Style Tips For Working Girls, Straight From The Set Of Veep

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Here in Washington, some of our power-player cred comes from the abundance of smart and savvy professionals who use their 40+ hours a week to shape our country's policies and programs. But, just because most of the District's day jobs are serious and studious, that doesn't detract from our style savvy.

Still, we know it can be tough to navigate the professional world and embrace your inner fashion maven. So, we got Ernesto Martinez, the head costume designer for HBO's new political sitcom Veep, to give us a one-on-one lesson on power dressing. We're smitten with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, Vice President Selina Meyer — the attitude, the potty mouth, the fashion! And much to our delight, she's dressed to thrill in every episode, proving that Hollywood might just be changing its opinion of our fair city. Read on for Martinez's tailored advice for dressing in the District, flattering your figure, and more.

What inspires you when you dress Selina Meyer’s character? How would you describe her style?
"I love the way Michelle Obama looks these days. She is quite inspirational in her wardrobe choices — she seems to walk a very nice line between professionalism, motherhood, and being current in fashion. When I met Julia, she echoed the same thought. She loves the way Michelle looks. And there was no other role model in office to emulate."

How do you find clothing that is both flattering and sexy (this is HBO, after all), but also keep things practical and Capitol Hill-appropriate?
"It is difficult to find outfits that work. However, Julia has a great figure and loves clothes — it doesn't hurt that she really knows how to wear them. I look for fine details in garments, such as stitching, seaming, and tailoring. Fabrics are always a key player in the choice of garment. We love fabrics with a bit of recovery, or stretch, in them."


Photo: Courtesy of HBO/Bill Gray
veep13slideDo you think Capitol Hill dress codes, such as no bright nail polish or open-toed shoes, need to be loosened up?
"No, I think those are good rules. I do feel that women in politics could stand to add a little bit of fun to their closets. Suits need not be so bright and garish — you can look professional and sexy."

Which brands and designers make clothing suitable for a woman in Selina's position?
"I think designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Elie Tahari, Theory, Helmut Lang...Michael Kors, and Kate Spade are all good designers for D.C. They are all different and work well on different ages of women."

Any specific tips for flattering your figure?
"Spanx!!!!!"


Photo: Courtesy of HBO/Bill Gray
veep01slideWhat is your favorite Selina outfit so far from season one?
"I love her red dress in the first episode. Also, her pink dress with [the] self-flower she wears in Episode 5, when she thinks she is going to Paris. Her leopard blouse outfit, also...I like them all!"

Who are your top three best-dressed women in politics, past and present? And what about the best-dressed men?
"Jackie O, Nancy [Reagan], Michelle Obama. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, JFK."

Which First Lady's style do you prefer: Jackie O or Michelle O?
"Tied."


Photo: Courtesy of HBO/Bill Gray