Forever-cool actress Peggy Lipton (The Mod Squad, Twin Peaks) shares her secrets for dressing fabulously.
Long, center-parted blonde hair. Groovy prints. Miniskirts and love beads. In 1968 there was no one cooler than Peggy Lipton, who achieved the status of style icon as Julie Barnes, the runaway turned undercover cop on The Mod Squad. "I watched the pilot recently," Lipton, now 63, says. "Except for the bell-bottoms, the clothes were a lot like what we're wearing now." Even in the '90s cult classic Twin Peaks as Norma Jennings, a faded beauty queen in a waitress uniform, Lipton radiated all-American charm.
These days Lipton picks and chooses the trends she wants to follow—an updated silhouette ("big top, skinny pants, chunky boots"), say, or one great piece she wears absolutely everywhere (a Rick Owens leather jacket). She's traded in sky-high hemlines for skirts that hit midknee or just below; in fact, anything too sexy is out. "I like some attention," she says, "but my style now is more about covering flaws and getting the proportions right."
In ultracasual Los Angeles, where Lipton lives, she has perfected a strategy for looking both nonchalant and finished. "My daughters"—Kidada Jones, 36, a jewelry designer for Disney Couture, and Rashida Jones, 34, an actress currently starring on Parks and Recreation—"made me stop wearing sweats to run errands," she admits. They also told her not to go out without makeup; now she preps just enough, she says, to look "presentable." (Tinted sunblock, blush, a bit of lip gloss, and a sweep of eyeshadow, and she's done.) Her most significant beauty ritual, however, is what she doesn't do—bake in the sun, having stopped at age 26. "Back then it was more about preventing freckles and wrinkles than cancer," says Lipton, who always covers up with a big straw hat.
Another route to eternal youth is pushing oneself creatively, which Lipton does with her acting and writing. Following guest spots on shows like Crash and Alias, Lipton was recently cast in the ABC pilot Cutthroat as a matriarch, the widow of a Mexican drug kingpin. "I play the part to the hilt!" she says. Lipton is also at work on a how-to book on living well ("something simple, like ten steps to making each day count"); she says she feels more grounded now than in the past. Over time "your whole being becomes more transparent," she notes. "Your inside and your outside have to match."