Rafaela is a modern day fashionista with timeless taste and an infectious smile. Although she’s originally from Croatia, Rafaela possesses true New York confidence – something that is key to effortlessly pulling off her eclectic wardrobe.
What are some things you miss about Croatia?
The beach and the sea. Croatia is very different. When I was younger I drove a motorcycle at 14 because everyone did at that age. Everyone grows up really fast in Croatia and you can drive, drink and go to nightclubs at a really young age.
What is your favorite Croatian city?
Kacjak, Brac, and Split are my favorite cities. Dubrovnik is very commercialized; you’ll hear most Croatians say that even though most Americans only know about Dubrovnik. I like Split because it’s a big city but it’s also on the water.
What are some things that you miss about Croatian cuisine?
The shrimp. That was my favorite food when I was younger. Normal American kids would probably say something like pizza, but I loved Skampi Na Buzaru, a traditional Croatian shrimp dish.
When it come to New York City cuisine, how would you describe your ideal NYC food day?
Crepes and caviar from Caviar Russe for breakfast. For lunch, Outback Steakhouse for their cheese fries. I love junk food! For dinner, steak at The Old Homestead and drinks at Rose Bar. I’m like an old man when it comes to cocktails. I like an old fashioned or a Manhattan. My favorite thing to do is to also go to the Plaza for a lobster roll, and walk across the street to Central Park.
Let’s talk fashion. How would you describe your personal style?
Classic with punk. My personal style is very granny chic. People would always say to me, why are you dressing like a grandma? It’s classic but I also like punk style. I think I gravitate towards this style because it’s very appropriate so I’m always dressed for every occasion.
What are some of your wardrobe staples?
I own every skirt from J.Crew possible. I feel like it’s always appropriate to wear. I also think accessories are very important; I love neck scarves.
Tell us about what you’re wearing. This beret is vintage and from my grandpa. I love wearing scarves and grandma’s gloves.
Since I was little I was obsessed with clothes. I shop at stores like H&M, Zara, and J.Crew but I also love investment pieces like this jacket from Burberry. I like investing in designer accessories because I think accessories make the outfit.
Who are your fashion icons?
I love Karl Lagerfeld. I also get inspiration from my grandma and my uncle.
Where do you find fashion inspiration?
When it comes to fashion, I start with something envisioned in my mind and then go look for it. It’s never the other way around. I love it when something I love becomes trendy, because then I can buy a bunch of pieces that I had been looking for for awhile.
Do you have any shopping tips?
I personally hate shopping in person. I actually buy a lot of clothes online. I know a good trick for shopping for jeans without having to try them on. You take the waist portion of the jeans and wrap it around your neck. It has to fit perfectly around the neck. It basically works every time. I’ve never had it not work.
What are some of your favorite places to shop online?
I really like ASOS. Some brands they carry are not good, but the ASOS label makes really nice clothes and it’s super easy to order. You can also buy a lot, try it on at home, and easily return whatever doesn’t work.
What are some of your favorite designers?
I love Burberry because it’s a classic. Burberry is very punk chic. I like when they make clothes in dark colors with something like spikes on it so it’s proper but also punk. I’ve always liked Dolce and Gabbana and anything with a lot of flowers and a lot of lace or embroidery.
When it comes into style, are you inspired by European fashion?
When I come to Croatia, I’m only by the beach. People in the capital of Croatia dress really nice but people here are more relaxed and not into fashion.
Now that you’ve graduated from grad school, how is entering the workforce going to transform your style.
As a dentist, some people think wearing scrubs is kind of disrespectful. That’s not an American thing but European doctors and NYU engrain this into us. NYU teaches us to dress up nice and wear a white coat over it.
What do you anticipate wearing to work?
A lot of J.Crew skirts.