What to Wear to Work Tomorrow

If you need wardrobe inspiration, look no further than TV’s political series. Managing kids, husbands, countries—as well as their own and others’ images—the women of prime-time Washington have streamlined their style choices

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Robin Wright as Claire Underwood, House of Cards

With a closet full of form-fitting dresses, Claire Underwood ditches accessories (aside from her House Majority Whip husband, Francis Underwood). That minimalist style says that she spends more time plotting her next political move than she does thinking about her attire. We love the sexy simplicity of Claire's look, but if a dress like this is too tight for your office, or you prefer not to go sleeveless, top it with a cardigan or a light leather jacket. 

Netflix

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood, House of Cards

Claire rarely does casual (aside from her trademark running attire), proving here that even a classic button-up can be chic when perfectly tailored and paired with thick-rimmed glasses. But the occasional dress-down day isn’t the only reason to keep an Oxford or two in your closet: They’re also great for layering under dresses that are a bit too revealing for the office.

Netflix

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood, House of Cards

Ah, the perks of being your own boss: Claire can get away with this low-cut number, and we know she likes that it has caught the attention of her on-again-off-again temptation, Adam. This one might be best left for your next after-work soiree, but don’t load up on the accessories just because you’re out on the town. Claire lets her form-fitting dress and fantastic figure do the talking.

Netflix

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep

VP Meyer goes easy on the accessories and makeup to balance out this dramatic plunging neckline; the addition of a skinny black belt adds a focal point. Of course, when you have a folder full of government documents in hand, you don’t need much else. 

Bill Gray

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep

Tuck a loose-fitting top into a high-waisted black skirt and you’ve got a go-to work outfit. VP Meyer keeps it interesting by choosing a busy pattern.

Bill Gray

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep

VP Meyer is the leader of her disorderly pack in this strappy black dress (does it remind you of something our current FLOTUS might wear?). If it doesn't provide enough coverage for your office, throw on a blazer for daytime wear.

Bill Gray

Jenna Elfman as Emily Gilchrist, 1600 Penn

Because impressing an entire country isn’t enough for one woman to handle, FLOTUS Emily Gilchrist is also trying to win the affection of her stepkids. We say she can’t go wrong in this modestly cut, form-fitting sleeveless number in an excellent, wearable color. Too bad she’s not being judged on style alone.

Byron Cohen/NBC

Jenna Elfman as Emily Gilchrist, 1600 Penn

This particular FLOTUS couldn’t care less about Washington’s conservative rules of dressing, and nothing says that louder than this bright red peplum shirt and matching fitted skirt. The ensemble has all the professionalism of a skirt suit without feeling stuffy. 

Byron Cohen/NBC

Jenna Elfman as Emily Gilchrist, 1600 Penn

Into the sea of suits in Washington, Emily brings a belted blue top paired with an olive green skirt. This look wins Gilchrist high marks whether she’s meeting with a teacher or welcoming visiting diplomats.

Byron Cohen/NBC

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Scandal

As the owner of a crisis management firm, Olivia Pope answers to no dress code but her own. We love this green Max Mara power suit, especially paired with her black Prada tote.

ABC/RON TOM

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Scandal

This grey wool Armani jacket is one of several high-end staples in Olivia’s closet; she also wears Escada, Valentino and Paul Smith. When it comes to dressing for work, Olivia is a pro at meshing modesty and fashion—too bad we can’t say the same for the rest of her behavior.

ABC/CRAIG SJODIN

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Scandal

What better to wear when managing a crisis than a classic tailored white blouse and a fitted black skirt? The long, beaded necklace adds a subtle feminine touch to this otherwise professional look. No fashion crisis here, just a whip-smart Washington exec who looks the part.

Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish, Political Animals

Former first lady and current Secretary of State Elaine Barrish is well put-together in this blue, high-waisted skirt by Eric Winterling. High-waisted skirts are a favorite of Elaine’s, and for good reason: They're super-stylish and work appropriate.

David Glesbrecht/USA Network

Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish, Political Animals

Polished and patriotic are the norm for this one-time presidential candidate. The bright red necklace from Capri adds an interesting note to an otherwise under-the-radar office ensemble.

David Glesbrecht/USA Network

Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish, Political Animals

Family drama, foreign affairs, pressure to run (again) for president, it’s all in a day’s work for Elaine. This one-piece halter top outfit sends just the right message: She’s both powerful and current.

 

Next: Hail to the Sheath: Reporters Wear This Season's Best Silhouette

 

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