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Sophia Lillis shares the secret to her signature style

No mystery here: Sophia Lillis, star of IT and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, is fashion's latest darling.


Photographed by Sean Scheidt for Girls' Life magazine. Styled by Jessica D'Argenio Waller

It's a fairly universal opinion that clowns are scary. And most people would #confirm that ghosts are ghastly, too. But Sophia Lillis, who has faced both horrors in her on-screen roles, is *not* most people.

"When I first met Pennywise, I laughed. I don’t know why! Defense mechanism, maybe?” the 17-year-old actress says of the demonic clown she encountered in 2017’s global horror hit It (and will soon encounter again in IT Chapter 2).

Now, as the titular teenage detective in Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (available on digital now), she’ll tackle sneaky spirits—but that doesn’t faze her either. “You know, I haven’t ever really given ghosts much thought. I’ve definitely never had a ghost encounter. My life isn’t interesting enough for that!”

Sophia, who started acting at age 7, is clearly *not* spooked when it comes to getting creative. She showcases her photography skills on her Insta with gorgeous portraits (taken on her Leica camera) of her It castmates-turned-friends Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff and Jaeden Lieberher. If she has spare time, you’ll probably find her drawing. Most notably, though, Sophia’s a fashion It girl (um, not the creepy clown kind) in the making—and she has her hometown of Brooklyn to thank for that.

Growing up in the New York City borough, Sophia was never not surrounded by fashion risk takers and style savants. “Everyone there is unapologetic about who they are and what they wear—they are just themselves, and that definitely inspired me,” says Sophia, who was also a huge fan of the late avant-garde designer Alexander McQueen. “I’d see someone on the street with a really, really cool outfit and be like ‘Maybe I could do something like that one day.’”

Thanks to her rising stardom (and the press events and premieres that come along with it), Sophia has found herself straddling two style worlds. “One thing about this profession is that you get a lot of clothes for free, so my closet is a weird space. On one end there’s tons of my old, raggedy stuff,” says Sophia, who lives for dark jeans, big sweaters and stripes. “And on the other, there’s just that one Prada dress from the It premiere that I haven’t worn again since.”

True to her closet’s offerings, she keeps her style pretty low-key on the day to day. Case in point: She arrived on set in a pair of black Dr. Martens. They’re classic and bold all at once—just like the sleuth she plays on-screen.

“Nancy is such a strong girl,” Sophia says of the book-based character. “When she first came about in the 1930s, she was so different from the females who were being written at the time. She’s just so independent and intelligent, which I really admire.”

Nancy’s ingenious attitude very much mirrors Sophia’s IRL fashion sensibility. “I have this really oversized plaid blazer with shoulder pads, and I’m obsessed with it. When I got it, I wore it with these white pajama pants that have vertical blue stripes. Everyone stared at me, but I didn’t really care. I loved it.”

The trend Sophia’s still not so sure about? Fanny packs. “It’s not that I don’t like them, I do! I just don’t understand why people wear fanny packs as bags and not as a fanny pack. It’s like, they know what a fanny pack is, but they’re too afraid or embarrassed to wear it the right way,” she explains. “I have multiple fanny packs and I wear them around my waist—because that’s where they’re supposed to be! It’s not a tiny purse you hold!”

Thanks to Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, Sophia's been sporting another unconventional accessory: a longboard. The actress learned to ride—and dance on—a longboard especially for the flick just days before filming started.

She pulled it off without a hitch, ofc, which she does with most things—including her fashion choices.

“People say my style is very interesting,” Sophia muses. “I try to pull off things that most people would normally never, ever think to put together. But I really like my look, so I think that’s all that matters.”

And, like we said, Sophia Lillis isn’t most people.

Plant lady
Green thumb or not, cement your plant-lover status in a botanical print frock. Retro addons like chunky hoops and a boxy raffia basket bag keep it quirky. 

"I try to find a lot of different textures and patterns and mix them together to see what works and what doesn’t, so I guess you could call my style experi - mental. Sometimes it’s good and some - times I could do better, but all of it’s very interesting."

Modern lit
Shed a little light on oversized denim and dreamy ditsy blooms—a perfect combo to master the art of unstudied ease.

"Everyone [in Brooklyn] is unapologetic about who they are and what they wear—they are just themselves, and that definitely inspired me."

Palette Cleanser
A striped linen blazer is the perfect canvas for crafting layered masterpieces: Work in a slouchy romper, blend in a bloom-dotted tank and polish it off with shoulderdusting earrings.

"People say my style is very interesting. I try to pull off things that most people would normally never, ever think to put together."

Gimme shelter
Your oasis awaits: Waltz through a wild wonderland in a blush raincoat and rose-bedecked high-tops.

In the details
Ruffled straps, a high waist, wide legs—your favorite overalls, but better. Pair with an off-shoulder smocked top and a killer grin.

Natural habitat
Romp around town in sturdy stovepipe crops (the latest edition of Pants You Need) and a flowy button-up mini dress that’s shockingly versatile.

Which look is your fave? Share in the comments below!

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by Sydney Adamson | 5/16/2019
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