Workwear Inspiration from House of Cards: How to Get Claire Underwood’s Style

how to get Claire Underwood style from House of Cards2018 update: We still love this discussion about how to get Claire Underwood’s style, but you may also want to check out our Work Outfit Challenge for more workwear inspiration!

A lot of women have taken major workwear inspiration from Robin Wright’s character in Netflix’s series, House of Cards — so today we thought we’d take a deep dive on how to get Claire Underwood’s style.

(Psst: curious for more workwear inspiration from TV, film, and beyond? Check out our look at Selina Meyer’s style secrets (from Veep).)

To me, the scene that says everything about Claire Underwood is in Season 4, when she comes home from her trip abroad to find her husband recovering from surgery — instead of putting on something comfortable and climbing into a bed to sleep, she doesn’t unbutton or unfasten a single thing, sits down at the settee at the end of the bed, and falls asleep, 4″ heels still on. Girlfriend is BUTTONED UP, and comfortable that way. She is extraordinarily disciplined, as evidenced also by her fit physique (she runs through graveyards, of course) and extremely tailored clothes. I’ve always found her sideswept short hair hard to believe for her character — it would drive me batty to have hair in my face all day — but perhaps the costumer wanted to get as far away as possible from Princess Buttercup waves.

How to Get Claire Underwood Style: Wear Black & Whitehow to get Claire Underwood style: wear black and white

Claire sticks to the basics and wears a lot of black and white.

Workwear Inspiration from Claire Underwood: Pick Classic Skirt Suits

how to get Claire Underwood style: wear skirt suits

Claire favors classic skirt suits in colors like gray and black. While many of her dresses are crew necks, you see more V-neck looks with the suits.

Claire in House of Cards Style: Choose Interesting Seaming Instead of Jewelry

how to get Claire Underwood style: go for interesting seaming details instead of jewelry

In general, she wears almost NO jewelry, instead going for interesting seaming or buttons (so many shiny gold buttons in the latest season!) for effect. The three images above show her preference for crewnecks — but note that diamond-effect made by the first and third dresses; it’s a very flattering thing the costume designers choose for Robin Wright’s body type.

Claire Underwood Style Trick: Go Military

Robin Wright style House of Cards

Now, full disclosure: I haven’t watched all of Season 5 yet, but I zoomed through Netflix to take some screenshots of this season’s outfits. Without giving away too much plot, let’s just say that a lot of her outfits, to me, look like they’ve got a military look — shiny buttons, epaulets, olive/khaki colors, and more. (I think that blue dress with the buttons is hideous (first picture above), but that’s me.) (Ha, and I wrote this before the NYT had similar thoughts this weekend.)

Dress Like Claire: Go Wild With a Wide Neckline

how to look like Claire in House of Cards: go for a wide neckline

The most skin we really see from Claire Underwood is when she opts for a wide neckline, such as in some of the looks above. Again, her lack of jewelry is interesting — I think the pearls in the first picture are the most I’ve seen her wear.

Claire Underwood’s Style Secret: The Cropped Jacket

how to look like Claire in House of Cards: choose cropped jackets

I was… intrigued to notice that Claire has worn a LOT of cropped jackets over the years. I suspect this is the costume designer trying to either a) accent how fit Robin Wright is or b) give her a bit more of a waist, since her body type seems to be more “straight” — but it’s interesting to note since I feel like cropped jackets are a bit uncommon elsewhere. (For those of you who hate shrugs for work: What are your thoughts on the cropped jacket look?)

Ladies, what workwear inspiration do you draw from Claire Underwood in House of Cards? Have you been inspired to try to get Claire Underwood style? Which of these style tricks do you already do? 

How to Get Claire Underwood’s Wardrobe

It really isn’t very hard to get Claire Underwood’s wardrobe look — but these few dresses and blazers out on the market now seemed particularly Claire-like.

How to get Claire Underwood style - Awesome workwear inspiration from House of Cards, Robin Wright, and Claire Underwood.

Claire Underwood's style in House of Cards offers major workwear inspiration! These are some of the best looks from her minimalist, sophisticated, classy wardrobe... Wondering how to get Claire Underwood's style from House of Cards? Robin Wright's character offers some awesome workwear inspiration. We took a look at some of her best outfits and the style secrets you can steal for your conservative office. Wondering how to get Claire Underwood style - particularly her more military fashion inspiration from Season 4 of House of Cards? Check out some of our favorite workwear inspiration from Robin Wright's character in House of Cards. Here's a major style tip from Claire Underwood in House of Cards: opt for interesting seaming instead of jewelry. See more workwear inspiration and fashion tips in our roundup. How to Get Claire Underwood Style: Go wild with wide necklines. See some of the other best fashion and style lessons you can take from Robin Wright's character in House of Cards in our full post on Corporette®. Cropped jackets for the office: yea or nay? If you've always wanted to dress like Claire Underwood in House of Cards, they may be a yea -- she wears a TON of cropped blazers and jackets for work. See the other best style tips you can take from Robin Wright's character in House of Cards.


  1. Cornellian :

    I have a similar build to her. Does anyone have ideas on where to shop for cropped jackets? I’m trim, pretty “straight” up and down, broad shoulders…

  2. I was a big fan of the Clare look/wardrobe in prior seasons. Not a fan of her clothes/hair this season though. They are trying to change it up…

    • I also love her Waredrobe, but do NOT have the body for it. She is much taller then me, or at least she appear’s taller then me, and she does NOT have a tuchus. If I could look like her, I would gladley sacrafice a little of my good looks, as she also appear’s much older then me. I hope I do look like her in a few years! YAY!!!

  3. I love Claire Underwood’s wardrobe and can only hope to look that polished.

    The other takeaway is to wear lots of neutrals. I mean, can you picture Claire in a hot pink shift dress? I cannot. (One of many reasons why I will never look as posh as she does. I like color way too much.)

    • I think jewel tones can look very polished. And pops of bright color work wonderfully (speaking as another fan of color). My favorite is pops of orange.

      • Not saying colors can’t look polished, but I think it’s easier to go wrong.

        • Anonymous :

          I think that with her coloring, hot pink just wouldn’t look right on her. And baby pink is just wrong for her character.

          If she had different coloring, it would work.

  4. How to get Clare Underwood’s look

    1) be genetically gifted
    2) work out like a fiend
    3) eating is for losers
    4) have an unlimited wardrobe budget
    5) have everything pressed to perfection between 20 minute takes
    6) have all pieces tailored within an inch of their lives

    • 7) Be able to walk long distances and stand for long periods of time in towering stilettos

    • Anonymous :

      Robin Wright also admits to a lot of Spanx for her HOC look.

      It’s like the tailoring is so extreme that she probably can’t eat a burrito for lunch without some serious seam straining.

    • This is a good reminder – I love the look of straight sheath dresses but I have hips and hold a lot of my weight in my belly so even at my thinnest, it’s a look that doesn’t really work on me because I don’t have the Claire Underwood shape.

  5. Why am I so tired? :

    Is anyone else tired all the time? I do have a thyroid issue, but I’m medicated and my levels are kept on the high side since that’s where I feel better. But I am still just tired most of the time.

    I get enough rest (8-10 hours a night!) but I still wake up feeling tired. foggy and not exactly sore but stiff (we have a good mattress and I don’t feel any better anywhere else I’ve slept so I don’t think it’s the bed). It takes me awhile to get up and get moving because it’s hard to get out of bed when I feel not great. After an hour of so of moving around I gradually feel less stiff/achy buy my energy levels are still lower than most peoples.

    I’ve just started to realize that most people don’t wake up feel like this but I can’t really remember every feeling better (I’ve had a thyroid condition for a long time) and I am wondering if this is that unusual and what others do.

    I’m not overweight. I do a bit of walking every day. I lift medium weights 2xs a week. So I’m not a fitness superstar but I think I’m doing ok. I’m out of guesses and my endocrinologist says all my blood work is fine.

    • Coach Laura :

      I used to wake up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. In my case it was a symptom of gluten intolerance/celiac disease. You might try an elimination diet or talk to your doctor. You don’t say what type of thyroid issue you have but sometimes celiac and thyroid disease are linked.

      • Why am I so tired? :

        Thanks – I hadn’t thought of it being possibly related to diet.

        I have Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune thyroid disease, and am hypothyroid but supposedly medicated properly….

        • Coach Laura :

          Yes celiac and Hashimotos are both autoimmune. They have been verifiably linked by research. B12 and vitamin D deficiencies are often found in celiacs. The fact that your doc didn’t pick up on any of these is disturbing. I would ask for a Celiac screen right away.

          • Absolutely. I have celiac, mom has Hashimoto’s. And yet she had to BEG her doctor for a celiac screen (it was negative but still…)

      • +1

        If it’s an autoimmune thyroid condition, you may be getting autoimmune symptoms even though you’ve gotten the thyroid levels where they need to be. It’s also not uncommon to have a comorbid autoimmune condition.

        The other possibility is that you are having T4 to T3 conversion issues, so you are still experiencing hypothyroidism. Not all doctors accept that this is a thing that happens in normal patients, but some people find T4/T3 medications (as opposed to T4 only) life-changing.

    • Anonymous :

      Switching Jobs and sometimes taking vitamin D and B12 have helped me. I think more than anything I was burned out at work from the type of work, not being valued, and toxic work atmosphere.

    • Are you on Synthroid? Some people respond better to Armour Thyroid.

      • Why am I so tired? :

        Thanks, yes I am and it seems to work better for my than Armour. I’m also on cytomel, Vitamin D and B12 shots. sigh

        • Why am I so tired? :

          Also my earlier response is in moderation…? Anyway, maybe it will show up and be a repeat ;0

        • Anonymous :

          I have the same issues. Being tired seems to be constant. Enough sleep, exercise (cardio), sunshine and low on carbs seems to help me.

    • givemyregards :

      I also have thyroid disease and second getting tested for celiac – I don’t have it but a new doctor told me that if you have autoimmune thyroid issues you’re more likely than the general population to be celiac. Have you had your b12 tested lately? A few years ago I was low and had to go in for monthly b12 shots b/c my body wasn’t absorbing it via oral supplement. Having said that, I still don’t have an easy time getting up in the morning and I think part of it is that I just genuinely require more sleep than the recommend 8 hours. I really need more like 9-10 to be able to pop out of bed feeling great.

    • How is your sleep? Do you snore or have apnea or other disordered sleep? What you describe is my DH, who recently tested for severe apnea. He can sleep for 10 hours and wake up exhausted, because he is not actually resting for most of that time.

    • Hashimoto’s can often be caused by celiac/gluten intolerance. I also used to have exactly the same foggy, exhausted feeling that you describe and it went away 3 days after I cut out gluten entirely. Worth talking to your dr about.

      • Seconding. I had heard “brain fog” described by others, but did not really understand what it was until mine went away after I quit gluten.

    • Anonymous :

      My mom suffers from arthritis and the soreness/stiffness is similar to what she experiences. Maybe check into that?

      • I was also waking up tired and stiff during last year. It lasted for 6 months and then I got a strong lower-back pain and ended up at x-ray and magnetic resonance to find out I have degenerative disc disease (I am in early 30s). Not saying you have the same issues, just trying to point out that the issue may be something completely unexpected (I myself suspected thyroid problems and this was a real blow as there is no treatment). I would talk to your GP as soon as possible.

        • Coach Laura :

          OKAY so this is very anecdotal but I was also diagnosed with degenerative disk disease DDD before being diagnosed w celiac and after having been gluten free for a period of time my DDD pain went away. Now n=1 and I’m not saying that everyone w DDD will see symptoms resolve after going gluten free but gluten does cause joint and back pain for susceptible people.

    • Hi, I had the same thing – tired all the time, on thyroid medication but not really helping, there could never be enough sleep even with naps. My doctor put me on a mild antidepressant and 3 days in, it’s helping a lot of things, including the fatigue. YMMV, but it worked for me. A lot of stress in my life the past few months and it came down to that.

  6. Anonymous :

    But how do I get General Antiope’s wardrobe? Isn’t that the real question?

  7. Candidate :

    I actually had Claire Underwoods hairstyle for a few years, grew it out long, and just cut it back again. The sideswept part in front doesn’t bother me, just a little bit of pomade can hold it in place. My hair also naturally flips up on the ends which makes it a low maintenance hairstyle for me. Perfect for canvassing. ;-)

    PS I’ve turned in one ballot access petition and have another 80% done, so I should have no trouble clearing the number of signatures needed. I’m still having fun, learning a lot, and feeling more connected to my community. I’m working on active listening skills too.

  8. In-House in Texas :

    She wore a great sweater this season with two rows of buttons down the middle. Very military-like. Loved it!!

    • Hated it.

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      I loved it, too! Though, this season, I am not liking her wardrobe as much as I usually do. I liked the dress with the buttons all the way down, the sailor pants, and the olive green dress, too.

  9. New Tampanian :

    I may or may not have looked up her stats (height, weight) recently. Made me feel like it’s not completely impossible to get that toned. I adore her style on the show.

  10. I had that blue dress in a blue-gray woven silk with a velvet mandarin collar and tarnished pewter buttons in the mid-90s. I loved that dress.

    IMHO, the problem with the one in the photo is that the contrast between the fabric and the buttons is too stark.
    in something lighter, but tonal, the buttons would have been much more flattering.

  11. Spam.

  12. Late to weigh in here, but I think Claire’s wardrobe slipped considerably after Kemal Harris took over. I know it’s tantamout to swearing in church in fashion circles, but some of the outfits look like something my granny would wear. The military nods are just silly and contrived. The grey Ralph Lauren evening gown is lovely, though.

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