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AMERICAN ICON: BROOKE SHIELDS
The first thing you notice about Brooke Shields, now 44, is that she could still stop traffic in a burlap sack. Four decades in the spotlight have left this all-American glamazon-next-door no worse for the wear, and she maintains a corresponding childlike awe about the glamour of the business that first made her famous. "Right now I'm so much more passionate about clothing than I ever was when I was really in the thick of it," she says, explaining that being dressed by professionals for years hampered the development of her own taste. (As a young model, Shields mostly focused on her schoolwork, which was "a way of separating this bizarre crazy world and me.") After graduating from Princeton, she found that whenever she did have to dress up, she never really felt comfortable in her own skin, doubting that what she was wearing was in fashion or worrying that it made her look too tall or too heavy. But Shields says the past few years—and a particularly patient stylist on Lipstick Jungle, Shields's recent NBC show—have triggered a thrilling coming-of-age. It started on set, when she began to pay attention to what flattered her body instead of always fixating on its imperfections. "I'm better off in things that are kind of dramatic," she says. "And I love myself in heels, I have to say." She now finds herself reaching for an eclectic but timeless mix of shapely cocktail dresses, low-rise trouser jeans, rocker boots, and blousy tops; rejects include "that sort of sloppy-chic thing" and anything with too much edge. Shields's sudden wealth of strong opinions has made shopping, once a cause for panic, a genuine pleasure. "Now it's easy for me to say, 'Yeah, it's nice, but it's really not me.'"