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Bryce Dallas Howard: Colorful Clothes Made Me More Social

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Courtesy Kate Spade

Two years ago, a friend urged actress Bryce Dallas Howard to purge her closet of all things black. Many women would’ve balked at the command, but to Howard, it was a revelation. “Ever since then I’ve much preferred to wear bold color, even if I’m picking my son up from school and working from home,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’ve been wearing accessories, purses and dresses everyday as if I were in sweatpants. As a result I’ve felt much more social. Clothes are a way of celebrating the day.” And Howard has a lot to celebrate: the actress is currently the face of Kate Spade New York, and stars in a series of fun, colorful ads for the company. “Shooting the campaign was one of the most creatively playful experiences I’ve had,” she says. “I was riding on bikes, jumping off staircases, climbing on top of mailboxes and painting on the wall. My son (Theodore, 4) was with me and it was as if I was entering his world for a day!” Howard says the on-set stylist taught her how to mix and match purses — “I’m the colorful bag lady [now],” she shares — and learned that she loves color blocking. “The shoot inspired me,” she says. “The fact that I am representing the line now feels utterly surreal.” —Reporting by Suzanne Zuckerman