The Rules of Style by Emma Watson

Now here’s a sight for sore eyes


Celebrities who had their start as awkward adolescents are lighthouses of hope to anyone between a weird place and a style rut. A quick scroll can quickly prove that stars are just like us.

Just like us, they have mornings where they don’t know what to wear.

Just like us, they succumb to dumb trends.

And just like us, they think they look great until 10+ years have passed and their current style causes them to wince at their former wardrobes, but hello! Yoga says we’re supposed to live in the present.

Which sort of translates into the drunk idea that by studying a celebrity’s sartorial trajectory we can learn an awful lot.

Take Emma Watson: feminist, activist, Aries (hbd!), actress, would probably prefer it if you don’t bring up Hermione’s spell inflection or Daniel Radcliffe. She’s now considered a fashion plate, but even she had a few missteps along the way.

Missteps like wearing various shades of green at once (an accidental ode to Peter Pan) or thinking that the best idea ever — “Mom, I’m red carpet ready!” — was putting a bra strap around her head.

But we don’t throw stones in this glass house. Not when those of us currently typing used to own a shirt that said “80% Angel” as though anyone actually wondered about the missing 20%. (Joke was on me: the devil was that teeny tiny baby tee.)

Emma Watson did what all good humans do and matured in the process of growing up. “Goodbye, black boas and long denim dresses,” I assume she said as she waved hello to juxtaposed leather.

Hello to starched collars, sensible cutouts, side-parted hair and a game of Grecian goddess or Emma: who wore it better?

Hello to suede asymmetry and synched waists like Peggy.

Hi to blasts of lip color and thick, combed brows.

Hey, how are ya to to white sheaths and paired pinks, peplums, pointy shoes and jumpsuits.

Hello to full skirts, fitted tops, non-douche-y bowler hats and striped frocks.

HELLO (as shouted in capital letters through a megaphone) to the idea that sustainable fashion — in its many forms and facets — is not a gimmick. It’s not a trend. It’s a very real way of design.

The rules of style according to one Emma Watson are simple: screw what’s “in” — wear what fits, flatters, flaunts, feels right and good to the earth, is also fun.

For her that means playing with various degrees of backless.

For us, regardless of what we’re wearing, it’s a reminder on the fridge to always look back at it.

(via Elle by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Collages by Emily Zirimiz


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  • Andrea Raymer

    Emma Watson is the reason I got into fashion in the first place (around age 13). I was an active member of an Emma Watson fan forum where we tried to ID all her clothes way back in 2004. I tried to make myself my own version of slide 3 and the Chanel dress in slide 15 was the inspiration behind my prom dress. I cut all my hair off when she did and I, too only part my hair on the left. I was lucky enough to stand in her presence the day slide 20 happened.

    I also once saw her college ex-boyfriend on the subway one time which I think speaks to my fanaticism because he is NOT famous and I recognized him. I hate myself for admitting that.

  • Liz Warners

    I once purchased a Marc Jacobs dress off of Ebay to wear to my Homecoming dance because I saw Emma wear it on Teen Vogue. She wore it better of course.

  • Must be nice to be able to see all of the pics.


  • BK

    No NO NOPE I will hear ZERO veiled asides about Emma’s early style, I’m the same age as her and always thought she looked the coolest at every potter movie premiere she went to (also the girl was like ten at the time, by the way, so let her go). Also she arguably has the most meticulous, clever style of any celebrity at present. Kind of surprised that you guys didn’t even mention her actual rules of style here though? She’s very passionate about ethical & sustainable fashion and the captions from those Sarah Slutsky Insta photos in the slideshow elaborate on that aspect of Emma quite a bit. Tbh that’s what I this post would be about.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Hey BK, I’m a big Emma fan, which is why I made this post. I find it eternally reassuring when you realize that women who are insanely chic and put together and well dressed had less than insanely chic moments in their dressing journey. It makes them relatable and seem human. As for your note on sustainability, what a great call! Added in a rule about that, as well as Sarah Slutsky’s very informative captions to the slide. If you’re interested in more sustainable fashion related posts on MR, here’s a good one:

      • BK

        I understand the motivation behind including them, but if we have to go all the way back into her childhood to find conventionally doubtful outfits, can’t we just leave them there? Ten-year-old me used to like wearing head-to-toe fluorescent green and gumboots as leisurewear (an inadvertent rural channeling of E.W’s all-green ensemble in slide 9, I just realised) which is a sartorial choice I’d (probably) reconsider these days, but I loved it so much back then that I’m at peace with it now. I know these little-kid clothing choices are funny in retrospect, but I just think they possess a sort of innocence that’s to be cherished rather than judged, which is the tone I got from this article.

  • In addition to being stylish AF, Emma Watson is a huge supporter of Ethical Fashion. As she said in Porter Magazine, “because so many women design and make the clothes we wear, it’s primarily the working conditions of women that are affected by the decisions we make, so fashion is a feminist issue.”
    To summarize, she’s the epitome of style.

    #EthicalistheNewBlack 😉

  • Inkygrl

    She’s so pretty and cool and smart and just makes it all seem so effortless.