How I Shop: Barbie Ferreira

The "Euphoria" star tells us all about her style, which can be sweet and sexy one minute and vintage '90s tomboy the next.
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Barbie Ferreira at the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV

Barbie Ferreira at the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV

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."

Barbie Ferreira entered into the mainstream consciousness as Kat on the HBO series "Euphoria", but she's been on the radar of those in the (Instagram) know for some time now. She began her career as an American Apparel model and has posed for brands like Adidas, H&M, and ASOS. In 2016, a campaign for Aerie, which shows Ferreira unretouched wearing a bikini, went viral; the same year, she landed on Time's 30 Most Influential Teens list. Though she's had acting gigs here and there — she appeared on Vice's "How To Behave" and HBO's "Divorce" — it's her most recent role that's proven one important thing: She has range.

The same can be said about Ferreira's style, which might be sweet and sexy one minute and vintage '90s tomboy the next. Like any evolving person, she also goes through fashion phases. Right now, she tells us, she's really into bike shorts and periwinkle-colored items, while her uniform these days consists of "curated sweatpants" and slides. In other words, she's a comfy girl with a penchant for trends.

We recently talked to Ferreira about why she prefers shopping online, her favorite brands at the moment and the pieces she's taken from and brought to the "Euphoria" set. Read on for our conversation.

"For my first-ever shopping experience, I remember my mom and grandma taking me to Marshalls way too often and I hated it. I get overwhelmed in stores, I really do. I think it's something about claustrophobia and having too many things — especially in stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx. My grandma would also bring me to thrift stores and I would get overwhelmed there, too. So, I love online shopping, it's what I do. I am obsessed with not going to a store in person. I also get frustrated when I see a lot of clothes that I like and they don't have [them] in my size.

I do a lot of vintage shopping online. I'm on The RealReal all the time, I'm on Depop, I'm on eBay, I'm on Grailed. Sometimes I'll go to SSENSE or Vestiaire Collective. I also find a lot of things on Instagram shops and from smaller designers; I feel like a lot of the higher end stuff is not as funky as I'd like it to be. I've been getting a lot of stuff from Susan Alexandra and Ganni. I do go to a couple of thrift shops in person in LA, too: I go to The Bearded Beagle and I'll get scarves and jewelry. But I mostly get vintage stuff and sustainable secondhand-ish [things]. If I'm getting vintage, I never really spend more than $200. If it's, like, a Prada heel, I'll try to find it for less than that, that's usually my cap. I won't spend more than $200 unless I really love it and it's something that I know is going to be a staple.

I've gotten things from Instagram ads, too, because they're very effective! I follow a lot of people from Depop who are similar to me in size and I'll follow them on Instagram to see what they're putting up. I love Instagram shopping. I love looking at the Explore page, I love seeing what people tag and what they're wearing. A lot of people DM me, too, who have really cool stuff. So exploring that has been fun.

Every few weeks I'll be home and it's 1 or 2 a.m. and I'm just furiously shopping on my phone — then I forget about it, go to bed and three days later I'll get a ton of packages. I kind of do a big haul, instead of getting pieces here and there. Then I won't shop for a couple of months and then I'll buy a bunch of stuff again.

I never buy anything that I need. My favorite things that I know I'm going to wear every day are slides and sweatpants, they're my way of making myself feel good. I love to dress up and serve a look even if it's not a look. So, let's say I am on Grailed getting a vintage Air Jordan track suit from the '90s and I'll wear that with Fenty slides. I mostly buy a load of things that I know I'm going to wear and then I'll fill in a couple of things on my 'I'll see' list. Those are the items that are like, 'oh, I don't know if I'm going to wear this every day, but it might be a moment.'

Barbie Ferreira at the LA Premiere of HBO's "Euphoria". Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Barbie Ferreira at the LA Premiere of HBO's "Euphoria". Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Chris Horan is my stylist, so we'll mix and match things. Recently, I wore a Vivienne Westwood corset and then I wore a Unif skirt which wasn't expensive. The great thing about Chris is we'll collaborate on things all day. Sometimes, I'll bring something in and he'll accessorize; sometimes he'll find a dress and I'll bring my own accessories. I usually work with him for events, but he's also amazing at linking me up with brands that have my size that I might not be aware of because they're new or they're kind of indie. It's been helping my closet a lot.

I always go to ASOS for clothes in my size. I try to stay away from brands that are exclusively plus size because it tends to be something that's flattering but also modest, and that's just not who I am. I also stay away from a lot of new clothes in general. I like to find hacks and tips and tricks. So if I like a vintage Gaultier stretchy dress, I know that if I get a large it'll fit me. I just got this Arya outfit and it fits me perfectly; it's not something that's a peplum or modest, it's a bright turquoise jumpsuit. I'm really into Arya right now. There's a prom-y, campiness about it that I adore. I used to wear a lot of solids and basics, and now I'm just playing with patterns, so Arya's really great for that.

I used to go grandpa-chic with my style, but now I just collect a bunch of different things and my closet has become this very colorful, curated, vintage myriad of things. I like something that looks very definitive and almost a caricature of what it is. I go through phases, but lately I've been really into a lot of periwinkles and turquoise items and jewel tones and witchy stuff in a very 'pop' way. I get a lot of inspiration for outfits from movies: Late '90s, early '00s, campy, teenage dramedies. Dark humor kinds of things, like 'Jawbreaker'. There's one scene in the movie 'The Holy Mountain' that's already trippy, but there's one green scene that inspires a lot of what I want to wear right now. It's not literal, but it's more the vibe that I try to make into my own thing.

For the summer, I'm so into patterned bicycle shorts, I only wear them in my personal time right now. There are really cool ones, like glitter, tie-dye, lace. I struggle with shorts because, if I'm wearing denim shorts, they rise up. The best part about bike shorts is that they stick to the body and they're comfortable; I love wearing big T-shirts with them.

I brought a lot of my own clothes for 'Euphoria'. My Gaultier skirt on episode five, that was a vintage find of mine. My pants in that scene, my glasses, all of that stuff. I took some Spanx from set, I'm going to be honest with you, but that's all I took. Oh, and lingerie. [My character, Kat, is] always camming, so sometimes she has to wear a bra and underwear, and they let me take that home.

I think, especially when I was Kat's age, I was very goth and very emo. Everything that I put on will have a tint of that, because it's who I am. I'm most comfortable wearing, like, silver chains and boxy shirts and having messy hair. I think there's always a tint of that, even when I'm wearing my costumes, because I always have that little emo edge that Kat has."

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