Nicole Richie Talks Accessories, Cringe-Worthy Christmas Cards, and Lionel’s Best Advice

Nicole Richie

Photo courtesy of Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie's ultra-influential style has made her a fashion force to be reckoned with.

There's certainly no shortage of celebrity fashion lines, but finding ones with real sartorial substance can be tricky. Which is why Nicole Richie's success as a designer has been so impressive.

The former reality star and red carpet fixture has found quite a niche—as well as quite a few loyal customers—with her House of Harlow 1960 and Winter Kate collections.

Considering that Richie's personal style choices have been breathlessly documented (and copied) by many for years, it should come as no real surprise that the trendsetter was recently named Influencer of the Year by the Accessories Council Excellence Awards.

FashionEtc caught up with Nicole to talk about her ACE honor, cringe-worthy Christmas cards, and what she'd banish from dad Lionel's closet.

How did you feel when you heard you'd been named ACE's Influencer of the Year?

It is such an honor to be recognized for my work. I wake up each morning so grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love.

What was it like when you received the honor at the actual awards ceremony?

I was so nervous. Public speaking is my only fear. But my dear friend John Varvatos presented me the award, and that put me at ease.

Who's your biggest style influence?

My mother.

Do you have any early accessory memories?

I went through a serious choker phase. I used to make them for my friends at school. I have a feeling they are going to be making a comeback very soon. Mark my words!

Best accessory styling tip?

Accessories speak volumes when it comes to a person's wardrobe, especially when one is dressed down in jeans and t-shirt. So have fun with it—there are no rules.

The must-have accessories for fall/holidays?

The House of Harlow 1960 clutches, of course!

Any dream accessory you'd love to receive as a gift?

Hmmmm. ... Maybe some arm candy. Johnny Depp will do. [A girl after our own heart.]

Nicole Richie Clutches

Photos courtesy of House of Harlow 1960

In her clutches: Nicole Richie's House of Harlow 1960 Orlina and Tily bags.

Any accessory no-nos for guys?

Like I said, no rules!

How has your style evolved over the years?

It’s hard to say because I am talking about myself. Yes, my style has changed, but I have changed. It's the natural process of becoming a woman. It’s not stopping here.

Did you play dress-up as a child?

Every. Single. Day.

Are there any past fashion moments that make you cringe?

All of my childhood Christmas cards!

Celebrity fashion lines are often not taken seriously, but that's clearly not an issue for you. How did you go about proving that you were serious about design?

It’s not about proving myself to anyone. At the end of the day, you can't please everyone. You have to do things for yourself. I have had many moments in life where I haven’t gotten credit for the work I’ve done. And that's okay with me. My process is still the same. I work very hard, and am serious about my work. That stays true whether anyone recognizes it or not.

Are you surprised by the huge success of House of Harlow 1960 and Winter Kate?

I feel extremely blessed everyday.

Any plans to branch out into new categories?

Since day one, I knew I wanted to develop a lifestyle brand, but I am definitely taking it very slowly and growing each category organically. I'm not rushing into anything. It’s important to give each category its own identity.

What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?

Be true to yourself.

Anything you want to banish from your dad's wardrobe?

His sweats.

Any trends you personally avoid?

I tend to not follow trends; I dress the way I like to dress.

What item of clothing would we never see you in?

I never say never to anything!