(InStyle.com) -- Daring in her fashion choices and her roles -- this summer she plays Agent 99 in "Get Smart" -- Anne Hathaway is the perfect candidate to answer questions about developing your own unique personal style.
Anne Hathaway wears a Valentino satin coat and La Crasia leather gloves at an InStyle photoshoot.
Curvaceous and kooky, interesting and interested, Hathaway is a multidimensional gal. In an age of nonstop tabloid exhibitionism, she stands out as a beacon of confident allure.
Within a short period of time, the young actress has graduated from fashion ingénue to a woman who navigates the designer realm with intrepid spirit and lashings of wit.
Now that she has her bearings, Hathaway is ready to express her individuality. Watch how Anne Hathaway changes her style »
She arrives for our meeting looking well scrubbed, bohemian and totally incognito: Her navy jacket is from Et Vous in Paris; the jeans, True Religion; the flats, Lanvin; and the bag, Anya Hindmarch.
An Yves Saint Laurent lapis lazuli ring and Ugandan handcrafted beads from Beadforlife.org are all the embellishment she needs.
It seems to me that nowadays some stars confuse being stylish with dressing really slutty. What's your take?
I've always been on the conservative side when it comes to showing skin. I'm from that school where you show one part of your body, not all of it. So compared to the girls you're talking about, I'm quite prim... [But] sometimes you just make mistakes. I once wore a see-through dress to an event, but I had absolutely no idea ...
You didn't do the lighting test!
And I have never not done the lighting test after that. At the end of the day, you have to dress in what you're comfortable in. If you're at ease in a bikini top and a miniskirt -- though I certainly wouldn't be -- go for it.
Can you talk about your style philosophy?
If you're going to be glamorous, it has to be tempered with eccentricity so that it incorporates your own personality. Dressing up is great, but you need a twist.
And one of my biggest style influences has been Rachel Zoe, who introduced me to glamour. Now I'm kind of pushing her a little bit to explore the eccentric side. Lately, I've been having a lot more fun with how I dress. I am braving the idea of ending up on a worst-dressed list, but I'm also a lot happier with what I wear.
What's the most tragic thing you wore in high school?
So many things! I was still recovering from Clueless when I was in high school, so probably one too many baby-doll skirts with baby Ts, knee socks, mary janes and barrettes. Maybe the occasional pair of flannel pajama pants during finals week. I don't let myself get that slobby these days.
What does the word "chic" mean to you?
I instantly think of Audrey Hepburn -- she could do no wrong. Her style was revolutionary. She was ladylike without being stuffy. And I also love Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett and Selma Blair, who is so fabulous.
Any other Hollywood icons lurking in your closet?
I'm currently having a Gwen Stefani moment. I just bought some beautiful shorts from her fashion line, LAMB.
Do you enjoy the whole red-carpet circus?
For a while it was very new and very frightening, and I would just work myself up so in all my photos I looked like I was staring down the barrel of a gun. I don't beat myself up about it anymore.
Did you care when the tabloids ragged on your white Valentino dress with the black bow at the 2007 Oscars?
I consider it a good sign when you end up on best- and worst-dressed lists. If you're universally best, then you've been quite boring.
Let's talk about "Get Smart": Is it retro, or did they update the groovy sixties vibe of Agent 99's look?
It's groovy in a different way. There are some things that are very mod, but we're not making Austin Powers 4 -- it's not a spoof. It's more like a comedic Bourne Identity. Watch Hathaway, other stars talk about movie »
I wore a few body-hugging dresses, which was so fun since I'm not used to them. I did inherit 99's Chanel bag addiction, and I was very happy about that. I have a ton of action sequences, and I had to be able to fight in every single outfit.
Beyond swinging a Chanel handbag, did you do anything in particular to get into shape for this role?
I started working out about three months before the film began. I wanted to be curvy and muscle-y. I took my body inspiration from Jessica Biel. I didn't quite get those results, but she's great.
David Kirsch, my trainer, has made sure that I am no longer self-conscious about my thighs. Eventually my knees are going to be all wrinkly and I'm not going to be able to wear things like short skirts, so I take pleasure in wearing them now.
Next you play a bridezilla opposite Kate Hudson in "Bride Wars." Did you get to wear show-stopping bridal gowns?
I really can't say too much, but there's a fantastic scene where we're both in our dresses and we do absolutely terrible things to each other.
Get a FREE TRIAL issue of InStyle - CLICK HERE!
Copyright © 2009 Time Inc. All rights reserved.