Eva Mendes never gets it wrong when it comes to her sartorial choices. But for the mother of two, who gave birth to her second daughter with husband Ryan Gosling last April, her looks have taken a backseat to her busy day-to-day routine with her children. The 43-year-old actress just launched her latest clothing collection with New York & Company and caught up with PeopleStyle to talk about the line, her date night looks, and how she makes it out the door on time. And as it turns out, it’s not as easy as she makes it appear.
“Your standards just drop to the bare minimum,” Mendes says of how her style has changed since becoming a mom back in 2014. “One of the biggest things I’m always so shocked about is how long it takes to get out of the house now. Now that there’s two it’s almost impossible. Because when you’re ready to go, something goes down. Just when you’re like, ‘Ok, they’re dressed and they’re ready, now I just have to get dressed,’ there’s just usually something that goes down that takes that much longer. It’s really about what’s clean and what I can grab. And sometimes those two things are not mutually exclusive.”
While her daughters, Esmeralda, 3, and Amada, 1, are not old enough to steal from their mom’s closet yet, Mendes says she’s keeping a few sentimental pieces aside for when they can appreciate them down the road.
“There are a couple of pieces that I have that are my grandmothers. And that’s really special because that’s from like ’40s Cuba,” she shares. “And there are a couple of really special pieces that my mother saved for me that her mother saved for her. Those are the only things that I feel like [I’m saving] right now — because I’m in survival mode. I’m just trying to make it through the night. But I’m sure I’ll get to a place where I’ll start saving stuff just for them.”
And vintage clothing isn’t the only thing she turns to her mom for. The star shares that she takes a ton of feedback from her family when designing her NY&Co collections — and “constantly” uses them as fit models.
“It’s great because they tell me how it is,” she says. “They’re honest. My mom constantly tells me my prices are too high. I’ve taken it to NY&Co. and I’ll tell them, ‘You guys my mom thinks this is too expensive,’ and they’re like, ‘Ok. What can we do about it?'”
Mendes makes sure to focus on feedback from her customers as well, which helps to guide everything from fabric choices to small details.
“These women don’t have time, they don’t want to put the energy, nor do they want to spend the money on dry cleaning and I totally get it, you know? So a lot of the fabrics that we choose really kind of pass that test,” she says. “They’re easy care fabrics. They really need minimal care and maintenance in that way.”
Another small — but important — detail, she says, was adding pockets. “At first, we couldn’t really make our price if we added pockets, but it’s something that soon became a priority because women want them — I mean I love a pocket — even on like a really formal gown. So that’s one of the things that’s really evolved. We’ve put pockets in basically every dress.”
The biggest change they’ve made lately, is expanding the collection’s size range from xs to 3x — a move that, along with price, is important factor in the designs.
“We’ve had petite and tall available as well, so it’s always been a part of the line and we’ve been trying to figure out for a couple of years now how to incorporate extended sizes without having it be more expensive and doing it the right way and so we’re really really excited about this,” Mendes says. “It’s been in the works for a minute so we’re really excited.”
As for her own closet, Mendes says she gravitates towards dresses for date nights with Gosling. “I always prefer a dress,” she shares. “Although I’ve gotten into jeans more this last year, but I just I always prefer dresses. That’s just kind of where my comfort lies. There’s an ease to it. Then you always straddle the line of like, you don’t want to be over dressed for something and then it’s about how you accessorize.”
And while she says she typically says she tries to have “some kind of skin exposed,” Mendes says her favorite dress that she’s worn on the red carpet is the red Gucci gown that she wore to the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival — a look that with flowing fabric covering her from the neck down, she says embodied her “inner frustrated Helena Bonham Carter,” who is her style icon. “I have this secret… I wish I could dress like her,” she says.
Mendes adds: “It was a high neck, long sleeve, and it was a long skirt and that’s what I think is so beautiful. When you can wear a a really beautiful fabric and be covered from head to toe. There’s a beauty in that. There’s just a way that the fabric moved on me. I was very inspired by that dress.”
What do you think of Mendes’ NY&Co collection? Sound off below.
–reporting by Sarah Ball