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Fashion victim: Reece Witherspoon


Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 13/02/2006

Get the look

Tiffany Hancock praises the perennially perfect Reece Witherspoon and examines her classic style

There are some people in this world who just don't "do" failure and actress Reese Witherspoon is one of them.

Reece Witherspoon in a white suite jacket
 
Reece Witherspoon doesn't 'do' failure

There's a great deal of blonde ambition packed into her tiny five foot two frame: not for nothing was she nicknamed "Little Miss Type A" by her parents as a child.

At 29, she has one of Hollywood's most perfect marriages (to actor Ryan Phillippe), two children (Ava, six, and Deacon, two), a number of box-office hits and a Golden Globe award under her belt.

Currently nominated - and widely tipped to win - an Oscar for her role as June Carter Cash in the film Walk the Line, she continues to go from strength to strength.

Brought up in Nashville, Tennessee, Reese has classic Southern belle credentials, but has always resisted being pigeonholed as a dumb blonde.

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She describes her parents as "multi-achievers" (her father is a surgeon and her mother is a medical lecturer) and she only dropped out of doing a medical degree herself when she was cast opposite Mark Wahlberg in the 1996 film Fear.

From then on she won a number of leading roles, and soon gained worldwide acclaim through Legally Blonde, playing the ditzy but ambitious Elle Woods.

It boosted her profile and brought more serious parts, such as Becky Sharpe in Vanity Fair and Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Her rise to the top has been part of a long-term strategy - "I realised if I was going to go anywhere, I would have to start with commercial movies" - and spurred on by her unshakeable self-belief.

Perennially perfect, Reese is savvy enough not to have built her reputation on looks. Aware that aesthetics are never the key to an enduring acting career (she cites Meryl Streep and Susan Sarandon as her role models) she has said: "If I ever have to do a bikini scene, it will become a kaftan scene."

Instead of sexy, her clothes are conservative and classic. An inspiration for prom queens rather than a poster girl for teenage boys, she seldom shows any cleavage and her hemlines are rarely above the knee.

Her make-up is invariably understated, apart from a slick of red lipstick to show off a flawless, megawatt smile. Basics such as eyebrow shape and nails are never less than expertly done.

When it comes to hair, Reese refuses to experiment. Hers is usually shoulder-length and sun-kissed blonde (apart from a brief sojourn as a brunette when she filmed Walk the Line).

She tends to leave it loose and wavy, but will occasionally add a preppy hairband or large bow.

Her high-heeled (at least three inches high) shoes are always exquisite (often peep-toe and in a lipstick red), but also essential: she needs the height help.

Ultimately, however, it's an Oscar and not her outfit that is her main priority. As she has quipped: "It's funny how you work your butt off, win an award and it's all about your dress."

Get the look

 
A white suite jacket from Jaeger
A white suit is a wardrobe classic so it's worth splashing out

When it comes to white trouser suits, it's worth splashing out. The suit is a classic piece that will last through the years, but one with a notably good cut and cloth will be infinitely more flattering.

This one, with button detail on the jacket cuffs and trousers, is by Jaeger (01553 732102) and costs £415 (£275 for the jacket and £140 for the trousers). Pair it with black stiletto heels to complement the piping and button detail.

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