House of Cards is back. We repeat back! The fourth season of the sitcom, celebrated for its dirty politics and loaded dialogue, is about to hit Netflix. Fans are expecting answers to the big question: will Claire really walk away from President Francis Underwood? And, if so, what (immaculate and stylish) shoes will the First Lady be wearing as she does so?
Stylist Kemal Harris, who took over styling Claire Underwood last season, has posted a picture of the moodboard that has inspired her new season costumes. Featuring photographer Lee Miller’s portraits and the Dior archive shots, we can surmise that Claire’s wardrobe will follow the same ‘timeless, decisive and feminine’ mantra her stylists have carefully created across three season.
Tom Broecker was Underwood’s first costume designer – winning two nominations at the 2013 Costume Designers Guild Awards for his work creating the ultimate on-screen power wardrobe. “With her character we really wanted to have this armoured, tailored, right, nothing out of place feel,” he’s previously told Elle of working on House of Cards set.
The result was a host of outfits from Prada, L’Wren Scott, Armani and Theory that looked polished and barely veered from a simple palette of black, grey and white.
Harris kept the same aesthetic last season but introduced some new designers to the First Lady’s White House wardrobe. Alexander McQueen, Altuzurra and Proenza Schouler were featured on screen and Harris also custom made clothes for actress Robin Wright to wear – some of which seemly inspired real life First Lady Michelle Obama.
So what secrets can we learn about dressing for the job you want from the ultimate ice queen in Manolo shoes Claire Underwood? Here’s four tips to take away:
Thanks to a quality seamstress, Underwood’s clothes fit her like a glove. Harris has previously revealed that almost every piece is altered to suit Wright’s shape, but that fittings are done on a mannequin (an exact replica of Wright) to save the actress countless hours of pinning and tucking.
Made-to-measure services might seem like a costly habit to get into, but focus on tailoring to get the best results. A blazer that hugs your shoulders rather than swamps them is a powerful garment to own.
Claire’s careful edit of accessories – a Cartier watch and Saint Laurent Sac du Jour – spell out power. They are considered, practical and, most importantly, timeless. Even her spectacles – medium tortoiseshell rims – toe the line between functional and fashionable. Frivolous is not a word that can be associated with the First Lady.
No ‘off-duty’ looks
Would Claire be seen dead in denim? What do you think? The closest Underwood gets to ‘off-duty’ is her slick black running gear and a pair of silk pyjamas for the bedroom. If you want to emulate power, you have to be committed to a seriously slick silhouette. Harris has previously referenced Lauren Bacall and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy as her costume muses for Claire, and both women read from the same classic book of fashion.
Underwood’s wardrobe riffs off a strictly clean colour scheme. Think block coloured garments in beige, grey, navy, black and burgundy. This might seem safe, but feminine prints risk looking fussy next to her suit-clad male counterparts.
Carefully considered necklines
Note the neckline on Underwood’s dresses. With her cropped hair cut, the scooped neckline always reveals enough of her honey-coloured skin to look tantalising, but not sexy. This truly is an art. We advise steering clear of push-up bras to achieve the same aesthetic. Designers known for their classic workwear – Ralph Lauren, Derek Lam, Jason Wu – are also a safe bet, as they will stick to the demure lines they are famed for.