Fug or Fab: The Sisters Mara


Do we have a (potential) Ginnifer Goodwin situation here — as in , did somebody stupidly give Rooney Mara a complex about her smile — or do we think she’s still in Lisbeth Salander gloomy-guts mode?

There is something unusual and pretty about the main dress, but the torso awning seems so stiff and overly artsy on her, like it’s yelling so hard in the name of making a statement that it’s not paying attention to what the statement actually is. The spacey remove of the wearer doesn’t sell it. I’m not saying she has to be Little Miss Sunshine if she isn’t, but a hint of a smile would be nifty. Maybe she hates that she made this movie, which I keep calling¬†Drugs Are Bad, Mmmkay, but her career won’t be dead by its hand. So even if her shoulders look like a flower arrangement being laid atop someone’s coffin,¬†she shouldn’t mourn like she’s at an ACTUAL funeral.

Her sister wasn’t super cheerful either, and went the opposite end of the color spectrum:

It’s a fairly clean LBD, with a flared skirt for fun. I like it well enough; I’m not sure there’s enough to feel passionate about in either direction, though. I would have loved a dramatic lip on her, and although the shoes are a little crazy with the soles, I like that it adds some spice. She should’ve given Rooney some advice on that front; hers are perfectly serviceable daytime pumps but that dress needed something with more oomph. This round may go to Kate on that alone.

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[Photos: Getty]

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Comments (34):

  1. Tamburlaine

    I think one of the reasons Kate’s outfit looks better is that her hair isn’t so dark as Rooney’s, giving her look a bit more colour. Whereas Rooney is so very monochrome… Also, that’s LOT of detail on the dress for someone so tiny – it overwhelms her.

  2. Helen

    While I don’t think Rooney’s dress is right for her, I do think it’s a beautiful garment in and of itself, awning and all. I’d just rather see it on Blanchett or Swinton.

    Kate’s is cute and suits her well enough in terms of style, but it really does not fit at all and that sleeve style is badly wrong for her. Love the shoes though – and would like them even better with Rooney’s dress.

  3. Liz985

    I’ve accepted that Rooney Mara is going for the high concept in her wardrobe. It’s her thing, I get it. I think the clothes, objectively, are beautifully constructed. As to the attitude, it’s not so much the lack of a smile, it’s the DEAD eyes. I don’t want her to mug for the camera, but a little twinkle would not go amiss.

  4. Stefanie

    Rooney looks like a wedding cake. A wedding cake with a sad sad topper. Blech.

    Kate looks cute. I approve.

    • anny

      More precisely, Rooney looks like she just jammed her head through the top of a wedding cake, and is possibly a little stunned as a result.

      Not loving the shoulders on Kate’s dress, but Kate kills on the shoes. All that froufrou on R’s dress and NUDE SHOES? WTF?

  5. Jules

    People.com referenced GFY in the write up of RM’s dress. Cool!

  6. amelia

    In current Vogue interview Rooney says she only smiles when she has something to smile about, never just for the cameras. Seems she was not kidding.
    (I like both dresses!)

    • anny

      Well, she’s a Very Serious Actress.

    • Faith

      I was coming in here to say the same thing…and it makes sense to me, sort of.

      Still, makes me feel kinda bad for her. Her life right now seems more than enough of something to smile about. But I guess that perception could be way off, since I’m not her.

    • Mollsworth


    • CopyChic

      I read the same article and felt hit over the head by her awareness of self. “Self,” I says to myself, “I do not smile for just any old happy.”
      New idea: Wear white to funerals.

  7. One of the Leahs

    If you took off that awning and whittled down those shoulders, I think Rooney’s dress would be beautiful.

  8. Anj

    I can’t help it; Rooney Mara is my new Cate Blanchett. And by that, I mean I’m always excited to see what she’s wearing and even when it’s wacky or I shouldn’t like it, I still appreciate it and it appeals to me. Even when her sister goes in different directions, it doesn’t captivate me as much as Rooney. Even though her colors tend to be predictable (usually black and white), they are structurally interesting and make a statement with impact. Maybe it just comes down to her giving us something totally different than what we usually see from celebrities which I like a lot. Or maybe she’s just more hardcore and yet subtle too and I like that as well.

    On another note, she never really smiled even before the Dragon Tattoo movie so I’m not surprised that she still doesn’t.

    • Sajorina

      I get what you’re saying… I’m always excited to see what Rooney is going to wear next!

  9. Lynne

    The white is interesting. I like that it’s a silhouette we haven’t seen before. And while the morose nature of both sisters is unfortunate, I have to say they both have insanely pretty faces. Name someone who could get away with that pilgrim hairstyle Rooney’s sporting. And it’s not like she emptied the MAC counter onto her face.

    I’m actually giving this round to Rooney (although not happy about the shoes). Kate’s dress is alright. Doesn’t thrill me though.

  10. Sylvia

    Sigh. I suppose I think Rooney’s actual dress is prettier conceptual, but Kate has more color going on. I think someone said it’s the hair and I agree.

    But seriously, between your two grandfathers your family has TEN SUPERBOWLS!! Smile ladies, your life doesn’t suck.

  11. ok

    My problem with Rooney’s dress is not that she isn’t smiling, or smizing, because this isn’t the dress for coquettishness. the problem is that she looks like a meek little mouse, instead of fierce, aloof, avant-garde woman.

  12. Hannah

    Whenever I look at Rooney’s outfit before her face, I always forget and think I’m looking at Zosia Mamet.

  13. ariel

    HOLY CRAP THEY ARE SISTERS? I just got this.

  14. Kaitlyn

    Looking at Rooney’s hair sort of looks like somone photoshopped a big ol’ mustache onto her head. That severe slick down/center part combo does her no favours.

  15. Sandra

    Rooney looks like a psycho-killer ballerina and Kate looks like Ashley Wagner after a double run-through of her long program, though I do love the shoes.

    So much pretty and neither one of them is doing it justice.

  16. tracy

    I find Rooney strangely intriguing. I never get the sense that she’s gloomy or doesn’t want to be where she is? It’s not a KStew “whatever” ‘tude, imo. She kind of has scared bunny face. I find it kind of endearing, because everything else about her is so severe and high concept.

    Her public persona does make me think she’s a hell of an actress though, because I get no timidity on screen from her.

  17. ceecee

    Rooney looks like she just received some tragic news backstage, and her sister is sharing her anguish.
    Perhaps the shoulders on the white dress are a high fashion tribute to football shoulder pads, in honor of her family’s heritage.

  18. Betsy

    Rooney just bores me. She’s always in either black or white, no facial expression, with sleek hair. She literally makes me want to yawn every time I see her. I’ve only seen her in The Social Network in which she was good, but her promotion for movies makes me never want to see anything she is in ever. I think that’s the opposite of what they’re trying to do. I think if she ever wore a color or smiled or curled her hair (OR something with her hair), I would be shocked!

    I like Kate’s in general. Doesn’t take the attention away from her sister, and she looks classy and good.

  19. Chris P

    I’m a weirdo, but…I secretly sort of love Roonbeth’s. And not just because it introduced me to the phrase “torso awning.” I mean, yeah, it’s yet another avant-garde(-ish) dress. Yes, it has a boob awning (which is an improvement from boob brows). But…I don’t know, even though there’s a boob awning, I sort of…think it works? In a weird way, the beading softens the edge of it (and her styling).

    I do kind of have THINGS with the shoes, but I don’t know what would look better.

    Kate’s kind of reminds me of a slightly peppier version of Sigourney Weaver’s SAG dress (or, more appropriately, Sigourney Weaver’s sag dress). So I might not be as charitable towards it as I should.

  20. Jasmine

    Kate looks adorable, Rooney looks like a ghost. Or witch. Ghost witch. And those shoes are a little too nude on her, they blend in with her skin so much it looks creepy.

  21. witjunkie

    I think that white dress is amazing. Maybe a scosh (sp?) too much barnacle on the shoulders but I love the silhouette and I think she looks great. I don’t like the nude shoe making her feet disappear, but white anything it seems is verboten, so I don’t know what I’d have worn instead. Maybe a silver or grey pump.

  22. Esme

    Kate looks blah and she needs to do something else with her hair. I love Rooney’s dress, but I wish it had been a color. I see nothing wrong with her shoes. Anything more wild would have been gilding the lily. And I’d rather see somber than some phony, shit-eating grin like Lea Michele’s.

  23. strah

    I’m not a fan of Rooney but this post brought a question to mind: How weird would it be to have to stand somewhere smiling for no reason for a very prolonged period of time? I guess that’s why they call it “Acting”, but as a human, it seems like it would just have to be weird.
    More on topic – the outfits are neither here nor there for me. I’m not fond of the shoulder awning on the first, don’t care for the sleeves on the latter.

  24. Lily1214

    WHO designed this gown Rooney’s wearing?

  25. Sajorina

    Rooney is so beautiful that she always looks good to me, even if I don’t love what she’s wearing! But, although this isn’t terrible, she can do better! I love Kate’s outfit! The simple elegance of the dress and the shoes is stunning! WANT! She looks gorgeous & gets my vote!

  26. Jeannine

    although i don’t always 100% love what she’s wearing, i am constantly in awe of how ridiculously beautiful rooney is…i could stare at her face for hours. in this instance i even love the dress.

  27. Veronica

    While I do find her a little eyeroll-worthy at times, I have to admit I feel her on the smiles. My neutral face is often misconstrued as unhappy, when that is not often true at all. I suspect we just tend to expect women to appear inviting, to smile more, and it’s more noticeable when they don’t.

    As for the dresses…I’m really not a fan of either. Mara’s is intricately beautiful, but kind of overwhelming on her slim frame. Also, she needs to work on her posture a bit – instead of looking poised, she often looks stiff and uncomfortable to me. Kate’s just bores me up and down, though the shoes are quite cute.