This is part of an ongoing series called Embodied, which features women who we feel embody some element of the persona they’re featured in. As a former J.Crew personal stylist and shopper, and now owner of her own styling company, Marina Dobreva is a true Stylist indeed. Read on to learn more about Marina’s takeaways from working at J.Crew, personal style, and must-have wardrobe basics.
Hi Marina! Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
First and foremost, I am very excited to contribute to Darling and be a part of this wonderful community! I am a NYC-based personal stylist and wardrobe consultant who helps women look and feel their best every day. I worked with J.Crew for four years as a stylist/personal shopper while also styling commercial and editorial photo shoots. Last winter, I decided to merge my experiences from those two worlds and deliver regular women my knowledge, passion and devotion to image by starting my own company, CloseteurNYC, Inc. I spent the past six months traveling the world, largely gathering inspiration, and now I’m back in NYC building my new company.
We are big fans of J.Crew here at Darling! How has your past experience with the company influence your present ventures?
J.Crew raised me in this industry in many ways, and I am very thankful for my time there and everything I learned. I define myself by it even today, and I think my style and views on wardrobing still largely reflect that image. J.Crew taught me how to look at color and not be afraid of mixing it in unexpected ways. I learned how to put an article of clothing on a woman, completely manipulate it to suit her shape and make it hang in all the right ways—from rolling
a sleeve, to belting, to cuffing, to synching. I learned to take chances with unexpected combinations of colors, materials, patterns, layers and ensembles. All of those things I now apply to every brand my clients wear and that knowledge translates over beautifully.
How would you describe your personal style?
Depends on the day, funny enough! I have fun with mixing different styles and I try to never look like a cookie-cutter copy of a particular genre. I usually start with a conservative base, consisting of more traditional, timeless pieces rather than trend-influenced items. I then accessorize with more theme-based, of-the-moment pieces that are an afterthought to the outfit. On a very typical Marina day, I usually look Chanel-conservative with an edgy piece of jewelry like an Alexander McQueen ring. My shoe is often a high heel like a Manolo Blahnik pump to give the look a sexy and elevated, yet still classy feel.
What are your must-have wardrobe basics, and what items would you recommend our readers have in their closets?
Borderline obvious: nude heel. It’s my ultimate go-to when I can’t pick a shoe to go with an outfit. It goes with everything; it elongates your leg and grounds the look. I can’t live without my men’s saddle brown belt. Every outfit looks more complete with a belt, and somehow I have found that my brown belt can complete many looks from my cozy jean and sweater days, to my summer looks of tee tucked into a silk skirt, to even the occasional LBD that looks blah without an accessory. A great pair of dark skinny denim is also essential, and well-fitting dark denim compliments any body type. The chambray shirt is a staple in any woman’s wardrobe—you can wear it tucked into a pencil skirt to mix the feminine with a bit of masculine or wear it open as a cardigan over almost anything. And just a couple more: a white silk button up can go a million directions, a long gray cardigan as a go-to third piece, and of course, a well tailored pencil skirt that can carry from day to night.
What’s the biggest style lesson you’ve learned since you started your career?
Mixing pieces. Every great outfit I have seen or put together in my career and my life, really, has bits and pieces from different places. A super feminine outfit needs a boy piece to ground it, like an oxford shoe or military-inspired bag. Every preppy-based look needs a touch of rock-n-roll or bohemian to make it less stuffy. For my power women—every gray suit needs a fun accessory such as a bright color skinny belt or some fun jewelry to lighten it up. A homogenous look never turns heads nor makes you feel like you are ahead of the times.