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Stylist Holly White got her start waitressing and interning at Vogue. Now, she's transforming 'Bridgerton' actors into fashion stars.

Amanda Krause   

Stylist Holly White got her start waitressing and interning at Vogue. Now, she's transforming 'Bridgerton' actors into fashion stars.
  • Holly White turned her hobby of crafting outfits into a career of styling young stars.
  • Speaking with Business Insider, she shared how her youth in London and early career inspired her.

Wearing a school uniform never worked for Holly White.

The 33-year-old stylist grew up in London, where drab suits and long pencil skirts were among the required garments to attend class.

On occasion, however, her school allowed students to pay $1 each in exchange to dress however they wanted for a day.

"I remember loving that so much," White told Business Insider. "I'd spend weeks planning my outfits and trying on different things."

She found inspiration in Prince's bold outfits and the edgy yet feminine looks worn by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Floral hats were once a big part of her wardrobe, she recalls.

But then she discovered her love for minimal fashion, essentially creating a personal uniform of her own design.

"I found that having a formulaic style was really where I felt most comfortable," she said.

What she didn't realize was that developing her signature style would lay the foundation for her future career: dressing award-winning celebrities and up-and-coming stars.

Styling without social media

When White first became interested in clothes, there were no Pinterest boards or Instagram pages to scroll through for outfit ideas.

"I would spend weekends going to the shop, getting as many magazines as possible, and ripping pages out of them," she told BI. "I'd see what sort of things inspired me and then curate my own looks from that."

She also saw her dad — a man who doesn't work in fashion but "has just got great taste," she said — as inspiration.

But her hobby transitioned into something bigger when White began studying at the London College of Fashion and taking on as many internships as possible.

She worked with a major retailer's merchandise buyer, spent time at a modeling agency, joined a luxury design studio, and eventually interned at Vogue.

"I was assisting fashion assistants, and I knew immediately that I'd fallen in love with styling," White said of her time at the magazine. "I mean, my first photo shoot was with photographer Tim Walker, who is obviously one of the greats, and it was just magical."

But there was one caveat to the jobs White held in college: she wasn't being paid.

"I remember spinning all the plates," she said. "It was so important for me to get as much work experience as possible. But I also had to eat. I had a job as a waitress in a bar. I was also working at a football stadium, trying to intern, and studying. It was wild, and it was super intense. But I was so determined and just knew so passionately that fashion was where I needed to be. So, I did whatever it took to make it happen."

Classic, fresh, and forever fashion

Today, White's styling roster includes Luke Newton and India Amarteifio from "Bridgerton," Tom Hiddleston of "Loki," and Milly Alcock from "House of the Dragon."

While their clothes differ and represent the actors as individuals, White styles each one using a similar approach.

"I always want my clients to look back in five, 10, or 20 years and immediately feel as great as they did in that moment," she said.

She describes her looks as minimalistic but also interesting.

"I love tailoring. I love structure, androgyny, clean lines, and oversize silhouettes," she told BI. "But I'm constantly questioning: How do I make minimalism interesting? What's the twist or the detail here?"

The magic of Holly White

White cites the Tolu Coker ensemble — made by the brand's British-Nigerian founder of the same name — that Amarteifio wore to the NAACP Image Awards as one of the most meaningful styling moments of her career.

"That hat was everything," White said. "India and I are really aligned on wanting to support brands that are looking to do good in the world and who are particularly interested in championing sustainable practices. Tolu Coker is one of those brands."

In addition to spotlighting important brands, White is skilled at helping young stars develop their styles.

Just look at her work with the "Bridgerton" cast, from Amarteifio to Charithra Chandran.

"We've seen this series change people's careers in quite a short time. For a lot of them, it's their big break, and they feel a lot of pressure," she said. "So, we have to find the joy. Ultimately, my job is to build confidence and to make them feel their best. And if I can do that while also creating lasting fashion moments, I've done my job."

But there's arguably no better example of White's skill than her styling of Newton. They've worked together for just over 18 months, and White said their creative process has been collaborative, with constant brainstorming over text.

"We're having conversations about the directions we want to go, when we want to push certain silhouettes, what we want to say with certain looks," White said. "We question: How much do we want to lean into the 'Bridgerton' theme? Do we want to focus on leaning more into him?"

It's a technique that's paid off, with Newtown going from an understated background actor to a leading man and fashion role model seemingly overnight.

"I think it's important to slowly build confidence so that we can really start pushing boundaries," White said. "You can see it already with Luke, and I'm definitely reflecting that in the looks."

Nurturing an actor's confidence and styling outfits for the world to see isn't easy.

But White makes it look simple. And she does so by always returning to her roots: magazine-style storytelling.

"You open a magazine, and there's 12 pages where you can see a story through clothing," White said. "That's what I'm doing with clients, but the story is them. That's the beauty of us as human beings. Everyone's different. We're always growing; we're always evolving. And I think there's such opportunity in these moments to not just wear a nice dress but to also have another voice — using fashion as almost like a second skin."