How I Shop: Simone Biles

The Olympic gymnast talks about how she's still figuring out her style, her "bad habit" of online shopping and her long hunt for American Eagle's Tomgirl jeans.
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Simone Biles at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Simone Biles at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images

We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."

Simone Biles celebrated her 22nd birthday last Thursday, March 14, which she followed up by winning yet another all-around World Cup title in Stuttgart, Germany — her 2019 debut — that following Saturday. That makes the star gymnast a four-time Olympic gold medalist, 14-strong world-title winner and a two-time world cup champion. No big deal, right?

Of course, her kickass skill is the result of a lot of hard work — and with the amount of hours she's dedicated to training in the gym, Biles admits that she doesn't have much time to focus on fashion. But when she does have an opportunity to shop and get dressed up, she sticks with budget-friendly prices and classic pieces. Plus, if you ask us, we think a gold medal is way more coveted than any designer-name "It" item anyway.

While in Paris during Nike Women's reveal of its national team soccer kits for the World Cup in March, we sat down with Biles to talk about how she's still figuring out her style, her "bad habit" of online shopping and her long hunt for American Eagle's Tomgirl jeans.

"My personal style is very basic just because I'm in the gym a lot. So it's athletic, sporty, but still fun. I like dressing up but I feel like it's also very basic. I haven't established my style yet, or what I like. I kind of do whatever. But I also feel like living in Houston, it's a little bit different. I can be more out there if I go to Los Angeles or New York because things are more acceptable.

Simone Biles at the Nike Women's event in Paris. Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Simone Biles at the Nike Women's event in Paris. Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Right now I'm really into the [American Eagle] Tomgirl jeans look. I can't wait to wear them. I haven't worn them yet because I haven't done anything, but I did bring them here to Paris, so I'm excited to wear those. I don't even keep up with style either, because I'm just so busy in the gym and all I get to wear are tights and leotards. Growing up in the gymnastic field, we're used to everything tight, so if something's loose it feels wrong, but that's why I like the Tomgirl jeans because I'm getting a little bit more comfortable with them.

I online shop a lot. It's a bad habit. A lot. If I get bored I'm online shopping, and that's the worst part. I look at Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, American Eagle or if I go to the store it's like Forever 21. Nothing really fancy. I'm all about bargain shopping. The last thing I bought was probably some jackets, actually, at the Nike store. And then my sister stole them. She steals all my clothes. She's younger. Go figure.

Oh, I have a bad habit with buying shoes, too. I have so many shoes, a lot of sneakers. They're all usually plain — low tops, neutral colors, blacks, whites, grays. Every once in a while I'll get a color that's like purple or some blues or some reds, and then obviously, a lot of socks because we run through them a lot in the gym, and then tights. I have millions of tights. I have so many, so many colors, so many sizes. It's ridiculous.

I don't have anything on my shopping wishlist. I feel like if I see something and I like it, then I'll get it. But I was looking for the Tomgirl jeans for about six months because they didn't have my size, so I would always periodically go and check, and go and check, and go and check. Both online and in stores. So I think that was like the last big thing on my wishlist. I don't shop for designer pieces too much. I feel like the only 'designer' items I have would be like Nike, like a sports designer. Other than that, no. It's just too expensive.

We donate a lot of our clothes, usually every season. I go through my closet and then we donate it. And sometimes with the things that I'm gifted, if it doesn't fit me, I usually give it to my friends or my sister.

Simone Biles at the 2017 Golden Globes. Photo:  Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Simone Biles at the 2017 Golden Globes. Photo:  Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

My go-to outfit for the gym would be leggings and a tank top, since it's hot in Houston right now. Then outside of the gym, I wear jeans or a skirt with either a crop top or an off-the-shoulder top. For red carpet events, I really like wearing ball gown dresses because it's so different. We don't get to wear those, and since I didn't go to prom or homecoming or any of those, I like wearing those a lot. One of my favorite events was the Golden Globes. That one was really fun.

I do my own makeup for meets. My go-to is probably a wing, some mascara, do my brows, nothing fancy. Sometimes eyeshadow, but not a lot. When I was younger, I thought I could do my makeup. Clearly, that was not the case. I was probably 13 years old or 14. Now I'm a little bit better at it. [Doing my makeup] calms me down for the meet. I love the getting-ready process.

Simone Biles at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Simone Biles at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images

I don't really have a set skin-care routine. I'll put on whatever depending on how my face feels. But there's a skin-care brand that I really like. It's called SK-II. They have really nice products, so that's probably my favorite that I'm using.

I don't experiment [with my style] yet because I don't want to look crazy. You have to be bold. You have to be confident in what you wear, so I feel like I go for more simple things, just because I feel confident in that. But I have a friend, she'll go all out and she doesn't care what anybody thinks. I want an attitude like her, so that I can feel more comfortable and wear whatever. Because I see some stuff and I'm like that would be so cute, but I would never wear it because I'm just not confident enough."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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