This year’s Celebrity Street Style Star is a woman who’s not only provided us with endless inspiration for the last 12 months (and beyond), she’s someone who’s totally perfected and refined her aesthetic so that we can easily identify a piece of clothing as “so Rosie” or “so not.” Of course, we’re talking about Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The model/actress/fashion collaborator is the kind of girl who’s obsessed with the classics—great jeans, impeccably tailored blazers, T-shirts, and heels that can make you swoon—yet time and again, she pieces them together in a way that’s always polished, refreshing, and utterly cool.
And it’s perhaps for this reason that, despite Huntington-Whiteley’s ability to slay a red carpet or runway, when we think of her best outfits, our first stop is the airport, her office, or anywhere she’s running errands. Ahead, she chatted with us about how she pulls it all together, where she looks for her own source of style inspiration, and the one pair of jeans she absolutely can’t live without.
Scroll down for our exclusive interview with our 2016 Celebrity Street Style Star, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Have you always had a very strong sense of style, or is it something that’s evolved?
ROSIE HUNTINGTON-WHITELEY: I have always loved clothes and fashion for as long as I can remember. I would say my style hasn't really changed, but it has certainly evolved over the years. Inherently I am a jeans and T-shirt girl who loves a good jacket, a good shoe, and great accessories. I like to feel put together and stylish, but on the go and fuss-free. I think working in fashion has only helped garner a deeper understanding and appreciation for style. Having worked with some of the best designers and stylists and spending so much time around creative people, you definitely pick up inspiration and ideas. I also look to street style fashion, bloggers, and social media for inspiration—Pinterest is a lifesaver when in a pinch for an outfit idea!
WWW: Do you look to anyone else—past or present—for style inspiration?
RHW: One of my favorite ways to look for inspiration is to follow my favorite bloggers or stylists on Instagram. I love to follow stylists like Emmanuel Alt and Barbara Martello, and bloggers like Rumi Neely, Sincerely Jules, and Lornaluxe.
Splash, Splash, AKMGSI
On Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Left: Maison Michel hat; Tom Ford sunglasses; Étoile Isabel Marant sweater; Paige Denim jeans; Manolo Blahnik shoes, Balenciaga bag.
Center: Stella McCartney coat; James PerseT-shirt; Paige Denim jeans; Céline bag; Saint Laurent sunglasses; Gianvito Rossi shoes.
Right: Jimmy Choo sunglasses; Magda Butrym suit; Gianvito Rossi shoes; Aotc camisole; Céline bag.
WWW: Give us your best tips for how to upgrade our airport style.
RHW: I think that skinny black jeans with a little stretch in them are the perfect answer to switching out a pair of black leggings. I love Paige Black Transcend denim, as they go with everything, but more importantly they are so unbelievably soft and they have a slight stretch in them that makes them perfect for being on the go and traveling. You could wear them with a cool sweatshirt and little boot or flat and be good to go. I probably wear my pair almost every day.
WWW: What is the biggest challenge you have when it comes to how you dress?
RHW: For me it’s always about striking the balance of feeling stylish while being comfortable and appropriately dressed for the real world. I don't like to feel overdressed or that I am trying too hard.
WWW: If we were to peek into your closet, what would we see?
RHW: I like to be organized and to be able to see everything in my wardrobe. My closet is in many ways like my office. You will find jackets, shirts, blouses, and tops broken into sections by color and print; long dresses and trousers hanging in one area; and short dresses in the other, shoes by color and style. I keep my denim rolled up in drawers so I can see each pair, and I do the same with sweaters. Every couple of months I give my wardrobe a good cleansing. I like to have a concise, well-edited wardrobe. Everything has a reason for being there and is worn, otherwise I can end up feeling overwhelmed. I don't like to feel excessive with what I have.
WWW: We’ve noticed you have a strong penchant for a few different trends in your wardrobe, namely neutral colors, sunglasses always, skinny jeans, and blazers. Why are these pieces such staples of yours?
RHW: Black, white, gray, navy, and tan are neutrals that never go out of style and are versatile and easy to wear. When traveling I prefer to stick to a color palette so that I don't overpack; I pick pieces that work together and can be worn multiple ways. Denim is probably my favorite staple because it can be easily dressed up or down. Blazers and jackets are where I probably invest and splurge the most. I can wear a relatively simple outfit like jeans and a T-shirt and throw a jacket on and it will instantly elevate the entire look.
WWW: What kind of a shopper are you: online or in store?
RHW: I love to do both. I tend to visit the same stores of my favorite brands each season like Isabel Marant and Saint Laurent. I love to experience the environment of a boutique and see and feel the clothes and view the collection as a whole. I definitely shop online too and often discover new and upcoming brands. This season I discovered Monse, which I love. I'm also a big fan of Ellery. When it comes to online shopping, I'm a big fan of Shopbop, FWRD, and Revolve.
WWW: What's the best piece of fashion advice you've ever received?
RHW: Be true to yourself. Dress for you, dress for your life and the occasion, wear what makes you feel happy and confident.
WWW: And finally, what's something (or someone) within fashion right now that makes you feel excited about the future of the industry?
RHW: Anthony Vaccarello. I was so happy he was appointed at Saint Laurent, and I'm excited to see what he does for such an iconic fashion house. I love that he consistently stays true to himself and really focuses on designing and producing an amazing product.
Check out the rest of the lineup of Who What Wear's 2016 Street Style Award winners.