interview Jessica Alba

1This past week, while the rest of us were sweating our way around Lincoln Center, Jessica Alba was staying calm, cool, and collected. The style icon and businesswoman has been showing off the enviable outfits she’s known for, and asserting her place in the front row of the hottest shows. But, that’s her M.O. — no matter the occasion, she always manages to look amazing (and, more importantly, like she feels amazing). Nowadays, she’s got her plate more than full, what with running her own business, The Honest Company, keeping up an enviable movie career, and playing mom to two adorable daughters — all while staying one step ahead in the style department.

We caught up with the star towards the end of her jam-packed Fashion Week, while she took on yet another project as Guest Editor over at Piperlime. She stopped by the pop-up store to pick out her favorite looks, and to chat with a few lucky editors (that’s us!) about her musings on life and fashion. Read on to find out what trends Alba fell victim to in the past, what she’s into now, and what you can do to live more of the honest life.

DVF is one of your mentors — what are some of the most important things that you’ve learned from her?
“Perseverance. She’s pretty incredible. She’s also such a champion for women, and an advocate for supporting women in business. When I first talked to her about my idea to start The Honest Company, and the challenges I was facing with getting into conversations about raising money and venture capital, I was the only woman there in those rooms. I put the business together, I brought all my partners in, and she was the same way with her company. So, it’s nice just to have someone who’s been there and done that, to guide me through the process whenever I was like ‘Ahhh!'”

What was your style like as a kid?
“Very tomboy and very practical, mixed with moments of Punky Brewster influence, moments of Clueless, The Craft, and then Nirvana for sure. I’m sort of doing a version of that now, actually — kind of the rebel.”

What trends are you obsessed with right now, and what do you hope never comes back into style?
“Oh, I’m into crop tops. But, I’m not into full-baring. I’ve done that, that was the No Doubt style back in the day when we did the full midriff. My grandmother was constantly pulling my Pepe Jeans up and my shirt down. And, then I would get vintage baby tees — remember baby tees? — when raves started. I went to raves, don’t worry about it. I’m actually into the way the platform tennis shoe has evolved, the way Isabel Marant made it, I think it’s cute in that chunky way.”

With The Honest Company, you teach how to be eco-friendly and healthy. What is one thing that we can all be doing to incorporate that philosophy into our lifestyle?
“You know, I have a lot of items like that incorporated in my book, because I’m not an extreme version of what you should be to be super-eco. I approach it from just a very practical, healthy viewpoint: I don’t want my kids to be poisoned, so how do I do that? I think the most basic thing is just read labels. Know what you’re bringing into your home, and then you can choose to not have this or have that. It’s up to you after that. And, take your shoes off at the door, because then all of that stuff you’re stepping on all day comes in the house, and it gets into your air and affects your air quality.”

What should every woman have in her closet this fall?
“Probably a good boot. I know the thigh-high boots are big, but I can’t get down with that. It cuts off your circulation — or if it doesn’t, it looks so bulky. And, you can’t help but look like a girl with a different kind of job, who you might not want to look like if you know what I mean. Unless that’s your job, then that’s fine. But, yah, a good boot. I think a nice, warm scarf that you can kind of throw over anything. And, a good motorcycle jacket. Sometimes it’s just annoying if you have a floral dress, and pumps, it can look girly, so it can be nice to have something to make it a little cuter and younger.”

You’re photographed a lot, even if you’re taking your kids somewhere. Does that influence the way you dress, or change your decision to wear sweats or something similar?
“You know, every time I do that, I feel so schlubby. It just makes you feel so much more self-conscious to know people are watching. But, if you’re going to the gym, you’re going to the gym. It’s weird, it’s a strange thing to happen every day. I’m not complaining about it; I understand it’s part of the deal, but I have not gotten used to it.”

What types of back-to-school trends have you noticed with your kids?
“I have no idea. Are there trends for kids?! I feel like so much of what’s out there for kids is so tacky. I feel like I’m editing or eliminating more than anything, because a lot of it is just crazy. They try to make your children look like working girls sometimes. I just think, ‘Are you kidding me?’ My husband is always saying ‘That is a shirt, that is not a skirt,’ and I just don’t know what to say. So, we put leggings with everything, and we taught our daughter how to compose herself, like walk and sit in dresses and skirts. So, age-appropriate is a big thing. And, at my kid’s school, they have this rule that there’s no sandals and no boots, only sneakers. I’m into sneakers, I love sneakers, but I’m a little upset that she can’t wear her Docs.”

How many bags and shoes do you think you own?
“I actually can’t even talk about either, it’s a problem. My husband, it comes up in conversation at least once a week. He always wants to know if it’s really necessary to have another bag. But, you know, a lot of it is people are very generous, and I’ve gone to so many premieres and press days and all these things, so people have gifted me a lot of stuff. And, to be quite honest, 99% of my closet is about that, so I’m very lucky that that’s the case. And, then there’s a nice story that comes with everything you own.”

Do you ever give your husband style advice? Has his style evolved since you’ve been together?
“I’ve been trying! I got him into the more tapered leg, it took about four years. But, he feels comfortable in it now. I think, when Jay Z embraces, something then Cash thinks it has to be alright, since he’s kind of the ultimate icon. I’ve been trying to get him to wear boots, but he’s such a sneaker or a loafer guy, and the loafers are fine, but he might need to break into another zone. So, this will be our third season where I’m trying to get him to wear a boot. Let’s see what happens.” –

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