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Carey Mulligan's 'Conventional' Style: Pixie Hair and Longer Dresses

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Lane Ericcson/PHOTOlink; Gregg DeGuire/PictureGroup

She’s said that dressing up for the red carpet used to freak her out, but actress Carey Mulligan has a distinctive style now — just blame it on her day job. “I was kind of a tomboy and was never massively into fashion,” she tells PEOPLE of her former look. But thanks to walking the carpet for awards shows over the years, the actress has developed a love for putting on fancy frocks.

“We have such a fun time trying things on,” she says of picking out looks with her stylist and close friend Samantha McMillan. “It’s literally whatever I feel comfortable in.”

She does have one fashion rule she refuses to break, however. “I never wear anything above the knee,” she says. “I wore a dress above the knee once and it was to the Met Ball. I just hated it! The dress was amazing but I just can’t do it. I’m pretty conventional.”

Conventional is a theme she tends to stick with when it comes to her signature pixie-length locks, too. “I get to the point where I’m half growing it out and then I cut it off,” says the actress, seen on the silver screen this month in Drive. “But I’ll spend the next six months winging about it, thinking I look like a boy.” Tell us: What do you think of Mulligan’s “conventional” look?

–Kim Peiffer, with reporting by Jennifer Garcia