LA Confidential: Inspiration from Your Favorite Celebrity Style Icons

By Erin Donnelly

They get multimillion-dollar paychecks just for showing up to a film set and making out with Brad Pitt, get invited to the most exclusive parties in the world, and have men falling at their feet. But what we really envy about these celebrity fashion plates—Nicole Richie, Katie Holmes, Cate Blanchett, and Oprah Winfrey—are their distinct styles and beyond-to-die-for designer wardrobes. Read on to find out how to steal their A-list style, at Z-list prices.
pic1Katie Holmes
Say what you want about Tom Cruise, but Katie Holmes has been dressing better than ever since marrying the mega-star (or perhaps she’s just benefiting from new BFF Victoria Beckham’s style advice). Gone are the days of Joey Potter’s tomboyish denim and tees. Today, Katie sports straight-from-the-runway styles that have turned her into a modern-day Jackie Kennedy or Grace Kelly. The actress tends to favor polished, ladylike pieces that are classic yet retain a little bit of an edge—think high-waist slacks paired with a fashion-forward silk blouse, classic trench coats and cropped jackets, giant designer shades, glamorous but not overtly sexy evening dresses, and sleek pencil skirts paired with statuesque heels (sorry, Tom!).
Holmes also seems to prefer timeless solid pieces as opposed to funky prints, but she’s not afraid to play around with color—especially when it comes to accessories. If she’s wearing a black pencil skirt with a white turtleneck, she’ll add some oomph with a colorful bag or heels. Of course, it always helps if that bag is a gigantic Hermes handbag (sigh).
Express Body Con Criss-Cross Dress: Katie never tries to hard by showing off too much skin. Instead, she favors demure little black dresses that flatter her athletic figure. All this dress needs are some heels, gold jewelry, and a clutch.
J. Brand Black Mid-Rise Boot Cut Jeans: Katie’s been spotted wearing these designer jeans, which feature a higher waistline. Dress them up with a silk top and chic flats.
Elijah Cap Sleeve Tunic: Unique, artistic details make this top a sophisticated choice, whether it’s worn with jeans or black trousers.
Twelve by Twelve Tulip Mini Skirt: This skirt’s pleated details give the standard pencil skirt a high-fashion update. Pair it with a simple white tucked-in top and red platform heels.
Mike & Chris Graham Box Pleated Jacket: This swingy jacket is the perfect way to warm up when the temperature drops.
Victoria’s Secret Tie-Neck Shirt: Katie’s on top of the tie trend, and you will be too with this feminine number.
ABS By Allen Schwartz Wide-Leg Trousers: Steal a page from the Katie Holmes playbook and pair these creamy wide-leg pants with a white tee and a cropped vest and a colorful handbag.
Chadwick’s Fashion Trench: This affordable trench—available in several colors—is a timeless way to add a touch of refinement to your ensemble.
Bleu Dame Sunglasses: Katie’s rarely seen without a pair of pricey Christian Dior or Roger Vivier shades. If you can’t afford designer, however, these bargain Dior-inspired shades will do.
pic21Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett’s not just a big risk-taker when it comes to film roles; her adventurous streak extends to fashion, too. Whether she’s rocking the red carpet in a severe pantsuit, a gleaming gold-plated gown, or a haute couture black lace stunner, one thing’s for sure—Blanchett is never boring. This is a woman willing to experiment with dramatic looks, bold prints, romantic embellishments, and avant garde materials—no wonder she’s an actress! Though Cate has probably tried everything, there are certain styles that particularly embody her fashionable adventuress look: metallics, strong masculine suits worn for evening, graphic prints, and eye-catching cut-outs that give her outfits a European, high fashion edge. Hopefully you can pull these looks off just as flawlessly.
Karta Shift Dress in Gold: Cate loves her metallics. This beaded shift is a funkier alternative to a little black dress.
Tracy Reese Grosgrain Applique Cinched Blouse: Wear this beautiful blouse with wide-legged trousers for an interesting contrast of masculine and feminine styles. 

Janet Silk Charmeuse Racer Back Cami Dress: This silky top’s cutouts are signature Cate. Pair the top with skinny jeans and heels for a sexy going-out outfit. 

Semantiks Graphic Print Silk Blouse: This boatneck top’s bold print is destined to steal the spotlight. 

Tara Subkoff for Bebe Ruffle Blouse: This sheer top is edgy yet romantic. 

Calvin Klein Two-Button Pant Suit: Command respect with this powerful pant suit-no blouse required. 

Chetta B by Sherrie Bloom and Peter Noviello Floral Brocade Dress: Boring just won’t do for a big night out. This metallic print cocktail dress is dramatic, just like Cate. 

Club Monaco Audrey Dress: The draping on this classic black number gives it a unique edge. Pair it with spring’s sexy black gladiator-style platforms for a look that says Balenciaga, but costs much less.  


Oprah Winfrey 

The queen of talk shows (and book clubs, and charities, and Broadway…) always wows everyone with her impeccable taste in fashion. Oprah is one of those celebrities who sticks to what she knows looks good on her, eschewing disposable trends in favor of classic, tasteful pieces that highlight her best features. Often steering clear of funky prints and anything that reveals too much leg, Oprah tends to favor shiny fabrics, deep-V necklines, turtlenecks, beautifully tailored suits, and garments with a belted waistline. It’s a look that is always sophisticated, always polished, and figure-flattering. The best part is, you don’t need to be an entertainment mogul to copy the look. Any woman can blend these Oprah-inspired pieces into her wardrobe. 

Tahari by ASL Three-Button Skirt Suit: Show them you mean business in this glamorous suit. 

Ann Taylor Loft Tie Front Shirtdress: Oprah would love this red-hot dress’s V-neckline and tie-cinched waist. This is one of those rare dresses that can work for both the office and that big date. 

Craig Taylor Jet Set Wrap Blouse: This flattering top can go casual with jeans, or dressy with a black pencil skirt or trousers. 

Tory Burch Rochelle Top: Oprah put Tory Burch on the map, so you know she’s a fan. This appliquéd tunic suits her elegant style. 

Kay Unger New York Silk Dupioni Suit: Have you seen a more gorgeous suit? This coral beauty personifies “dressed to impress.” 

Newport News Textured Peplum Jacket: Wear this cropped jacket over a semi-low-cut top and trousers for a city-chic look. 

Spiegel Belted Mockneck Dress: Turtleneck? Check. Belted waist? Check. Totally sophisticated and Oprah-worthy? Check, check! 

AG Club Tourmaline Jeans: Even mega-gazillionaires need their casual days. Oprah’s reported to be a fan of these slightly high-rise jeans. 



Nicole Richie 

Baby bump or no, Nicole Richie’s downtown hip fashion sense is always intact. It’s also surprisingly simple, considering how chic Richie always looks. The rock heiress may dabble in a splashy print once in a while, but for the most part she stays true to a streamlined color palette of black, gray, white, and red. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 

Additional Richie staples are a scarf, worn either loosely around the neck or as a hairband; large, vintage-style sunglasses; and her trusty Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag-she has one in pretty much every color. Richie is also a big fan of skinny jeans (and yes, it helps to have the figure of a 12-year-old ballerina), flats, and Chanel’s red quilted handbag. And when it’s time to party, she’s usually seen in a sexy little black dress-especially if it has a plunging neckline that offers a close-up of her newly enlarged chest (ah, the wonders of breast-feeding!). 

These pieces will help you score Richie’s edgy style-even if you aren’t Richie Rich. 

Twelfth Street Shirred Silk Slip Dress: This fiery dress is the stuff Chris DeBurgh songs are made of. Nicole would surely approve of the bold red hue, low neckline, and figure-flattering cut. 

Susana Monaco Urban Halter Dress: Maxi dresses are one spring and summer fashion trend you won’t want to pass up, and they’re comfortable too. The down-to-there V-neckline and black hue are signature Richie. 

Tolani Animal Print Scarves: Jazz up a basic white or black top by layering a wild animal print over it. 

American Apparel Baby Rib ½ Sleeve U-Neck T: Stock up on versatile low-necked tees in black, which can be worn with skinny jeans and flats. 

Jessica Simpson Delfina Hobo Bag: If Balenciaga is out of your budget, swap it for a Simpson. The edgy angled pockets with hanging zipper pulls are reminiscent of Nicole’s beloved Motorcycle Bag. 

Ksubi Super Skinny Black Zip Jeans: Ksubi-also known as Tsubi-is Nicole’s denim brand of choice. Style-wise, it’s the skinnier, the better. 

Forever 21 Stripe Vest Tank: Nicole loves her black and white stripes. Wear this top with the black skinny jeans and red flats. 

Nicole Vintage Oversized Sunglasses: Large sunglasses are a must for deflecting the paparazzi’s camera flashes. This pair from OC Shades is a bargain at $16.95. 


More SMW Fashion Advice:

In Full Bloom: Floral Fashions

How to Dress for an Interview

Spring 2009’s Top 5 Footwear Trends