Tracee Ellis Ross' Iconic Quotes About Fashion Will Never Go Out of Style

By Vannessa Jackson Oct 28, 2020 12:00 PMTags
Related: Tracee Ellis Ross to Receive 2020 E! PCAs Fashion Icon Award

Dressing fabulous and looking fierce is all in a day's work for Tracee Ellis Ross.

The actress and producer comes from a long line of fabulous fashionistas, but we'd expect nothing less from the daughter of famous soul singer Diana Ross.

Over the years, Tracee has found a way to pave her own path to success and developed a style all her own, one of the many reasons why she will be honored on Nov. 15 with the 2020 E! People's Choice Awards Fashion Icon Award. Of course, you don't get to be a fashion icon without coming up with your own set of rules, tips and tricks of the trade.

Tracee has opened up through the years about some of the things that have made her the fashionista the world has come to know and love. Like how she and her brother Evan Ross are the fashion gurus in the family or how she used to use clothes as an escape to feel more confident. Keep scrolling to see in her own words what made Tracee the icon she is today.

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Tracee Ellis Ross' Best Looks

Check out all of Tracee's quotes on her fashion evolution and style in general below and don't miss the 2020 E! People's Choice Awards airing live on E! on Sunday, Nov. 15.

Stay stylish, Tracee!

Watch the full 2020 People's Show Awards show now!
On Discovering Fashion In Her Youth

Growing up as the daughter of one of the queens of soul has its perks! Tracee explained why she used to ransack her mother's closet to find some of the best pieces growing up.

"Before my career got to a certain place, I did a lot of either designing my clothes or wearing things out of my mother's closet," she shared with Vanity Fair in Sept. 2018. "Although they weren't taken out of my mother's closet to the red carpet they were ‘stolen' from my mom's closet and living in my closet, and I had the distinct honor of choosing them for whatever the event was."

On Always Wearing Outfits More Than Once

You can break whatever fashion rules you want, as long as you look stylish doing it. Tracee proved this by deciding a long time ago to not worry about never wearing an outfit twice. She embraces trying new looks with old pieces.

"I think the whole thing where you wear stuff once is just garbage. I really believe in re-wearing clothes," the Black-ish star explained to InStyle in May of 2019. "If you're going to spend lots of money on a jacket, wear it a whole bunch of times. If you're going to buy a pair of boots, they need to be a pair of boots you're going to wear with more than one outfit and not just one look. That's why I never understood those 'Who Wore It Better?' columns, because to me, it should be, 'Look at all the fancy ways you can wear this thing!' And if a princess like Kate Middleton can re-wear her clothes, I think we all can!"

On Using Fashion As Control

Fashion has become a way for the actress to maintain a sense of control and agency over who she is. Over the years, she's learned to hone that and make herself a force to be reckoned with.

She told CNN in Dec. 2019, "For me, fashion started as a way to protect myself—to have a bit of control over how the world perceives me. And I think, for many, that's still the case. I think fashion has evolved for me personally into a form of creative expression."

On Constantly Evolving Her Style

There is no style that Tracee won't try. She talked in the May 2017 issue of Good Housekeeping about ensuring that she's never making any of her outfit choices based on what's trendy, but on what feels comfortable and right on a day to day basis.

"I wear what makes my heart sing. I can come to work at 5 in the morning in a fabulous outfit because it's what makes me happy. There's always an element of comfort and an element of glamour. I'll wear sweatpants with a tuxedo jacket or a wide-leg tuxedo trouser with a pair of sneakers and a sweatshirt. I love an Adidas Stan Smith," she said.

On Developing Her Own Fashion Sense As a Black Woman

For Tracee, her fashion sense and feeling beautfiul in her own skin stems from realizing at a young age that she's viewed differently as a black woman. So she's made it a point to represent her culture in a way that is uniquely her and celebrates black beauty.

"Women have been relegated to a small amount of real estate and, culturally, the beauty world is one of the spaces where we have been able to express ourselves fully and connect with each other. For Black and brown women, that space is even smaller, so as a result it has become more than just a beauty thing, it's a space for community. I thought I was alone in looking for self-esteem and not understanding that my physical appearance did not match up with what the world was saying was beautiful," she told Net-A-Porter in May 2020.

On Her Family's Fashion Sense

While people might assume that Tracee grew up in a very glamorous household and fashion was in her bones, she revealed that only she and her brother Evan Ross got the fashion savvy gene from their mom.

"Also, after college I worked at New York magazine in the fashion department and at Mirabella as a contributing editor," she shared in 2015 with the L.A. Times. "And so with style, it's funny because people say, of course, your mom's Diana Ross, but I have to say, not that my siblings don't love style, but me and my brother Evan are the only ones who got it to this extent. It's one of the ways I express myself creatively."

On How Fashion Helped Her Overcome Insecurities

Tracee told Elle in May 2020 that her outfits helped her shape her identity while growing up. They provided a sense of escapism and helped her grow in her confidence.

"It fed into a persona I put on to cover my insecurities. It was a way to present an identity—if I wore a great outfit, I could conquer the world," she shared. "When I was a toddler, I'd wrap myself in a bedsheet, wear Mum's heels and become a queen. Now, clothing is a form of creative expression."

On Getting Joy From Clothing

She may be a famous actress with the bank account to go with it, but Tracee is still frugal with her money. She believes that you can look fierce and fabulous while still balling on a budget.

She told Allure in 2017, "I believe that clothing and looking great does not have to be expensive, and I also think that clothing can be both armor and your joy at the same time."

On Starting Her Career In Fashion

Tracee started off her career in the fashion world as a model. So she's just as comfortable in front of the screen as she is on a runway. It was her mom that encouraged her to explore her love of fashion.

"My mom was in my first meeting with Wilhelmina, the modeling agency. She set it up. I did the Thierry Mugler fashion show because of her. Thierry Mugler had asked her to do it, and she said the only way I'll do it is if you let my daughter walk too," she shared in a Glamour interview in Feb. 2018. "So my mom never dissuaded it; although I will say, she was very big on saying things like, 'You sure you don't want to be a doctor?' Her sister is a world-renowned doctor: Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, the first black female dean of a medical school. So we had all of those options open to us. But what I saw in my mother was a woman with a platform, who had agency in her life. I walked toward that."

On Her Personal Style

One thing will always remain the same about Tracee, you can never guess what she's going to wear next. She's a woman of many looks, and that's just the way she likes it.

She explained her ever evolving style to W Magazine in Oct. 2019, "This morning, I decided I wanted to look a little like a skater chick. So I put on sweatpant shorts, black Balenciaga sandals with a lot of straps, and an oversize David Bowie T-shirt, and my hair is in cornrows. I look like I'm going to a rave. Tomorrow I might look like I'm part of corporate America, in a suit and heels. Every day is different: How I dress on any given day depends on what person I want to reflect to the world."

Watch the full 2020 People's Show Awards show now!