House of the Little Black Dress: Power Neutrals for Claire Underwood

It’s that time again-House of Cards Netflix viewing addiction begins!  There are pressing questions to be answered:  Will the Underwoods survive the twists and turns of the  Washingington plots that they are usually the cause of? Will their various lieutenants go along for the ride or will they retaliate? Finally, will Claire break out of her fashion conundrums and finally wear a color?

I like neutrals just like the next fashion girl but the slavish attachment to the color grey has me in a fit.  After the first 8 episodes of the new season-it’s clear that Claire as the First Lady refuses to take charge of the fashion reigns and switch it up a bit. She also has taken on a job as an Ambassador and therefore has to stay firmly in business dress code territory. She has also this season, changed a few of the shapes such as the navy trapeze dress she had on in the Russian episode that later became a dangerous diplomatic incident (no, I won’t share the end of this one). At the White House Russian dinner episode, she was wearing a silver gray satin gown that was beautiful on camera: alas, gray once again. But all is not totally lost. The white and black combination has brought a fresh take on the season along with the new shapes of the dresses and the new options in structure and tailoring. What I question,  is the characterization of her role shown with a double vision of the hard edged minimalism combined with her hard edged personality. Historically, the most powerful women in Washington wielded their swords wearing Oscar de La Renta.  I would like to see a few more soft edges as Claire realizes she does not need to dress like a man to be powerful. The symbols of fashion power appear to be minimalism in this vision and Robin Wright certainly wears them well.  What I want to see is a more “Operatic” or “Shakespearian” through line of colors that winds throughout the episodes just like the plot line.  The introduction of a deep burgundy red or a navy or midnight blue tone that would remind us of the Lady Macbeth role or Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” might add just a hint or layer of the dramatic to what generally seems to be a rather flat selection of colors.  I don’t fault the shapes or styles, but a powerful color palette of neutrals that might be punctuated by a deep tone or color takes on a significance in the development of her character as would the introduction of something sheer edged, perhaps an organza fabric in a blouse that is both sculptural and picks up light and shadows.  I love the clothes,  but this season I am longing for a surprise.  I have a  half of a season of episodes  to watch yet.

Can’t wait to see where the fashions will take us.

Here are some of my favorites and thank you to the various “Pinsters” and wardrobe sites online who contributed to these images.