I love September. Between all the Fashion Weeks and red carpets, I was gleefully glued to my daily newsfeeds for one of my favourite past-times: sorting the fashionistas with style from the celebrities with stylists.
How can you tell? I have a few personal style rules that make it pretty easy:
1) Who’s wearing who?
I don’t mean what designer is which celeb wearing. No no, the cardinal rule of stylin’ vs styled is how comfortable they are in their clothes. In other words: Is she wearing the dress, or is the dress wearing her?
In ‘Crazy, Stupid Love’ – which I won’t get started on, because Ryan Gosling’s stylish ass in that movie deserves its very own blog post – Gosling says to Emma Stone, “You’re wearing that dress like you’re doing it a favour.” That’s it, right there – you’re what gives the dress meaning, every inch and curve of you that’s filling it. YOU own IT, remember – if you’re not feeling it, don’t wear it! Sometimes a celebrity will look every inch the unwilling victim of someone else’s taste. Know your body and even if you love the dress, accept that here may be some shapes you just can’t wear and choose something that’s going to make you look like the best version of you. The best-dressed always look to me as if they’re oozing their hotness in a second skin aka the dress – as opposed to those standing rigidly and looking distinctly self-conscious. In short, “Look how good I look. Just look.” as opposed to “Don’t I look great in this dress?! Don’t I?!”
DO. Christine Baranski is always a winner – just fabulous. “Please darling, I’ve been doing this for years. I own this carpet.”
DO. A good example of how you can make an outfit your own, even when you’re all basically wearing the same thing.
DON’T. Poor Lea’s styled to within an inch of her life, as usual. Look at that terrified smile. Fake it til you make it, girlfriend!
DON’T. Olivia Munn must be auditioning as the Wizard of Oz’s frumpy sister. Why else would she cover up such a lovely figure with shapeless emerald draping?
2) High-brow vs straggly brows
Anyone who follows me on Twitter will be familiar with my OCD-esque quest for the perfect brow. As far as I’m concerned, you can be groomed and styled up to the eyeballs but if you neglect your eyebrows, you may as well not have bothered with everything that’s going on below. Groomed brows add instant polish, whether you’re wearing jeans and a tee or a designer gown and there are certain red-carpet regulars (no naming names – sounds nothing like “Schmake Schmively”) who really have no excuse, yet make me want to rush them with a brow pencil and a spoolie. Girl, you may have it all going on and literally be dressed like a million bucks, but if you neglect something as basic as grooming your eyebrows? You ain’t that classy.
DON’T. Truly, there is no excuse. All she needs is a pencil. I can’t even… I just can’t.
DO. Respect your natural shape, tweeze the few strays, fill in any gaps. That’s all you need to do to get your perfect brow.
3) Black is NOT a neutral.
Remember when you were a kid, and you had one pair of standard black dress shoes that you’d wear with everything? Now that we’re grown-ups, it turns out that black doesn’t go with everything. Yes, the black pump is a classic – but to really style an outfit, you need to feel its nuances; the colour, the shape, the mood of the outfit are all important considerations and sticking with your comfort zone of the black-shoe-and-black-handbag is, well, a bit lazy. And if in doubt – embrace neutrals! You’re safe with a good nude shoe.
DON’T. This makes me sad,because I’m under the illusion that Jenny can do no wrong. Why the black bag? Even a plain cream bag would have worked. She knows it too, she looks like she’s trying to pretend she’s holding it by accident. She has small children, so let’s just put it down to a last-minute toddler incident of some sort.
DON’T. There was so much potential for shoe-ing this dress. Red, green, mustard – even gold. If you squint, it looks like she could be wearing any of the above while standing in a black pool that’s obscuring her fabulous, non-boring, non-black shoes. That would be better.
DO. This would have been so easy to accesorise with black, so I’m loving the poppin’ yellow accents. And she pulls it off looking cute, instead of like a bumblebee. Win.
4) You are how you accessorise.
Do you ever see celebrities on the red carpet and think, “That dress is all wrong for her.” Assuming she did select the dress herself because she thought it was pretty, there are ways of saving the ensemble. “Mature” dresses for young starlets should be styled with pretty/edgy accessories and young, sexy hair and makeup. An elaborate dress should be the main focus and requires everything else, especially hair and accessories, to be kept simple. Vice-versa with a simple dress: you can afford to have fun with your hair, makeup or accessories BUT not all at the same time – hair and accessories or makeup and accessories.
DO. Perfectly pretty, perfectly accessorised. She looks sophisticated, young and perky at the same time. Great belt, great shoes – this girl knows how to keep it modern, alright.
DON’T. And in the other corner, we have Kelly Osboring. Lovely dress, but I would love to have seen this accessorized with burnished gold, gemstone-studded jewellery and something fun going on with her hair. Helen Mirren dresses younger than this.
DON’T. Claire Danes doesn’t seem to like accessorising (see her Oscars 2011 ensemble). The dress is quite exciting but it really needs something extra – a poker-straight bob and jet-black jewelled collar would have taken this from meh to amazing.
5) Fashion isn’t style.
Don’t be shocked: just because it’s this season, doesn’t mean it’s good. Not on everyone, anyway. The worst reason to wear something is for the sake of wearing it. Does it really look good on you? Do you really like it? The best example I can think of for someone who wears what suits them regardless of what’s trending is Jennifer Aniston. Yes, you could say she plays it a bit safe and she is very fond of neutrals – but does the woman ever look bad? That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take risks and have fun with trends. If you’re zany, your outfit can be as zany as you like – but if you’re not, chances are you’re just going to look uncomfortable (see point 1).
DON’T. Nicola Roberts, giving ‘body sock’ a whole new meaning – I want to cover the whole thing with a man-sized wellie. You should look embarrassed, young lady.
DON’T. This trend isn’t for Brooklyn; not a trace of that stunning figure. A brighter colour might have redeemed it.
DO. …But the good news is, leather and spiked heels really work for her.
6) The fine line between “working it” and “unnecessary.”
As great as you feel, don’t be beat us about the head with it. Case in point: Gwyneth, we know you’re hot – but we don’t need to see it all, all the time. Please, let some of the other fine ladies enjoy the red carpet.
DON’T. Stop it, Gwynnie. Just stop it.
DON’T. Oh, good Lord.
Bottom line: be YOU, only better. When I see someone who looks amazing, it’s not their outfit I notice first, it’s how confidently they carry themselves. Your style should reflect who you are inside and outside, and make you feel like you’re the hottest mama around because there’s only one YOU. And boy will we know it!