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Florence Pugh, perhaps unintentionally, maintains a fervent flock of style devotees. They've strung up Instagram accounts, Tumblr pages, and aspirational essays in her honor. But none of the many (many) eyes tracking the actress's every sartorial whim seem to sway her. Does the pressure of the world's style tabulation ever make Pugh rethink her wardrobe choices?
“You know what? I wish it did,” she joked on a call with ELLE.com. “I've been able to adapt to my grown-up lifestyle with my ability to wear certain brands, but I've known from a very young age that it didn't really matter where [the clothes] were from as long as it made me feel good and looked right.”
This unapologetic soul-searching epitomizes Pugh's styling, which she changes up so often as to make her something of a fashion enigma—or, at least, a case study in how style needn't feel permanent to be profound. “I don't [look] the same way every single day,” she says. “I am too greedy for that. I want to be everything, and I want to look like everything, and I want to change my personality every single day.”
Yet that courage also lends a gloss of timelessness to Pugh's look, despite its many shapes and forms. Take, for instance, her first campaign with J. Crew: Pugh's partnership with the brand acknowledges its decades-long foothold in fashion. The brand is well-recognized for its classic basics, a focus on high-quality materials crafted at a mid-range price point. The staples of J. Crew's catalogues aren't reinventing the wheel, but that dependability is exactly what makes them such intelligent pieces to experiment with. The spring collection, in particular, features elegant suiting separates, cropped cashmere tops, linen trench coats and trendy accessories—such as these raffia-wrapped geometrical earrings—in a range of whimsical pastels and sages.
There's an approachability to these pieces that Pugh appreciates: “Every single person I spoke to has had J.Crew items in their wardrobe for the last 10 years, 5 years, whatever. They dress their children [in it]. It's a brand that people feel safe with because it understands their shape and their mood and who they are today.”
Now—at least who Pugh is today—the actress is drawn to looks touted by Cynthia Erivo and Tessa Thompson, as well as designer Harris Reed, each of whom she cites as style influences. “I think [Erivo's style] is so daring,” she says. “My stylist always says ‘Fashion is there to be fun.’ And for me, Cynthia Erivo is definitely someone that never holds back...Same for Tessa Thompson. I mean, you cannot put one of her red carpets next to the other and say that it's the same person coming out.”
As an actress, she's also privy to inspiration from a number of fashionable co-stars, including Harry Styles in the upcoming Don't Worry Darling or Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson in 2019's Little Women. When asked if she ever finds her colleagues' style guiding her own, Pugh says, “Oh my God. Totally. Because you'll arrive at your script reading wearing the thing that you think is cool. And then someone else will come in and you're like, ‘Oh my God, that's amazing.’”
She adds, “When I meet someone that I love the look of, I do definitely take inspiration from them. I take inspiration from the color of their clothes, from their nails. It's something that I don't mind adapting to. But I never completely clone them.”
And when it comes to J. Crew, she finds comfort in how her favorite items—including a cropped sweater-tank and lightweight chino blazer—give her a sense of familiarity. “I've been a woman that has been made to feel ashamed of the way that I am and the way that I look,” she says. “And I think something that's so wonderful about the cut of this clothing, and the cut of J.Crew clothing altogether for as long as it's been alive, is that it respects these bodies.”
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