Jennifer Hudson: My Personal Style Is ‘Odd’

Suzy Byrne
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Playing a Broadway star on TV's "Smash" has meant a lot of costume changes for Jennifer Hudson — and that's alright with the actress, who has been a fashionista for as long as she can remember.

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"When I was a little girl, I liked to cut up my clothes. We called it Jenniferizing — or a J. Original," the 31-year-old tells Lucky. "Just because it came that way doesn't mean you have to wear it that way." And she didn't limit her creativity to modifying existing articles of clothing — she also designed her own pieces, including her prom dress and other special occasion outfits. "I would sketch it, and my mom and I would pick out the fabric and we'd have it made."

Today, Hudson describes her personal style as "odd" and "strange," but she doesn't mind being a little different. "I call it being free, expressing myself," she tells the magazine. "You know, creative people? We like to express ourselves." And she isn't ruffled by criticism, even from her pals back home in Chicago. "My style is utterly weird to them. They'll be like, 'Is that a witch hat? Why are you wearing that witch hat? ... Leather shorts? With boots? In the winter?' They do not understand."

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And although she has shot to stardom after being discovered on "American Idol" and is now an Oscar winner for her role in "Dreamgirls," J-Hud still loves to do her own shopping. "I love picking it myself," she says. "It's like a field trip. You're not living if you don't go out and try things for yourself. When I'm out there, that's when I discover what I like, who I am. You have to be in the land of the living — that's how you hold on to your identity!"

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While she admits she leaves "the red-carpet stuff to the stylists," she she's all about buying her own everyday clothing. "When Jennifer has free time, I am shopping," she tells Lucky. "I go through every rack because I might've missed a piece. Where I live [in Chicago], I can walk right out onto Michigan Avenue and shop — walk, not drive — I've got to walk! Plus, you forget about eating when you're shopping." Her favorite stores range from Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Nasty Gal, and All Saints to high-level spots like Michael Kors and Givenchy.

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Hudson, who is working on her own clothing line, often dresses for her son, David Jr. — the smiley-faced boy she was seen getting a Christmas tree with last week. "We call him Boss Baby! He says, 'Mommy, I don't like that,' or 'Momma, you look very pretty,'" she says of her little fashion critic, whose dad is Hudson's fiancé David Otunga. "I totally dress for my child. I'm going home today, so that's why I have on this T-shirt. I have T-shirts with Popeye the sailor man on it, ones with different animals, comic-book characters."

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She also admits that it's fun dressing her slimmer figure following success as a celebrity spokesperson for Weight Watchers. "With my new weight, it's like I have more room to play — sometimes I feel like I'm my own doll, dressing myself up," Hudson shares. "All of a sudden, a shirt can be a dress, you know?" And part of her daily dressing ritual is snapping a photo of herself. "I still take a picture of myself every day — just so I can see myself how others see me. It's taken me a long time to feel it, get used to it. I'm still figuring it out with my body — rediscovering myself, how I'm perceived. What's my style? Who am I?"

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On the set of "Smash," which returns to the tube on February 5, it is outfit changes upon outfit changes for Hudson because her character, Veronica Moore, is a Broadway superstar. "You're dressing up as this character, and that character is dressing up for her character — it's the theater, it's about costuming, the fittings, the transforming ... I loved it."

For more of Hudson's interview, pick up the January issue of Lucky on newsstands December 11.

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