Jessica Biel is rather stealthy. Every time we think we've got her pegged, she manages to completely surprise us, whether that's with a dynamite performance in Easy Virture or via her newly noteworthy personal style. On that note, we're pleased that the actress's recent spate of movies, including this summer's The A-Team, is giving us more opportunities to observe Biel's fashion proclivities and watch them evolve. While it's true that Biel's off-duty activities run on the sporty side and include impressive feats like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for the global water crisis, her red carpet style has certainly taken a glamorous turn. Whether she's wearing a lace-accented Pucci dress or opting for a floral frock and a sharp blazer, Biel's chic sensibilities are the perfect topic for today's Style Spotlight.
One of the things we like best about Biel's fashion picks as of late is the way she can execute both less fancy and ultra-dressy iterations of the same fashion idea. For example, Biel stuck to a black-and-white palette for both the premiere of The A-Team and the MTV Movie Awards, but the results were dramatically different. For the former, she wore a silk and lace Emilio Pucci dress, which is from the Cannes VIP Capsule Collection that Creative Director Peter Dundas designed to support the fashion house's F/W 10 collection, Sergio Rossi Cachet Peep-Toe Platform Pumps ($690) in black satin, and Vhernier's Large Camuration Ring in turquoise and chalcedony ($8,000, 310.273.2444). Then for the awards show she opted for a short, pink bow-bedecked Giambatista Valli dress from the F/W 10 collection with a black suede pair of Pierre Hardy Peep-Toe Bejeweled Heels ($2925, 305.674.7899). In addition to the colors, both dresses have transparent elements¬--the sheer blouse, the black lace¬--which connect the two looks in another subtle way.
Biel also showed two ways to wear feminine print frocks with her selections for the first screening of Summit on the Summit: Kilimanjaro at the Tribeca Grand Hotel earlier this spring and the pink gown she wore to the premi√®re of Valentine's Day. For the more casual event, she opted for Thakoon's Bright Tulip Floral Blouson Dress from the S/S 10 collection worn with The Row's School Boy Jacket ($1050) and Oscar de la Renta's Suede and Lace Platform Sandals ($745) from the Pre-Fall 10 collection (available at the end of this month), while for the movie premiere she went for full-tilt glamour in Oscar de la Renta's One Shoulder Shibori Ruffle Gown ($6990) and a pair of nude Christian Louboutin heels. In both cases, she let the dramatic print take center stage, styling these outrageously feminine frocks with simple neutral accessories and low-key hair and makeup.
All of Biel's outfits show that same sartorial equilibrium lately; take, for example, the ensemble she was snapped wearing while visiting David Letterman. The actress combined a pair of sand-colored Catherine Malandrino Pants ($325, 212.705.2000) from the Pre-Fall 10 collection with a baby blue chiffon Christian Lacroix blouse and a nude Fendi clutch. The diaphanous top is a romantic counterpoint to her more austere pants and the resulting ensemble is on-point and simply chic.
Using these five key looks as our reference point, we found a number of similar pieces so that you can achieve your own version of Biel's well-balanced style. For a cocktail-ready black and white ensemble, pair an embellished mini skirt, like Adam's Ostrich Feather Skirt with Beaded Waistband ($545) or Savant's Black Feather Skirt ($395), with a sheer lace shirt. American Apparel's Jacquard Lace Tee ($38) or Maje's Tumulte Eyelet Blouse ($200) are two good options; then just finish the look with some black ankle-strap pumps, such as Shoebox's Knot Peep Toe Pumps ($395). If straps aren't your thing, Sergio Rossi's Suede Platform Pumps ($510) are another super-chic, investment-worthy option. While finding an exact replica Biel's more formal gown is difficult, to say the least, we did come up with a clever way to get the spirit of her outfit. Instead of looking for a dress, why not mix a long white skirt in a dressy material with a black lace top? If this appeals to you, try J. Crew's Silk Chiffon Sophia Skirt ($368) in Ivory or ASOS's Side Split Maxi Skirt ($34) with Splendid's Lace Tank ($47) in Black or Joie's Drew B Lace Tank ($158).
For those of you who prefer Biel's brighter ensembles, we found a few options for you too. To create your own version of her polished flower-power look, start with a similarly crisp jacket, like Rebecca Minkoff's Susan Blazer ($365). Pair it with a popping print frock, such as Shoshanna's Scoop Back Sheath Dress ($340) or BCBGMaxAzria's Crystalized Floral Strapless Dress ($328), and bold heels, like Steve Madden's Glitsi Sandals ($100), for some spot-on style. Want a dressier option? We like Haute Hippie Ruffle Long Dress ($595), the pale pink is such a pretty color, or the more dramatic, purple print BCBGMaxAzria Strapless Chiffon Gown ($398). Either option would look swell with nude pumps, like Aldo's Moos Heels ($80) in Natural or ASOS Primavera's Leather Platform Court Shoes ($110).
Of course, you could always use one of Biel's day looks as your outfit inspiration. Obviously you'll need a light-colored pair of linen pants; if you can't get your hands on her exact Malandrinos, check out Theory's Zanamor Pants ($245) in Stone or Talbot's Refined Irish Linen Wide Leg Pants ($109) in Oatmeal. Pair them with a soft, semi-sheer blouse¬--we love Elizabeth and James' Havana Blouse ($295) in Dusty Rose¬--for an equally romatic-chic look.
Far Right, top image, courtesy of Splash; Far right, bottom image, courtesy of INF.