Behind every great man there [are many] great [women]. Behind every great woman, is a man who is surprised. Asserting your path as a woman often means letting your presence do the talking, and letting your actions do the walking. Enter a fifth season of Claire Underwood style: a woman who has always dressed for the job she wants, on House of Cards.

Television is the medium in which Washington women always get style right. Every year, I love reaching into my closet and highlighting a Claire Underwood look, because her approach represents strength as much as it does style. Just think of me as an average Joe who praises a favorite athlete by wearing a football jersey in broad daylight – except editorial.

Claire spends much of season five shielding her intentions with her armor. Her motivations are kept buttoned up, in plain view for all but her partner in crime politics in House of Cards. Her dignified and elegant style was an intentional distraction – perhaps it was “fake style.”

Though my look is far less modest than Claire’s military inspired choices, I like to think Mrs. Underwood would have worn a similar piece in her youth.

The piping on this Marciano LBD reminds me of a knight’s shield – permanently fixed to draw attention and deflect transgression. The dress as a whole is as much vulnerable and inviting, as it is a projection of structure and independence. It frames the expected aspects of a woman – femininity, figure and sex appeal – while presenting those very aspects with attitude.

Season five teaches us that one should go through life having set expectations. Expect style from the stylish. Expect power from the driven. And most of all, expect great women to surprise, because if history has proven anything (on and off screen), they always do.

Make Up: Tim Quinn of Giorgio Armani | Dress: Marciano | Shoes: Nine West


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