Style Crush: Call The Midwife's Jessica Raine

Ok, we admit it. We've been having an attack of Anglophilia here lately. So many of our style crushes these days are British. From UK singer Kate Nash, to Jessica Raine's fellow Call the Midwife caster, Helen George, these women just seem able to put it together in a way that's original and chic.

Well, we're ready to officially add Jessica Raine, who plays the show's pragmatic yet compassionate Jenny Lee, to our list of style crushes. On-screen, she's mostly confimed to a '50's nurse's uniform, but off-screen the 30-year-old actress who was raised on a farm in the West midlands of England, describes her style as "simple," though that really doesn't do it justice. On the red carpet, Raine relies on snappy red shoes and clutches to make her favored classic silhouettes pop. Her pseudo-messy vintage updos, sideswept bangs and bold red lips make even the most effortless sundress a style statement. 

Here, Raine reveals her best vintage find, her wardrobe staples, and her online shopping addiction. Be sure to catch her on the premiere of Call the Midwife, Sunday, March 31, at 8 p.m. ET. on PBS.

Lucky: Jenny Lee spends her time midwifing for the poor—how do you relate to her character?

Jessica Raine: Jenny has so much empathy, and if anything I've learned from her. I love how she never judges anyone and is always willing to get stuck in and help out.

Did you have to study up on midwifery before taking on the role?

At the beginning I watched a lot of a show called One Born Every Minute, which is a documentary show in England that shows midwives at work in a hospital. It was useful to see how practicality is the order of the day, but not useful, as our show is set in the 1950's and the instruments we use are very different. A lot of them look terrifying! Our on set midwife is invaluable, and always giving me tops on which way up to hold a pinard, which I seem to never remember! Watch the show to find out what a pinard is!

What are your thoughts on the midwife's uniform you wear for most of the show?

I love it! It has a kind of Margaret Howell feel to it, which I'm sure was deliberate. It is comfortable and has good deep pockets for my on set snacks!I

You spend most of the show in a uniform, how would you describe your personal style outside of Call the Midwife?

I love quite simple clothes, that work well everyday. I have a lot of Breton striped top and silk shirts that always feel food. I also like things with a masculine edge and dislike anything too girly.

Has doing a show set during the '50s given you more of an appreciation for vintage fashion?

I have always appreciated vintage clothing, but after working on Call the Midwife for six months, I love moving away from vintage in my day-to-day wear. That's not to say I don't go completely gaga over a stunning '50s dress, but that feels all wrapped up in Jenny Lee now, so I do my best to avoid it in my personal life.

What's your best vintage find?

I have a gorgeous coat that I found at a vintage fair—it's just so elegant. Unfortunately, it has a massive hole underneath the arm as I think I may have worn it to death! I keep meaning to send it to the dry cleaners for some TLC.

What are your three wardrobe staples?

Shoes are a good starting point. I've become quite fussy about them! A patent pair of Sonia Rykiel oxfords have become invaluable. Also, a Breton stripe-y shirt, and a stylish coat.

Where do you shop when you want a bargain? Where do you shop when you're in the mood to splurge?

I like trawling through the web both to splurge and to find a bargain. Hours are lost.


Click through to shop Raine's style.