Season 5, Episode 16 scandal fashion
Credit: Richard Cartwright

In the aftermath of the Republican debate—the one on Scandal!—the candidates find themselves grasping for any kind of salacious details about one another in hopes of securing the coveted role of Republican nominee. On this week's episode, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her Pope & Associates team focus all of their energy on digging into Susan Ross’s past. They discover juicy details about the real father of Susan's daughter that could potentially lead to her dropping out. Alas, the president (Tony Goldwyn) steps in to caution Olivia against revealing these details.

With most of the episode taking place inside OPA, Olivia is in full-on gladiator mode. Her working wardrobe is back again, but you’ll still see a little color mixed in with it as well. “This is one of the rare times we’ve used a full suit,” costume designer Lyn Paolo tells InStyle about the navy blue Giorgio Armani blazer and trouser combo (above). “She's being a fixer and gathering dirt on the opposition. We see her taking a lot of meetings because of it and that’s why she’s wearing a suit this episode.” She also wears an Escada blouse and Jimmy Choo shoes.

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Credit: Richard Cartwright

You’ll also see more patterned prints in the Proenza Schouler top she wears with Ralph Lauren pants. She carries a yellow Prada bag with it. "This look segues back into the old Olivia," Paolo explains. "It's less suit-y and more like something she would wear on a regular day at OPA. But because they're trying to take down Susan Ross, there is some color there too."

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Credit: Richard Cartwright

Meanwhile, Senator Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) sticks to her usual fare, wearing an Armani sheath dress and matching blazer. That gorgeous ring she pairs with it? It’s by Roberto Coin. “It’s all about the campaign for Mellie right now,” Paolo explains. "This is very much her campaigning look."

For more of the show's fashion, follow @LynPaolo and @ScandalABC on Twitter. Then tune in to ABC on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.