In the brief time (five days) it took me to watch two seasons of House of Cards, I became obsessed with Claire Underwood. For those of you who don’t know who I’m referring to, Claire Underwood is a character on the Netflix series, House of Cards.
She is the wife of Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey), and Claire Underwood is played by Robin Wright.
House of Cards is an amazing show and I was hooked from the start. But, not only was I hooked, I got so into the world of the series that I found myself imitating the character of Claire Underwood; her mannerisms, the way she calmly dealt with the horrid situations she and Frank were creating, the way she squinted her eyes a little and smiled as she was trying get her way, and…her look. What a great look.
I loved her tailored sheath dresses, her chic pencil skirts, the cool glasses she wore while reading, her fabulous, short hair, and her makeup: a smokey eye, rose-colored blush with the focus on contouring, and a pale, pink lip.
I loved her look so much, I wanted to copy it. Now bear in mind that the character, Claire Underwood, is a modern-day Lady Macbeth. She is cunning and manipulative. That is very much a part of her character. I wasn’t interested in that aspect. I just loved the look of Claire.
So, I searched through my closet to put together my Claire look. I pulled out all my sheath and strapless dresses, my low heels and flats, pencil skirts, and structured button-ups. I chose a black sheath dress.Then, I focused on the makeup and hair.
I did a greyish smokey eye with black mascara, rose blush, and a pale pink lip. The last time I got my hair done, I had my hairdresser, the fabulous Ernesto Estrada, do a side bang. So, I played it up. I side banged that look with all I had. I paired my black sheath dress with some (pretty old) Marc Jacobs flats. I felt all Claired-out. Then I went to pick up my daughter from ballet.
Prior to getting there, I made a stop at Whole Foods. I got my cart and was wandering around Whole Foods, smiling slightly to those I passed, doing the Claire smile and slight squint. I felt pretty happening until I looked down at my black sheath dress and shoes. My dress was covered in dog and cat hair that, for some reason, I hadn’t noticed (we have 3 dogs and 2 cats). And my Marc Jacobs flats had really seen better days. I felt foolish. I paid for my groceries, got into my beat up Toyota (not a limo with a driver), and left.
It doesn’t escape me that I talk about and encourage finding one’s unique self-expression. yet there I was, wanting to look like someone else. It wasn’t about self-expression. I really did want to look like Claire Underwood/Robin Wright. I have always had a hard time accepting who I am and how I look. I have always wanted to look like someone else. It’s why I created Speaking of Beauty. I thought it would help me as much as everyone else.
I’m not saying that it’s not good to see a look and want to copy it. I’m just saying sometimes it’s best to figure out what your own strengths are and create your own look, using influences as inspiration. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole of comparison and wanting to be what you’re not.
Plus, Claire Underwood doesn’t really exist. She was created by writers, producers, a wardrobe team, a hair and makeup team…and the help of Robin Wright’s exquisite cheekbones.
The other day my husband and I took our daughter, Sasha, out to celebrate her getting into LACHSA (Los Angeles County High School for the Arts). We got dressed up and as we were leaving the house Sasha looked at me and said, “I like your outfit, you look great. It’s not Claire Underwood, is it?”
“No,” I replied. “I’ve retired the Claire look.”
She smiled and said, “Good. I like you better as Hol.”
I smiled back, resisting with all my might the urge to squint.