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Leighton Meester Is 'No Slave to Fashion'

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Cam Griffith CRI/Splash News Online

Though she’s all about labels on Gossip Girl, off screen, Leighton Meester is a jeans and T-shirt girl. “At least in my daily life, I’m not really fashiony,” she told PEOPLE Thursday during a Fashion’s Night Out event at Tiffany & Co. in New York. “I appreciate the times I do dress up, like now, or on my show — when it’s important — and then when it’s not, I’m no slave to fashion whatsoever.”

The actress — wearing a Carven dress, Roger Vivier shoes and a ring by Tiffany & Co. — does admit to changing her views on fashion after joining Gossip Girl. “It inspired me,” she shared. “And doing my show, it’s also sort of helped me to decide who I really am.”

Performing with her band, Check in the Dark, before hundreds of fans Thursday, Meester said she appreciated the energy emanating from New York that night. “I’m really lucky to live here,” she mused. “I was walking down the street earlier and there were stores all open really late, and everyone was having champagne and walking around in their cute outfits and taking pictures, and I was just like, ‘I’m so glad I live in a city that’s like this. You can be anybody here.'”

Performing at one of the city’s most iconic stores was a big moment, too. “Tiffany is the most classic place,” she said. “And we haven’t actually performed in New York together — this was the first time — so it’s lovely that a lot of people came out and got to experience it.”

Though her bandmates are based in Los Angeles, Meester hopes to sing with them more in Manhattan in the months to come. “I’ve been really lucky to be paired with the band that I am,” she said, adding that she’s been singing and playing piano since childhood. “I’ve known them for years and have been in love with them, and had seen all of their performances. I sang with them a couple of times and just started playing guitar … and it’s all sort of history from there.”

–Kate Hogan