Actress Caitriona Balfe’s path to stardom hasn’t exactly been what you’d call traditional. While packing bags for a local charity in her native Ireland, she was scouted by a modeling agent and then made her way to Paris at 19, where she began a modeling career that touched all the major fashion houses. Balfe continued to work in New York City for nearly eight years, but after deciding that modeling wasn’t her true passion, she eventually landed in L.A. to pursue her lifelong dream of acting on-screen.
Fast-forward to 2013 when Starz was casting the coveted role of Claire Fraser for the highly anticipated adaptation of the Outlander series and Balfe was called in after a second look at her audition tape. Thanks to her chemistry test with co-star Sam Heughan, she won the role right before shooting began, which required her to uproot her life in L.A. and move to Scotland. (Well, we did say it wasn’t the most traditional path.)
This November, she’ll be starring alongside Christian Bale and Matt Damon in the upcoming movie, Ford v Ferrari, where she plays Bale’s wife, Mollie, who is an accomplished race car driver in her own right. It’s safe to say her career is about to shift into fifth gear.
Just like the non-traditional characters she plays, Balfe tends to forge a sometimes unconventional path when it comes to her fashion choices. Whether earning eyebrow raises or applause, these looks have made her a darling of the same fashion houses she walked for back in the day. With that in mind, it makes total sense that she recently began working with A-List stylist Karla Welch, who is known for encouraging her clients to push themselves out of their comfort zones. As Balfe recently told InStyle, “I always say if I love it, then I’m happy. It doesn’t have to be for everyone else.”
As huge fans of both Balfe’s career and style, we’ve rounded up some of the actress’s most eye-catching looks to date. From bold colors and prints to unique design details (hello, pockets and cutouts!), check them out below and be inspired to think out of your own style box.