How Tiffani Thiessen Works Her 'White Collar' Wardrobe (November 6 2014)
As the series returns for its final season, the actress—and working mom—reflects on her style on and off set.
For some actors, certain roles fit like a perfect pair of pumps—or in Tiffani Thiessen's case, flip-flops. As her USA series winds up for its final season, the White Collar star opened up to us about her on-set style secrets (including her feet-saving trick), as well as beauty tips and tidbits on an entirely different role: motherhood. Get to know the easy-going actress when the heels come off.
"I've always been more on the classic side. I think it fits my personality as well as my body type." –Tiffani Thiessen
How would you describe your personal style? "I think the best word would be classic. I'm not overly trendy at all; I never have been—unless you want to call the ‘80s realm that we were all in trendy [laughs]. But you know it's funny, I'm such a California girl in so many ways where I'm [in] shorts and flip-flops when it's warm out and jeans and flip-flops even when it's cold out. Dressing up is still on the more classic side. I think it fits my personality as well as my body type." (Style Bistro)
How does it compare to your character Elizabeth's? "I think she's sort of the same way. When it's not so specific, a lot of shows want their actors to feel comfortable, so I think they established her to be, again, not trendy at all. A lot of the stuff that I wore on the show I loved because it was very me. I felt very much that I could relate to her personality besides her style, and I think she as a character is probably the closest to my real self than anything I've played in the, gosh, almost 32, 33 years that I've been doing this."
How has your character's wardrobe evolved over the past five seasons? "From the very pilot of our show, they made me a little more bohemian-whimsical, which is not really me [but] more of, I think, what they felt suited me personally. So [it's] really changed from the pilot over to now. We've also had different costume designers in different seasons; you can see that relate to it changing the look a little bit, but not so much within a season itself."
Does anything from your own closet ever make an appearance on camera? "Yes, actually. I've had a couple dresses that I had either worn or was able to borrow for a red carpet event that I was able to use on the show, but not very often; I think I can count on one hand. If you think about a lot of the scenes when I'm in heels, half the time when they're already done with the wide shot, I will change into my flip-flops because I've been wearing heels all day [laughs]—that's very common with a lot of people."
Are there any styling tips you've picked up on set? "Never wear something you're not comfortable or feel good in, but that's something I feel like my mother taught me a long time ago. Everything can be altered—except for things that are too small—but usually anything can be altered to fit better."
How does your daughter's style reflect your own? "She definitely hasn't gotten too bossy. What I have learned with her, especially now that she's a little older, is I give her choices. I mean if I were to let her literally pick out whatever she wants, it would be not so great because she's still on the younger side, but I give her choices so at least she feels like she's involved and still somewhat in control of what she's putting on. Now, granted, there have been many times that we've left the house, and she's still wearing a Cinderella costume, but those are the times where, if it's not that big of a deal, I don't fight it, you know? I let her be who she wants to be, and if she wants to wear a Cinderella costume to breakfast, she can wear a Cinderella costume to breakfast [laughs]."
Then what does she wear for Halloween? "We [went] as a family of unicorns; that was her decision."
As a working mom, what are your day-to-night outfit essentials? "For me, the easiest thing I can do to change from day to night is literally keep my same jeans on, possibly change my shirt—even then I don't change sometimes—and I just change from flip flops to heels, literally. And add bigger jewelry."
How about beauty essentials for on and off screen? "Number one is drinking water; I think hydration is the biggest thing you can do to keep yourself looking young—less wrinkles—and feeling better. I am also pretty religious about getting facials every three to four weeks; I can see a difference when I don't. Sunscreen is another one—huge. I just got back from Hawaii last night, and everyone's like, ‘Oh, you're not that tan.' I'm like, ‘I know—sunscreen and a hat. I'm 40' [laughs]."
What can you tell us about the upcoming season? "Oh gosh, I can tell you it's going to be exciting! And we're sad it's our last, but it's going to be a good one."
Catch more of Thiessen's classic on-screen style on the final season of White Collar, which premieres tonight at 9pm PST on USA.