Actress Eva Mendes is known for having one of the most distinctive styles in Hollywood. After all, the 39-year-old actress – who has perfected ladylike, retro glam – has near single-handedly made turbans, thrift shopping and midi skirts cool among the hot set in Hollywood. But the Cuban American starlet – who counts boyfriend Ryan Gosling one of her best accessories – is happy to share her style secrets.
“First, you must feel great before you walk out of the house,” says Mendes. “If you don’t feel good when you’re trying on an outfit at home, it’s not going to miraculously feel great once you are out in the world. Also, find the cuts and silhouettes that accentuate what you love about your body. To keep from being bored, play with color and mixing and matching patterns.”
It’s advice that Mendes lives by and took to heart when designing a clothing line for New York & Company. Although Mendes has famously slipped into clothing for designer Calvin Klein and has shown serious face as the spokesperson for Revlon and Pantene, the style-savvy actress had never designed women’s wear before.
“I love the idea of making great quality clothes for an affordable price,” shares Mendes about her line of work-friendly clothing and accessories, all priced under $159.95. “It’s not about fashion on a runway, it’s about fashion on the run! The proof is in the product, which I am so proud of.”
Mendes has fond memories of the mall retailer. Mendes – who was born in Miami, Florida and raised in Los Angeles – says that growing up, she and her sisters were “big fans” of the brand.
“I would often borrow (or sneak) things from my older sister,” revealed Mendes. “And a lot of her clothes were from NY&CO!”
And the clothes featured in the collection – dresses, delicate blouses, jackets and boyfriend jeans – are all inspired by items Mendes’ own closet.
“I basically tried to do a modern version of all my favorite pieces,” says Mendes, who calls nude hues, colors and patterns as wardrobe “essentials.”
But the fun doesn’t end once you’re home, amid overflowing shopping bags. In fact, says Mendes, the real fun comes from mixing and matching.
“Depending on how daring a look you are after, I encourage women to add some edge to their outfit by wearing pattern on pattern,” shares Mendes. “Mix the floral with the leopard, mix the polka dot with the floral. It adds instant individuality. And it’s fun!”
And don’t forget, says Mendes, to “play around with accessories” – she loves belts and funky jewelry – in order to ultimately “find your unique style.” After all, say “The Place Beyond the Pines” actress, “style is very personal.”
“You can’t buy style off of a rack.”