Actor, Activist, Entrepreneur
How would you describe your style? This morning, I decided I wanted to look a little like a skater chick. So I put on sweatpant shorts, black Balenciaga sandals with a lot of straps, and an oversize David Bowie T-shirt, and my hair is in cornrows. I look like I’m going to a rave. Tomorrow I might look like I’m part of corporate America, in a suit and heels. Every day is different: How I dress on any given day depends on what person I want to reflect to the world.
As a child, were you always into clothes? There’s a photo of me as a toddler: I’m stark naked except for a pair of my mom’s [Diana Ross] high-heeled pumps, standing on a shag carpet in front of her closet. For my entire life I’ve been trying to get back to being that little girl! From the age of 11 or 12, I’d steal clothes from my mom’s closet. Most of my ideas about dressing came from that closet. I also loved my grandmother’s style: Her hands were covered in beautiful rings, and her closet door was long strings of beads hanging down—no actual door. From an early age, I was attracted to the idea of decorating myself, becoming an object or a character. And I’ve never lost interest in seizing that daily opportunity.
What was the first item of clothing that you bought for yourself? I worked at Ralph Lauren all through high school, and my biggest purchase there—even with my employee discount—was a pair of chestnut suede button-fly jeans. They cost $620. It was a great extravagance. I could maybe wear them on one arm now, they were so tight. Then, when I was on the show Girlfriends, I had a tradition of buying myself a gift when we were renewed for a new season, and my favorite one was a pair of Vivienne Westwood pirate boots. They were expensive—about $800 or $900, which was generally out of my range. What I really, really wanted was a Stephen Sprouse Graffiti Louis Vuitton bag, but I couldn’t justify the cost. I would go to the store and visit that bag. Recently, I bought one at a resale boutique. My obsessions endure!
Bottom row from left: Tracee wears a Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello blazer, tights and shoes. Center and far-right: Alberta Ferretti blazer, blouse, and hat.