She usually opted for baggy cargo pants and sports bras

Over the past few years, it seems like Jessica Alba’s status as both an envy-inducing street style star and super-savvy business woman has skyrocketed (she even landed at #42 on Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Women List). But, in her new cover interview for InStyle magazine’s July issue, she reveals that her rise to both were not easy.

Jessica Alba InStyle cover


When it comes to fashion, Alba explains that growing up she spent most of her time with her brother and played football “with the guys.” It wasn’t until she started earning recognition for acting and her looks (she was number one on Maxim’s Hot 100 list in 2001) that she started dressing up (or down, in Maxim’s case). But she was much more comfortable in sweats than couture: “I was into wearing Triple Five Soul baggy cargo pants,” she says. “I would get Hanes tank tops and dye them with Rit dye and wear Nike sports bras and sweatshirts. It was the opposite of sexy.”

She’s come a long way since then, trading in her cargo pants days for labels like Saint Laurent, Giambattista Valli, Narciso Rodriguez and more. Still, she doesn’t make much time for shopping. “A lot of my personal style has to do with whatever comes in the mail,” she says, referring to the clothes she’s gifted. Yet, she perfectly understands the power style can play: “I think what you wear sets the mood for your day.”

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As for becoming a billion-dollar businesswoman, that was a journey that started out of her pure problem-solving passion. While growing up, Alba battled allergies and asthma, as well as frequently broke out in hives and checked into hospitals three or four times a year. After she broke out in a rash while washing baby clothes for her first-born, Honor, she says, “I did not want my kid to be in the hospital all the time like I was.”

So she started to build her brand, the Honest Company, featuring products with safe, nontoxic ingredients. She began with diapers, and soon added soaps and cleansers. Her latest launch, makeup and beauty products, debuted in the fall of 2015. Aside from healthy ingredients, price is her top priority: “It shouldn’t only be people who live in a certain tax bracket who have access to healthy products.”

The July issue of InStyle hits newsstands on June 10.

What do you think of Alba’s style?

— Colleen Kratofil