How to Accessorize Like Claire Underwood from Netflix's House of Cards

If you finished a binge of the Netflix's series House of Cards, you've likely fallen in love with Claire Underwood's style. While we won't suggest that everyone go adopt her signature short haircut, there are other ways you can channel tv's most stylish villain. Played by Robin Wright, Claire Underwood's style is sharp, sleek and perfectly tailored. It's also very understated, which is perfect for the D.C. scene, where Claire wears clothing like a suit of armor. You may not want Claire Underwood's lack whatsoever of a moral compass, but if you are coveting her style, these accessorizing tips will definitely put you on the right track to emulating her look.  

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Choose Understated Jewelry

Claire Underwood
Netflix

You may have noticed that Claire Underwood's accessories are very understated. Despite her ridiculous wealth and fondness for the finer things, she is often seen wearing a simple pair of stud earrings and a plain wedding band. There is actually a  good reason for why she is accessorized in this manner. Unlike other metropolitan cities in the United States, being effusive with one's personal wealth is seen as extremely gauche in Washington DC. It's practically frowned upon.  If you are looking to emulate Claire Underwood's style keep your jewelry minimal, but of good quality.  

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Invest in a Classic Designer Handbag

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 In the first season of House of Cards, Claire Underwood was seen carrying YSL's Muse Bag that was considered seasons old. Again, this is a nod to the habit of not being overt or showy with wealth in Washington DC. Costume designer Tom Broecker was very deliberate when he decided to use this handbag, as he explains in this article. While it was an investment piece, Washingtonians are very practical. While they may spend serious money on something people may consider a luxury, it is generally an item they wear and use regularly. Similarly, if you'd like to emulate Claire Underwood's style it would be better to have one good investment bag in neutral color, than it would be to have a huge, trendy handbag collection.  

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Wear Neutral Pumps

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Photo: Christian Louboutin.

Few of us may have the budget for a closet full of Louboutin shoes, as Claire Underwood does. However, one pair of clean, classic and sleek pumps would be a smart investment, especially if your work attire is a little more formal. To keep it practical, stick with a classic hue, that won't soon go out of style. Black, nude, brown or grey heels would be the smartest way to go—take stock of your current wardrobe to make sure you're choosing the most versatile color possible. Choose heels that are classic in shape and design. Claire Underwood is never seen in trendy or flashy shoes that look passé just a few months later.  

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Consider Tortoise Eyeglasses

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Photo: Warby Parker.

Claire's eyewear of classic tortoise frames has become nearly as iconic as her short hair. When this show premiered, women everywhere either bought new glasses or wished for nearsightedness. If you love Claire's eyewear, look to Warby Parker's Preston style as a close match, if not exact.  

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Avoid Bright Color

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Fun fact: The color red was used only once in the first two seasons of House of Cards, no small feat for a show about politicos.   Instead of vibrant colors, stick with shades of grey, black, navy and other neutral tones. As costume designer Tom Broecker said, "With the neutral palette you can see the faces more, and we wanted to have the feeling of a Caravaggio painting and those carved out faces."

Less is more

When it comes to emulating Claire Underwood's style, it is all about simplicity and quality. If you find you feel a little bland and boring when dressing the Claire Underwood way, you can add in some punches of color and a few more accessories for some subtle flash. Regardless, keep your accessories high quality, modern in design and clean in appearance. It isn't about copying Claire Underwood's style exactly (we aren't cosplaying here), but you can draw from it for inspiration.