Prominent cheekbones, risk takers and Jared Leto’s baby blue suit: Fashion at the Oscars


Okay, I’ll be honest. My film knowledge doesn’t extend past the most recent Nicholas Sparks movie, so the Oscars, for me, are painfully boring. I can assume all the jokes fell flat, catch the musical numbers on YouTube later, and read about #OscarsSoWhite on my Twitter feed. I can’t even tell you who won most of the awards.

What I never miss, though, is the red carpet show. In the end, what matters most to me is not who won Best Picture, but who won Best Dressed. Since that’s another completely subjective category often awarded to white people by other white people (oops), I’m not gonna write yet another list, but offer my musings on the trends seen on the red carpet this year (besides, you know, excluding people of color).

Someone had to sew all that stuff on there, you know…

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Julianne Moore, Best Actress Winner, wore 80,000 hand-painted sequins and looked statuesque. Lupita N’yongo wore 6,000 pearls and glowed. I don’t know what Behati Prinsloo (Victoria’s Secret model and wife of Adam Levine) was wearing but there were a lot of beads involved and it was beautiful. While I think Moore and Prinsloo were to die for, this is yet another Oscars where Lupita wears a dress that I hate and everyone else loves. The pearls on her are beautiful, but the top is awkward, rigid, and I suspect it doesn’t always move when she does. Which I guess maybe isn’t so bad if you’re mostly sitting for three & a half hours?

We get it, your collar bones are prominent.

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Nearly every best-dressed list I’ve seen counts Reese Witherspoon, Zendaya (previously of Disney Channel fame), and Viola Davis (current queen of Shondaland in How to Get Away With Murder) as winners of the night. Personally, I was bored by Witherspoon’s dress and ever-perky attitude, and adored Zendaya and Davis’s choices of color & hair styles. Giuliana Rancic can take her ignorant comments about Zendaya’s hair “smelling like weed” elsewhere. Natural hair should be worn anywhere and everywhere, except not if you’re Kylie Jenner wearing dreads. (Note: If I had to choose a Best Dressed from the Oscars it would be Zendaya. Guess I won’t be getting that job at E! Fashion Police anytime soon.)

Seeing red, ladies?

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Rosamund Pike and Dakota Johnson (stars of controversial yet popular movies Gone Girl and 50 Shades of Grey, respectively) pull off the bold color of their dresses by staying with simple silhouettes. I’m almost as into the body confidence that these women are exuding as I am the fact that almost everything I’ve read about both of them suggests they are “cold” or “distant.” Resting Bitch Face is a social construct, ladies. Solange is a queen, flawless in all things always, and never afraid to take risks, but looks like she’s wearing a maternity version of a morph suit. Still, I buy it, because you can just tell she knows she’s perfect in anything (aside from maybe Bring It On: All or Nothing).

Wait so does black tie mean black & white? Did it ever?

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Meryl Streep could have worn a suit made of trash bags to the Oscars and still made Best Dressed lists, but this blazer/skirt set showed everyone on the red carpet who was boss. Meryl. Always. Patricia Arquette, Best Supporting Actress winner, not only missed the mark in her acceptance speech attempting to tackle the wage gap, but missed the mark sartorially as well. The dress is reminiscent of the times as a child (or maybe in college) you thought it’d be a good idea to wrap your sheets around you and wear them as a toga. Naomi Watts, in a feathered Armani gown, looks like she took Coachella a little too seriously this year. Lose the bandeau and it becomes a red carpet look worthy of the double sided tape it’d need to prevent a wardrobe “malfunction”, but, as is, she looks like the Urban Outfitters mannequin at the Stanford Shopping Center.

Redheads and color theory.

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Jessica Chastain’s dress was not my favorite (not a fan of the bodice, though it’s quite a flattering cut), but the color on her is divine. Nicole Kidman and Emma Stone looked gorgeous in colors that I’ve always been told redheads should avoid: greens and other reds. Seriously, the colors of these dresses offset their skin perfectly and the red accents are both on trend and on point. Who makes these color rules anyway? Who taught me the rules of dressing as a redhead?!

Florals, for spring? Groundbreaking…

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Honestly all three of these looks were yawn-worthy. Kiera Knightley deserves credit for having to work fashion around her pregnancy belly, which, you know, designers aren’t usually clamoring to accommodate. Gwyneth Paltrow looks like a bridesmaid whose bride was like “the best thing about this dress is that you’ll get so much use out of it after the wedding!,” and Kerry Washington looked ethereal, as always, but I kind of think her top and skirt didn’t match? It’s like one of those weird online dress-up games where you could change skirts and tops to be the same color and pair them together, even though they each were obviously part of a different matching set.

Oh, sorry, didn’t see you there!

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These looks were un-ignorable: daring, bold and all listed on both best and worst dressed lists because people don’t know how to handle risk takers. Marion Cotilliard appears to have had a ball with bubble wrap and duct tape pre-Oscars, but the front of her dress was simple and let her amazing jewelry have its moment to shine (as it were). Kelly Osbourne continues to own red carpets in black, shapely numbers. The skirt of this dress has an amazing structure, contrasting the sweet lace that maybe would have seemed out of place in Kelly’s rebellious-chic aesthetic (we get it, Ozzy is your dad). Lady Gaga can do no wrong for me, from the days of meat dresses to now. Because the internet is cruel, you can find an image somewhere of Gaga carrying a bottle of kitchen cleaner, but I think the wide arms on the dress and gloves are an elegant reminiscence of the days when she took bold fashion risks. Here’s hoping for a Saran wrap wedding gown!

All choked up.

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High necklines and large necklaces make me feel like I can’t breathe, therefore they stress me out as a red carpet look. I’m still not sure if Scarlett Johanssen’s outfit is a necklace and dress, or one elaborate dress, but the neckpiece distracts from an otherwise brilliant ensemble. Always take off one accessory before you leave home, ScarJo, always. Cate Blanchett does the statement necklace right, actually making a statement in a Tiffany blue (yes it’s actually Tiffany & Co.) necklace on a black dress. Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything) has seen virtually zero Best Dressed lists, which I find unacceptable. Blunt bangs and a beaded bodice not only lend themselves to neat alliteration, but also to a striking Oscars look. Lastly, Anna Kendrick remains the love of my life and shows excellent fashion versatility after recently rocking a very Kristen-Stewart-looking black suit to the Grammy’s. Hey, where was K. Stew?!

Dear dudes, you CAN do better!

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Look. The reason men don’t get written up often is because designers let them get away with wearing the same boring black suit to every awards show, so I am all for the variety of suits seen on the red carpet this year. Let’s hold men to higher standards. Let’s see more velvet (Common), more color (David Oyelowo, my pick for best dressed male, and Eddie Redmayne), and maybe less of Jared Leto for a while (though his hair, as always, looks luscious). Let’s ask them what designer they’re wearing and how long they starved themselves to fit into their tux and how they balance work and family and–oh, I forgot this is just a fashion piece, sorry!

Well, there you have it, the trends (I thought were) worth noticing on the Oscars red carpet this year, and the looks I wish I hadn’t noticed (kinda like when you see the person you’re crushing on staring at someone else). If you need me, I’ll be watching Safe Haven on Netflix and avoiding conversations about Boyhood for at least the next year.


Photo credit: Daniel Spils

Oscar photos from Vogue & Yahoo! Style

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