The actress tells us all about her fashion faux pas, and why her "way-too-fluffy" high-school style helps her relate to her character.

By Samantha Sutton
Nov 13, 2020 @ 2:45 pm
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Credit: Getty Images/InStyle.com

If part of you enjoys fluffy, bright pink, shiny, embellished clothing, then Kathryn Newton’s Instagram will likely be a treat for your eyes. The actress, who currently stars in the comedic-slasher film, Freaky, alongside Vince Vaughn, has an overall whimsical and glamorous aesthetic; she knows fashion is supposed to be fun, and really leans into that vibe. On any given day, Newton can be spotted posing in a puff-sleeved gown, wearing a variety of hats, or slipping on a fabulous pair of fuzzy slippers, which she shows off via Zoom while chatting with InStyle.

“I definitely like fantasy and playing dress up,” she says, pointing out the red leather jacket she has on, similar to what she wears in the film, after her character, Millie, unintentionally swaps bodies with a murderer (Vaugn). “At the end of the day, if I feel good in it, I'm going to wear it no matter what. I've been so lucky to get to wear some of these dresses, like from Valentino. If I get the opportunity to wear something like that, I'm going to rock it, and I'm going to have fun with it because it might not ever happen again.”

If you think Newton sounds confident, especially when it comes fashion, you’re right. She may be good at what she does (Remember her in Big Little Lies? Or Blockers? Or as the lead in Netflix’s The Society?), but in real life, she doesn’t seem to pretend. The 23-year-old is completely herself — so much so, there are even parts of Freaky that fans will swear are personal nods, such as the nickname “poodle” (Newton has three) and a mini golf scene (she could have easily had a career in golfing). Still, much like Millie, Newton says that she, too, went through an awkward phase growing up.

“I feel like Millie was the kind of character that just wanted to fade away into the background, which is sometimes easier than showing people who you are,” she says. “It's easier to just disappear, because growing up, you don't want to be scrutinized by bullies. In the end, she kind of has to become someone else to see how great she is, and I think everyone can relate to that. When I was in high school, I was such a dork, and I'm such a nerd. I ran for class president and nobody knew who I was. I gave out Kit-Kats and everything, and they were like, ‘Who's this girl? You go here?’ I'm like, ‘Yeah. Yes I do.’”

Credit: Laurie Stark

Even talking about her style back then seems to make Newton cringe.

“I wore weird outfits — way-too-fluffy of outfits for someone in high school. You wouldn’t have ever caught me in skinny jeans, and if they were skinny jeans, they were white with, like, gold stripes on them — not good,” she admits. “But my point is, now, I'm still that person who was a complete dork in eighth grade. I wear whatever I want and people like it now…sometimes. Maybe not. But it doesn't matter, because I do. That's just how you grow up. Those things people pick on you for are what make you so special.”

Credit: Laurie Stark

On top of owning who she is on the inside, Newton has also allowed her love of gold-striped jeans to pave the way for slightly fancier fashion choices. These days, her closet even includes a collection of vintage Chanel designs from 1994.

“When I was in Vancouver shooting Supernatural, actually, there was this amazing vintage shop and they had all this Saint Laurent, Chrome Hearts, and Chanel, and it was so, so cheap,” she tells us. “I don't buy things full price — I'm not that person. I buy on sale, so I'll vintage shop and find these pieces and now I have this amazing collection. I have these suits from Chanel 1994 — two black ones. You've seen the picture of the fashion models in the pastel [sets], with their amazing long legs. I have, like, four of those suits.”

However, Newton says that, initially, she didn’t even realize how valuable or special those designs were.

“One of them I cut because the skirt was too long and I wanted it to be like in the picture. Then, I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and they literally had the outfit in the museum. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I cannot believe I just ruined a museum piece by altering it!’ Because once you alter it, it loses its value. I was like, ‘Oh well. I’ve got to wear it. I’ve got to make it look good.’ So, now I'm starting to wear it more.”

Kathryn Newton's vintage Chanel suit.
| Credit: Courtesy

As for the future of fashion and red carpet events, Newton says she wouldn’t mind if a shift occurred, and celebrities began rewearing more of their clothes or even getting super casual on occasion.

“Are we really going to go all out if it's over Zoom or are we just going to wear our clothes? And then, can we just wear our clothes to the premieres now? What about in the '90s when everyone was wearing, like, their best sweater? Because that sounds great. I'd love to do that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll be a princess for you any day, but maybe you want to see me in my sweatpants.”

Considering we’re constantly inspired by celebrity loungewear, we definitely wouldn’t mind — and are also confident that Newton’s sweats would be cuter than, say, the average Hanes pair. For now, however, we can all see Newton — in that red leather jacket! — play half-teen, half-murderer in Freaky, which is out in theaters now.

Welcome to The Oldest Thing I Own, where our favorite celebrities tell us all about the one item in their closet that they can’t seem to part with.