Scandal fashion: Dress like Olivia Pope

If you love Scandal fashion (and I know that you do) then you’ve probably already checked out my episode of Shop the Shows that reveals the secrets of Olivia Pope’s Scandal style. I had the unique opportunity to interview costume designer Lyn Paolo last year to get all the scoop behind Olivia Pope’s clothes from Scandal.

But, in addition to Scandal, Lyn also outfits the casts of Shameless and Southland, which leaves her with little time to peruse the racks at Barney’s and Neiman’s.

After careful consideration – and mega input from Kerry Washington – Lyn created a palette of soft pastels and lush fabrics that make Olivia glow in every scene. And then she turns to Scandal’s key costumer Kristine Haag to raid the racks and turn Lyn’s vision for Olivia into reality.

Possessionista (virtually) sat down with Kristine to talk about what she looks for when shopping for Olivia Pope, and what tricks viewers at home can use to get Olivia Pope’s look from Scandal.

olivia-pope-200x204Possessionista: What is Lyn’s vision for Olivia

KH: Lyn’s Vision for Olivia-  These are her own words from other interviews. “My idea was this woman would always be in lighter tones. That way she stands out in the male-dominated world.”  “The main thing about Kerry for me is the color and the palette because the set is dark,” Paolo says. “She almost always is in white, pinks, peaches and creams in that world.

Possessionista: What are some brands that you gravitate towards when shopping for Olivia?

KH: Brands we work with a lot include Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Escada, Max Mara, Dior, Akris and Ralph Lauren

Possessionista: What stores do you frequent?

KH: I find my self in Beverly Hills almost every day. Saks and Neimans are always good sources for  Brands that don’t have boutiques here in LA. I also go to Bloomingdales flagship store at Century City. Then there is Rodeo Drive so there I have made lots of great friends with all the nice  people in the boutiques. Escada, Dior, Max Mara, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani occasionally Prada and Saint Laurent. Recently Eres and La Perla  for special pieces.Sometimes I have to ask my self… How did I get here?  Is this for real? I get to shop in the  most beautiful stores every day and pick out the best stuff. Damn I’m a lucky lady!

olivia-pope-fashion-200x300Possessionista: What are some ways women can dress like Olivia on a budget?

KH:  I think the genius part about Lyn’s Idea is that she found a great color pallet that works well on Kerry and flatters her skin tone. I think alot of people over look the power of color and how it plays against their own skin and hair. Any woman can find the right color pallet for them and really make it work. Not every one can wear white all day and keep it clean but you can find the right tones and shades of colors that work best for you.

Possessionista: What stores would you recommend for getting Olivia’s look for less?

KH:  Stores that could serve a working woman on a more realistic budget..hmmmm… I think great options in a lower price point are places like White House Black Market, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Department Stores likeMacys. Dillards and even JC Penney all have collections that include business attire. Its really about understanding your own body and how to flatter your assets.

Options in a more mid range price point could include places like Hugo Boss Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Max & Co ( Max Mara’s Lower Price Point Line)  Tahari and Theory are great mid range price point brands that do great women’s suiting. Two good English brands that make great women’s suiting include Ted Baker and Reiss.

You can really find the right things in almost any store if you know what your looking for. It’s not about the label.. its about picking the right pieces and take it to the tailor and have it fit for your body.   This will make all the difference in any off the rack garment.  Every body is different and having it nip and tucked to fit you and  will make a lower price garment look like a designer piece.

Possessionista: What kind of pieces should someone look for to dress like Olivia Pope?

KH: Things that really make OP stand out from the average lady in a suit I think comes in the  subtle feminine details. Her color pallet really sets her apart from every one else. How ever I am always looking each piece over and looking closely at the detail. I never pull anything too trendy. I think its important to Lyn and Kerry both that the lines of the garments are clean. Every piece has a subtle elegance about it.  I think so many of the Armani pieces are a perfect example of how to take a  traditional male pant suit and softens the lines.  Its really finding a balance between masculine and feminine. Things with asymmetrical closures or details always seem to go over well.  Clean lines are a must! Nothing too busy. Prints are always very subtle. Finding the right suit jacket that flatters your shape can be a challenge, so understanding where your true waist is and then finding a silhouette that flatters your shape is key. If your shorter then a jacket that is long in the body will just  make you look overwhelmed.

 scandal_fashion-300x238Possessionista:  What’s your favorite piece Olivia has worn

KH: Wow that’s a tough one. there are so many its hard to pick.  Personally I love the Ann Demeulemeester Military Double Breasted Jacket from Episode 210, “One For The Dog” and the Escada – Gorinn Gown Episode 215, “Boom Goes the Dynamite” I love it when I find something I know they are both going to go crazy for. Its almost like when I touch it it speaks to me. So when that happens I have to listen.

See everything Kerry Washington wore as Olivia Pope on Scandal

Kristine’s Olivia Pope Shopping Checklist:

  1. Is it in “the Color Pallet”  (i.e. White, Cream, Tan, Camel, Any shade of Grey, or Navy  on a wild day soft pastels pale pink, pale green, ice blue)
  2. Is it Classic?  If its to trendy or crazy fashion forward- skip it
  3. Is it strong?  (i.e. If its to overly feminine/frilly/lacy- skip it. Olivia Pope is serious business so she has to look strong and command respect. If its overly girly- skip it.)
  4. Is it Clean? (i.e. Are the over all design lines of the garment  or is it simple and sophisticated? If it’s too busyin design detail or print skip it)
  5. Will the proportions flatter the body? Too much fabric will overpower anyone.    Garments should fit well. This is the key to really being put together!    If it’s overly boxy or flowy- skip it


5 thoughts on “Scandal fashion: Dress like Olivia Pope

  1. Nelly

    great interview thanx!! I am superly duperly obsessed with this show!

  2. Nad

    Please I would like to know who designed the white cocktail dress olvia pope had on March 28th 2013 episode of scandal A snake in the garden.thanks

  3. Megan

    Loved this!!! Thank you 🙂

  4. Lauren

    Really great interview, I’ve already got it bookmarked. 🙂

  5. Mary Thomas

    I absolutely ADORED the dress that Olivia (Kerry Washington) was wearing for the Scandal Premiere – Season 5. She wears black and white so well – and usually the camera will take an opportunity to show her in her full outfit, walking – standing, something – but for the premiere we got only side views and glimpses. Can we get a full shot of that dress??? I’d love to see an article on her black & white outfits if someone gets inspired!

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