It’s been a decade since cult fave Veronica Mars went off the air, but Kristen Bell is still taking some style cues from her former alter ego.
The actress, who played the teenage super sleuth from 2004 through 2007, says it was easy to love Mars’s quirky, yet utilitarian way of dressing. And though she eventually outgrew her character’s penchant for military jackets and messenger bags, she still wears one important accessory inspired by her detective days—a classic watch.
“Veronica’s watch was by Fossil and it had a small face, which was very vogue back then, and a brown leather band,” Bell tells InStyle. “It wasn’t worn as consistently as her choker and silver star necklace, but it very much spoke to her ability to stay in control of her day and everything she did. Actually, all of the pieces that she wore in the show had some sort of meaning. Veronica wouldn’t be caught dead in the same purse that the popular girls were wearing, so she had a messenger bag that would hold her camera, her gear, and all of the photos of whatever affair she was exposing that episode. And she wore always wore combat boots, instead of heels or flip flops. I loved that her clothes and accessories, like the watch, were precise and intellectual.”
Now, as a busy mom of two (Lincoln, 4, and Delta, 2) with husband Dax Shepard, Bell says her days aren’t quite as structured. And her beloved Fossil watch? It just got a major upgrade too. In fact, the actress recently became the face of the brand’s latest campaign, spotlighting its new hybrid and touchscreen styles.
“Once I had kids, I realized that I had to constantly reference nap times and pre-school pickups, so I needed something better to help keep myself on track,” says Bell, whose go-to style is the Q Accomplice ($155; fossil.com). “It actually allows me to put my phone down, which is huge for a mom! I stay pretty territorial about separating my work and my home life. I don’t want my kids to see my phone in my hand all the time. And I love that it allows only the notifications I filter to come through. I’ll get a buzz on my wrist when Dax or my mom is texting me, as opposed all of the nonsense that your phone gives you these days.”
So the question remains, is she still as punctual as Mars was? “I am, without question, always running seven minutes late it seems,” she says, laughing. “I’m not ten minutes late, so I never veer into offensive territory, but I’m always a little behind. Now I just set my watch ten minutes ahead and it all works out.“
Read on for more from our chat with the star, including her new fashion fave and the latest on the highly-anticipated sequel to Frozen.
It’s been 10 years since Veronica Mars wrapped! How did that role change your life?
In some ways, it feels like a lifetime ago, but it’s still incredibly close to my heart. It taught me so much. I had to move out of town to film it and I was living by myself except for my dog, Lola. We’d shoot for sixteen hours a day, so I gained a really great work ethic. And because I sort of mind-melded with [Veronica Mars creator] Rob Thomas, it taught me the importance of great writing.
So we already know that you’re a watch girl, thanks to the show, but how would you describe your overall sense of style?
It usually depends on my mood, but I tend to keep it simple. I’m usually in a great pair of jeans. I love the cut of Mother Denim and Re/Done. And then, to be honest, because my kids are still filthy animals, I usually just put on a fun t-shirt or sweater. Lately, I’ve been really into Lingua Franca cashmere sweaters that have embroidered sayings on the front. I have one that says “Equality”, and for Mother’s Day, my kids got me a custom one with lyrics from a song that they made up.
That’s adorable! What’s the song?
My baby will sit at a guitar and sing, “I love you so-o-o-o-o-o much. I love Momma so much. I love Daddy so much.” And so, it says, “I love you so-o-o-o-o-o much” on the front, with music notes on it and everything. It’s the best.
How long does it take you to pick out an outfit in the morning?
However many minutes of mercy my kids are willing to give me! So roughly half a minute, sometime in between brushing their hair and wiping their butts. It’s actually nice because I don’t even have the option to overthink my outfit.
And when you’re not on mommy duty, you’ve been busy filming. What are you working on right now?
I’m shooting my show The Good Place in Los Angeles right now. And I’m also shooting Bad Moms 2 in Atlanta. So how can I be in two states at once, you might ask? I pretty much fly back and forth every other day right now. Or at least every other week.
Can you give us any hints about what we can expect from Eleanor in the second season of The Good Place?
A lot of season two is centered around the big reveal that happened in the finale [spoiler alert: The Good Place has actually been The Bad Place all along]. A lot of people might think we’d just do a reset, but it’s a whole different side of the world because you know now the secret. You will see a lot more of Ted Danson’s character Michael’s perspective. And you’ll see how cunning Eleanor can be when she gets a little bit of information.
A Bad Mom’s Christmas comes out in November. And this time around, we’ll get to meet your character Kiki’s mom, right?
Yes! We’re all still rebellious, overworked moms, but now since it’s the holidays and our parents are coming into town, we’ve basically regressed into rebellious, snotty teenagers. Cheryl Hines plays my mom. I’ve known her for 10 years, so we have a really good rapport. My character Kiki’s mom is a little bit overbearing and annoyingly positive, so it’s been so much fun.
You’ve also got this little-known project called Frozen 2 in the works. Have you seen a script yet?
I certainly wish I had! They say it’s coming soon, but I’m in the same boat as everyone else—just waiting patiently. We never thought a sequel was possible because Walt Disney himself used to say that he only liked to do stand alone films. And under his watch, he said there wouldn’t be sequels to any Disney movies in the theater, so a lot have gone straight-to-DVD. We didn’t know if they’d ever green light Frozen 2 knowing that Walt might roll over in his grave.
Is there anything that you’re secretly hoping happens to Anna in the sequel?
Well, there are certain things I already know are going to happen! But I don’t know how much I can talk about. Let’s just say I think we’re all going get what we want from Anna.
Is it true that your daughters aren’t really into Frozen?
They like the characters, and they like the dress-up part of it, but they’re not super into the movie. They really like the animated movie, Sing. That’s the one that’s on repeat in our house.