classic black pencil skirt from Halsbrook.
Fitted sheath dress from Black Halo

Check out more inspirational pieces (minus the Claire heads) on my latest Pinterest board.

   And remember to TAILOR IT ALL! Even the cheap stuff.

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