Style Icon: Rachel McAdams

by Heidi Arenberg

You fell in love with her in mega-hit films like Mean Girls, Wedding Crashers, and of course, The Notebook. But stardom wasn’t over for Rachel McAdams back then. And it STILL isn’t over (cue the pouring rain and the steamy, iconic kiss). Movie references aside, she now has blockbusters like Sherlock Holmes and Midnight in Paris to add to her resume and is canoodling with Channing Tatum in The Vow at a theater near you.

But when she’s not charming us onscreen (or filming love scenes with Hollywood’s hottest men), she’s garnering girl crushes galore due to her sweet, down-to-earth nature, her ability to pull off any hair color, and oh yeah—her incredible sense of style. That’s right: this Canadian nice girl kills on the red carpet as well as the street.

Even back when saying her name still evoked a “Rachel who?” from your average person, Ms. McAdams was already evolving her fashion personality. Her affinity for sportive frocks, edgy details (pink hair, anyone?), and Old Hollywood glamour was as apparent in 2005 as it is today. And don’t expect mere little black dresses from this style standout. Whether it’s a bold pattern on a midi dress, jewels bedecking a yellow column gown, or happy flowers paired with braids, Rachel has never shied away from uniqueness in her wardrobe.

What’s better is that the adventurous facet of her style has only developed over time. “These last few years have been a real education for me in terms of fashion. I’ve had exposure to these amazing designers and a whole new quality of clothing,” Rachel revealed to InStyle in 2010. And she’s not taking her access to such designers for granted. Suno, Monique Lhuillier, and Marchesa are just a few of the high-end names the lucky lady donned last year, proving that one thing is certain: girl looks good in couture. Dangerously low necklines and cheeky bustiers are only a couple of ways the actress has flirted with the boundaries of “safe” in fashion. And hey, no one’s stopping her.

Red carpet appearances and oozing glamour are a part of her career, but when she isn’t on the job, Rachel’s outfits don’t lose an ounce of the class or eclecticism seen in her “work clothes.” Her street ensembles are just as one-of-a-kind but casual and a bit more…hippie. Yes, everyone’s favorite Canadian is kind of a hippie (but in the best way possible!). “A sexy green thing to do is to wear bamboo underwear!” Rachel gushed to WENN in 2009 a couple years after the debut of her environmental awareness website

In addition to her principled take on lingerie, it’s clear that Rachel savors comfort during her time off. Often caught in worn-in boots, loose dresses, chunky sweaters, or basic jeans, her outfits are undoubtedly practical. But practicality doesn’t have to be dull. Proof: a tie-die tunic. Further proof: orange jeans. Rachel exhibits the chic way to do cozy, and with a few key pieces, any college girl can copy her methods. Just choose one statement piece (bright jeans, a mini dress) and combine it with your trusty staples like easy wedges, simple boots, or a neutral winter coat. And one more piece of advice: matching optional.

But most important, don’t be afraid to embellish your look with offbeat details. You don’t have to add pink streaks to your hair to channel Ms. McAdams, but maybe you can dust off that purple eyeshadow that’s been sitting in the back of the drawer. You know the one. Muster up your confidence and make Rachel proud. And while taking style cues from the screen siren doesn’t promise you a whirlwind romance with Ryan Gosling, you’re sure to get a few compliments from impressed friends. Let’s do ourselves a solid and pretend that’s just as fantastic.

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