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No office scandal here: How to get Olivia Pope’s work look for less

SCANDAL - ABC's "Scandal" stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope. (ABC/Craig Sjodin)
ABC's "Scandal" stars Kerry Washington as the impeccably dressed Olivia Pope. ABC

So you didn’t catch the season premiere of Kerry Washington’s hit TV show last night? How scandalous! Because not only is "Scandal" must-see viewing (secrets! sex! politics!), but the wardrobe donned by main character Olivia Pope? Well, there’s a reason she and her team are known as “Gladiators in Suits.”

The clothes worn by Pope (played by Washington) are so stylish that they’ve inspired a recently-launched real-life fashion line at The Limited, featuring 78 pieces priced between $49 and $248. That’s a whole lot less expensive than Pope’s usual high-end designer styles on the show, where Dior, Armani, McQueen and Valentino, are in regular rotation.

ABC's "Scandal" stars the impeccably-dressed Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope. Today

And while her formal wear is fab, it’s the character’s on-the-job attire that has us aspiring to up our own work fashion game. Think beautifully tailored trousers, belted trenches, classic gray suits with just a touch of flair, silk blouses and white everything—this is not a woman who is afraid of a coffee spill.   

The key to snagging Pope’s office style on a budget? Stick with her simple fashion rules: neutral shades (gray, black, white and maybe camel when you want to mix it up), classic shapes (but throw in a pretty detail, like a draped neckline or elegant pleating) and top it off with an amazing overcoat.

Want to look like Olivia Pope? We've got it handled.Today

“For me the way the clothing line relates to having it all is that I think women often feel like they have to be either smart or beautiful; powerful or pretty; either fashion-forward or successful,” Washington says in regards to her line at The Limited. “You can be fabulous and fearless and you don’t have to compromise who you are as a woman to fit somebody’s expectation of what power looks like.”

We tracked down six styles, each ringing in at less than $100, that take an affordable cue from TV’s reigning style icon. Because not taking Pope's cues to power dressing? Now that would be a scandal.

My world, my rules


Not even Sherlock Holmes himself can rock a cape coat like Pope. Perhaps it’s her influence, but the style is right on trend this fall. Just skip the elbow-length gloves, please. That’s a look that’s glam on TV, but kinda weird at the office. (Forever 21 refined cape, $32.99,

People will talk


Pope softens her structured suits with feminine blouses. You should do the same with a tie-neck style that still means business, without sacrificing style. (The Limited collection inspired by Scandal, $69.95,

Shut this down!


Like most fashionistas, Pope knows the value of a well-tailored high-waisted trouser. A wider bootcut silhouette in classic gray balances well with a fitted blazer or slim-cut blouse and can be worn as part of a suit or paired with a blazer, cardigan, blouse, T-shirt—you name it! (White House | Black Market modern bootcut suit pant, $98,

Laugh in the face of dirty laundry


Pope knows white means no-nonsense and no fear and she’s frequently seen sporting a head-to-toe white suit or long, luxurious white coat. For the office, try a simple fitted white blazer with gray slacks or even dark denim on casual Friday. Crisp, polished and in charge? Pope would be proud. (H&M fitted jacket, $24.95,

It’s handled


These black skinny ankle-length pants go with everything, are forgiving when you need to get your hands a little dirty and the slim cut works well on days you opt for a less-structured jacket or a drapey knit. (Topshop textured zip skinny trousers, $80,

Never out of options


Every #BossLady knows a pencil skirt means business. Follow Pope’s lead and look for a style in gray tweed, and, if you’re curvier, try this trouser fit that’s a little more forgiving through the hips and bum. (Loft trouser pencil skirt, $69.50,

Lesley Kennedy writes the kid and mom style blog Follow her on Instagram @thestrawberrypop, Twitter and Google+.