Kate Bosworth Knows What She Wants, and How to Get It
The actress, producer, and fashion darling on being a "control freak," texting with Jason Wu, and styling herself for InStyle.
"Before I walked the red carpet for the  première of Remember the Titans at age 16, someone had to explain to me that I’d need a fancy dress,” says Kate Bosworth with a laugh. It’s a few days after her self-styled InStyle shoot, and the actress is reminiscing about the first time she put serious thought into getting dressed up. “I’m from a small Connecticut town, so my only concept of fashion was whatever store a normal teenager would shop at in the ’90s.” Luckily, a co-worker on set knew someone at Giorgio Armani, and Bosworth soon found herself in the designer’s showroom browsing options and considering what her father, the vice president at a menswear label, might choose.
“I was thinking how he would tell me, ‘Classic never goes out of style,’ when I picked an ankle-length skirt and a strappy velvet tank top,” she says. After a pause, she adds, “I might have also been looking to Gwyneth Paltrow for inspiration.”
Today, Bosworth’s style is all her own. After years of working closely with some of the industry’s most in-demand stylists (like Samantha McMillen and Jessica Paster, whose clientele includes Elle Fanning and Miranda Kerr, respectively), she has gained both the confidence and the connections needed to dress herself for events. Her approach to style, which she describes as “classic, minimalist, experimental, and unexpected,” is a one-two punch that manages to both make basic silhouettes feel fresh ( just Google “Kate Bosworth owl sweater”) and give complicated runway pieces a cool-girl ease.
That’s not to say she doesn’t have any help. “I’ve become friends with many designers, so I’ll text them if I have my eye on a piece,” she explains, citing as an example her pal Jason Wu, whose unfussy approach to high-glamour gowns suits her sensibility. “It’s a close collaboration between the person who created the design and me.”
Although Bosworth is the first to admit she’s a fan—with a capital F—of fashion, it’s only one of her many passions. Since deferring her acceptance to Princeton University nearly two decades ago to pursue acting in L.A., the star has parlayed her breakout role in the surfer flick Blue Crush into a rich variety of character-driven parts (this fall she portrays an oil executive in The Devil Has a Name). Together with her husband, Michael Polish, she also produces movies and TV shows (they are currently working on a series called Bring on the Dancing Horses) and runs a two-week summer workshop for aspiring filmmakers in Montana.
When asked to style herself for our shoot, Bosworth started in the same way she does with any creative endeavor: by throwing herself into research. Zeroing in on the idea of “a girl who has had enough of quarantine,” she planned each look by writing out extensive notes on the intended mood (“a real staying-home-from-school feeling”) and cultural references (such as Woman Under the Influence) she wanted to evoke. Details matter to Bosworth, and so does taking the time to get them right. Her explanation? “The short answer is that I’m a control freak,” she says with a laugh. “But the real answer is I feel most fulfilled when I’ve earned something. I like the work, you know?”
Since the pandemic began, Bosworth has turned her focus on a new project: Kind.est, a website inspired by the vulnerability she felt after her grandmother’s passing. Since its début in April, she’s been using the space to share personal anecdotes, product recommendations, and conversations with people she admires. “It’s a handmade destination; every word is written by me,” she says. “I’m up late every night obsessing over the design of an article.” Her guiding ethos? Kindness and topics of substance. “No matter how serious or light the subject matter is, there’s a story behind every post.”
Telling these stories has helped Bosworth, who struggled to find meaningful online interactions in the days following her grandmother’s death, express herself in new ways. “Social media made me feel so self-aware about what I was going through,” she remembers. “I wanted to create a space where people could be open.” And while she certainly did not plan to launch her site in the midst of a worldwide health crisis and social upheaval, Bosworth hopes her little corner of the Internet can be a place of respite for others as well—be it through a thought-provoking interview or a fun fashion editorial. “This is a complex time,” she says. “But as cheesy as it sounds, I believe that any challenge we’re served is a chance to evolve.”
For more stories like this, pickup the November issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Oct. 23rd.