Monday, February 26, 2007

On Dressing For The Oscars

Last night was Oscar night, and I know we were all watching. Sorry, but this is a throwback from my days of working in salons, where you had to know on Tuesday morning what everyone wore, what their makeup looked like, and how they wore their hair. I saw the Oscars referred to recently as the woman's version of the Super Bowl (in which case, can we have funny commercials, too?), and I think this is pretty accurate. Sure, we might want to know out of idle curiosity who won Best Actor or Actress, and who won Best Picture. And we do enjoy the host's warm-up dialogue. But let's face it, we really want to know what everyone was wearing. And we aren't watching to see the good ones, tho we do give you the admiring 'You go, girl!' when you get it right. But mostly, we are really, really interested in those who get it wrong. We want to see you looking like a complete fruitcake in front of millions.

Maybe it makes us feel better about ourselves. After all, we think, with all her money, all her resources, and all her good looks, she still looks like crap and obviously has no real friends. Maybe this isn't all my own fault!

I know that the likelihood that anyone who attends the Oscars and gets onstage will read this is terribly slim, but if they did, here are some Fashion Don'ts...

1- Your dress should not be trying to do more than two things at any given time. If you have an organza collar and upper bodice, the simplicity of the concept should not have to fight against beading and ruching on the rest of the bodice, and feathers on the hem. You only look like your dress couldn't decide what it wanted to be when it grew up. Remember the adage that applies in all things - Keep It Simple, Stupid.

2- If your arms are showing, make sure you don't look like you can't remember when you had your last square meal. Looking like you have a serious eating disorder is not sexy. Conversely, if the flesh of your upper arms is heading for the floor, cover the poor things.

3- Feathers are for chickens, and strippers.

4- If your gown is tightly fitted, make sure your undies don't show. It really ruins the line of a sleek dress to have VPL. I would have thought you all knew that by now.

5- Oscar dresses should not have stiff parts to them. You don't want to look like a building under construction.

6- If you have a full figure (and more and more of us do, down here in the real world), make certain that the spaghetti straps don't dig into your back fat. If they are digging into your back fat because they are the only things holding up your huge boobs, make another choice.

6a- If you have big hips, don't get the dress with the hidden pockets. Bad idea.

7- Don't wear a short dress. Really, what the hell were you thinking? This is the Oscars, for godsakes.

8- Bustiers really only suit women who have curves. If the side of your body when seen from the front is a straight line from shoulders to hips, move on to the next dress.

8a- Bustiers should never look like body armour.

9- If your skirt wrinkles across the front horizontally at the hips, get the next biggest size. If your dress looks as though it is straining at the side seams, it is. You'll look better in a bigger dress.

10- What the HELL was Joan Rivers thinking?

11- You should not dye your hair to match your dress. Ever.

12- Animal prints are for, well, animals, and hookers.

13- For godsakes do something with your hair. It doesn't take that much effort to hire someone to give you a good 'do. Likewise, if you have a long nose, don't part your hair in the middle and wear it long and straight.

14- White women look sickly in yellow. Unless they are too tanned, in which case they just look like burnt toast in an awful dress.

15- Adult females should never wear fabric bows. Period. Bows belong on infant girls, on gifts, on puppies just back from the groomer, on bank tellers, and on women of the religious right. If you look like you have an opossum in a matching dress sitting on your shoulder or chest, move on to the next choice.

16- Red-heads can only wear red clothing if their hair is RED. If it is the sucked-out popsickle stick version of red better known as strawberry blonde, move on to the next dress choice. The dress is going to suck the life right out of you and walk into the room before you do.

17- If you have the upper body of a line-backer, with strong shoulders, built arms, muscular chest and small boobs, for godsakes don't draw attention to that with a dress that is fitted to your boobs and belted at the waist. Look at me! I could lift your car if I wanted to!

18- Morticia Addams' hairstyle was meant to be a joke.

19- If the designer used to dress Nancy Regan, move on to the next dress choice.

20- Do not EVER buy formal wear south of the Mason-Dixon line. Those people are just crazy. And not in a good way. This goes double for Texas.

21- Men, this is pretty much a no-brainer for you. Put on a black tux and dress slippers, and comb your hair, for godsakes. It really isn't that tough. You are just there to make the women look good.


1- Invest in a full-length mirror, and use it. Really, they aren't all that expensive. Marilyn Monroe used to get all dressed up for a big event, then stand with her back to a full-length mirror. She would do a quick turn-around-and-look, and close her eyes. Anything that stood out in her mind, she took off. There isn't much that she wore that we can remember, other than the dress she had to be sewn into to sign Happy Birthday to Jack Kennedy. And even then we don't remember the dress, but Marilyn in the dress.

2- If the financial stability of the person who is telling you that you look great is in any way dependent upon your choice, ignore them. They are not going to tell you what you need to hear when you need to hear it.

3- Take your very best sarcastic, nit-picking, detail-oriented, brutally honest, bitchy but funny friend with you. If you don't have a friend like this, get one and never, ever give her a gift or buy her a meal. She is your best source of the truth. You may not always like what she has to say, but in the long run you'll be glad she said it.

4- Ask yourself, Am I wearing the dress, or is the dress wearing me?

Ok, it's 1:15 in the afternoon and I'm still sitting around in my sweatpants and t-shirt. With my fluffy moose-hide slippers on. But I'm not standing up in front of millions.


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