Fashionably 30-Something

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and other stars look better today than they did in their twenties – PEOPLE style expert Susan Kaufman explains why. By Emily Fromm

01 of 10

CATHERINE ZETA-JONES, 36

CATHERINE ZETA-JONES, 36
Mirek Towski/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty; Ernie Stewart/Retna

Years ago, the actress (in 1996) tried for a funky, edgy look. "She was just a walking don't," says PEOPLE style director Susan Kaufman. Now, Zeta-Jones (in Dolce amp Gabbana on Oct. 16 at the L.A. premiere of The Legend of Zorro) is "almost a throwback to old Hollywood glamor," Kaufman says. Marrying Michael Douglas "probably taught her many things, and one of those was 'I'm going to dress like Hollywood royalty.' "

02 of 10

RENéE ZELLWEGER, 36

RENéE ZELLWEGER, 36
Paul Smith/FeatureFlash/Retna; Lester Cohen/WireImage

In her twenties, Zellweger (left, in 1998) was still searching for her one true style. "In her thirties, she found it," Kaufman says. Her go-to look: a figure-hugging party dress by Carolina Herrera, high-heeled pumps and a sleek coif (at the L.A. premiere of Cinderella Man in May).

03 of 10

JENNIFER LOPEZ, 36

JENNIFER LOPEZ, 36
Retna; Charles Sykes / Rex

A former In Living Color dancer, Lopez (left, in 1994) had a streetwise fashion sense. But now that she's a successful singer, actress, business mogul and fashion designer, she's gone posh – and embraced her curves. "It's about dressing up all the time for her audience and having that sense of 'I am going to be a glamorous style diva,' " says Kaufman of Lopez (in New York City in September).

04 of 10

KELLY RIPA, 35

KELLY RIPA, 35
John Paschal/Celebrity Photo; DENNIS VAN TINE/LFI

True to her soap-opera roots, Ripa (left, in 1992) gravitated toward big hair and over-the-top clothes. Now the star of two hit TV shows – and in amazing shape after having three kids – she's adopted a sleek and chic style (in New York City this summer). "She's saying, 'I'm feeling better than I've ever felt before, and I want to wear clothes that show off my figure,' " says Kaufman.

05 of 10

DREW BARRYMORE, 30

DREW BARRYMORE, 30
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Tony Barson/WireImage

"Drew has always been a hippie child," says Kaufman of the earthy actress and producer (left, in Los Angeles in 1999). But her style has grown up with her career. Barrymore's dark-denim jeans and fitted blazer (in Paris this summer) are youthful but show her power-player status. "She still looks comfortable, but she's much more pulled-together."

06 of 10

TONI COLLETTE, 33

TONI COLLETTE, 33
Evan Agostini/Getty; Sara De Boer/Retna

Collette's kooky approach to clothing (left, in 1999) screamed, "I don't care about fashion," says Kaufman. Today the actress (at September's In Her Shoes premiere in Beverly Hills) has a newfound confidence: "She's actually enjoying putting clothes on and dressing in a more sophisticated style. Before, she looked embarrassed by having her picture taken. Now it's 'World, here I am, and I'm fabulous!' "

07 of 10

DEBRA MESSING, 37

DEBRA MESSING, 37
Ron Galella/WireImage; Sara De Boer/Retna

With her brown hair and brown outfit, Messing (left, in 1996) literally blended into the background. "The thing that really transformed her was turning into a redhead," says Kaufman. "Finding things that work with that hair color" – such as the lavender Dolce amp Gabbana dress she wore in Beverly Hills this summer – "gave her that great fashion personality. She found the fun in fashion."

08 of 10

ROSE MCGOWAN, 32

ROSE MCGOWAN, 32
Patrick Mcmullan/Getty; Jeff Vespa/WireImage

"In her twenties, Rose McGowan was dating Marilyn Manson and dressing accordingly trashy," says Kaufman of the Charmed star (left, in 1998). "It was all about showing her beautiful white skin in the skimpiest outfits possible." These days, McGowan still flaunts her complexion, but tastefully. In Mougins, France, this summer, her rose-detailed gown is "less rock and roll, more red carpet."

09 of 10

FAITH HILL, 38

FAITH HILL, 38
Janet Gough/Celebrity Photo; Lee Roth/starmax

The singer still loves lace, but she's traded her country-western gear (left, in 1994) for Prada (in Hollywood last year) and other high-fashion designers – all befitting her status as a singing superstar. "It's a prettier hairstyle, the clothes are simpler, she's not over-accessorized," says Kaufman. "She's made it."

10 of 10

HALLE BERRY, 39

HALLE BERRY, 39
Tammy Arroyo/Celebrity Photo; Jacqui Wong/Admedia

"The shorter hair and heavier makeup aged her – she almost had that TV newscaster, former beauty queen look," says Kaufman of the onetime Miss Ohio Teen All American (left, in 1993). But the Oscar winner (wearing John Galliano in Los Angeles this spring) "looks younger now than she did 10 years ago." By toning down her accessories and hair, she looks "much fresher" – and glamorous.

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