How Olivia Pope 'Handled' Her Fashion on Scandal
That's a Wrap (Coat)
When Olivia Pope stepped her pointy-toed stilettos on the scene, one of the things that made the biggest mark was her statement-making coat. Even in a neutral tone, the cinched topper always gave off that 'It's Handled' vibe, and let you know she was in charge.
In seasons one through four, Olivia was mainly about the neutrals: She lived in shades of beige, black, and gray. Here, she wears ones of her power suits (teamed with a boss-lady pose) featuring a tailored blazer, slacks, and of course, sky-high heels.
The political galas are the best on the show because, a.) there is usually a major makeout or some sort of heart-racing scene, and b.) our favorite characters bring out their black tie best. "We were having a really hard time finding anything," Scandal costume designer Lyn Paolo told PEOPLE about the hunt for this Jean Fares Couture gown. “There were a lot of needs for this dress: I wanted it to be white to echo [an episode from] last year, and she had to be able to move in it, too — she had to run down a hallway in one scene, and withstand wind effects in another. So I needed something that flowed." (Please Lyn and Shonda, will you give us at least one more big night out before we have to say goodbye?)
Fight Face On
In Season 3, the political powerhouse inserts more high-fashion pieces into her wardrobe. Even though she looks ready for a large glass of red, this Alexander McQueen fitted military jacket complements that whole always ready for battle thing she needs to have going at all times.
Olivia's style became so popular (and coveted), that Kerry Washington and Scandal costume deisgner Lynn Paolo collaborated with The Limited on a capsule collection, complete with blazers, blouses, trenches and wide-legged trousers, providing women across the country with instant office outfit upgrades. “I truly admire Lyn and love collaborating with her to create Olivia Pope’s looks each week," Washington told PeopleStyle at the time. "Being able to work with her on a project that brings Olivia’s style and confidence to Gladiators everywhere was something I couldn’t turn down."
When season five started, it looked like Olivia gave Mellie free reign to inject some color into her closet. All of a sudden she was wearing brights, and Kerry Washington herself even had to take a step back. "It was hard at first when Lyn Paolo and I were faced with that challenge of changing the wardrobe," she told PEOPLE. "In my life and on red carpets I tend to wear a lot of color and pattern, so it felt like the lines got a little blurry between [Olivia] and me. We had to figure out how to distinguish it."
Finding Her Rhythm
Sure enough, Olivia soon owned all that color (as we knew she would), making it hers with that signature wrap coat in a striking shade of red. The big flower detailing adds a femme touch, one that no doubt got some heads turning in the Oval.
The Big 100
For the 100th episode, the producers let Scandal fans live out their dreams on screen with an imagined Olivia/Fitz wedding (if only it were real!). For the occasion, the bride did not disappoint—she wore a $4,500 Anne Barge gown and stunning updo adorned with pearls.
PEOPLE's special issue All Seven Seasons of Scandal is available now on Amazon and wherever magazines are sold.