Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on how she mastered her personal style

The model opens up to us about her approach to fashion as she curates the ultimate off-duty wardrobe for Adanola.

Words by Amy De Klerk

(Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Rose Inc)

Some women just look good in whatever they put on, but Rosie Huntington-Whiteley swears that she is not one of them. The supermodel – who has perfected the art of off-duty styling and has developed her very own brand of elevated minimalism – says that it took a lot of trial and error to get to where she is now.

“I have just learnt what suits me,” she says, chatting to me over Zoom from Los Angeles, where she is working this week. “If you put me in the wrong outfit, I will not be able to carry it off – I do not have a body that you can just throw anything onto. But if you put me in the right outfit, it can be really flattering. After being in front of the camera for 20 years, I have learnt what suits my body and what does not.”

She pauses, and adds: “Everyone is different, and you have to figure out what works for you so that you can carry yourself with confidence – that is what great style is all about.”

(Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Space NK)

Working out what suits her took years of practice, she says, and it wasn’t until she hit her thirties that she started to gravitate towards this tonal, polished signature style that we have come to know her for.

“In my twenties, I was drawn to a lot more print, there were lots of florals, frills and lace – my style was much more bohemian in a way. I wore a lot of short shorts, a lot of hats and a lot of cowboy boots,” she laughs. “The other day, I got a load of my clothing shipped from my storage unit in LA – [my fiancé] Jason came into my dressing room, and he was so surprised, he couldn’t believe that I used to dress like that. There was so much colour, so many sequins. I’ve kept a lot of it because I thought maybe one day [my daughter] Bella might like it really, but I wouldn’t wear that stuff now.”

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Although her style has seemingly changed quite dramatically, she says that the way she approaches fashion has always been the same. “I have always wanted to be comfortable, and that doesn’t mean elasticated waistbands. I just don’t want the clothes to wear me. I want to walk into a room, and it be me that people see first, rather than my outfit. I don’t ever want it to be too much of ‘a look’ if you know what I mean. I want to feel understated, rather than showing off; that’s when I feel really great.”

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Of course, changing trends influenced Huntington-Whiteley in moving towards a more minimal look, but she says that dressing like this just really suited her lifestyle, and so it stuck. “When I had my son, that Nineties minimalism came back, and I just gravitated towards it. Now, I have a really tight edit – I really do not have a ton of clothes. I invest in pieces that I wear again and again, year after year, and I avoid anything too seasonal.”

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“When I shop, I find myself going to a retailer and putting a load of things in my basket from all different brands, and then I always end up at my favourite shop just buying a few key pieces from them instead, pieces that I know I will have forever. I have stuff from The Row that is 12 years old, and I still gravitate towards to wearing those bits all the time. Finding pieces that are simple in design but have incredible cuts and amazing fabrics is important. You can wear them day to night, with a heel or a flat, dressed up or down, and they really become staples in your wardrobe that you know you can travel with and then wear with pretty much anything.”

She also tries to stick to a neutral colour palette. “It just makes things really easy,” she says. “I don’t have time to faff in the morning getting dressed and deciding what to wear – I used to spend ages doing that before I had kids, and it was definitely very fun – now, I just think ‘What is going to make me look halfway decent in 10 minutes?’”

 

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A post shared by Rosie HW (@rosiehw)

The most difficult part is not letting yourself get distracted by what looks good on somebody else, she adds. “It takes trial and error, but once you have figured out what suits your body type, your skin tone, your personality, your lifestyle, stick with it. I try not to get tempted to buy something that goes against all this just because somebody else looks beautiful in an amazing dress that just won’t work for me.”

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Part of the reason that Huntington-Whiteley’s style is so widely appreciated is because she knows how to make the simplest ensemble look polished – and this also goes for her downtime. “I actually love to wear a black legging, and I’ll often throw a black blazer over the top of what I’m wearing. If I’m going to the gym, but also maybe running an errand or two afterwards, I don’t want to look too scruffy. If you just throw on a blazer, or any great jacket, then you’re comfy but you can get away with wearing that for the rest of the day.”

 

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One of her favourite athleisure brands is Adanola. “The fabrics are just incredible,” she says of the British label known for its sleek take on gym gear, which she first discovered during lockdown. “I was just really impressed by the products, and I wear athleisure almost every single day, running after the kids and going to the gym.” So, it made perfect sense when the label wanted to partner with her on an edit of five effortless looks, which she has styled with her 10 favourite pieces from the brand.

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“I just looked at it like a bit of a wardrobe,” she says of the pieces she picked. “You know, what are those staple pieces that I gravitate towards when I’m getting dressed for the gym or running around doing errands? I wanted this to be a uniform of great athleisure pieces that work together. We’re also heading into the summer, so I was also thinking about what kind of pieces were most suitable for the apparently very hot weather that you’re having in the UK, while I’m dealing with cold and grey British weather in LA.”

This considered edit includes the brand’s Instagram-famous Ultimate Legging in olive green, as well as a full-length bodysuit – “Every single time I wear it, someone asks me where it is from”. She also chose sweatpants, an oversized sweatshirt, a white teecropped cycling shortstwo sports bras and a cap.

“Of course, there is a time and a place for gym gear – I absolutely agree with that – but I do think that you can wear these pieces and still feel appropriately dressed. Adanola has really nailed that. If you go onto their Instagram, you can see how they have embraced that athleisure look of the legging with a little ankle sock and the cool trainer – and I think very much channelling that Nineties Princess Diana leaving-the-gym look. That is such a thing right now. That’s certainly how all the girls in my feed are dressing.”

This partnership follows on from a number of other great collaborations Huntington-Whiteley has worked on in recent years, and it is getting to be a part of projects like this that she enjoys most about her job, she says.“I love clothes, I love fashion and I do really appreciate it – it’s part of what brings me joy in my life. I really do genuinely love getting dressed every morning and I feel very lucky that I get to do this as part of my job.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s edit for Adanola is available to shop now.

 

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This article originally appeared on harpersbazaar.com/uk/