And one brand of plaid shirt in particular

By Colleen Kratofil
Updated November 07, 2016 11:21 AM
Burberry - Style
Credit: Courtesy Burberry

The consummately British Lily James is a major muse to the consummately British Burberry brand. She serves as the face of its latest fragrance, My Burberry Black, and just starred in the new holiday film The Tale of Thomas Burberry. And like any Brit worth her trenchcoat and wellies, she has plenty of memories of the brand going way back.

James says she can’t remember the first Burberry outfit she ever wore, but does remember the first item that ever caught her attention. “When I was younger I remember seeing the boys wearing those Burberry shirts,” she tells PeopleStyle about her earliest memory of the brand. “They’re sort of a bit retro now but it was full check — the entire shirt. I’d always find [the boys wearing] them rather attractive. I think they’re trying to bring that sort of thing back which I think is very exciting. I think bold is brilliant.”

She’s actually a huge supporter of reliving past trends. “I’m a real hoarder,” she says. “I still have dresses that I wore when I was 16 at discos. When I go on summer holidays I tend to get out my little mini dresses I bought from Topshop back in the 2000s. I love them.”

And if she’s ever stuck with that “nothing to wear” feeling, there’s another celebrity she turns to when she needs a little outfit assistance: Ashley Madekwe and her blog Ring My Bell. “She’s always been innately stylish, so I’ll go on her blog and take a look at her cool outfits and let them try and inspire me.”

These days, though, James is doing much of the inspiring herself. Her latest gig is starring in the epic new campaign video celebrating the company’s 160th anniversary alongside Domhnall Gleeson, Sienna Miller and Dominic West. The film tells the story of its founder Thomas Burberry, with James playing Betty Dawson, an ambitious pilot (based on real-life pilot Betty Kirby-Green).

Burberry - Style
Credit: Courtesy Burberry

As old school glamorous as the film looks, the process was not quite as chic as you may think. “The cockpit of the plane was basically a glass bubble that was held over me, balanced on bricks or held up by some young men on the crew. It was quite hot under there. So it was not quite as glamorous as a small plane but a plastic bubble.”

Credit: Courtesy Burberry

But you know she’s a pro, because her polished ’40s glam makeup look stayed incredibly fresh-looking throughout. “There are actually archive photos of Betty as she landed into South Africa and she really did reapply her red lipstick which is pretty cool.”

What do you think of the film? Share in the comments below.