Ashlee Simpson may not have stolen your boyfriend, but she has definitely stolen her own boyfriend (now husband)'s clothes. "When we first started dating, I was loving his closet," Simpson tells me at the Zadig & Voltaire store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, alongside her husband Evan Ross. "Evan has some pretty blouses, some awesome pants." Both Rosses say they've always had a penchant for shopping both the men's and women's sections, long before they met, which has led them to their latest project together, a unisex line for the edgy French brand called Jagger Snow, named after their daughter. Prices range from about $100 for a T-shirt to $628 for a blazer.
"It seems as though fashion is moving that direction, anyway; men are deciding not to just shop in men's clothing; they can shop in women's clothing, as well, and it opens the door to be able to have more options and more things to wear," says Ross. "It's nice to be on the forefront of doing something like that."
For Ross, this willingness to shop outside gendered confines could be traced back to his upbringing — his mom is Diana Ross, after all. "I've always been inspired by my mom's clothing, and she's always said, 'You set the trends, you don't [follow them]; people don't want it until you show them,'" he says. "As a young kid, we were allowed to wear whatever we wanted, which probably looked kind of crazy sometimes." At one point, a young Ross wanted his own red suit after seeing his mom in one, and legendary designer-to-the-stars Bob Mackie ended up making him one.
Meanwhile, Simpson has always set herself apart from her famous older sister by having a tomboyish edge to her personal style. "Ever since I was a little girl, I've always been interested in wearing boys clothes, as well," she says. "I used to be like, 'Mom, take me to the boys section!'" From dresses over pants to several belts layered over extremely low-waisted jeans, that resulted in some memorable looks in the mid-aughts. So, what does she think when she looks back at some of those looks? "It was also a time of expressing myself. I'm not embarrassed, but I can definitely look back on my old show and be like, 'Wow! That was an interesting outfit,' or old performances, I'm like, 'Wow, Okay,' but I think that's what's fun about style, is getting to go through different phases," she says. "Even when I look back and I'm like, 'What the heck were you wearing?' I felt good that day." Even better, a lot of the trends from that era are already starting to come back, and Simpson is here for it: "I've been into doing the vintage cami dresses [over a] T-shirt," she says. She's also very into the resurgence of kitten heels. "I think I've always been a little bit of a tomboy, but I think I've come into more of a lady," she says of her style now.
She works with stylist Natalie Saidi for red carpets and special events, but admits that day-to-day, she'll sometimes wear the same outfit for days on end. "Sometimes I pick out something and I like to wear it all week until I'm photographed," she says. But in preparing looks for the upcoming reality show she and Ross have been filming, she had to be careful to avoid repeats. "For the show, you have to have a bunch of outfits and so if we're shooting a lot that week, then I need to know what I'm wearing that week," she says, also lamenting the fact that logos aren't really allowed on the show, given her vast vintage band T-shirt collection.
Simpson and Ross say they both have always been interested in fashion, and this Zadig & Voltaire capsule, which launches today, is just the beginning. They're planning to launch their own full-blown unisex line together "soon," and Simpson says she also has a fashion project of her own in the works, and that's in addition to the couple's reality show and new album, debuting later this summer. In conclusion? She's back!