Need some tips on crafting the perfect office wardrobe? In our minds, there’s no better person to look to than Scandal’s Olivia Pope. Ahead of the show’s return tonight, we turned to its costume designer, Lyn Paolo, to get her expert advice on building a boss-lady wardrobe à la Pope. From the one piece every working girl needs to her Scandal set style secrets, Paolo spilled lots of juicy tidbits.
Scroll down for our chat and to shop pieces for your own working wardrobe!
Who What Wear: What can we expect from Olivia’s outfits in upcoming episodes? How will it be different from previous episodes?
Lyn Paolo: Olivia is going through a transition, and she is stronger than ever. We wanted to express that a change had happened, and we decided to do this with color. We will develop a new language for her costumes in the second half of the season, and I know our Gladiators will figure out very quickly what this new evolution of color means.
WWW: What’s the one piece that should be in every working girl’s wardrobe?
LP: Jackets, jackets, jackets. Honestly, you can wear almost anything underneath, and if you throw a jacket on, you’re suddenly dressed for the office. If you want to make a great impression at the office, wear it during the day and leave it behind after work for the bar/restaurant. My other favorite go-to for Olivia in the office is, of course, her collection of stunning pumps. Heels do rule for meetings and making an impression.
WWW: What's the key to re-creating Olivia's signature look for real girls?
LP: Find what works on your body. Be like Olivia and keep it simple at work—make your outfit your uniform. This will help you with time and also ensure that you always look good, no matter how rushed you are in the morning.
WWW: What are your top dos and don’ts for office outfits?
LP: No cleavage, please. Also no wrinkled clothing. Always try to look fresh and alert. If your clothes look messy, people will think your mind is equally messy. Have a pair of heels or boots with a heel for meetings, and keep your flats under your desk. At the end of a season on Scandal, I have about 15 pairs of assorted shoes under my desk!
WWW: What are your go-to brands for Olivia’s wardrobe?
LP: So, so many, from Target (yes Target) to Dior—it’s that wide of a span. We look at everything, every runway, every new launch. We are constantly looking for something that can transition into classic and yet fashion-forward workwear. I would have to mention Max Mara, Burberry, Prada Prada Prada (how many purses can one girl have?), Manolo Blahnik, Vivienne Westwood, and Armani.
WWW: What’s the hardest part about your job on Scandal? What’s the easiest?
LP: Gosh, this is just a difficult thing to answer! I love creating new characters and their looks, so for me the hardest part of my job is when I don’t get enough time to be as thoughtful as I would wish. This is often one of the challenges of the fast pace of television.
The easiest part is hard to find too. I just love it all! Seriously. I love my job/career. I am so grateful to Shonda Rhimes for that call five years ago that has led me on this fantastic path. I would say that the easiest part of my job is working with Kerry Washington. We work so well together, and Kerry is a joy and a pleasure in every way, so working with her is always the easiest part of my job.
What’s your go-to office piece? Tell us in the comments below!
Opening Image: ABC