HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 2 FASHION: WHAT CLAIRE WORE EP 3-6

When costume designer Tom Broecker left the stronghold of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his House of Cards behind at the end of the Netflix series’ first season, there were some mighty big — and expensive — shoes to fill.

Lucky for us,  Gersha Phillips hopped right in. Not only did the stylist seamlessly take charge of one of the single most coveted wardrobes on the small screen, she also seamlessly helped raise the owner of that closet, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), up another wrung in the political ladder:  From wife of the Majority Whip to wife of the Vice President.

Below (via a phone interview with On Screen Style), Gersha — who was head costumer until chapter 20 when Johanna Argan took over — unveils the wardrobe secrets behind the first half of season 2.

[***DON’T MISS MY POST ON SEASON 2, EPISODES 1-2!!***]

claire house of cards season 2 clothes

As Second Lady, Claire’s style became more polished but not “quite as hard and fitted,” the the costumer said.

CLIMBING THE POLITICAL LADDER
We polished her up. We put a little more money into it. In some ways we looked at Michelle Obama and Jackie O. and created our version of that on Claire, but still sticking sticking with her style that was created in season one to reflect the new position she has. I wanted Claire to still have that Claire-esque feel about her. Robin herself didn’t want it to be quite as hard and as fitted. She’s the one who wanted to do the flared skirt look, so found some that we liked and we just brought the bodice in a little bit.

Claire Underwood Robin Wright Alicia Florrick House of Cards The Good Wife Dress Tailor

Politician’s wives Claire and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) share dresses and tailors

TAILORED TO PERFECTION
[Tom] used this amazing tailor out of New York named Lonnie Richards, who literally built a dress form in Claire’s size and if anything is too little, she can alter things and make them bigger, which is a god send. I used her, too. We had her initial fitting with her in New York with Robin, and then after that I would pin it and send it to her and she would send it back and it would fit like a glove. She works on The Good Wife as well. She’s excellent.

house of cards claire underwood blue sheath dress

Claire wears the same blue sheath dress in both season 1 and 2

STYLE DEJA VU
[Repeating outfits] makes them more human, so I like to do that. I know Tom did that, too. Even now if you look at Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama — they re-wear their clothing. They don’t just wear it once. It makes them look more like real people, which is what they really are. Robin liked the idea, too. I remember when we started, Robin was like, “I can wear some of my stuff from the first season.” She was also quite involved in that. I said to her we had the money to [get new pieces], and I remember her stomping at price tags and saying, “Oh my god!” Robin’s a really down-to-earth jeans and t-shirts lady.

Claire House of Cards Gray and Black short sleeve dress robin

HOC Executive Producer David Fincher “doesn’t like a lot of color on his lead actors,” Gersha told OSS (to find out who made this gray dress check out my post on the season 2 premiere)

DAVID FINCHER’S RED TAPE 
There’s certain things that are [Exec Producer] David Fincher’s signature — like no prints, no reds.  He has very strong opinions about clothing and about what he likes and doesn’t like. It’s not that he doesn’t like the color red, he just wants to use it for very specific reasons — it’s used to make a very specific statement because it screams look at me, look at me. So if you use it, you have to be very careful. That’s why, if you notice in all of his movies, there’s not a lot of red. He doesn’t like a lot of color on his lead actors.

Claire Underwood House of Cards White Long sleeve dress black belt robin

Claire’s sharp style help offset the First Lady’s feminine, softer look

ABOUT THAT WHITE DRESS
The first lady [played by Johanna Going] looks to Claire as a strong woman who’s more aware of what was going on. So [for that scene in chapter 18], we chose something that was feminine but made more of a statement. It’s really sharp and it has really strong lines, which we always kept with Claire. As a DP said, it was always great to light her. I think in that scene, they started with her shoes. They really love shooting her and whatever she’s wearing to the fullest extent.

Frank Francis Underwood House of Cards Suits Kevin Spacey

Frank Underwood’s (shown left in the season 2 premiere and right in the finale) hair and suits got gradually — and intentionally– grayer as the story unfolded

 

GRAY MATTER
Kevin came in and had lost 20 pounds or whatever when we started. He wanted a slimmer silhouette — that Bobby Kennedy look. We basically transitioned him out of these Gieves & Hawkes suits, and I had just put him in Ralph Lauren fuller cut and was moving into the slim Burberry cut suit. I can’t remember who coined the phrase, but he was to look “otter like,” was the term that was given to me. So, it was like the graying of him —  so basically even the tonality of his suits got grayer. As his hair got grayer, his suits got grayer. It was very interesting, it was supposed to be something you barely noticed on camera but it was happening. So if you an image of him from the beginning of the season and one from the end, and if you put them together, you’d see the difference, but because it’s so gradual you wouldn’t really notice it otherwise.

*****

Claire Underwood House of Cards Robin White Wrap Shirt Top

 (From Season 2, Episode 3, Chapter 16; also seen in Chapter 14)

*****

CLAIRE’S WHITE FAUX-WRAP, CROSSOVER SHIRT:
Ralph Lauren Collection Susannah Wrap Shirt (no longer available)
GET THE LOOK:
White House Black Market Faux Wrap Shirt
Jones New York Wrap Shirt 
 

Claire Underwood House of Cards Short Sleeve Double Breasted Jacket Cardigan

 (From Season 2, Episode 3, Chapter 16; also seen in season 1)

*****

CLAIRE’S BLACK DOUBLE-BREASTED, SHORT-SLEEVED JACKET/CARDIGAN:
By Akris Punto (couldn’t locate a product image online!)
GET THE LOOK:
Akris Punto Wool Knit Crop Bolero
Bianca Nygard Cropped Cardigan
Lafayette 148 Cropped Cardigan
Claire Underwood House of Cards CNN black dress season 2 robin wright
(From Season 2, Episode 4, Chapter 17; also seen on Alicia Florrick [Julianna Margulies] in The Good Wife, season 4, episode 22, “What’s in the Box?”)

*****

CLAIRE’S BLACK, ASSYMETRIC-NECK, ORIGAMI-PLEATED DRESS:
By Antonio Berardi (couldn’t locate a product or runway shot online!)
GET THE LOOK:
1. Black Halo 3/4 Sleeve Jackie Dress
2. J. Crew Origami Dress
3. James Perse Bateau Neck Dress
Claire House of Cards Robin White Long Sleeve Dress Black belt

(From Season 2, Episode 5, Chapter 18)

*****

CLAIRE’S WHITE, LONG-SLEELVED DRESS WITH BLACK BELT :
Roland Mouret Classic Crepe Dress (didn’t see one for sale anywhere online)
GET THE LOOK:
Club Monaco Abby Knit Dress
Kelli & Talulah Long Sleeve Dress
Topshop Fit & Flare Dress
Claire Underwood House of Cards White Blouse Black Trim Robin Wright

(From Season 2, Episode 5, Chapter 18)

*****

CLAIRE’S TIPPED/BLACK CONTRAST-TRIM WHITE SILK BLOUSE :
Akris Punto
GET THE LOOK:
1. St. John Piped Blouse
2. Vince Contrast Blouse (there’s also a few sizes left in this top here)
3. Calvin Klein Roll Sleeve Blouse
Claire Underwood House of Cards Black Pencil Skirt Robin Wright

(From Season 2, Episode 6, Chapter 19; also seen in other episodes)

*****

CLAIRE’S BLACK KNEE-LENGTH PENCIL SKIRT:
Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cady Skirt
GET THE LOOK FOR LESS:
H&M Pencil Skirt
NY&CO Suiting Pencil Skirt
Express High Yoke Pencil Skirt <– my favorite match!
Claire Underwood Black Short Sleeve Turtleneck Camel Tan Pencil Skirt

(From Season 2, Episode 6, Chapter 19)

*****

CLAIRE’S SHORT-SLEEVE BLACK TURTLENECK :
Ralph Lauren Black Label Turtleneck
GET THE LOOK FOR LESS:
Theory Elizabeth Mockneck Top
Lauren Ralph Lauren Short Sleeve Turtleneck

*****

CLAIRE’S CAMEL PENCIL SKIRT :
Gucci Classic Pencil Skirt (product image found on eBay)
GET THE LOOK:
Ellen Tracy Pencil Skirt
Ann Taylor Pencil Skirt 
The Limited Pencil Skirt
Claire Underwood Season 2 House of Cards Navy Blue Dress Robin Wright

(From Season 2, Episode 6, Chapter 19)

*****

CLAIRE’S NAVY BLUE, BOAT-NECK SHEATH DRESS :
Haven’t been able to ID this one yet, but when I do I’ll update the post!
—————-

Check out more on House of Cards style on OSS by clicking right here!

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