5 Strategic Styling Tips We Picked Up From The Politician

The Styling Strategy Behind the Costumes on The Politician


Courtesy of Netflix

Here's the thing about politics: It's all one big performance. So, it's hard to believe that it took until 2019 for someone to create a captivating show that focuses so sharply on the behind-the-scenes machinations of creating a candidate in the modern era. Enter The Politician, the latest collaboration between Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Brad Falchuk (better known as the creators of Glee), which has been captivating viewers since it dropped on Netflix last week.

We were mesmerized by not only the incredible performances from Ben Platt, Lucy Boynton, and Gwyneth Paltrow but also the impeccable styling of each and every character. This key facet in the overall look and feel of The Politician can be attributed to its costume designer, Claire Parkinson. Although her IMDB credits go back to 2011, The Politician marks Claire's first foray into owning the costume design for an entire series, and we have to say, she definitely earned our vote. 

Below, check out Parkinson's takeover of the Who What Wear Instagram, in which she answered fan questions and shared sneak peeks on set, and the style tips we learned along the way. Regardless of whether you bleed blue or run red, we can all agree on one thing: We can't wait to see what Payton Hobart and his perfectly styled supporters are up to (and get dressed up in) for season two. 

Claire and her real-life sister/assistant, Lily, at the premiere of The Politician

Prioritize the Process

Mood-boarding is an essential part of the styling process and helps the actor to visualize their character before stepping on set. 

The Styling Strategy Behind the Costumes on "The Politician"


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Q: Where did all the power suit inspo come from?

A: McAfee's style was inspired by David Bowie, Gloria Steinem, Katherine Hepburn, Mick Jagger, and many more!

Mood boards can also help inform your go-to brands for pulling looks based on the aesthetic trends that align with each character. 

Embrace Color and Power Suits

This matching oversize pink suit commands respect for all the right reasons. 

We feel Jackie O vibes radiating hard from the future first lady on the show, Alice. 

Cardigans are a staple for any true prep—the ruffles make it Alice-appropriate. 

Payton's vibrant wardrobe proves that you can be a serious candidate without forgoing playful pops of color.

Accessorize Effectively

The contrast between Astrid's and Alice's styles makes it hard to believe they'll ever agree on anything. 

These Astrid-approved earrings say, "I'm here to make a statement; I'm just not sure what it is yet."

When it comes to politics, it helps to have a clear and concise platform. This "tennis" outfit is pretty straight forward, and we like that for Astrid. 

Embrace Androgyny

It was inspiring to see such strong fashion statements for all body types and identities, proving that modern-day politics don't have to be quite so binary. 

Skye is probably the best dressed of the whole lot—and that's saying something! We love her on-trend jumpsuits, accessories, and ambition.

We're pretty sure Skye wears this exact jumpsuit.

Use IRL Inspiration

The Styling Strategy Behind the Costumes on "The Politician"


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Q: Who as per you is the best-dressed politician?

A: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi always looks so chic! And we like how Senator Kamala Harris pairs her suits with smart sneakers when she's on the campaign trail.

If the environment is top of mind for you, there are more and more ways to shop sustainably. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for cutting down on your carbon footprint when it comes to shopping. 

Huge thanks to Parkinson for sharing her styling strategies with us. We can't wait to see what she has in store for season two!

For more fun takeovers with your favorite stylists, follow @WhoWhatWear on Instagram. 

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