360 Review: Dr. Lisa Cuddy

In the 360 Review, Corporette examines a “professional woman”s” attire and critiques it from all perspectives: underling, boss, friend.

lisa cuddyDr. Lisa Cuddy (of FOX’s House) is one of the most interesting dressers among TV’s set of professional women. If you don’t watch the show, her character is the Dean of Medicine and hospital administrator of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital General. She’s a doctor by trade (darn good one, too) but her job now runs the gamut: supervising nurses, doctors, janitors; comforting grieving families; wining and dining investors. As such, she’s wearing a suit or business casual outfit about as often as she’s wearing a doctor’s coat or scrubs. In her personal life, she’s ready to be a parent, and a lot of her plot lines revolve around her having problems with fertility treatments and choosing a sperm donor. While in the plot she’s obviously single (and is occasionally portrayed as being on a date), she’s always 100% professional at the hospital. (She’s played by actress Lisa Edelstein, who is beautiful and in stunning shape.)

The Good: Cuddy knows which colors work on her, and goes with a steady wardrobe of black, taupe, and grey, mixed with red and pink. She’s daring sometimes — mixing prints with prints. Her long hair is always neat and professional, whether it’s worn down or up in a French twist or bun. In terms of brands we suspect she gravitates towards Nanette Lepore, DKNY, and other brands that are classic yet feminine. She uses color wisely, and she occasionally draws from menswear in an inspired way.

The Bad: Cuddy’s choice of clothes is stellar, but girlfriend could use a size or two bigger. She’s a petite woman and in great shape, yet frequently her jackets pull at the buttons and her skirts and pants make that dreaded “smile” — they’re so tight that they pull across her body, the fabric wrinkling into a smile. She also makes some poor choices in terms of blouses: they’re often unbuttoned down to mid-chest level. To make matters worse, she wears small, choker-type necklaces that only emphasize the distance between her neck and the vast expanse of clavicle she’s exposing.

Our take: Cuddy looks great 50% of the time, but dresses in inappropriate attire way too often for a woman of her stature. Yes, she’s smoking hot, but come on, button it up a little. It would be hard for people below her to respect her — those tight skirts! that cleavage! — because she dresses like sex is on her mind 24/7 (even if her character doesn’t act that way). If we were her superiors at the office, we would be reluctant to promote her — her outfits would interfere with most of her present job’s duties. If we were friends with her we’d steer her towards some great camisoles, or even some longer necklaces to raise the eye level a bit and fill the gap. We might also recommend a tailor to help with some of her size issues.

lisa cuddy style
It’s hard to mix print with print, but she does it well.

lisa cuddy fashion

Nice use of a button-down shirt and sweater vest. Note that here, the collar is necessary to keep the eye from going directly to her bust.

dr cuddy fashion
You’re kidding us with this, right? Come on.

dr cuddy style
Very nice look with the pocket-square. She’s stealing a page from men’s fashion, but looking feminine and beautiful while doing it. She’s also mixing prints again, which we love.

lisa edelstein fashion
The acceptability of a brightly colored suit depends heavily on where you live — it’s just out of vogue in some places (New York) whereas in others it’s completely acceptable (Washington, D.C.).

lisa edelstein style
Ballsy, Dr. Cuddy. Very ballsy. We’re undecided on whether this works or doesn’t, but if it does it’s because you look great in hot pink.

cuddy house style
It must have been “Dress like Queen Amidala” day at the hospital.

lisa cuddy style 3
Love this look — the puff sleeves and lightness of the white shirt are so pretty and feminine and soft, but the sweater vest makes it professional and businesslike.

cuddy house fashion
Yeah, see how your skirt is pulling across your body like that? That’s a sign you should have gotten the 0, not the 00, in the skirt.

cuddy house style (2)
See supra — the jacket should not be pulling like that.

cuddy fashion
Anything reminiscent of lingerie or negligees is hard to pull off at the office. See, e.g., here — it’s a perfectly acceptable top but the sheer sleeves give it a bedroom feel that’s inappropriate for the office.

OK, who else was bawling from the last episode of House?

Unrelated, but if you’re a fan of the show, check out this video.


  1. Well, I never thought I’d read an entire blog entry on women’s fashion, but I’m such a fan of this show, and Edelstein is one of the chief reasons – and I’m not just talking about how attractive she is. The House/Cuddy relationship is so refreshing.

    “House” is one of the great outposts for rational thought in mainstream entertainment – it’s really the only other one besides the “Star Trek” franchise.

    And that season finale was a stunner.

  2. I loved this article :)

  3. Anonymous :

    I am a professional woman and I think that you are right on about the style here. I am, interestingly enough , both a doctor and the same size as Cuddy. I would never wear all the wild things that she does ,but it is fun to watch. Unfortunately mostly we wear scrubs and clothes that are comfortable. We are on our feet for 12 hours and we would never wear those incredibly high heels. I was really interested in the outfit she had on in the Dec 2 episode. The little black top with the tight skirt was cute but way to sexy for the hospital. Remember we are trying to be taken seriously. The real dean of medicine would never even let us know she likes clothes, much less has breasts.

  4. Anonymous :

    if your talking about the episode where cuddy gets the baby from the dead kid i was glad she got the baby but very sad the poor little teen died =[

  5. This article was great and I have to agree with you on all of the things that she wears. She is definitley daring when it comes to what she wears to work. I do think that she is very pretty though. But it does show why House never takes her seriously. When she wears all of the low cut tops it doens’t make her seem like a professional Dean of Medicine. Thank you again for the article it was great!

  6. Only one I disagree with is the white puff sleeves and the sweater vest–looks like she’s about to sing “Edelweiss” or plop down beer and brats. Somewhere between Heidi and a naughty schoolgirl.

  7. Right on with the comments. I love some of the outfits she wears on the show, but I also agree that there are some that I know that I will never wear to work.

  8. Passions55 :

    I disagree that she wears inappropiate clothes half the time. She always looks classy in my opinion and she knows how the dress for success. I think people over exgerate how slinky her clothing can be at times. For a woman her age I think she is allowed to wear more stylish looking clothes even if she is the dean of medicine; and really a Female Dean of medicine shouldn’t look dowdy or frumpy eighther. I think the way Cuddy dresses is awsome and shows she is a proffessnal yet comfertable in her own feminity. Too often female proffessionals try to surpress their feminine sides just to seem tough or comanding. Cuddy dressing the way she does just shows how empowered she. If House doesn’t respect her it’s because, well he’s House. House doesn’t respect ANYBODY. If Cuddy dressed like a nun in street clothes he would make comments about her attire to. It’s just how he rolls. Granted I do believe she at times wears blouses a bit too lowcut but thats a about it. In my opinion Cuddy dresses feminine, not provactive. Just my two cents.

  9. Love this!! You guys should do “Deborah Morgan” — Dexter’s sister on Dexter.

  10. Blonde Lawyer :

    Oh yes! Deb would be great! Except law enforcement is a bit different because you have to have room in the tops for a bullet proof vest and you usually have to wear pants in order to wear a gun belt. But as an ex-law enforcement girl, I still wear pants more often than not and would love to see a post on her! If not her, what about the female detective in SVU!

  11. I think comparing her clothes to real life situation is pretty ridiculous unless you are using it as a teaching tool for new graduates. Come on people, this is TV drama not RL. As LE says her outfits are fine for an imaginary hospital. You would not see doctors running tests, breaking in patient’s houses, and catching people’s vomit in a real hospital either.

  12. I agree with Wins!! She’s a CHARACTER in a FAKE hospital

  13. Just to clarify, most of her wardrobe comes from Prada, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana and Versace. They feel the Italian designers are best suited to accentuate her curves.

  14. Cuddy is ALL WOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can’t take that from her!
    YOU be doudy if you want!
    We’ll, all, have plenty of time to be old and ‘buttoned up’…Not our Lisa; Not now: It’s not her time yet!
    She’s ‘SMOKIN’ ‘!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Cherlynn Guy :

    Who makes that pin-striped lab coat. I love it! It’s feminine but professional. Does anyone know??

  16. Yes, who makes that white pin stiped lab coat Cuddy wears in the 2007 episode “Top Secret”?!!!! It’s Awesome!