Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Small Screen Style: House of Cards

cards-7.jpg
robin-2.jpg
robin.jpg
cards-6.jpg

A woman who makes badass decisions needs a badass wardrobe

As the intriguing, alluring wife of Kevin Spacey’s machiavellian politician, Robin Wright gave us 2013’s best dressed woman. Anna Hart is happy to see her again...

By far the most interesting thing about House of Cards’s scheming politician Frank Underwood is his wife, Claire. Two series in, we’re still desperate to understand Claire’s devotion to her slimy, philandering and often unlikable husband. What on earth has Frank got, that can captivate a woman of taste, style and substance like Claire?

Her cropped ice-blonde hair, her faultless way with a shift dress, her expertly chosen YSL and Mulberry handbags; this stone-cold fox is a mistress of minimalism and a masterclass in professional dressing. Her flawless wardrobe makes Wright mesmerising to watch, and it’s all too rare for a female character over the age of 40 to be given the opportunity to glow like Claire Underwood does. But Claire’s impeccable sense of style serves a deeper purpose: while we might question her broader tastes - in husbands, in employees she fires, in surreptitious hand-jobs - we never for a second doubt that she has it. No, Claire has good taste by the Mulberry-bag-ful; she knows what she’s doing.

In a conventional drama, the villain’s wife tends to be powerless to some degree; psychologically or physically trapped and at least partly kept in the dark. Claire, by contrast, is a power player, and we know that she’s looking at Frank with her eyes wide open. Every time she strides onscreen in an elegant camel cashmere coat, or a strapless metallic evening gown, we’re reminded that Claire is a woman who makes decisions. The right ones. She’s not one of life’s snivelling drifters; like Frank’s former lover, Zoe Barnes. Clad in her armour of cashmere and Calvin Klein, Claire is angular, enviable and untouchable. Sympathy, concern or pity would just rebound off her.

Claire’s immaculate taste is part of what makes House of Cards such thrilling, disconcerting viewing; it probes our understanding of right and wrong just as effectively as Frank’s unstoppable and undeserved ascent. We might not understand their decisions, we might even call these decisions morally wrong, but we also know that in this murky political world, Frank and Claire are always right.

Watch House of Cards on Netflix

Photos: Rex Features

Related

use.jpg

Small Screen Style: Borgen

sherlock-and-watson.jpg

Small screen style: Sherlock

saga-nor-the-bridge.jpg

Small Screen Style: The Bridge

Comments

More

Where to buy the most iconic party dresses in film on the high street

Including THAT green dress from Atonement...

by Sejal Kapadia Pocha
19 Jul 2017

Daily outfit inspiration with our look at the best dressed A-listers

Casual dressing ideas from stylish celebrities

19 Jul 2017

25 fashionable and functional bikinis for summer 2017

Invest in one of these stylish pieces to see you through the rest of summer

18 Jul 2017

The latest H&M designer collaboration is here and it's fit for a royal

Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama and Alexa Chung are major fans

by Harriet Hall
13 Jul 2017

Meryl Streep has an insane Barack and Michelle Obama handbag

And you really need to see it

by Kayleigh Dray
13 Jul 2017

H&M just announced a collaboration with this very chic French brand

by Nicola Colyer
07 Jul 2017

Nickelodeon has released a seriously retro fashion range for adults

Because who wouldn't want a Rugrats t-shirt?

by Jasmine Andersson
07 Jul 2017

This week’s Style List: jewels, summer scents and statement towels

All your sunshiny needs sorted

05 Jul 2017

This River Island dress is a summer must-have, according to Instagram

Fashion bloggers are obsessed with this high-street frock

by Kayleigh Dray
05 Jul 2017

This major fashion brand has stopped retouching models’ stretchmarks

“I’ve never ever seen a model with stretchmarks and I needed it.”

by Moya Crockett
30 Jun 2017