Maria Devins, Real Estate, Baird & Warner

by Chicago Agent

Number of years in real estate:
2022 starts my 15th year in the business.

Describe your look:
Classic; fresh; elegant; comfortable; feminine with strong, clean lines; sometimes a little sassy.

What do you consider a “fashion don’t”?
Wearing a garment that doesn’t feel like yourself and you feel uncomfortable in it. If you have to worry about this, you can’t enjoy wearing it, let alone the moment or occasion. As a makeup artist of 32 years prior to becoming a real estate broker, I worked on many runway and trunk shows. I watched the designers meticulously go over the cut and fit of every garment they created and designed until it was perfect on the body. It matters.

What style has come back into fashion that you think shouldn’t have?
I think “style” is personal and relative to each individual and certainly different for everyone. Style is about you expressing your own personality, and wearing cuts and colors that make you feel beautiful. What I like, someone else may not, and vice versa.

What item of clothing gets you the most compliments?
Any garment that fits well and compliments a person’s shape. I wear dresses, pants, blouses, suits — as long as the cut fits well, it’s always beautiful, and any accessory that adds to the look but never overpowers it. I get a lot of compliments on my vintage Chanel bag — it’s old but classic and timeless.

What is a fashion crime you have committed in the past?
So, I suppose in the last two years with the pandemic, I have been in my sweatpants and loungewear perhaps a bit too much, but I’m comfortable — lol! However, to me a “fashion crime” is, again, when you wear a garment that is ill-fitting and perhaps brings out the worst in your body shape.

Where are your favorite clothing stores or brands?
Oh, too many — Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Mac Duggal, Ralph Lauren, Sketchers (yes), Susan Graver, Isaac Mizrahi, Jason Wu. Lord n Taylor, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s, QVC (yes), Valentino, Calvin Klein — it’s about what looks good on and what feels comfortable. I can shop anywhere and find great clothes that look and feel like a million bucks.

What fashion accessory do you feel naked without?
I suppose earrings — a classic pair of diamond studs, or gold 1” hoops, or a great pair of lever backs is always a must to feel finished.

Who is your style icon?
Again, too many — Jaclyn Smith, Rita Hayworth (nothing sexier than her iconic black strapless dress and gloves in “Gilda”), Renee Russo (The “Thomas Crown Affair” wardrobe was amazing).

What decade or time period had the best fashion in your opinion?
Hard question, because every single decade/time period brings iconic designs that maintain and live on. I loved the fantastic tailored suits and stunning evening gowns of the 1940s. The 1960s brought mod, hip and bold colors. Nothing was better in the 1970s than the bell bottoms, platform shoes and a great flowy blouse. I loved the bling of the 1980s — shoulder pads and all! And, of course, the 1990s again brought back some of the best suits, coats — again, very clean streamlined, a bit 1940s(-ish) and the “goddess” dresses (long and short) that were fitted, sexy and classic.

What’s the most expensive or meaningful accessory or piece of clothing you’ve ever acquired? Do you still have it?
Well, for me, it’s got to be my original gold wedding band that my beloved husband presented to me on our wedding day 32 years ago. It’s engraved, and it’s priceless.

What item in your closet do you wear the most?
I really try to wear everything at least once in a season. I suppose I’ll always love a good pair of jeans, a beautiful blouse or top, and a perfect-fitting dress.

Does your style reflect your personal brand? If so, how?
I think so — my “personal brand” and my “professional brand” are really the same. It’s always about honesty, being politely direct and always trying to be kind. I love helping people, and I’m fiercely loyal to my family, friends and clients. Likewise, I am loyal to my “fashion style,” also because it makes me feel good and beautiful inside and out. When you feel great, you are always better in everything you do.

What is your style advice for other people in the industry?
Money has nothing to do with “style.” Style is just as much about inner beauty and confidence as a beautiful garment that adds on to your outer look. The best “style advice” is to be honest with yourself, your family, your friends and your clients with honor, integrity, kindness and professionalism. That will always look amazing on a person.

Trouser pants (Isaac Misrahi), Rockstud shoes (Valentino), gold chain belt (vintage Chanel), lace blouse (Vince Camuto), double-breasted vest (Susan Graver), pearl chain necklace (Chanel) and diamond lever back earrings (private jeweler).

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