Kate Mara at the H&M Conscious Collection Dinner

Posted on March 20, 2014

We’re so programmed to unsheath our claws when some ladystar shows up on the red carpet in 50,000 dollars’ worth of borrowed items. But when she shows up in H&M – and it’s weird H&M – we don’t quite know how to proceed.



Kate Mara attends the H&M Conscious Collection dinner in West Hollywood, California.

H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection

We’ll start off with this: We realize she’s essentially there to model part of the collection to the press, but it’s a little lame to style directly out of the look book. It’s like saying “Our clothes cannot be interpreted in any way. Wear them as you’re told.”

We dig the pants, but they’re not the kind of pants you can just throw on with any old thing. They’re heavier than the average pant, they stop at a tricky point, and you can lace them up at the bottom, which is a thing we wish did not exist on this pair of pants. Our point is, that’s a lot of ladypant. We would never choose a top like that to go with them. We don’t hate the top, but we’re struggling to move out of feeling ambivalent about it. We keep trying to work up a mild like for it, but it’s just not happening. Them’s some crazy-ass shoulders.




[Photo Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

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  • MzzPants

    That’s a lot of soutache embroidery to wear across your ass. I dig the top, though.

    • That must make them, both rather heavy, and a bit stiff as well. i completely agree about the side tie detail, superfluous, and silly to boot.

      • Jackie4g

        As if Toreador met Victorian Sailor and they had a party. I don’t mind the fabric or even the soutache, which seems to be well done, if a tad overdone. The pants belong with a solid top, I think.

        • I realize that design wise we are heading into a period of greater elaboration in general, but this ensemble has got too many elements in use at once. Solid top with the pants. Pair the top with either a matching skirt, for a dress look, or solid wide leg pants like palazzo pants. And don’t pair that heinous bag with anything whatever.

          • Jackie4g

            Agreed on everything. I want to talk design for a moment, because it may be a period of greater embellishment, but a person’s eyeballs ought not to be condemned to wander up and down, side to side without a place to settle for a while. How is it few of the designers have an editor anymore? Almost every dress we see has too damn much STUFF on it. Can this trend be averted?

          • Averted? Not likely, but at very least it will mostly self correct as looks get filtered down into the RTW category. All that embellishment is expensive to produce, and costly to ship properly. I think what’s more likely than the runway looks we have been seeing is more things like the above, pieces which may have one element too many, or that should never be paired with other things from the same line.

          • makeityourself

            Side-to-side is right. Besides being ugly and over embellished, this makes her look as wide as a piece of drywall.

          • Jackie4g

            She’s quite petite IRL. I saw her in House of Cards, and next to Kevin Spacey, she looked tiny. She did an excellent acting job, by the way, making me hate her for being everything a journalist ought not to be, and convincing me her fate was deserved. Which is pretty awful on both counts. But I digress…………….

          • makeityourself

            I loved her fate. Made Season 2 much more enjoyable for me.

          • Lower L

            A rectangular torso is not a look that anybody should aspire to. The model seems to be showing a waist, but that’s because she’s leaning backward and letting the fabric cling to her.

          • YES. Those pants, f’rinstance. That fabric is pretty amazing, and would have been fine, but then they gilded the lily with laces and aiglettes at the ankle and it’s just too much. And that’s before they got put with all those other pieces.

          • kimmeister

            Hunh, I’ve never seen that spelling of “aglet” before.

          • … I may have just made it up. Although I am sure it has an i in it. I’m referring to the gold tassel bit above the lacing, not the doohickeys on the laces.

          • demidaemon

            I appreciate how willing everyone is to completely analyze these pieces of clothing. My eyes, however, are so very tired from just trying to look at them. So kudos to everyone here, but I can’t.

          • kimmeister

            The only reason I even know the word “aglet” is because of years of doing crossword puzzles.

          • Beth

            The only reason *I* know it is because of Phineas and Ferb: “A-G-L-E-T––Don’t forget it!”

        • Sarah

          I own Victorian Sailor pants (they are plain blue, though). I like them a lot. Sigh, I am hopeless.

        • VicD

          Yep. I was digging the pants until I got to the ankle length and then immediately thought “toreador.” Interesting idea. Terrible execution.

  • SewingSiren

    I kinda like the neckline.

    • ampg

      Me too. The top is actually my favorite part of the outfit. Lose everything else (maybe keep the shoes) and build the look around the top, and you might have something.

  • Judy_J

    Love her shoes.

  • MilaXX

    It looks like any other paid to wear lookbook outfit. The top is far too busy for those pants. Those tricky shoulders need to be paired with a simple pair of pants or even a pencil skirt. Truthfully I would never buy that top because those shoulders ruin it. They are too high and puffy.

  • schadenfreudelicious

    Those pants need to go back to the toreador she borrowed them from…i imagine they fit him better….

    • 3boysful

      I think fit is half the problem with these pants. They seem too large.

  • elemspbee

    all together that sure is ugly

  • Jacob Bowen

    I really like her hair and makeup…and maybe the ear cuff, I can’t decide. That top is not flattering at all though, and I HATE that her pants look very undecided…are they capris or are her pants just too short? Also, that necklace was unnecessary for this outfit, but BELONGS in my jewelry box.

    • mlle

      I hate that her necklace gets lost in the visual mess of that shirt.

      • Jessica Freeman

        I didn’t even know there was a necklace until I read these comments……

        • Lucinda Head

          The necklace was the first thing I noticed and it annoys me. It looks like a random blotch of lime green jello in a magic eye print.

  • mjude

    I think the pants look to big on her.

  • Tanya Wade

    Never mind the fact the purse looks like a swimming cap Esther Williams would have laughed at and set on fire.

    • majorbedhead

      Oh, I was coming here just to make that same comment. Swim cap.

    • SophieB210

      Swim cap is right, and bonus points for Esther Williams. Love her!

  • MaggieMae

    I want to like the pants, being a fan of crazy pants. But no, not working here. She is a mere wisp of a thing and those pants are ill-fitted and look so heavy on her.

  • crash1212

    The shoes were the perfect choice for this outfit. I like the pants, but think they’re a little big. Heavy pants like that have to fit perfectly, and these don’t. I like the top and I don’t hate it with the pants…I just think the fit is off. No question about it though…I hate that purse.

  • In_Stitches

    The top makes her look like the queen of blades and the pants are for the youngest harlot at the retirement community.

  • bunnybstuff

    Other than the purse, I rather like all the pieces. They just shouldn’t be all together in the same outfit.

    • Rand Ortega


  • kt

    The top is lovely. Burn those pants

  • kbshee

    the top looks like something from the PR “unconventional materials” challenge. At a Pier 1.

  • mlle

    I want to pair her ladypants with a chic boatneck sweater and a much better purse. The way she’s styled is just too much.

  • Rand Ortega

    There was a BIZARRE sci fi movie a million years ago called, “Zardoz”. Sean Connery had those same shoulders. He wants them back.

    • Jackie4g

      I’ll take Sean and any kind of shoulders he wants to bring.

      • Rand Ortega


    • KinoEye

      Hahahaha, oh, Zardoz. If I remember right, there was also a red leather codpiece/speedo thing involved?

      I just looked it up. There are red straps that criscross and lead down to the red… underwear thing. And his hair is BRAIDED. I’m so happy that movie exists.

      • FrigidDiva

        I had to Google this, and I almost spit out my coffee. Words can not even describe how fantastic it is that this is in the universe.

      • bunnybstuff

        I also had to Google this. That red suspender/loincloth thing… I will never look at Sean Connery the same way again.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      Ha! Zardoz…what a trip.

    • KinoEye

      It seems that you conjured Zardoz by mentioning it. My mom watches a lot of TCM, and as I walked by her room tonight, I heard her mutter “Zardoz.” I’m watching it now and it’s just as bizarre as I remember. Sean is standing with naked female mannequins draped in plastic bags.

  • Rand Ortega

    PS: When did matador pants become a thing? Did I miss the memo?

    • almondemy

      Well, now I wish she was wearing a red bolero. There goes my morning, trying to reconfigure this outfit into something not hideous. And she have an ear infection? The angle of the photo on that earcuff is so weird. And the pattern is sort of vomity. How does a seemingly beautiful woman who is basically a clothesrack come off looking so horrible?! H&M should fire their couture designers and start over.

      • There’s a matching cream jacket in the collection!

      • demidaemon

        It would take me much longer than a morning to reconfigure this mess. You must be Wonder Woman. Or Superman. Take your pick.

  • mommyca

    I like the whole thing even with the too-worked top… (which would look divine with black skinny pants).
    I love the fact that she is wearing two different earrings…. I used to do that in my youth 😉

    • mlle

      I have asymmetrical ear piercings, though it’s been years since I used most of them. I may or may not have been inspired by Babysitters Club books (trans.: I totally was; Claudia Kishi was a badass).

  • Mismarker

    The accessories are absolutely confounding.

  • sagecreek

    I used to do that asymmetrical earring thing. Back in 1988.

    • ScarlettHarlot

      Wait, are you saying that’s on purpose? But…why?!

      • sagecreek

        Oh, you can ask that about so many things I did in 1988 🙂

  • deelup

    There are bits and pieces I’d remove if I could, and I think the fit is off. But otherwise I’m here to admit I like this.

  • Danielle

    That’s bizarre H&M which is saying something.

  • NMMagpie

    Too many conflicting unharmonious textures. Just too much going on.

  • Jessica Freeman

    This is an outfit of all the things…its just too much. I think the shirt untucked may have helped and different shoes and a clutch.

    • kimmeister

      Yeah, every outfit needs supporting actors to complement the stars; you can’t have an outfit of all stars.

  • Roz

    Pants with droopy crotch and shirt with high neckline=both pieces look like they’re being worn backwards. Bag is just unfortunate.

  • Mismarker

    I want that salvaged wood plank wall in my house.

  • lynnlee

    That pendant is pretty, though.

  • Beardslee

    What’s going on with these massive clutches designed by an office supply store?

  • Noah

    It must be really sad, you know, to get to the top of the mountain, only to realize you’ll still be wearing H&M.

  • TheRealAndra

    Ugly nude clutch bag trend must cease!

  • marlie

    I like the top and the pants, though I wouldn’t have worn them together. The shoes are too literal of an addition, but the purse doesn’t belong at all. And I don’t like the one-earring look.

  • FMO. Wearing ALL THE TEXTURES might work for an editorial, but it really doesn’t for an actual person. And that purse is really ugly.

    • decormaven

      Truly. That purse reminds me of the discreet pouches ladies used for toting feminine hygiene products, with some Etsy embellishments added to bring it into the 21st century.

      • marlie

        The discreet pouches that were anything BUT discreet.

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    Hate it. All of it.

    • demidaemon

      So with you.

  • ScarlettHarlot

    In the first pic, by the neckline, I see the face of a frightened bear or other woodland creature peering out from the embroidery. I think it’s a sign that there is too much going on when my eyes try to assemble order to the thready chaos by seeing things that aren’t there!

  • ballerinawithagun

    I just looked back at the title…There was nothing conscious about this collection.

    • ScarlettHarlot

      Lol, or is the name apt, as the designs make you entirely *too* conscious of the wearer’s outfit?

    • demidaemon

      I thought it meant it was environmentally conscious. Having seen just one look from the collection, I must be wrong, as this looks as synthetic as it gets.

  • cocohall

    H&M is supposed to be for us regular folks, right? Meaning accessible in terms of $$? And call me crazy, but I like to wear my things more than once. These are the types of clothes that are so tricky and specific, that you can’t wear them multiple ways. And everyone is going to remember you in those matador pants. And your Wrath of Khan shoulders. Can’t even imagine the care label for these two pieces: first hire a team of structural engineers to be on call 24/7 should the support for the shoulders give way . . . .

    • FrigidDiva

      I was so fixated on how hideous that outfit is that I didn’t even think of H&M in those terms, but now that you mention it, I can’t imagine buying any of those pieces she has on except maybe the shoes, you could work those into different looks.

      • demidaemon

        I had kind of a similar thought to cocohall’s originally, but then decided it probably didn’t matter as anyone wearing this outfit head to toe would be rightfully shamed into donating it. Even the separate bits probably wouldn’t get past a group of friends without some necessary side-eye and pointed questioning, all ending with the same (correct) result.

  • Kelly

    I hate all of this — from the matador pants to the clashy shoes to the cheap-looking plastic clutch in the ugliest color I can imagine to the silly sleeves to the “I gotta pee” stance to the blah hair and makeup. Grade: F

  • Josefina Madariaga Suárez

    That top and those pants don’t belong in the same look, but they’re kinda cool on their own. And whoever thought about adding the snake shoes is someone whose opinion should never be listened again.

    But the funniest thing is that this look was styled for someone who works for H&M. Bless them.

  • TwiddlyStun

    Pair that top with a darker bottom – either a skinny ankle pant or a skirt (I could see this with a longer dark skirt). Pair the bottoms with a gauzy top to balance the heaviness. Any other ideas to salvage the pieces?

    • OffToSeeHim

      No. But it’s sweet that you tried.

  • OffToSeeHim

    Those are some Star Trek (and not even TNG) shoulders right there. Like when they land on an alien planet and everybody chose the same jumpsuit, but to prove they’re aliens they pick shoulders like that.

  • Fuchaforever

    H&M design FAIL. H&M designers can’t seem to handle these high end looks. Nope.

  • Why would any woman deliberately wear that top? It’s tragic.

  • amaranth16

    I was so ready to love the pants but then I saw the weirdass hem and the lacing. Scrolldown awk.

  • Lori

    That top is weird, but if you’ve got to wear it why on earth would you pair it with those shoes? Also, why does that purse exist?

  • FrigidDiva

    Let’s look on the bright side–with her hair up like that we can’t see that terrible blonde ombre color she’s been sporting–plus no tricky bobby pins that are visible. I still hate her with the blonde though, I just don’t think it suits her coloring at all, especially with the make up she almost always sports–dark eyes and nude lips. It just looks so odd to me. Like her mouth almost disappears.

  • That purse looks like Granny’s bathing cap. I like the pattern of the top, and even the crazy shoulders, because this is Kate Mara and she can work some severely crazy. That top never with those pants. Swap the top for a solid black or eggplant something and she’d be cooking with gas.

  • CatherineRhodes

    The whole look is ugly. Whether it cost $100 or $10,000, still ugly.

  • Anne At Large

    Ooh, digging the top. Not styled like this, obvs. but as a larger lady I think this is a top for me. It’s kind of overwhelming her.

  • Gatto Nero

    Hate the top and the clutch (mystifyingly cheap and rubbery looking).
    The pants would be cool with a different top — something simple and lightweight, with a slight drape to the fabric — and possibly without those ties at the bottom.

  • Imasewsure

    The problem with cheap clothes is that they usually look kind of cheap… This might be gorgeous in high end silk but it just looks stiff and itchy at the H&M price point…

  • kimmeister

    1. The top looks like a moth partway through metamorphosis.
    2. Pants that are both low-rise AND cropped look good on zero human beings.
    3. That clutch is a free gift with makeup purchase.
    4. The shoes are fine, she can keep those and wear them with a better outfit.

  • MoHub

    Daniel Esquivel shoulders

  • kategs

    I just want a closer look at that necklace!

  • KT

    It all looks so poorly made, which is exactly right considering that it’s H&M. Their clothes always look cuter in concept than execution.

  • GinnyThePainter

    Project Runway Moth Challenge.

  • EEKstl

    So bizarre and those pants are too baggy. Paging Tilda…not that she’d be caught dead in that getup…

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    This outfit has obliterated her lovely shape, sad. And, yeah, those pants don’t need the addition of laces up the side.

  • Jaeda Laurez

    I like the shirt, but she’s not fierce enough to wear it, no matter how much eyeshadow she throws on. The proportions of the entire outfit are wrong- she’s not tall enough to rock cropped pants, and she’s being overwhelmed by the shoulders and print.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    I hate it all. I can’t think of anyone who could wear that. Actually, I saw a production of Macbeth with a Scots warrior in a top like that. Although I think his puffy shoulder pad things were mushrooms instead of whatever these are. Anyway, this is hideous.

    • AnneElliot

      I would pay to see a production of Macbeth with mushrooms on the shoulders. Trippy!

  • Everything in this look is so WTF, but somehow my seething hatred is zeroing in on the clutch and shoes.

  • Trickytrisha

    The pants look fine on the model, they look 2 sizes too big on Kate. Hiddy top, IMO. The whole thing is disturbing.

  • demidaemon

    You guys are being pretty fair here. I’m just going to call it like I see it: IT”S HIDEOUS. And, if H&M is saying this is the only way to wear their clothes, then they should be losing a whole bunch of business stat, as no woman deserves to look like they are crazy.

  • Jean Beaton Leavitt

    Lop off the ruffles and dangles and a size smaller pant in petite she would be good to go.

  • Lisa M. (ReVoir) Kramp

    That is way too much look for little Kate.

  • Miss_Led

    It’s like Thai Star Trek?

  • Sunraya

    I love the print on the pants! Funny, this looks a lot better than the Dior crap JLaw wears!

  • quiltrx

    I kind of dig the pants, and agreeing with everyone that the tie is just too much.
    That top is just too much weirdness in ugly colors.

  • LaSylphide

    Maybe, just maybe that top would work with a full black skirt to balance the ruffly sleevey thingys. Adore the shoes and like the pants. But Kate looks like she’s being eaten alive.

  • dschubba

    That clutch was a bath mat in a former life.

  • MartyBellerMask

    This is just so bad. Ughhhhhhhhhh.

  • RuthGo

    The thing for me is I kind of like both of these pieces but they both need to be paired with much, much simpler pieces. I think they also need to be on someone with a stronger presence. Paging Miss Solange!