How I Shop: Barbara Palvin

"New York is closer to my style than Paris. Paris can be too chic for me."
Author:
Publish date:
Barbara Palvin at the 2019 CFDA Awards. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Barbara Palvin at the 2019 CFDA Awards. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/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."

Victoria's Secret Angel and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue star Barbara Palvin may come across as fancy, especially based on her red carpet and runway moments — her overall resumé in general.

The 25-year-old Hungarian model has been working steadily in the fashion industry since she was discovered in Budapest at 13. At 17, she made her Milan Fashion Week debut for Prada's Fall 2010 collection and went on to walk for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Christopher Kane, Vivienne Westwood, Jeremy Scott and Chanel Pre-Fall 2011. She's also graced the covers of Vogue Portugal, Elle U.K., Allure and Harper's Bazaar, plus high-profile campaigns for H&M, Armani Exchange and L'Oreal Paris. Plus, Palvin is the face of the Giorgio Armani scent, Acqua di Gioia. 

But in her daily off-duty life, the Brooklyn-based Palvin actually eschews most things posh. In fact, trying to even casually chat about her style during the SI Swimsuit on Location event in Miami was a bit of an effort. As a longtime industry professional, Palvin considers fashion more of a job obligation rather than a personal interest. She's not even that keen on shopping, unless she is biding her time in an airport terminal waiting for a flight or perusing the closet of her boyfriend Dylan Sprouse. 

Even if she doesn't think about it, Palvin does have her own relaxed aesthetic — and hard to resist charm — as also evidenced by the adorable candid photos with Sprouse on her Instagram. While Palvin may have been a bit bored discussing her own style, she was open to discussing avoiding the "rich areas" when shopping, treating herself (and family) to designer items and stealing — excuse me, borrowing — pieces from Sprouse. Read on for more from our chat.

RELATED ARTICLES:
Barbara Palvin is Victoria's Secret's New Angel
With Its Emphasis on Inclusivity, the 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Issue Has Evolved With the Cultural Climate
How I Shop: Simone Biles

Barbara Palvin at the SI Swimsuit on Location event in Miami. Photo: Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

Barbara Palvin at the SI Swimsuit on Location event in Miami. Photo: Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

"I've definitely learned a few things through 13 years of work, but fashion still doesn't really excite me. 

I really would just go with something that's comfortable. It doesn't matter the brand. If it feels right on my body, I'll take it. I usually go for something comfortable, casual but still sexy. The more simple it is, the sexier it looks. [For example], probably what I'm wearing now [points to the outfit in photo above]: an A-line skirt and something tight on the top.

When I go shopping, I know what I need and I'll just go into one or two stores. With work, we always have to try on so many clothes, so it gets boring. When I'm shopping, I feel like I'm working. I prefer to not even try things on. I'm just like, 'that should look good' and I'll take it.

I like shopping [in boutiques] on streets. I don't like to go to malls. I feel like it's too crowded and, at least, when you shop outside on the street, you have the experience of walking outside and walking in nature, all that. I like it better. Recently, I got this bag and you can wear it as a belt or just over your shoulder. It's the Kooples. It's not a big brand. If I see something and I like it, I'll get it.

New York is closer to my style than Paris. Paris can be too chic for me. New York has a little edginess, but still can be classy. I do love Chinatown and Brooklyn, like little stores. I don't like to go to the rich area. I can't do that. I feel like an outsider there. 

At the airports, I will go into the big-name brand's [shops]. It's funny, if I go shopping, I skip Prada and any other brands, but at the airports, I will be like, 'ok, I have time.' I feel like I spend most of my money on clothes and accessories at the airport. I bought sunglasses because summer's coming and I bought all my handbags there. I always get a present or my mom and my sister — it's all bags.

Yeah, I guess, [I'm an impulse shopper], but it's like that with food, too, at the airport. I'm there and I wasn't hungry, but now I'm hungry. Now I want a coffee, too. 'Oh, what's that? I never needed that in my life, but now I'll take it.'

Palvin and boyfriend Dylan Sprouse. Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

Palvin and boyfriend Dylan Sprouse. Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

I get rid of things, but in the way that the minute [brands] send me gifts, and so and so is around me, I feel bad and I'm like, 'oh, I would never wear this,' and I give it away. Now I realize that I'm giving everything away because I can't find anything [the brands] sent me. I'm like, 'I don't know what to wear. Oh yeah, I gave it to her.' My mom, my sister, my friend, my dad. 

Sometimes when Dylan gets some stuff, I take it. People know that my style is a little more boyish, too, so they would send me these good T-shirts that Dylan can easily wear. They sent him this Coach backpack — and I love backpacks — so I was like [makes a pop noise], 'taking that! Thank youuuu.'

He steals from me, too. He's like, 'no, I didn't steal it. You bought that, but you decided it was for me.' It's like, 'no.' We don't give [things] back. We take it back. He took a black sweater from me that I really love. I just recently took it back. I took a lot of his T-shirts. Because I have no T-shirts [of my own]. 

Even now that I took a lot from him, he still has more than I do. And I lost the T-shirts. They're gone. I don't know where they are. [Her rep jokes, 'he took them back.'] No, because I don't see them there!"

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Never miss the latest fashion industry news. Sign up for the Fashionista daily newsletter.