As the vice president turned president on HBO’s Veep, Meyer, who is played to Emmy-winning perfection by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, might just be the best dressed woman in Washington—fictional or otherwise. “We never wanted to put her in the traditional politician suit,” says Kathleen Felix Hager, the costume designer behind the show’s signature style. “Instead we do a lot of colorful formfitting dresses that work well for the character and for Julia’s body.”
Though Selina Meyer has her own distinct look, Felix Hager says that she keeps a watchful eye on what other powerful women in politics are wearing as she builds the character’s wardrobe. “Women politicians, like Hillary Clinton, are much more scrutinized for what they choose to wear than men,” she says. “They are criticized for either spending too much time on their appearance or too little. On Veep, we try to embrace that fact and play it up. The show is a comedy and a satire, but it’s very much grounded in reality too.”
Each character on Veep has their own closet in the wardrobe department, but Selina Meyer has her own room—one that’s jammed packed with from everything from Carolina Herrera to Victoria Beckham. “I am always thinking about what will translate on camera,” says Felix Hager. “If there is going to be a tight shot, I’m looking at the neckline and checking to see if the dress feels too bare and needs a necklace. Selina is a character that thinks about fashion and cares about the image that she is projecting, so I always keep that in mind.”
Scroll down to read seven more Selina Meyer style secrets from the set.
She switches between red and blue to keep you guessing.
Ever noticed that the show has never actually revealed if Meyer is a Democrat or Republican? Turns out, she rotates between wearing blue and red to keep the audience on their toes. “People are always asking me if the colors she wears have any significance, but they don’t,” says Felix Hager. “We don’t know what her party affiliation is. But in every episode of this season, she opens the show wearing red, which is something that I started.”
She loves Narciso Rodriguez (just like Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
Since Louis-Dreyfus often wears Narciso Rodriguez looks on the red carpet, we’re not surprised that her alter ego is a fan of his tailored designs too. “This season, I worked with Narciso to design some custom dresses for Selina,” says Felix Hager. Other fashion faves? Victoria Beckham, Carolina Herrera, and Alexander McQueen. “I actually pay more attention to the silhouette of a look than the designer,” she says. “If I find a beautiful dress that has a flared bottom, we just alter it into a pencil skirt to make it more Selina.”
You might not always see her shoes, but they’re amazing.
“Selina’s shoe closet is off the charts,” says Felix Hager. “Sometimes I get frustrated because the shoes that she is wearing are so special and you don’t get to see them in the scene.” Go-tos include closed-toe pumps or slingbacks by Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, or Casadei. And the heel height is sky high. “When Julia puts the heels on she instantly feels like Selina,” says Felix Hager. “I don’t know how she can walk in some of them though!”
She is inspired by Michelle Obama.
Though Felix Hager doesn’t draw from any one political figure when dressing Selina, she does credit the current FLOTUS for her fashion savvy. “If I had to pick one person who has influenced Selina’s style, it would be Michelle Obama because she has helped bring fashion, color, and a little more fun to Washington D.C.”
She likes to be the shiniest object in the room.
“The goal is to make her character pop in every scene,” says Felix Hager, who usually gets three scripts at a time so she can plan ahead. “And since Julia wears color so well, I love to do bold primary shades like electric blue, so that your eye immediately goes to her. Selina likes to be the shiniest object in the room.”
Gary is her sort of stylist.
Gary (Tony Hale), is best known as Selina’s right hand (bag) man on the show, but he also plays the role of her stylist from time to time. “Gary thinks that he picks out Selina’s clothes every day and sometimes he tries to coordinate his outfit to hers a little bit,” says Felix Hager. “The truth is Tony Hale is just as into Selina Meyer’s wardrobe as Gary is. He always wants to know who designed her outfit.”
Her signature flag pin is intentionally obnoxious.
“Selina wears the same oversize flag pin whenever she has to address the nation or do any type of press,” says Felix Hager. “It’s just a piece of inexpensive costume jewelry that I found. Most pins are obviously much smaller, but we love that this one is a little in your face and over the top, like Selina.”
Veep airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.