Gabrielle Union is all about wearing stylish, versatile, livable clothes.
The 45-year-old actress works in Los Angeles and heads home to Miami for the weekends, which could make for a hectic living situation. However, with so much traveling and so many places to be, Union makes the most of her wardrobe, mixing and matching key pieces that work perfectly for day and night. And above all else, when she's on the go, theBreaking In star makes sure that what she wears is not only “fly and dope,” but also comfortable.
“You can’t be empowered if you’re uncomfortable,” Union tells ET while promoting her latest New York & Company collection, out now. “You cannot take over the world if you feel like your clothes are attacking you. Also, there is nothing more empowering than not busting your budget."
"Most of us are balling on a budget,” she adds about making use of all your pieces. "I’m not trying to go into debt to keep up with people who don’t even know that I am alive."
Marrying comfort, style and affordable prices has been Union’s goal since dropping her first line in 2017. “These things have been our goal, as well as being inspired by the different women in our lives and their needs,” she stresses. “Creating clothes that look good on all different body types, and clothes that are available for different kinds of women. That’s our motivation.”
The fashionista also takes into account her personal style and everyday life.
“I work during the week in L.A. and then every weekend I fly home to Miami, so I’m constantly packing and my goal is to never check a bag,” she says about her schedule. “So how can I mix and match pieces with one pair of shoes, where everything kind of works? And for me, the easiest is the denim. Between the duster, the jumpsuit and the jeans, the chambray halftop, all of the denim is super easy to go from day to night.”
“I wore a denim jumpsuit at a beach-side barbeque with my husband’s co-workers, the Miami Heat,” Union details. “And then we went to dinner and I needed that same outfit to work [for night]. It was comfortable and I felt sexy and fly. I’m one of the older gals around my husband’s teammate’s wives and girlfriends, and I don’t want to feel like the ‘auntie.’ So what piece can make me feel dope and fly with one group of people and then feel like a grown-a** person with people who were born in the ‘70s, like myself, at dinner? [I’m constantly] trying to find those pieces that can go from day to night, that can go from different groups of people at a reasonable price point, and that also fit.”
It's that versatility that also translates into how she approaches every day. Two key quotes she lives by are "Rule the World" and "Joy, Peace and Grace," which are also prominent in her latest collection. After years of creating vision boards and seeing goals come to fruition, Union decided to change her point of view and just ask for a little bit of light and love.
“No matter what I ask for, or dream of, if it doesn’t bring me joy, peace and grace, I’m not interested,” she confesses. “So I stopped asking for specific things and started asking for joy, peace and grace. I started asking for love and light. So when I’m ruling the world, whether that be ruling the day -- which for me is a day-to-day thing because I can’t rule my world if I can’t rule my day -- [it’s important that I] try to start each day with confidence, that joy, that peace, that grace. No matter what the world is throwing at me, if I can move through it with those things, it allows me to excel. And for me, that is what ruling the world is: ruling the world that you have created and not being dragged along but really taking the wheel and ruling your own world with love, light, joy, peace and grace."
Currently, she's set to rule the world and bring joy to many fans with her new series L.A.’s Finest, co-starring Jessica Alba, an experience that Union says has opened up her eyes to "another way of working."
"I have to say that Alba is one of my favorite co-stars ever,” Union gushes. “To be working alongside such a dope, boss momma is amazing, and she’s brought this sense of calm and professionalism and peace, and also a lot of laughs [to the set]. When people say, ‘How do you balance it all?’ and they ask moms these impossible questions that they never ask dads, what I see in Jessica is that she has brought her world into our work, and it doesn’t make it seem crazy to see babies on set."
Noting that Alba has "equipped her trailer to feel like home and nurturing for moms and parents,” Union says that the Honest Company co-founder has changed the way that she and other parents are working on set.
"She encouraged all of us to not have to turn off our parent valve," she explains. "You can bring that into your work life and it only enriches you. And it’s the first time I’ve ever felt that on a job in my entire life, and that is really the influence of Alba, this woman who has managed to create three human beings while running a billion-dollar company. She’s leading by the most beautiful, dope, amazing, awesome-to-be-around example. And every day it’s like, ‘Sh*t, this is how it could’ve been this whole time! Damn it!’"
“This has really opened my eyes and changed my life in a way that -- it never occurred to me that there could be another way of working and living and moving through the world, and I can’t look back now,” Union marvels, adding that she now wants to create these experiences on other sets around Hollywood.
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