October 04, 2012 01:00 PM

Jason Webber/Splash News Online

Every celebrity has a go-to piece, whether it’s a designer bag, sky-high heels or a favorite pair of jeans. But for years, Rachel Bilson‘s wardrobe staple was something very unexpected: an item inspired by a Disney character.

“There was a period where I only wore my Minnie Mouse dress!” Bilson tells PEOPLE. “I slept in it, practically bathed in it. I would not take this thing off. It was my statement.”

She adds that her fashion fixation on the Disney dress caused a bit of strife between her and her mom. “My poor mother. She wanted a daughter who she could dress and all that, but I never let her,” Bilson jokes. “I was always like ‘No!’ I had to dress myself.”

These days, the Hart of Dixie actress’s style icons are slightly more sophisticated than Minnie. She looks to Ashley Olsen, Alexa Chung, Diane Kruger and Sienna Miller for inspiration. “I like people who have individual style and look effortless,” she explains.

But don’t expect Bilson to ditch her laid-back, accessible style for the out-there (and occasionally wacky) looks Olsen, Chung, Kruger and Miller are partial to. The Piperlime editor says, “I stick to my basics — good chunky sweaters, good denim and things like that.” Tell us: What’s the one item of clothing you were obsessed with as a little girl? (We challenge you to come up with something more embarrassing than the purple bodysuit with gold buttons one editor here refused to take off as a child.)

–Jennifer Cress


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