Scandal Season 4 Episode 3 Lead
Credit: ABC

Mellie Grant and Abby Whelan may have both bumped heads with Olivia Pope on last night’s episode of Scandal, but their statement making styles united all three ladies. Bellamy Young, Darby Stanchfield, and Kerry Washington's characters' "outfits were each a reflection of their strong personalities,” the show’s costume designer Lyn Paolo explained to InStyle.

“The First Lady stood strong throughout most of the episode in a red Lela Rose dress and Jimmy Choo heels," Paolo said. “Now that the affair is out in the public we wanted it to be a very powerful moment between her and Pope.”

Scandal Season 4 Episode 3 Embed 3
Credit: ABC

Even Pope showed her strength, as she stood up to the First Lady in a black and white Christian Dior coat (above, at top). Devout fans of the show will remember the strong white lapel from when Pope went to the farmhouse in Vermont. “This is actually the first time in a while that she’s been in those colors because things have been very complicated in her life," Paolo elaborated. "But now she’s standing tall by her man.”

Viewers, however, saw a softer side of the star when Whelan confronts Pope for not being honest with her. Paolo told InStyle, “Pope lets her guard down and her vulnerability is represented by the absence of her coat.”

Credit: ABC/Nicole Wilder

Whelan demos her growing power throughout each scene in a green Max Mara coat and Ellie Tahari dress. And she even handles business by taking off her Jimmy Choo heels to run down the White House halls.

Credit: ABC/Michael Desmond

​Catch Scandal Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, and for more of the show's fashion follow @LynPaolo and @ScandalABC on Twitter.