Fantasy Costuming Fall 2013: Dressing Olivia Pope

23 Jul

TV Ate My Wardrobe’s Fantasy Costuming series took a brief hiatus and now that all of Scandal has been consumed it’s time to turn to one of the most talked about characters currently on TV. Olivia Pope is an interesting figure beyond her clothing of course, but aspects of her wardrobe set her apart from the usual Washington D.C. power suits and the lack of navy and red makes her stand out from the political crowd. Scandal costume designer Lyn Paolo isn’t a stranger to the White House scene as she worked on The West Wing. Even though they share a location Scandal is far removed from the that version of politics and creator Shonda Rhimes told Entertainment WeeklyI feel like The West Wing brought us Washington as we’d all want it to be. And this show brings us Washington as we hope it would never be.”

The costuming of Olivia Pope is far removed from Aaron Sorkin’s politic world (Mellie would probably fit right in as her First Lady pieces are pretty traditional). The first thing that is striking about Olivia is the amount of white she wears and this intentionally reveals several things about how she wants to be perceived – she’s the good guy, she’s not on the red team or blue team and there is a calming presence to her limited and neutral color palette.

Kerry Washington recently tweeted “I’m CRAZY excited about this #Scandal fitting that I am about to have with @LynPaolo – like giddy butterflies kinda excited. Wow” and so to fill in the time between now and the new season we wanted to find some potential outfits for Olivia Pope from all corners of the internet both high end and more affordable. For those who might love Olivia’s wardrobe, but might not want that much white in your wardrobe then we’ve got a few pieces for you. The gowns that Olivia wears are impressive (and sometimes one of a kind) but we’ve decided to focus on work and lounge wear.

French Connection Olivia Pope

French Connection A/W ’13 

Feminine tailoring is a key factor when it comes to the Olivia Pope look and this “Pop Dot Woven” jacket and matching pants from French Connection is an affordable way to deliver this sharp style. This outfit creates the all important silhouette and uses the key tones that we see in Olivia’s office wear. The contrast piping breaks down the polka dot texture, as do the black lapels, cuffs and pocket details on the jacket which help give it a structured appearance.

Burberry Spring 2014

Burberry Prorsum S/S ’13

Out of all of Olivia’s amazing clothes it’s not her incredible gowns that we here at TV Ate My Wardrobe covet (though we wouldn’t say no), instead it’s her vast collection of coats that take our fancy. Washington D.C. can get rather chilly in the winter (both the weather and politically) and so it’s only appropriate that she has so many. While we’ve already seen Olivia in a traditional Burberry trench, this more embellished “Double Duchess Caped Trench Coat” from Burberry Prorsum adds a modern twist with the canopy cape. While costume designer Lyn Paolo has said they try to avoid anything that is too catwalk, this version of the Burberry trench maintains the traditional look and enhances it without being too showy.

Carven mint-green


Mint green works on the Olivia Pope color spectrum and these Carven double crepe pants might be from last season (now on sale with more than half off) but pastel colors are here to stay and feature in collections for the fall. Olivia has worn green before in a slightly warmer shade than this in the episode “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” that saw a 10 month jump and showed Olivia trying to move on with her life (and failing to do so).  Hopefully if she was to opt for green again it would be under better circumstances; judging from how season 2 ended this is unlikely.

Maison Martin MargielaMaison Martin Margiela MM6

Not only does Olivia have a vast array of coats, but her lounge wear collection is also pretty impressive. Olivia is just as happy at home on the couch eating a bowl of popcorn and drinking red wine as she is fixing things and this grey oversized cape cardigan from Maison Martin Margiela MM6 is perfect. Luxurious knitwear seems like the worst idea as it’s super hot at the moment but come the fall when Scandal returns this won’t feel like such a ridiculous idea.


Reiss A/W ’13

Another office look for Olivia and this one maintains feminine and slim-cut styling, while also featuring a harsher edge thanks to the “Ezra” leather skirt. This wouldn’t be the first time we have seen Olivia in leather as she has worn olive leather leggings in the episode “Seven Fifty Two” (paired with a Burberry trench) and of course there are those many leather gloves. Black leather gives off a strong impression but pairing it with the “Mimi” frill neck and sleeve top offers a soft compromise. Olivia is going to have new challenges when Scandal returns so it is likely that her costuming will evolve.

Would these outfit choices get the Olivia Pope approval?

5 Responses to “Fantasy Costuming Fall 2013: Dressing Olivia Pope”


  1. Happy TV New Year and Turning Another Year Older | TV Ate My Wardrobe - September 3, 2013

    […] then a new idea will strike and it all seems worth it again. Or I’ll find out that one of my Scandal costuming picks is actually something that has been used in the forthcoming season (*spoiler* it’s the white […]

  2. Scandal Season 3 Promo Shots: The Storm is Coming | TV Ate My Wardrobe - September 13, 2013

    […] course she is prepared and this amazing Burberry white trench is the very same one I picked for the Olivia Pope Fantasy Costuming piece, a Fantasy Costuming […]

  3. Scandal 3.1 “It’s Handled” Costume Review | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 4, 2013

    […] back! After a summer of catching up with Scandal, talking about Scandal, predicting what Olivia Pope might wear and admiring what star Kerry Washington has been wearing we can finally […]

  4. Best of TV Costuming 2013: Scandal and Olivia Pope’s White Hat | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 12, 2013

    […] premiere when she wore this incredible Burberry trench – I’m still riding the high of predicting this piece would feature in season […]

  5. French Connection’s Pre-Fall 2014 Collection: Dressing Arrow’s Felicity Smoak | TV Ate My Wardrobe - June 17, 2014

    […] from designers and stores alongside some of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s best dressed characters. For Scandal’s Olivia Pope, high end designers Olivia has previously worn such as Burberry Prorsum (and I picked that coat) […]

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