I’m a big Scandal fan. Like so many other women, I want to see what Olivia Pope will wear each episode. If you’re a Scandal fan like me, there’s a good chance you admire Olivia Pope’s style too!
If you’re not a Scandal fan, here’s the juicy storyline to catch you up…Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) of Olivia Pope & Associates is a crisis management expert based in Washington, D.C. Her clients are Washington’s political elite, including, The White House. By the way, she’s also having a wildly passionate on-again/off-again affair with The President of the United States (that’s the juicy part:).
I love the way all the Scandal characters dress for their role. Whenever I see an article or interview with the Scandal costume designer Lyn Paolo, I look forward to reading it. She’s the real behind the scenes star of Olivia’s stunning style! I’m curious to learn about Lyn’s style perspectives and strategies when she’s making wardrobe choices for each of the characters. I think it’s fascinating to see the thought that goes into crafting an image to build trust and create the desired perception.
To make the actor/actress in the role as credible as possible, the costume designer studies the character, learns the plot line, and understands how characters are positioned to interact with each other. When the character is wearing the appropriate outfits for their role, the audience gets swept up in the story. If the wardrobe is not spot-on, it would become distracting, the character would lose credibility and it would not work.
That’s the same impact of style in real life! That’s also the same approach I use to style clients.
As business professionals, we’ve made a choice to cast ourselves in the role of our chosen profession. Our credibility is critical to building trust with our ‘audience’. When we are not wearing the appropriate ‘wardrobe’ for our role, it can be distracting to the audience. It will take longer to build trust and be seen as a competent professional.
This is the reason style is a business strategy!
In a compilation of articles with Lyn Paolo, I’m sharing some of my favorite quotes where she shares her style strategy for Olivia Pope’s character development. It’s so interesting, there are many parallels to styling yourself for your business image!
The Olivia Pope Character Strategy
When Lyn was preparing to dress Kerry Washington as the powerful Olivia Pope, she wanted to create a “uniform” for Kerry’s character. She wanted her to look professional and appropriate for the conservatism of Washington D.C. and be accepted in the male dominated political environment. As much as she wanted the character to blend, she also wanted her to stand out.
In the styling work with my clients, they want the same! They want a business wardrobe to blend and be appropriate yet at the same time, they want to stand out.
The Olivia Pope Styling Strategy
Lyn wanted Olivia to be relatable to real working women. She didn’t want her to be dressed like a Fashionista who had a lot of time to shop. Lyn said, “If you walked into her closet, she’d have 30 suits and you could wear any of them with any of the blouses and the shoes and the colors all work together because she doesn’t have a lot of time to shop. We stick to the same purses; we try really hard to not make her too frivolous. She’s not going to run into Dolce & Gabbana and buy one of their bright florals. She has to walk into a room and demand and get respect and I don’t think she has time in her life to worry about what she’s going to wear, so she’s smart about her closet.”
My clients are busy and they all want a low maintenance style routine. They want and need to look great to make a powerful impact, but it needs to be fast and easy. When you have a brand style closet, it’s effortless to stay consistent and look great every time you get dressed.
The Olivia Pope Color Strategy
Lyn said, “Color needed to be a big part of the story. I wanted Olivia to be a beacon of light. When you’re a strong woman in any business, I think a lot of people can find that intimidating. Olivia Pope is very strong and I didn’t want to have her in a lot of dark suits, so I pitched the idea of having her wear a lot of pastels and winter whites to bring out a feminine side – I call it elegant femininity. I wanted to convey femininity with color, in a soft palette to see a strong female character look like a lady. When her life is muddy and she’s not certain of who she is or where she’s going, she wears a lot of gray.”
I use color as a strategic part of my styling story. In my work with clients, we create a color palette to align with your personality, values and goals. Color is a powerful way to convey the message you want to get across. It provokes emotion; it’s memorable and can be used strategically to create a powerful style statement.
Olivia Pope’s Scandal style sets a new template and celebrates a paradigm shifting definition of professionalism, power and femininity for women. When the Scandal clothing line was launched, Kerry Washington said in a promotional video, “Women often feel that they have to be either smart or beautiful, powerful or pretty, either fashion-forward or successful,” you can be all of those things. You can be fabulous and fearless.” They want to show that a woman does not have to choose. She can be all she wants to be!
So the next time you watch Scandal and admire how effortlessly polished Olivia Pope embodies her character in Chic style, you’ll know her look is the result of deliberate, strategic decisions designed to accentuate her character and position her to stand out as a powerful, feminine, professional business woman!
Join countless women who have completed the most unique styling program. My proven 5-Step Brand Style Power Signature Brand Style System gives you all the invaluable tools you’ll need to:
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These priceless skills are simple to learn and provide you with a low-maintenance routine. You’ll confidently shop with ease, get dressed faster and look amazing every time you leave the house to represent your brand in every area of your life, for business, leisure and social. Learn more about my style programs to get your life-enhancing, career game-changing Signature Brand Style here.
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