Lily Collins may be someone we often look to for style (and frankly, eyebrow) inspiration, but in the actress’s first book, available today, we find a truly new respect for her. Only a few months back, Collins opened up during an appearance at the Sundance Film festival to publicly share her past struggles with eating disorders. But in Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me. we learn so much more. Same goes for when we chatting with the 27-year-old directly and discussed how she finds confidence through her clothing, as well.
While Collins has unforgettably wowed us several times on the red carpet, namely in princess-like gowns, that part of her style hardly came up when she spoke about clothing that makes her feel most powerful. And—perhaps surprisingly—the actress was much more keen to talk about an unexpected empowering piece: leggings. Below, we chatted with the now-author about how her biggest struggles and journey to self-acceptance tied in with her discovery of personal style. Scroll down for our conversation, as well as her astute advice about clothing choice that all women can benefit from.
WHO WHAT WEAR: It’s really amazing that you’re sharing your personal struggles in your new book. Do you think you’ve seen a shift in your personal style having overcome the challenges you address? How do you think about style differently today?
LILY COLLINS: I’m not hiding as much anymore, in terms of embracing my shape. Sometimes people are like, “she has a boyish body figure” and then it’s like, “oh she has curves today.” You can get so caught up in people’s perceptions of what the ideal image is or what they see you as, or what you should or shouldn’t be wearing. At the end of the day, I want to feel great in whatever I’m wearing. My shape is my shape, and I’m going to wear things that I feel confident in. Working with [my stylists] Rob [Zangardi] and Marielle [Haenn], they’ve been so amazing at pushing my comfort level of maybe what I wouldn’t have tried before but can embrace now.
WWW: What are some examples?
LC: I’ve been wearing a lot of more sheer things and body-hugging. Not being afraid to stand out is really important because that’s how you’re an individual, whether it’s your personality or with what you’re wearing.
WWW: Definitely. Do you have a go-to outfit combination right now that feels most powerful and “you?”
LC: Well, first of all, I feel super strong now. I do different types of workouts, like strength training and endurance training. That’s like the least fashionable, right? You’re like in gym clothes, but I feel so strong and confident. That can also translate to when you’re dressing up for a night out. Recently, with a lot of the figure-hugging dresses that are really very feminine shapes, I feel like “Yeah! I look good tonight! I’m going to wear those heels and that tight dress!”
You’re not always going to feel that… but if you’re feeling it when you wear it, then yeah, those are empowering moments. But to be honest, I feel as sexy as I do in a dress and heels as I do in my workout pants.
WWW: Do you have a favorite kind of legging, or way to wear them?
LC: I do have Sweaty Betty stuff, I have some Under Amour stuff… some of them are leggings that are kind of sheer in some parts, like cutouts. They’re very functional, but I just love the way that they sit; they’re a little high-waisted, so they’re comfortable. They look good with boots and a jacket, or they can be rocked with a tee and some tennis shoes. You can go out and feel like you’re not totally in gym gear.
WWW: How about your latest style purchase that you’re currently obsessed with?
LC: I’m really into these over-the-knee boots—whether they’re heels or flats. I just think they can chic-up black pants, leather pants, jeans. Also, you can wear them with dresses that are very feminine and flirty. They kind of go with any type of look. You can put them over your gym leggings, and all of a sudden they’re tight little chic pants.
WWW: Okay, lastly, having been through what you have, what’s your own best piece of advice for a woman who doesn’t feel confident in what she’s wearing?
LC: Change your clothing! Why don’t you feel confident in it? You get to choose what you wear. Maybe it’s that your clothing is wearing you. I always think it’s important to feel like you’re wearing something because you want to wear it, not because it’s on trend. We have that choice.
What other pieces of advice do you have for feeling your best in your clothes? Tell us in the comments below.