Kiernan Shipka on Being a Tween Style Icon, Her Favorite Vintage Spot, and More

Kiernan Shipka wearing a purple dress


In today’s world, what’s old is new again. Between fashion nostalgia and the mainstreaming of vintage hauls, more and more, we’re looking to years past for inspiration. And why shouldn’t we? Sometimes the answer isn’t buying new clothes, it’s working with what you’ve got. With This Old Thing?, we’re bringing you all the fashionable details, red carpet memories, and styling tips you’ll ever need—straight from the celebs you love.

A fashion icon since she was a tween, Kiernan Shipka has been turning looks in the public eye for over a decade. Since breaking into the collective consciousness as Mad Men’s dryly sarcastic Sally Draper, Shipka has gone on to topline Netflix’s Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina and play opposite Susan Sarandon in Ryan Murphy’s Feud: Bette And Joan. She’s also a venerable social media presence, posting beautifully photographed ‘fit pics to Instagram. In her latest film, Wildflower, Shipka plays Bea, the sardonic teenage daughter of two intellectually disabled adults who’s trying to decide whether she should take off and go to college or stick around and care for her family.

We caught up with Shipka while she was out promoting the movie, using our time to talk about 90-year-old jeans, what she learned from the Mad Men costume department, and why she thinks “Timmy” Chalamet is always and forever a fashion icon.

On Her "Wildflower" Wardrobe

One of the key pieces to her character is [how] the amount of responsibility she has leads to her not thinking about herself as much as she has to think about other people. It's an interesting thing when the wardrobe of the character has to seem as if it's almost an afterthought, but also still informs everything about them and tells you everything you need to know.

What I really liked about Bea’s style is that she's not interested in taking fashion risks. I knew that I wanted the clothing to feel like she was comfortable, and we ended up landing on a really simple floral that’s a little tomboyish and a little girly. There's an ease I think that she looks for in clothing. Her style is reflective of her keeping things simple in that area of her life.

On Falling in Love With Fashion

I was really young, because it happened when I was going into fittings with Janie Bryant, who was the costume designer on Mad Men.  When you're surrounded by the most insanely amazing vintage stuff, it's pretty hard not to feel the pull. So I was really a baby when I started looking at what was then and then it became kind of an obsession around 11 or 12.

Janie was the person who told me style could tell a story. That to me is such a beautiful piece of advice. It might sound simple, but she continued to reiterate that the things that I was wearing meant something. It's not just about clothes looking good. I haven't ever forgotten that. When I think about fashion that way, I get way more excited about it.

Kiernan Shipka wearing a gold mini dress


On Being an Early Style Icon

I was 11 and I was going to events and wearing designer outfits and all sorts of stuff. I look back on it and I really feel lucky because I got a lot of joy from it. I never felt an intense amount of pressure to look good or do things for anyone else. I was also lucky because I had access to these amazing clothes and events to wear these clothes to.

On the Tavi Gevinson Effect

When I look back on what someone like Tavi was wearing [when she was around the same age], it was so fun and light. There was this sense of real joy in the way that she wore clothes. When I look back on stuff that I wore, too, there was a lot of joy. I was so excited about it. I feel lucky that I didn't feel forced into it. It was just a thing that made me really happy, and I was really creative and playful as a kid so it was a really fun way to express my personality.

On Her Current Style

I'm so into vintage right now and I like simpler things these days. I like going more streamlined. I wear a lot of black. I love wearing pants and vests and I like to feel sexy. Sometimes I want to go a little more glam. Sometimes I want to go a little more edgy. I know what I like, but there was a moment where I didn't really pay attention to what I liked, or I just liked one thing and then I’d drop that and like another thing. I really feel like, for the first time in a minute, I know my style. I know what looks good on me, what I feel comfortable in, and I just don't want to leave the house not feeling like myself.

Kiernan Shipka wearing a blue skirt set.


On Her Favorite Vintage Find

I have these vintage jeans from the '30s. They're little boys’ pants from the '30s and I’ve been wearing them so much. They’re the perfect jeans. I've also been liking vintage T-shirts and vintage pants. They're interesting and fun and they have some weight to them. They have a history.

On the Best Vintage Shop in L.A.

I love Tommy Dorr. He has a place called Moth Food. It's where I get all my vintage and it's kind of addictive because it feels like a treasure hunt. There's an earnestness to finding a really cool something or other.

On Her Daily Uniform

The uniform right now is jeans and some sort sort of tank top if it's warm enough out. I usually wear a sneaker and the bag of the moment, whatever that may be. If I'm going out with friends, lately it's been black pants and a vest.

On Her Fashion Icons—Past and Present

My always and forever Grace Kelly obsession might never go away as far as style goes, but there are so many people that are just killing it right now. I love what Florence Pugh does. I am always excited to see what she does not only with her style but with her glam. I think it's so, so good. 

Kristen Stewart is cool. I love everything that Michelle Yeoh wore this awards season. Everyone's crushing it. I like when I feel like myself, so I like when I can tell that someone has an identity in the things that they wear.

Timmy [Chalamet] is a style legend to me. He's a style icon. I'm so excited to see whenever he promotes something. He just has so much fun with it and he really just does it. And I love it.

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