Frank Underwood’s Dressed-Down Blue-Gray Suit

Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood (with Robin Wright as Claire Underwood) in "Chapter 40" of House of Cards (2016).

Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood (with Robin Wright as Claire Underwood) in “Chapter 40” of House of Cards (2016).

Vitals

Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, ruthless and calculating U.S. President

Dallas, January 2016

Series: House of Cards
Episode: “Chapter 40” (Episode 4.01)
Streaming Date: March 4, 2016
Director: Tucker Gates
Costume Designer: Johanna Argan

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

In the fourth season premiere of the Netflix U.S. version of House of Cards, Frank Underwood’s presidential re-election campaign takes him from his own home state of South Carolina to his wife’s home state of Texas, where Claire (Robin Wright) has been visiting with her mother, Elizabeth (Ellen Burstyn), who has been suffering from terminal lymphoma. Relations between the Underwoods haven’t been so hot… even for a couple whose intimacy ranges from icy to lukewarm.

The opportunistic couple uses her mother’s illness to quell rumors about Claire’s absence from Frank’s campaign by making a joint announcement about the impact that Elizabeth’s health has been taking on the couple.

What’d He Wear?

What does a presidential take on casual Friday look like?

Dressing down for Frank Underwood typically means an outfit no less formal than a suit and open-neck shirt worn sans tie. It maintains presidential professionalism even in a non-professional setting, and it gives Kevin Spacey an opportunity to wear the first of several impressive suits provided to the production through the Hugo Boss made-to-measure program.

“The great thing about Boss is they gave me access to their complete fabric library for all their suiting, all their shirting, all their silks to make ties,” costume designer Johanna Argan explained to The Hollywood Reporter.

For his arrival to the Hale homestead in Texas, Frank wears a blue-gray suit in what appears to be a lightweight worsted wool with pick stitching. The single-breasted, two-button jacket has slim notch lapels, four-button cuffs, a welted breast pocket, and straight flapped hip pockets.

The suit jacket is tailored to emphasize Frank’s power with padded shoulders (with roped sleeveheads), a darted front, and long double vents rising to the slightly suppressed waist.

Underwood's blue-gray suit reflects varying colors depending on his surrounding light.

Underwood’s blue-gray suit reflects varying colors depending on his surrounding light.

Frank Underwood typically wears solid-colored dress shirts in blue and white with his business suits, so this casual setting calls for a different shirt. The mini-grid in blue and gray on a white ground calls out both the blue and gray tones of his suit while nodding to the subtle complexity of Underwood’s Machiavellianism.

The cotton shirt has a slim button-down point collar with hidden tabs to present a cleaner appearance, which is strengthened by a clean shirt front with no placket and no pocket. The rounded cuffs close with a single button, and the back is fitted with side pleats. As Frank wears the top button unfastened, the crew neck of his white cotton short-sleeve undershirt is often visible.

FRANK UNDERWOOD

The suit’s matching flat front trousers have the low-medium rise that is currently fashionable with straight side pockets, jetted back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms. His leather belt is dark brown to coordinate with his footwear.

President Underwood on Air Force One.

President Underwood on Air Force One.

Frank wears dark brown leather apron-toe derby shoes.

Claire and Frank's impromptu presser on the front steps of her mother's home in Dallas.

Claire and Frank’s impromptu presser on the front steps of her mother’s home in Dallas.

Though they don’t appear to be Ray-Bans, the favored brand of our former vice president in real life (and Frank’s wife Claire in the show’s universe), Frank Underwood channels Joe Biden when stepping out of his limo in a pair of cool steel-framed aviator sunglasses.

Frank steps out of his limo in style.

Frank steps out of his limo in style.

Underwood doesn’t appear to be wearing one of his usual IWC wristwatches, but he still wears his yellow gold class ring from The Sentinel” on the third finger of his right hand and his gold wedding band on his left hand.

How to Get the Look

Frank Underwood keeps it professional even when dressing down, sporting traditional business colors of blue and gray in his lightweight suit and open-neck shirt.

  • Light blue-gray pick-stitched worsted Hugo Boss made-to-measure suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 2-button jacket with slim notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and double vents
    • Flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Blue-gray mini-grid-on-white cotton dress shirt with hidden-button-down collar, plain front, and 1-button rounded cuffs
  • Dark brown leather belt with squared steel single-prong buckle
  • Dark brown leather apron-toe bluchers/derby shoes
  • White cotton crew neck short-sleeve undershirt
  • Steel-framed aviator sunglasses with dark gray lenses
  • Gold “Sentinel” class ring
  • Gold plain wedding band

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out House of Cards on Netflix or find the first, secondthird, and fourth seasons on DVD. You may also be interested in the original British series.

The Quote

I need to know you won’t meddle with my campaign.

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