My Style: Mara Coman

Portrait of Mara Coman

Portrait: Alex Galmeanu

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Trying too much. To go out wearing all your accessories — your ”statement” necklace, your shining earrings, bracelets, rings, belt and all — and with too much studied curls and make-up. I definitely prefer the effortless chic look, I’m not a fan of perfection.

Please describe your style in three words.

Minimalist, sculptural, with a twist.

Do you believe in role models?

I do, but not necessarily in fashion. My role model was my mother and she was the epitome of discretion in everything she did.

Which are your favourite fabrics?

The ones that are difficult to maintain: wool, cashmere, and silk. And, lately, neoprene — at least I don’t have to iron it! :)

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

Mini and shiny skirts combined with high heels. It’s a very obvious and non-elegant way to show off your body. Don’t worry, we can still tell if someone has a great body even when the skirt is a bit longer or the décolletage is more discreet.

Which city has the best-dressed women?

I really love the women in New York. Not just because they are well-dressed, but mostly because there is this amazing mix between different styles at the same place. I even liked the extravagant outfits in New York because women wore them with so much confidence. They dare to express themselves and don’t give a damn about what others might think.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

Most of the times, conservative. Bold? I had my bold moments, but just a few.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

It depends on where I’m going. I don’t wear too many accessories (with a few exceptions). At the moment I adore simplicity and appreciate it when a woman wears an evening outfit without any jewellery. I’m an enemy of the “statement necklace” that so many women consider a must. Also, I love minimalist looks with a twist – an unexpected detail that will work as a small surprise. Thinking about the clothes I own and like, there are some pieces in which I look like a nun from the front, but there is always something unpredictable in the back: a pleated detail, an oversized crease, a ruffle, a (decent) décolletage or a tulle back. I’m not the person who’s looking for bold colours, princess or mermaid dresses, high décolletages or micro mini skirts. My style is mostly sculptural, with some masculine touches — and stripes. I am neither a romantic, nor a boho-style woman. Also, floral prints are simply not for me. And when I want something bold, I wear a metallic blouse or skirt, most of the time toned down with black or nude items. Or maybe silver jeans — because, yes, you guessed it: I love metallic items. But, to sum up, I don’t want to show off with my look. I don’t want to be the queen of the prom.

Celebrities and style...

Well, we mostly see them on the red carpet, where formal outfits are mandatory. Personally, I love it when they get rid of the romantic long dress uniform; for example, Charlize Theron wearing an amazing Dior tuxedo in Cannes. Kristen Stewart also caught my attention recently. She combines classic pieces with some casual or rock touches, while her hair and make-up are rather unpredictable — but stylish. Oh, and that moment when she went barefoot! She was wearing her beautiful Christian Louboutin shoes on the red carpet but, when she arrived in the ceremony room, took her shoes off. She probably thought no one would notice, but the paparazzi did and captured the moment. Her gesture was probably not the epitome of elegance but, hey, we are all human. Wearing high heels all night is an issue also for the A-list celebrities. I respect Kristen for that, she suddenly seemed to be a real woman just like the rest of us.

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

I have this inexplicable love for shoes – stilettos, sandals, espadrilles, sneakers, biker boots, high heels, you name it. And there is always a new pair that I need.

A woman should always look…

As if she didn’t spend an hour in front of the mirror. She instantly chose the right outfit, fixed her hair in two minutes, applied lipstick in just one minute and – believe it or not – she looks perfect. She has that effortless chic look, even if, in fact, she has spent two hours at her hairdresser. But her radiant appearance should only reveal that she succeeded without effort.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My mother taught me two very important things: to be moderate and different. She only had a few outfits, but I never saw anyone else dressed like her. So I’ve learnt to choose items that are probably not for everyone and to mix them in my own way. Other than her, there were many people and situations that influenced my style. Working for a fashion magazine, going to fashion shootings and shows, browsing new collections and having access to the most luxurious items — all these played their part in my personal style.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

I start by thinking if I have somewhere to go (am I attending a fashion event, a very important business meeting or is it just a normal day at the office?) and based on my mood. Thinking about my outfits in advance is something I rarely do. Usually, I wake up, open my wardrobe and pick something. And no, I don’t need much time for this.

What is your biggest regret?

Maybe all the time spent thinking too much about what I should wear and being worried about it. But, well, I was young and I wanted to impress people! Having stopped worrying about it and just being myself feels so good nowadays.

The three essential things a woman should know about style are…

Invest in quality basics. Wear your outfits with confidence. If you are not sure about something, don’t do it.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I go for brands I already like – I don’t have the patience to try new ones, especially if I don’t like them from the beginning. I always check out the shoes first and go for shades that I love: nude, white, black, metallic or some items with stripes.

We will never see you wearing...

Flower prints (however, Dolce&Gabbana are an exception to this rule). Any other kind of prints except the geometric or artsy ones. A red lace dress or any other red dress. A princess dress. Romantic outfits. But who knows what the future will bring to my wardrobe?

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Esteban Cortazar, I discovered his work while browsing on Net-A-Porter. He does things I like — asymmetric pieces, unexpected cuts, oversized items. All these apply also to Monse — and I have to add that I like so many pieces from their resort collection: the stripes, the classical reinterpreted pieces and the stylish way that the belt is used as a leitmotiv.

Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?

Even though I tried, I can’t name any modern muses. Having said that, Audrey Hepburn’s style and her one-of-a-kind beauty continue to stun me. Even though she a 60’s icon and I am not at all a retro girl, I would wear many of her outfits. Stripes included!

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Probably her shoes (if they aren’t overshadowed by a bold princess dress that I would obviously hate).

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

A black minimalist bracelet which was a gift for my 30th birthday. A white shirt with a pleated back. A nude woollen blouse. And a few pairs of shoes.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

It’s difficult to name one, as their collections tend to vary. I do love Dolce&Gabbana, they go for the kind of opulence I would wear. I love also their campaign ads, how they present Sicily and how they work with black lace. There are also some other fashion houses that I like with a very different approach to fashion: Thom Browne, for the deconstructed items in his FW16 collection, DKNY and Acne for the unexpected cuts and wearable pieces. And definitely Gianvito Rossi for shoes, he does the most beautiful and elegant stilettos, trust me.

One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is…

Her shoes and her tights. Plus the lingerie — those hidden pieces that can definitely boost a woman’s confidence.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

It shouldn’t be. You can’t look good in uncomfortable clothes. But still, how many 10 cm comfortable heels do you have?

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

Leila Yavari, Fashion Director at Stylebop.com, and Mihaela Glăvan, my favourite Romanian shoe designer.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask: “What if I fall”?

Oh, but my darling,

What if you fly?

(Erin Hanson)

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