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(1) Max Mara (and Dorothy Gaspar gloves), (2) Armani. Images via (top to bottom): Eonline.com, source unknown
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(1) Olivia's coat/accessory wardrobe, (2) Ann Demeulemeester, (3) Ralph Lauren. Images via: ScandalMoments.com (top 2), RalphLauren.tumblr.com
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(1) Tory Burch, (2) Salvatore Ferragamo, (3) Burberry Prorsum. Images via: Eonline.com, VodkaInfusedLemonade.com, TalkingWithTami.com
By now, it's obvious that I wish Olivia Pope was real and that I go into a shallow depression every week once I'm done watching Scandal. There is just so much to learn from her, especially from her carefully thought out wardrobe choices (which aren't fictional!). Olivia is always walking purposefully to destinations around Washington, D.C. putting out fires, and it's not a city without seasons. Most of the Scandal year, we see Olivia in a number of different coats, and when you see a nice, well-tailored coat over an equally nice outfit, it's inspiring to up your outerwear game.

I hate coats for many different reasons, but I now understand the need for nice looking outerwear. When I see Olivia patrolling the city streets in various lengths, colors and styles of coats, I'm reminded that coats can really enhance a look, or ruin one when they're not quite right. Take some notes from Olivia, then fill the several empty hangers in your coat closet. I didn't realize how many coats a person really should have until I moved to Chicago, (short, long, casual, formal, sort of casual/sort of formal...my head will start spinning) and though they're not cheap, they last and are an important investment. Once you get to a certain age or stage in your career, that slightly too small puffer coat that doesn't quite cover the bottom of your blazer or cardigan just doesn't quiiiiite match your sophistication level. Or at least the one you're trying to convince people you have achieved.

Olivia is always well-equipped for any level of chill, and her coats always look nice with her outfits. They're long enough to cover whatever is underneath and they can trick someone into thinking they are actually part of her outfit, which is the key. Whenever you get a coat, it should be versatile enough to wear with several different outfit combinations. Shorter and longer nice coats are extremely important for wear over both dresses/skirts and pants, and the neckline of the coat should complement the type of clothes you usually wear. If a lower cut neck opening adds confusion to your look, get one with a high neck closure. If you have an abnormal waist and a belted coat doesn't look quite right, get one that's well tailored using buttons and darts and ditch the belt. 

Most real humans don't need quite as many coats as Olivia, but she has such a variety and wears them so thoughtfully that it's a good idea to use her for guidance and to kind of shop a look for you. If you're meeting someone new during the colder months, the coat is their first impression of how you present yourself, so make it as good of a choice as Olivia always does.

Shop some Olivia look-alikes for her feminine, structured and indulgent outerwear look. Try this, this and this for some similar looks (I'm pretty sure that trench is one she's worn on the show). And if you can't get her Burberry duplicate, Gap has a worthy reasonable alternative.
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Olivia wore this Jean Fares gown to Fitz's 50th birthday party. Image via: ABC.com
This special, unplanned post brought to you by Scandal and its dropping a black tie event on us when we least expect it. NO SPOILERS AHEAD! I'm not sure when Olivia Pope has time to shop for black tie gowns, but we've seen her wear a few of them, and she never repeats. I guess I shouldn't be so surprised given the fashionable spin she gives to everyday workwear. And we know she has the money. We've also almost only seen her go formal in black tie, except for the one time her and Fitz...you know, in the oval office post-inauguration, and another time she opts for a short dress in preparation for a night out (we see her in her room, but I think she gets interrupted and never wears it outside? I might be wrong). Lyn Paolo, costume designer on Scandal has been quoted saying that the use of black and white in costuming represents the uncertainty of good vs. bad and who fits which description when, and nothing is more notable about the color palette than its consistent presence in Olivia's gowns. 

Her first formal appearance in season one, episode 3 (my favorite look she's ever worn) has her in an all white, halter-neck, backless number that shows what a fashion player she is, considering this is in her closet or someone is on call to get this for her. She surprises Fitz by showing up at a state dinner, and I think that dress works as an excellent vehicle for a strategic surprise. I wish I knew who designed it.
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Image via: Netflix screenshot. (The best I could do)
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And the best shot I could get of the back, also screenshotted from Netflix.
The next time we see her in a gown is in season 2, episode 7 on her way to Fitz's 50th birthday "bash" that he doesn't want and doesn't end up going to. The gown is Jean Fares and is from a previous season than when the episode was airing. By the next time we see her dressed up, it's at a fundraising gala where she's on call for a client later in season 2 (episode 15). Lines have started to be blurred at this point, and we can tell because she's in black and white. Fitz also attends this gala. Jealousy ensues. I also love that this Escada gown with a sheer lace back is reminiscent of her inauguration dress.
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Image via: ABC.com
And since that gala, it's been a while! Until last night, season 3 episode 5, Olivia was back at it, and she really upped her game this time. This time Olivia is at the White House Correspondents' Dinner and she goes for a structured bodice Rubin Singer dress, also in black and white. And she goes with gloves to accessorize as well as a fancy hairdo. It's actually not one of my favorites by comparison, but it makes a statement and it's part of a formal dressing evolution Olivia's character is continuously going through. And it's inarguably a beautiful gown. I'm glad they stayed with the black and white theme. Going back to all white would have seemed weird at this point. And color? No. I wish there was a full length picture of her wearing it because there were several in the episode, but I can't find one as of now and Hulu isn't formatted for stealthy screenshots. If you want to be just like Liv, you can buy this dress right now at Saks and Neiman Marcus. That is, if you have 3,000 dollars lying around.
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Image via: ABC.com
It's obviously possible to endlessly analyze Olivia Pope's wardrobe choices, but I think her formal style is interesting. Most people don't get to go to black tie events...ever, so it's interesting now that we've seen Olivia attend four different ones at different times in her situation with Fitz and other surrounding life events. Kerry Washington and Lyn Paolo do an excellent job at keeping it realistic when it comes to Olivia's income, style, personality, event and the way she usually approaches getting dressed. I love seeing what they come up with. I just still have to wonder if she has these hanging in her immaculate closet (where the clothes she wears actually hang! and they repeat them!) or if she has a personal shopper friend/former client at Saks or Barneys or some such that pulls these out when she needs them. That season 1 gown was very last minute, after all. 
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Happy Scandal premiere day! We're all excited to see what fabulous outfits Olivia Pope pulls out of her closet for tonight's episode. The show quickly (and rightfully) joined the list of shows with avid fashion followers by its second season. From Olivia Pope's perfect athletic looks and luxurious loungewear to her "wears the pants" in a fashionable way work attire and red carpet-worthy formal looks, it's not hard to see why. Like Mad Men, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl before it, costume designer Lyn Paolo has been understandably thrust from behind the scenes into the press to spill her secrets and share each look's designer components. Paolo has gone on record saying she has worked closely with star Kerry Washington on curating Olivia Pope's sleek, modern wardrobe, and Washington live tweets the show, sharing the designers of outfits she's seen in throughout each episode. Pope's D.C. fixer professional-but-feminine wardrobe is one that isn't impossible to duplicate, and can inspire those required to wear professional style clothing in the workplace to get a little creative. 

And if you've ever wanted to get an OP-like wardobe, now you can. Well, that is if you can shop at Saks. The luxury department store is giving Scandal fashion fans that opportunity by collaborating with Paolo and Washington to sell a Scandal-inspired collection at Saks stores, with Scandal-inspired windows going up in select cities nationwide. Complete with look-alike mannequins, I'd say the collaboration turned out pretty spot on. Check out the Vine above to see a video collage of all the looks to see if you agree.
-E
 
 
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YES. Amy Poehler dressed as Leslie Knope (with Aubrey Plaza). Image via: Buzzfeed.com
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NO. Amy Poehler at the 2013 Emmys. Image via: Buzzfeed.com
First of all, let's just take a second to celebrate the fact that Parks and Recreation is back in all its hilarity. And now, let's talk about the fact that Amy Poehler needs some serious style Rx from her TV persona*, and it occurred to me during the season 6 premiere. Amy Poehler has gone on record saying that Leslie Knope has been her favorite character to play, so it's not out of the question that she could gain some influence from more than just her fictional personality. Plus, Amy's the best, and her public appearance outfits should match. It's not asking a ton, it's not like Leslie Knope is Blair Waldorf or anything.

In the first episode of the season, Leslie attends an awards gala where she wears a form fitting short sleeved dress with figure flattering green detailing along the side, a la celeb fave Stella McCartney (editor's note: turns out the dress she wears on screen is also Stella. We'll suspend disbelief based on price and the fact that Leslie would not be able to afford this in Pawnee world.). You can see a more unflattering paparazzi shot of said dress above. Poehler looks great as Leslie in this episode wearing it with a small, long-strapped bag. After seeing herself in this success of an outfit, I wonder where she even got the idea that her Emmy dress this year (also above, right) was in any way okay. It was weird and ill fitting and it made me sad.

Amy doesn't always get it totally wrong when it comes to red carpets, though.

 
 
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The cast of New Girl. Image via: Instagram.com/zooeydeschanel
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Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina of The Mindy Project. Image via: Instagram.com/mindykaling
Last week, new-ish lifestyle site Bustle.com published an article campaigning Fox to stop cluttering our favorite girl-centric comedies with guest stars, and let their female talent shine in its simplicity. While I appreciate article author Samantha Rullo's motivation for the article, when I saw the article's headline in passing, I felt very defensive of two of my must-watch shows from a production decision standpoint. After stewing on the headline and reading and re-reading the article, I felt that I needed to write my thoughts, as if my desperation to offer an opposing point of view on this "issue" would make the negative thoughts toward "my shows" no longer exist. 

I don't think the New Girl and The Mindy Project showrunners are undermining their permanent talent, that's like accusing them of not being confident in their product. I think they're actually doing a lot right by hiring exciting guests; they're pleasant additions to something that's already good.
Guest stars are rarely female: And if they are, they are on very few episodes, sometimes not even consecutively. I imagine they do this in an effort to keep female focus on the leading lady of the shows. So basically, guests are chosen thoughtfully so as not to take any of the shine off of the genius acting and comedy of the real star.
Guest stars are very temporary: Guest star arcs, especially the very famous appearances, usually last one or two episodes (unless they serve a plot point and are important for story development, like Casey on Mindy or Elizabeth on New Girl (she has nothing to do with the Jess character anyway)). To me, this sends a message to the viewers that they get an exciting treat every once in a while, but not for long because, duh, the show belongs to the main cast! They're just keeping things interesting!
Guest stars are created and written to complement the main female and ensemble: Guest spots are carefully planned and written around the plot and permanent characters. The writing staff is not going to do anything to jeopardize the show's dynamic. In my opinion, the presence of an "outside" character brings freshness to the "situations" that is part of the genre of comedy. It also brings in a new angle for the core cast to play off of one another and sort of band together opposite this new presence and reiterate their chemistry. A guest character is just another plot point that lets the main ensemble get into their normal shenanigans, it just happens to be a new face rather than just an event.
Connections: Especially on Mindy, Mindy the real life human has lots of friends in very high places, so it makes sense for her to want to do her thing with them on the show that's named after her. It's like getting your best friends invited to your VIP party, only all of America is watching. Wouldn't you do that, too? I also imagine that celebrity publicists work very hard to get their clients in guest starring roles on popular shows that feature high profile talent, much like Friends did over its run. When the particular client is right, it seems like it would make sense for the people behind the shows to jump at the opportunity.
Finally, boring business and publicity reasons: I can't say this for sure because I'm just a lowly outsider, but people use celebrity presence to gain traction in an endeavor. Touting James Franco, Seth Meyers, Ellie Kemper, BJ Novak, Taylor Swift, etc etc etc on your show for an episode or two adds momentum to marketing and gains interest in tuning in and (hopefully) getting you hooked for good. Network television's business model and ratings system is floundering in this new age of cable TV success and internet binge-watching vehicles. They compete in time slots against a lot of TV noise, so any tactic they can use to get people to watch their show during their time slot should be employed. It might not be anti-feminist and undermining the permanent talent after all! It might just be about the money. Or at least partly about the money.
ALSO, let's not forget the New Girl beginnings which had Zooey Deschanel in the spotlight and the roommates as inconsequential supporters. This show was not nearly as good. Ensembles are great! It lets the viewer choose a favorite character instead of the show runners choosing for you. Change can be good!
 
 
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Tina Fey and Amy Poehler during the 2013 Emmy opening monologue. One of the few good moments. Image via: Vulture.com
Thank goodness there are other award shows that recognize TV during the year, because this year's Emmys were a giant cringe-inducing disappointment. From the production and direction of the show to the winners, everybody involved lost. It grew painful, and I kept watching hoping that skipping a live viewing of Breaking Bad was the right choice. I can just watch it later, right? Well, I wish I had switched over because the filler hour was painful and unnecessary and I'm sad I have to wait a year for the next one because I want a do-over (or as the 30 Rock writers would call it, a respawn). I guess that's what I get for going in with expectations.
 
After a day of letting Sunday night's events settle, I still get angry thinking about the whole ordeal. This year was arguably the most stacked Emmy awards in history, it was anyone's game because so many shows deserved the win, but instead we walked away feeling depressed and sorry for our favorite shows. In short, it was a disaster, starting with the "really?!" (with Seth and Amy) winners. Like I said, this year's awards could have gone to any number of nominees. TV is having a great moment, and the prospect of just one winner was so frustrating with so many deserving of the award(s). And I know there isn't technically a wrong winner, but so many important categories resulted in the award going to someone who seemed just subpar to many other nominees. The night is about the awards, so everything else bad aside, at least those should have gone right. Yelling at the TV happened. 
actor in a drama series: I think this might be my biggest gripe from the night. Did people just not vote on this category? Literally any other nominee besides Jeff Daniels deserved this one. Sure, Bryan Cranston has won three times (deservedly), but Jon Hamm has never won, and this season was one of his darkest, really any of the nominees are on shows that are almost universally acclaimed. The only way I can think this happened was that everyone was split between the four frontrunners and the votes reflected that. The worst.
outstanding comedy series: Modern Family. Really? Okay, at least it didn't go to Big Bang Theory, but Veep! 30 Rock! Louie! Genius in comedy writing seemed to go unrecognized in favor of the multi-time winner that has since gone rather stale.
supporting actor in a drama series: I kind of forgot about Boardwalk Empire before I saw the nominees for this category. I mean, come on, actors from arguably the four best dramas on TV were nominated in this category. Scary Mike! Paternal Saul! Lovable Jesse Pinkman! HOW did the Boardwalk Empire actor walk away with this one?
actor in a comedy: Sure, Jim Parsons is all endearing and such, but why does he keep winning? Talk about stale comedy, and the competitors? It was the last year for 30 Rock and all the rest are part of much more novel shows and writing.

writing for a drama series: Okay, so Homeland's "Q&A" had one of the best scenes in TV history, so it's not entirely undeserved. But when competing against two Breaking Bad episodes and THE episode of Game of Thrones, it seems that the writing award should have gone for consistency, no matter how good that scene was.
outstanding choreography: I might be the only one who cares about this, but based one the production values of the competing shows and the quality of the choreography and execution and the sheer ratio of nominees, it's extremely annoying that So You Think You Can Dance wasn't recognized for how good it is. Dancing With The Stars? Psh. Voters must be voting based on show popularity.

The lows of the night don't end there, though, and I guess there were some good parts of the night.


 
 
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Image via: Emmys.tv
The Emmys are this weekend, and I've been excited since.....probably March. The awards season opener celebrates the best in TV. I've pretty much had to tell myself I can't write about them until today, so happy Friday! Not only do I watch pretty much every show nominated which makes the awards part actually interesting, the show signifies the start of red carpet season! I'm not going to pretend to know enough to predict who and what our favorite TV celebs will wear, nor will I pretend that I can separate who I want to win or think should win from who might actually win. Instead, due to the amount of beautiful gowns that have walked the runway at spring 2014 fashion week, I'll talk about what I think would be cool to see based on what we've been given so far this fashion month*. I'm not going to go through every nominee or TV favorite, but there were certain dresses that just screamed or hinted that some of the guaranteed attendees should probably take my advice. Sure, red carpet surprises are always exciting, but guessing never ceases to be fun.
-E
*Not nearly an exhaustive list, obviously. Too many dresses, too many actors...in a great way.
 
 
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Image via: The Female Gaze
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Image via: Skynet Blogs
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Image via: Amazon.com
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Image via: KSAM 1017
I love TV. And we're pretty lucky these days. Network shows that run from fall to spring aren't our only options. In the absence of our New Girls and Scandals, we have our Game of Thrones and Mad Men that runs until mid-June, I'm one of the 50 or so people who watches So You Think You Can Dance all summer. Breaking Bad picks up mid-summer and runs through the beginning of fall, and when there's nothing you want to watch on TV, hit up Netflix or Hulu for some binging, like I've done this summer with Parks and Rec, Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad, House of Cards....and I'll stop embarrassing myself now. 

Despite a wealth of amazing TV all year round and tons of resources to catch up on whatever you please at any time, it's still so exciting that as days get shorter and summer dwindles, our good old network shows come back, giving us a sense of schedule and routine. The promise of new favorites is almost as exciting as anticipating the return of old ones.That amazing time starts this week, yay! And capping off the week of premieres are the Emmys, the ultimate celebration of all the amazing TV there is. Enjoy, whatever you may be watching.
-E