From Mary Tyler tossing her ’70s-era hat gaily into the air and Murphy Brown’s ’80s pastel power suits to the inimitable, shoe-obsessed style of Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City,” female characters on TV sitcoms and dramas have entertained us throughout the years and also inspired us with their sartorial wonderfulness.

The current cast of prime-time leading ladies admirably continue that tradition, proving once and again some of the finest wardrobes are not seen on the silver screen in a cavernous theater but on a big LED screen in our own homes.

At ABC, for instance, Olivia Pope (aka the lovely Kerry Washington) on the hit show “Scandal” has three signature items I envy: the Prada tote, the over-the-elbow gloves and the cashmere wrap coat. These are the tools of the trade as Pope keenly navigates between being a professional fixer, leader to her team of ragtag yet loyal Gladiators and the president’s mistress.

Personal and professional lives routinely collide, of course, but that’s the key to keeping us on the edge of our seats for one hour on Thursday nights.

Admittedly, Prada is out of my price range. But a Gladiator-wannabe girl can rent a Prada tote from Bag, Borrow or Steal. The website features a dizzying array of handbags, clutches and camera bags from high-end designers. For $200 a month (as opposed to a retail price of more than $2,000), this chic Prada bag can be mine — a least for a while.

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The opera-length gloves require a little more research to find, but I discovered a vintage leather pair at a thrift store for $15. If investing a little more money is easier for you than investing a lot of time, then I suggest the Ralph Lauren leather gloves at Macy’s.

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Just as I was about to give up on the perfect Pope coat during my online search, I was bowled over by the oversized shawl collar and slightly flared sleeves that highlight the Elie Tahari wool-blend coat I discovered at Neiman Marcus. Yes, it’s $195 but that is still considerably less than the pricey Max Mara jackets ($1,700 and more) Olivia frequently sports. Free shipping, too, sweetens the deal.


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Another Thursday night character on ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” brings an edgier but also impressive spin to her wardrobe. Annalise Keating, the tough defense attorney who seems to be getting herself — and others — regularly into (and out of) pickles, commands the courtroom in a sheath dress, stiletto pumps and statement jewelry that pretty much say, “don’t mess with me.”

I found an Annalise-worthy Kate Spade sheath dress on Tradesy, a website purely devoted to selling gently used designer apparel. (You can also sell your threads on the site as well.)

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To jazz up the grey dress, as Annalise surely would, pair this sheath with a red bib necklace from Bauble Bar, a fantastic and fun website that specializes in affordable fashion jewelry. (BTW: Sign up for the mailing list and receive 20 percent off your first purchase.)

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Lastly, complete this look that is so good it’s almost criminal with a pair of sexy yet office-appropriate shoes in a killer red from Nine West.

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Likewise, “The Good Wife” on CBS is one of my favorite shows to watch, not just because of its smartly written dialogue and art-imitates-political-life plot, but also because of the flawless style of the main character.

Alicia Florrick, winningly portrayed by Julianna Margulies, dresses the part of lawyer, mother and jilted wife with such fashionable finesse I find myself trying to replicate her ensembles for my own career. Her suits are the stuff Pinterest boards around the world are made of. Really.

Here’s why: The suits in their simplicity (monochromatic works here) and expert tailoring prove a careerist can be professional looking but still inject a wee bit of sexiness.

Imagine my sheer delight when I found an ivory peplum jacket similar to one Alicia wore on the show recently. This plays super well with a black pencil skirt. Keep jewelry to a minimum, and you’ve scored major points in the classic-meets-modern style department.

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Sunday nights on CBS also generate scores of ideas for wardrobe combinations thanks to Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leone) on the political drama “Madam Secretary.” Prettily perched in a high-ranking position as senior foreign affairs adviser to the president, Elizabeth gamely travels the world in pencil skirts, tie-neck blouses, blazers, trench coats and low heels. Think navy, camel, gray, black, red, white — and lots of preppy tweed — and you have a headstart on Oval Office attitude. Off-duty, our heroine is a wife and mother whose garment choices lean toward plaid shirts and dark denim jeans.

To steal Ms. McCord’s unflappable style, a black pencil skirt is a must-have. It’s the foundation of all good things. The ponte knit skirt at Chico’s online nicely fits the bill, as the stretch fabric holds its shape for last-minute business trips. (No iron necessary.)


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Next up for the “Madam Secretary” look: A cream tie-neck blouse in understated elegance from Forever 21.

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Finish this classic ensemble with a crew cardigan sweater.

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As I look at my list of luxury looks I readily copy-cat from these taste-makers on TV, I realize they are mostly polished and career-ready outfits.

That’s all and well, but can’t a girl get a little crazy with her apparel once in awhile.

There is no better TV character to emulate for that mood than devious diva Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) on the Fox drama “Empire.” She struts a sexy street style that can go from a music mogul’s boardroom to nightclub in a New York second.

A quick rundown on Cookie’s closet essentials: Animal prints from head to toe, leather dresses, plush fur coats, superglam gowns, hats and lots of bling.

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This article is written by Suzette DeSart, a writer for The Daily Clutch.