October 27, 2011 07:00 PM

Justin Campbell/Startraks

Leighton Meester‘s label-happy on-screen alter ego, Blair Waldorf, is content to pick up the closest pair of Louboutins she can find. Off screen, however, the
Gossip Girl
star said she searches for shoes “that really speak to me,” regardless of designer name.

“If it’s my daily kind of shoe, I usually go for the same type of style, like a platform with a thick heel,” she explained. “But I think variety is important.”

Speaking to PEOPLE Tuesday night at the Roger Vivier Fall/Couture Showcase to benefit Music Unites in New York, Meester said she actually prefers heels to flats. And when searching for shoes, her top requirement is “definitely not comfort.”

Wearing a J. Mendel dress, Bulgari jewels and Vivier shoes — which she called comfortable — Meester admitted that there is one time of day when you won’t find her in platform heels. “When I’m walking the dog, I wear sneakers,” she revealed, “because they look and feel better.”

Though Blair Waldorf would never imagine lacing up a pair of sneakers, the character does have a lot of surprises in store for her on new episodes of Gossip Girl. “It’s just so crazy, I can’t even begin to tell you,” Meester said of upcoming events that include a wedding, “craziness” between Chuck Bass and Waldorf and additional drama with Dan Humphrey. “I get to live vicariously through the good and the bad,” she shared, “which is really fun.”

–Elyse Roth


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