How to dress like Claire Underwood

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 55 Comments

If you’re scratching your head and wondering who the heck Claire Underwood is … it’s ok, she’s fictional.

She’s not part of my imagination.

No, she’s part of the imagination and genius that is the writing and production team behind Netflix political intrigue series, House of Cards.

Claire is played by Robin Wright and stars opposite the enigmatically evil Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood) as one-half of a Washington power couple which has its sights set on the US’ top political job – the Presidency. And no-one will get in their way.

(Spoiler alert if you have not seen Season 1 or 2: they get the job.)

Apart from the addictive story line, what has me obsessed about this show is the wardrobe of Claire Underwood.

And it seems I’m not alone.

This question from a reader:

Hi Nikki, I am just re-watching season 1 of House of Cards and I thought of you! I love Claire Underwood (played by Robin Wright) and her style and would love a wardrobe like hers. Even her running gear and pyjamas are amazing. Louise

Oh Louise, so would I. So would I.

There’s just a big thing getting in the way of me having a Claire Underwood wardrobe and that’s my bowerbird ways (I love a sparkly show pony … or a splash of leopard print) and on any given day of the week, I also like to mix it up with my wardrobe style personalities.

Not Claire.

She nails minimalism to a tee. Every time. Every day. Every occasion.

How to dress like Claire Underwood | House of Cards

Photo: Netflix (check out full gallery here)

Her wardrobe has a clever knack of being minimalist but it’s far from boring. This is why her wardrobe has garnered so much attention.

Her signature style is all about classic, fitted and structured pieces (often with a subtle twist). It’s about wearing neutral colours that are anything but dull. And it’s about showing her cool, calm (even under pressure) personality through the cool, calm exterior of her clothes.

It’s not about the fussy or frou frou but it’s undeniably feminine and incredibly sexy. Her wardrobe speaks power but without sacrificing her female side.

With her short hair style, Claire works a shirt or dress neckline like nobody’s business. She makes this her outfit focal point and it works every time.

Claire doesn’t wear patterns, with the exception of a subtle pinstripe. Her wardrobe colour palette features black, white, stone, navy, grey and maybe a surprise inclusion of mulberry/wine.

This minimalist style is not for everyone but it does offer inspiration for all of us.

Less really can be more.

We don’t need to make an outfit statement via a statement piece. The statement can be in the subtlety.

It’s ok to swap out a large statement necklace for a fine chain or none at all. Or switch drop earrings for small pearl or diamond studs.

It’s not about the latest trends. It’s about timeless classics with a nod to the current fashion era.

Yes, even Claire’s cream, silk pyjamas fit her signature style; as does her streamlined all-black running wear.

Pulling it off is all about inner confidence. Something Claire has in bucket loads.

Yes, Claire’s physique and poise naturally lends herself to this style but I think if you’re prepared to seek out garments that fit you perfectly – or enlist the help of a tailor or dressmaker to alter them to ensure you do – then you can embrace this look at any size or age.

Impeccable grooming is also key. Claire’s hair is always in place. There are never any tell-tell signs that she’s overdue for a colour appointment at the salon.

Makeup is flawless but naturally so. Same with nails. There’s a lesson in that for all of us, I think.

Here is a shopping/styling suggestion featuring Claire Underwood-style pieces.

How to dress like Claire Underwood | House of Cards

1. Cue dress $269 | 2. Witchery OCRF drape front shirt $99.95 | 3. Country Road skirt $149 | 4. Kate Spade earrings $49.95 | 5. Mimco bag $450 | 6. Guess heels $149

And as for her choice in nightwear, these gorgeous silk pyjamas from Australian independent label, Coco Soie, would be right at home in The White House, don’t you think?

Coco Soie silk pyjamas

Coco Soie silk pyjamas $149 (on sale)

So tell me, are you a House of Cards fan? Love Claire Underwood’s signature style? Could you do minimalist every day? 

Comments 55

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  2. Absolutely love House of Cards and Claire Underwood’s wardrobe too.

    You are right, her ability to carry off an understated look with confidence is what makes it all come together. I love the classic pieces and pencil skirts in particular. Just not sure running around after children lends itself to them just yet!

  3. Nikki, Thank you so much for linking up!! I have just finished “Orange is the new black” so I am ready to move onto “House of Cards” Netflix really will be the death of me! x

  4. In my past life I was a total conservative and a minimalist. Now I like to dress a little more wildly! That said a classic is a classic, hard to go wrong with beautiful, well tailored pieces.

  5. Love Robyn Wright’s (aka Carrie Underwood’s) look – like everything that appears simple and effortless – there is actually a lot of work that goes into achieving this look (and, as you rightly pointed out, a very disciplined approached to dressing)!

  6. In my heart of hearts I’m a minimalist (what can I say, I’m a Capricorn!) but occasionally I will bling it up a notch. Or my version of bling anyways.
    I adore House of Cards and I covert Claire Underwood’s wardrobe in my next life.

  7. In my heart of hearts I’m a minimalist (what can I say, I’m a Capricorn!) but occasionally I will bling it up a notch. Or my version of bling anyways.
    I adore House of Cards and I covert Claire Underwood’s wardrobe in my next life.

  8. Love HOC. Hubby & I are addicted after downloading Netflix the other week. We have watched 27 episodes in a week & a half! Onto season 3 now. I so wish I worked in an office to wear Claire’s wardrobe. Great post x

  9. Love this style Nikki – I just love the classic minimalist look. Hope you’ll be making this a regular thing. xoE

  10. Oh hooray, I can join in at last!
    Love, love, love HOC.
    Love Claire.
    She is so nasty but divine.
    I bought a blue business shirt with a white collar just like hers …the compliments I get at work when I wear it with my tailored black pants!
    Co-incidentally I saw the salesgirls at Trenery this week wearing that exact shirt with rolled cuff white jeans (tres cool), the shirt buttoned up to neck.
    Very sassy and 50s.
    Bring on Claire’s style to Styling You…you nailed the look Nikki.

  11. Ohhh yes..I’m so glad you did this post I’m a huge fan of Claire and can never get enough of her classic minimalism. Less has always been more for me, from the days of being a student of architecture but to nail minimalism so impeccably is something I dream of!!
    Love your picks Nikki..especially the Kate Spade studs!
    I did do a post inspired by Claire’s wardrobe too..last year 🙂

  12. One of my favourite shows. I’m itching for it to come back on – and yes, the fashion is part of it (shallow of me, I know!) I also adore the powersuits on The Good Wife. That structured jacket thing, omg, LOVE. Not much call for it working from home, sadly… 🙂

  13. Ha! Was just watching season 2 last night and obsessing over her look. I’m pretty sure she’s wears a cashmere robe as well… Love the minimalist look but I think as a pale skinned dark hair woman the neutrals and blacks can wash me out. Any tips Nikki?

  14. I’ve just fallen in love with her again! Loved every single example you picked and as I sit here at the cafe with hair going everywhere in the wind, in a floral hippy top. No I don’t think I could do it everyday but oh how I’d love to. Thanks Nikki. Loved it.

  15. Oh Nikki, I adore Claire Underwood’s wardrobe! There was a scene in I think the second series of her wardrobe: hanger after hanger of magnificent neutrals that I’m sure are all designer labels and feel like luxury in the quiet manner of a really chic woman.The restraint. The discipline. I die!

    Just like you I am a bowerbird, constantly distracted by the bright and shiny, but I admire anyone who can make this minimalism look so max.

  16. I have never watched it,but we are getting Netflix next month I do believe ,I admire any woman that pulls off a classy chic style and is impeccably groomed.Thank you for bringing this show to my attention. Nikki I love the pieces you have shown!
    Have a lovely weekend Nikki I hope there is some “me” time scheduled Xx

    1. Thanks Lisa … I think you’ll like the show … very addictive. They are evil characters but you can’t help liking them! I hope you have me time too Lisa. We’re doing a quick overnighter to Byron Bay so yes, I do!

  17. I love that show and the character!! Her hair, oh her hair. I just love it!! It just looks effortless (though I am quite certain it is not). I think I would love to dress like this until I see a show pony piece and then that would be the end of it.

  18. love the style they created for her! … thankyou nikki!
    classic and classy! … it says strong woman!
    especially if one is in that corporate world, that is how I would dress!
    I’d like to see some of her casual outfits for weekend and leisure wear!
    enjoy your day! love m:)X

    1. It does say strong woman but without losing the female bit. I’d like to see casual too … only pjys and running gear we’ve had a glimpse of. Can imagine a cashmere knit, indigo skinny leg jeans and expensive loafers.

  19. Simply adore this classic ladylike look!! In fact as I approach ” that certain age” I’m very drawn to a minimal feminine aesthetic.
    Love simple shapes of structured garments with beautiful Classic handbags and shoes…a nod to old school chic.

  20. Oh! Isn’t this lady’s wardrobe TDF!!! The HoC stylists and Robin Wright have just nailed this look. Impeccable grooming as you say. She wears a sheath dress and pencil like no other. Thanks Nikki for directing us to more affordable fashion items. Ralph Lauren, YSL and Louboutin slightly beyond my reach. Though I have my eye on a pair of red soled shoes to celebrate a special professional occasion!

    1. It so is TDF! And I think you should celebrate a special professional occasion with red-soled shoes! I haven’t celebrated my book’s release as yet as I’m waiting for our June trip to Paris and have a little clutch in mind!

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