Style Of The Stars: Lupita Nyong’o, The Graceful Queen

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In 2008, Lupita Nyong’o began her career in the short film East River. But it was after she completed her master’s degree at the Yale School of Drama that her name would become famous worldwide. She conquered audiences and critics with her brilliant talent with her role in 12 Years a Slave (2013). She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film and became the first Kenyan actress, as well as the first Mexican actress, to win an Academy Award. But Nyong’o isn’t famous only for her performances on the screen—she knows how to use the red carpet as a shrine to her royal personality and style. Every time we see Nyong’o at the red carpet, she is confident, serene, and surrounded by a strength that is very well translated by her garment choices.

Named People’s Most Beautiful Person of 2014, Nyong’o knows how to use fashion to embellish her body type. Plunging neckline dresses are one of Nyong’o’s favorites,; a smart selection that brings our attention to her entire look and her regal posture. Since she is 5’5” with a smaller chest, Nyong’o is clever in preferring v-necks. By guiding our attention to her entire look while lengthening the silhouette, this type of cut is flattering and sexy. Her short haircut is also provocative. Showing her natural charm, Nyong’o’s attire invites us to focus on her décolletage. Neck and upper chest are in the spotlight when we see Nyong’o’s plunging neckline dresses, transforming her into an effortless femme fatale. She’s also often spotted with neckpieces or shoulder embroidered details. With a body type sometimes called rectangular, or banana, her outfits are designed to create the impression of an hourglass proportion. In order to achieve that, she’s most prone to prefer outfits that emphasize her waist. She does that not only by wearing deep v-necks, but also waist-fitted dresses and wisely chosen prints that create perfect proportions. And, even when we see Nyong’o in gowns with long vertical cuts, her waist will always be fitted accordingly. If you have a rectangle body shape like Nyong’o, be inspired by her style and you’ll discover that sexiness is not a shape, but rather clothing that shows the best attributes of your figure—expressing your personality and giving you confidence.

Having such a graceful style, Nyong’o quickly grabbed the interest of big brands like Lancome Cosmetics, becoming the company’s first black spokeswoman in 2014. She’s also a highlight of the red-carpet and a fashion icon. Displaying brands like Versace, Prada, and Valentino, to name a few, her looks are charming, seductive, and bold. Nyong’o proves that bold colors can be fun without being overwhelming. But her street style is also notable. Adopting the fitted-waist idea from her red-carpet gowns, Nyong’o constructs chic outfits with a variety of bright colors and prints. Sometimes preferring to leave the colors to her accessories, Nyong’o proves that her red-carpet persona is not far from her everyday stylish self. When out and about, we often see Nyong’o in coats or jackets that have a “heading to work” style. Sometimes these are on top of a bright dress and colorful pump shoes, other times a simple shirt. Plaid coats and leather jackets are leveled up with colorful heels and bags. Her coats are often knee length, covering her dresses and adding a chic tone to the look. She prefers stud earrings that don’t interfere with colors and prints, and that leaves her neckline free of clutter and ready to be admired.

The Prada Nairobi-blue gown Nyong’o wore at the Academy Award Ceremony in 2014 resembles a dress worn by Elizabeth Taylor in 1969. Nyong’o calls Taylor one of her fashion inspirations, and we can clearly see how Taylor’s style helped Nyong’o find her fashion attitude. Taylor is sexy and elegant, but also natural, exuding a royal confidence with her presence. Wearing waist-fitted outfits, knee-length dresses, and exploring her décolletage, Taylor had a style that was feminine and self-assured, which also communicated her personality. Like Taylor, Nyong’o is welcoming of colors and prints without losing sophistication.

Making your style work for your personality is the secret that queens like Taylor and Nyong’o are sharing with us. Knowing your body and your favorite traits, endorsing your sensuality and not being afraid of showing who you are through your look and attitude are the hints we can observe in their presence. Garments can reveal your funny personality or the physical attributes that you’re most proud of, and they also can make you remarkable and inspiring. Having a style is more than choosing clothes, it’s expressing a little bit of yourself to those who don’t know you yet. As Nyong’o said, “I like to wear things, I don’t like things to wear me. I don’t like fuss!”.

If you’re feeling inspired by Nyong’o, you can incorporate some items like this knee-length plaid coat ($325) that is ideal for both a day at work or a night at the theater. To copy one of her plunging neckline dresses, opt for a dress ($45) that will make you feel sexy and charming. And, if you share her love for prints, this printed mini-dress ($2,500) makes the perfect cocktail dress.

Being true to herself is a big part of Nyong’o’s style. At the red carpet or at West Hollywood, she chooses her clothes with the same idea in mind: cuts in agreement with her body type and garments that evoke a natural look and express her funny side. This graceful queen doesn’t like the fuss: she knows what she likes and wears what makes her comfortable. Her style is elegant and expressive enough of her personality that we are able to look at a dress and see Nyong’o wearing it or not—she dresses in a way that allows us to know her.