In the most buzzed-about film of 2019 so far, Captain Marvel, British actress Lashana Lynch plays an "all-around badass." She tells me fondly about her character, Maria Rambeau, over the phone from London. "She's an ex–test fighter pilot, a brilliant mom, and the best friend of Carol Danvers [Ed. note: the lead, played by Brie Larson]," says Lynch. "They train together in the military and build a really strong, resilient, everlasting friendship that stands the test of time." Lynch, a classically trained theater performer who also recently starred on Shonda Rhimes's period drama Still Star-Crossed, is working on the highest-profile projects of her career—and at age 31, she speaks with a poised self-possession about fame, red carpets, fashion, and body confidence.
As a curvy, 5'9" woman of color in an industry of mostly petite white women, Lynch stands out. She knows this, and with her style choices both on carpets and in everyday life, she aims to wear her identity proudly. We got the chance to chat with Lynch on the heels of the Captain Marvel premiere about all things style—from the one outfit she feels best in to her favorite red carpet moment to her impressive collection of sneakers (or trainers, as the Brits say). Keep scrolling to read our conversation and to shop some of Lynch's fashion favorites.
I’m so curious how the glamour of this big, new Captain Marvel experience has shaped your style, both on red carpets and in your daily life.
I think it’s really important both in my public life and my work life to represent myself comfortably but also step outside of my comfort zone in terms of colors and shapes. I want to wear combinations of clothes that will complement my body but also make me feel like me and like I’m in charge of myself—whether that be a suit or a long skirt and some trainers or a nice dress and some great heels that make me feel like a boss lady. But I’m also into a casual sweater situation with high-waisted jeans.
I feel very proud of the dress I wore for the Captain Marvel premiere in London. It was a splash of color: fuchsia pink with a slit in the neckline and a long train. It was a beautiful Michael Costello moment that I’m really proud of because it made me feel celebratory of myself and my body. That’s all I want to do—celebrate what I have while feeling comfortable.
That dress was incredible. That color is beyond what the human eye should be able to perceive.
Ha! I know. Sometimes I feel like you limit yourself when it comes to colors. You just gravitate toward the darker colors or softer, more low-key colors. But today, for example, I’m wearing white. And just seeing that makes people really happy. It fills your day with a bit more sunshine. And I’m from London. It rains a lot here. So if I can wear a bright color and feel like I’m on holiday for a minute, then I’ll do it.
What are some of your go-to pieces to wear in everyday life?
I love to do the dress-trainer combination. I love to feel elegant and sassy on top but also comfortable and honoring my London roots. I’m a city girl; I walk around a lot; I go from train to train and car to car. So I grew up on trainers. I was a tomboy when I was younger and had older brothers who were always wearing the latest trainers, and I was always really fascinated by Reebok and Nike and high-tops. I worked in a trainer shop at one point in my life. And I love being fashionable with trainers and experimenting with different colors, pairing them with a gold blazer or a dress or high-waisted trousers.
What are your holy-grail sneakers?
I love my Reebok high-top classics. I have them in white and black, and I think I had green at some point. And I’m a big fan of Adidas. They just have really cool colors that make you feel girly but also comfortable, sexy but also in touch with your masculine side. I’m a London girl, so Air Max 90s is what I grew up on. TNs. Tls. I feel like when I’m older, I’ll have a huge sneaker collection.
I’d love to hear more about how you use fashion to communicate a larger message about who you are.
I’m a curvy girl, so I like to roll with that instead of push against it. I like to wear things that are figure-hugging because I’m very proud of my body. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with being a tall woman in heels—to not apologize for my height. That’s really important to me. I also like to be in touch with my boyish side and wear a tracksuit, hoop earrings, and a cap. When I walk into a room, I like people to see me. To connect with who I am. And if they notice the fashion first and then speak to me later, they’ll see the two run in line with each other. I like when you see a contrast between someone’s personality and their clothes, but for me, I like when people understand when they see me in a bright yellow dress that I have a bright yellow personality. If I am going to wear something black or gray or more toned-down, I like for there to be a pop of gold jewelry, a broach, or a hat, or an anklet.
I’ve been a tall girl all my life, and I had to wear a lot of men’s clothes when I was younger. I had to find creative ways of using men’s fashion on a female body. I was always on the lookout for jeans that were long enough. I remember when I was younger, I bought a pair of 501s, and they were too short, so I cut them and put all these rips in them, and my mom was so mad that I was ruining this perfectly good pair of Levi’s. But it was my way of finding my identity and putting a stamp on who I am, almost out of necessity.
What are your favorite denim brands for tall women?
When I was younger, it was definitely Topshop because they were the first company I saw that had a tall section. Then I got into Levi’s, and that felt good because my bum looked great in them, and so did my waist. I got into True Religion at one point; I love the stretch in them. But honestly, anything that caters to tall girls is for me! I love when brands remember us. Because it’s hard to find the right jean. When I’m between pairs, I just end up wearing a lot of dresses and skirts, which is what I’m doing a lot of right now.
What’s your number one dress-trainer combination right now?
I got this really nice yellow, V-neck cotton dress from & Other Stories. I could spend hours in there. The dress is loose and summery with slits down the sides. And I got a belt that’s dark green, light green, and white, and the style basically looks like a bag strap, but I use it as a belt. And I match that with some vintage Adidas that are black with pink, blue, yellow, and orange soles. Then I have some Elizabeth and James red sunglasses. And that outfit made me feel great. I just cut all my hair off. I was in New York walking down the street in that outfit with a spring in my step.
Shop Lashana's favorite outfit below!