The Surprising Way Kerry Washington Wears Olivia Pope’s Designer Clothes While Pregnant

Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Whiteside/InStyle.
Kerry Washington covers this month's InStyle, decked out in an incredible Victoria Beckham mermaid-skirt dress. In the accompanying interview, the actress gets real about how the wardrobe of her Scandal character, Olivia Pope, is evolving during Washington's second pregnancy. The last time Washington was expecting, she had some pretty spectacular fashion moments: Remember the colorblocked Thakoon dress she wore to the 2014 NAACP Awards, and that SAG Awards crop top? Beyond the red carpet, though, editing her Scandal alter ego's closet to fit, literally, with her changing physique wasn't as smooth. "There's nothing high-end for professional women who are pregnant," Washington told InStyle. As Scandal fans know well, Olivia Pope's wardrobe is very high-end: Max Mara, Armani, and Prada make frequent cameos. So we can see why stylist and costume designer Lyn Paolo has run into some issues — especially given all the scrutiny about how showrunners tried to hide Washington's visible baby bump last time around. Washington's pregnancy-related fashion woes certainly aren't unique: Women in all different careers run into the (often costly) issue of dressing for the workplace while expecting. One startup made headlines last year by introducing a maternity-clothing stipend as a benefit for pregnant staffers. Just because it's harder to source the garments doesn't mean Pope's wardrobe is changing next season, Washington says: "We wind up just buying the same clothes." However, instead of wearing it off the rack, "we will cut out the front of Armani trousers and put in a pregnancy panel," she told the magazine. "That's what we do for everything."
As far as the rest of her closet is concerned, Washington has a less crafty, more frugal solution — borrowing from her pal, Jessica Alba. "She told me she had this box of maternity clothes that she would ship from girlfriend to girlfriend," Washington explained."I'm now getting clothes back that I wore the first time," she continued, adding that each recipient adds new stuff to the collection. The whole setup makes the short-term nature of maternity wear more cost-effective, since multiple moms-to-be are sharing the same pieces. We're guessing Alba and Washington have very well-dressed social circles to source from. But over the past few years, there's been a boom in maternity-specific clothing rental services, Business of Fashion reported last year. Plus, brands like Le Tote have added maternity to the mix in order to cater to this clientele.
In InStyle' s September issue, Washington also talked about why she remains optimistic when demanding social change, which parenting tips she's taken from Shonda Rhimes, and some highlights of her fashion choices over the years. Some favorites include the aforementioned Thakoon number, her princess-esque Prada gown for the 2015 Met Gala, and a Marc Jacobs double-whammy — her hot-off-the-runway bedazzled midi for last year's Emmys and her witchy-glam maxi from this past Costume Institute Ball.
Read the full interivew with Washington when the issue hits newsstands on August 12.

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