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Insecure’s Yvonne Orji is no stranger to power dressing. On the hit HBO comedy about the personal and professional struggles of the modern-day black woman, Orji stars as Molly Carter, a whip-smart attorney (and BFF to Issa Dee, played by series creator Issa Rae) who’s killing it at the office but unlucky in love. Season 2 finds Molly focusing on her mental health while fighting for a salary equal to that of her white male colleague. And her wardrobe — a mix of tailored classics from Stella McCartney, Cushnie et Ochs, and more — perfectly reflects her ambitious attitude.
An accomplished comic who’s opened for Chris Rock, Orji similarly appreciates a good suit for her stand-up sets. But rather than shopping designer like her onscreen alter ego, the Nigerian-born actress prefers to scour the racks at her local H&M. Read more on her sensible spending habits — and the Insecure outfits so good, she wanted to keep them for herself — below.
Your character on Insecure, Molly, is super into designer labels and power dressing. How does that compare to your own personal style?
I do a lot of stand-up and a lot of [event] hosting, so I like “comfortable chic,” because I move a lot. My go-to piece is a statement jacket; if I’ve got on a statement jacket, I’m in the money! And then if you add a matching pant or matching short set, that’s my sweet spot. I love a really dope suit.
I also love color. Whether I’m getting dressed on the show or in fittings with my stylist, I’m always like, “Can we get something with a pop of color?” Some things look great in all black, but I like a statement. I need something that has a “wow” factor — it can be the color, the neckline, an embellished sleeve...
That’s not too far off from Molly — she swears by a good suit! Has her style influenced your own?
I wouldn’t say she fancies me up, but I’ve definitely gotten up there with some of the designers. I like playing dress-up — it’s fun! I’ve really come to like Dries [Van Noten] — his jackets, his suits. I was always a tomboy growing up, and a part of me still is very much a tomboy. Molly’s in a lot more dresses than I usually am!
Have you ever been tempted to keep one of her outfits for yourself?
Oh, there’s a look she wears [in season 2] — these long black pants, a crisp white top, and a black fitted vest-type thing — and the silhouette just looked so bomb. I was like, why can’t I keep this?! And then the olive suit I wear for Hannah’s goodbye party — I just loved that color.
There’s a memorable scene in season 1 where Issa shows up at a party in Converse and you stroll in wearing Fendi pumps. Are you more into heels or flats IRL?
I enjoy being comfortable at all costs, but whenever I’m performing, I know that I’m gonna have to come through with a bad heel. Because what you see first is the shoe! When you’re on stage, the whole audience sees your shoe game. You want to wow them! So it’s time to put on a heel.
I didn’t really ever get into the sneaker thing, either, because I don’t know how to dress casual! My casual is, like, sweatpants at home. I’m either super dressy or super bummy. I’ll see people who do the whole casual thing and look amazing, and I’m just like, how did you pull that off?!
Have you splurged on anything fashion-wise since booking Insecure?
You know, I have not! I’m very fiscally responsible. I treated myself to living a debt-free life, how about that? [Laughs]
What I’d like to treat myself to now is a lovely vacation; like, I want to go to Thailand for two weeks and just do absolutely nothing and get Thai massages every single day. That’s what I want to do, because I’ve just been going nonstop. I mean, a pair of booties would also [be great], but first things first.
Where do you typically shop? Online, in stores...?
You know, it’s so funny — online shopping and me don’t really get along. I’m a try-on kind of person. I have to feel it! I’m old-school in that sense. I also don’t like returning things.
I really like H&M, Aldo, Zara — those are my go-tos. Before Insecure I was very conservative with my finances, so I would go places where I knew I could get something nice without breaking the bank. Now, I’m like, let’s go to Bloomingdale’s and see what they have!
Every once in a while I’ll splurge on a statement piece, like when I got Chris Rock and went to AllSaints to look for a leather jacket. And I spend a lot of my money on home décor — candles and wall art and furniture. That’s where all my money goes: into making my home pretty.
What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten on something while shopping?
I love consignment shopping, and I was at this shop in West Hollywood recently... I just decided to drop in and see what they had. And I found this jacket — I wish I remembered what brand it was — for $50. I put it on and it fit me like a glove, and was basically new. And when I got home, I looked it up online and it was worth $1,500! I was like, I’m not telling anybody anything. [Laughs]
Insecure airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.