Month: February 2011

The awards season style pool: OSCARS!!!

It was the night all red carpet junkies (oh yeah, and movie lovers) have been waiting for … Oscar night! Hollywood doesn’t get much glitzier than this, or the gowns more glamorous. As the final event in our awards season style pool, the stakes for our contenders were high. Some of them shined, some sparkled, some … were there too (I’m looking at you, Nicole!). Let’s take a look, shall we?

I called it! Natalie Portman wore Rodarte – a vibrant plum-coloured dress that was figure-flattering (finally) and absolutely gorgeous on her. This was one of my favourite colours on the red carpet last night. I also loved those stunning drop earrings and the “old Hollywood” side-swept hair. And, lest I forget – congrats on the Oscar win!

Natalie also had a strong showing at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. Her Givenchy empire waist dress was visually arresting but pretty, and most importantly (again) flattering. Loved the bright yellow belt and delicate lace detailing around the neckline.
Nicole Kidman‘s Oscar pick did not thrill me, although I liked the architectural detail around the waist and delicate embroidery. However, the Dior dress seemed a little ill-fitting and loose in places, which unfortunately made Nicole look like she wrapped herself in an expensive bed-sheet. While I normally love red shoes, I question the pairing here with this particular dress.

Nicole’s dress at the Independent Spirit Awards was a bit of a bore, even though it heavily featured red lace. (not exactly a staid choice). It was a L’wren Scott design, and while certainly a nice silhouette, it was also one we’ve come to expect from Nicole on the red carpet. Yawn!

On the other hand, at the Oscars, Amy Adams rocked a sparkly dark blue L’wren Scott gown with heart-stopping emerald and diamond Cartier jewelry ($1.35 million worth!). She looked fantastic and I love the pop of green on the cuff bracelet – it complements the dress without competing with it – though I’m ambivalent about the necklace (and wish she’d gone with emerald earrings instead, given the neckline of the dress).
Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway‘s red carpet look was something of a let-down for me. The tomato-red shade is not my personal favourite (though I loved it  on Sandra Bullock), and think that I would have loved the dress more had it been a more intense ruby-red instead. Head-on and from the back, the  Valentino Couture dress looked nice, but from certain side angles, the back pouf looked a little bit like a satiny tumor. Overall, I was not bowled over by this dress, although I did like some of Anne’s telecast picks – especially the sharp tuxedo she wore for her (solo) musical number (and those stunning, studded Brian Atwood heels).

Mila Kunis, in my opinion, just KILLED it last night! Her lavender Elie Saab was absolutely stunning, and she was simply glowing. Loved the soft up-do, the make-up, everything. My favourite look of the night!!

Michelle Williams’s Chanel Haute Couture dress was, for me, her best pick of this awards season, but I don’t think it was a particularly outstanding gown on this Oscar red carpet. Certainly not on par with her memorable mustard yellow Vera Wang from a few years ago. I wish Michelle had taken a colour risk again, but there is no denying that she looked classically stylish and lovely.

Best of the Night

Here are some of my picks for best-dressed on the Oscar red carpet:

Next to Mila Kunis, my other favourite look was sported by none other than the fabulous Dame Helen Mirren. I hate to harp on the age thing, because it’s such a meaningless thing in the scheme of things (and given her accomplishments), BUT … this woman is in her 60s. Let that sink in. She looks incredible, period.

Hailee Steinfeld in Marchesa also looked beautiful. I loved the delicate, sheer overlay, and I think the length of the dress was age-appropriate. While this is certainly a silhouette we’ve seen plenty of times before, there is no denying that it’s a very, very pretty dress.

Not surprisingly, the night’s biggest risk-taker was Cate Blanchett in Givenchy. I’m pretty sure that only the divine Cate could pull off such a conceptual gown, and still rule the red carpet effortlessly. The look, from head (and hair) to toe, was flawless.
Gwyneth Paltrow looked very Oscar-appropriate in a liquid gold Calvin Klein. I was not a fan of the  washed-out make-up, but I did appreciate the overall vibe she was working last night.

The ombre effect on the feathered train of Hilary Swank‘s Gucci Premiere dress took her look from merely “nice” (and not particularly original) to “stunning” (and unexpected).

As always on the red carpet, there were a number of dresses that, while no disasters, were something of a disappointment for me. Scarlett Johansson‘s Dolce and Gabbana gown was one of them. The plum colour seemed faded on the red carpet, and though I love lace, this particular pattern struck me as old-fashioned. The scooped-out back reminded me of a popular bridal silhouette. I thought this was an odd  (and rather dowdy) choice for Scarlett.

Another dress that missed the mark, as far as I’m concerned, was Halle Berry‘s sparkly Marchesa. It’s hard to say that Hell can ever look terrible, but the random bits of tulle clinging to this dress made it look like she walked by a cotton-candy machine in the middle of a wind-storm.

Worst of the Night

Let’s admit it; sometimes, the worst can be the most fun – especially when it’s really bad. Apart from Christian Bale‘s beard, there were no major trainwrecks on the Oscar red carpet, but there were a number of dresses that I heartily disliked. Ironically for a vintage ’50s piece, Marisa Tomei‘s gown had an “80s goth prom” vibe to me. This is one occasion when I could have done without the (funereal) tulle.

Penelope Cruz looked, as always, incredible, but her L’wren Scott dress screamed “Ice Capades” to me – not quite on par with some of Penelope’s past red carpet show-stoppers.

Melissa Leo wore a Marc Bouwer dress which,  on TV, unfortunately reminded me of a ’70s mosaic-topped table that my grandma used to have. The dress looked stiff and rather ill-fitting, a poor choice to follow up Melissa’s lovely Golden Globes gown. But, hey, she got her Oscar!

Oscar Parties: Best and worst

Great style must run in the Roberts family, because Julia’s niece Emma looked spectacular in a silver Jenny Packham dress at Elton John’s annual Oscar party. It’s a grown-up gown, but Emma pulls it off beautifully.

Meanwhile, Claire Danes must have decided to forgo style for comfort at the same event, showing up in a bathrobe. A very expensive, Chanel bathrobe but, still. 

I couldn’t not mention the Julien MacDonald dress worn by Heidi Klum to the Elton John bash. It goes without saying that Heidi is a beautiful woman … but sadly, in this dress, one dressed up like a disco ball.

Over at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, the usually lovely Emma Stone wore a tragic Chanel “mullet” gown (cocktail dress in the front, folded towel in the back). Her look was not helped by the straggly-looking hair. Ooof!

Your turn – what did you think of this year’s Oscars’ fashions?

The last hurrah

These days, I’m sad to say that my closet is starting to look a sorry sight. So as to avoid any painful reminders, I have been slowly winnowing my wardrobe of pieces I’m growing (and growing) out of, and with the exception of the muumuu section, the rack is looking ever more sparse. Pants were the first to go, and with few regrets on my part since I’ve never been much of a pants-person; I do miss my regular jeans, but I’ve been making do with 2 pairs of maternity pants instead. Choosing what to wear, when it’s pants-day, is a very simple affair nowadays.
My skirts were another story. I love skirts; I wear (or, rather, used to wear) them at least 3 or 4 days a week. I’ve gotten out of the habit of wearing suits to the office, so skirts and cardigans are something of a uniform of mine. And pencil skirts are (or, rather, were) my best friends. Not so much anymore. Even if I can still zip them up, I look like a snake still working on its lunch – not the kind of silhouette for which I want to be known. From about a dozen of (well-loved) skirts, I’m now down to 3 … and losing ground quickly. Funnily enough, one skirt that I rarely used to wear has become my saviour. It’s a black paper-bag style BCBG skirt that belts high and hides a multitude of sins in its roomy folds. Its relative bagginess was the main reason I used to by-pass it before, when my love affair with pencil skirts was still in full bloom. But I’ve come to really appreciate its versatility … and learned to deal with its drawbacks.

The main advantage is, of course, the fact that it still fits. It’s actually a very flattering style for anyone concerned about their mid-section or hips. An above-the-knee length helps to highlight legs and downplay any potential dowdiness. On the other hand, the higher waist (which doesn’t lie flat against the body) combined with the volume of the skirt requires careful balancing in the rest of the outfit. A regular length cardigan or jacket is out of the question, since it will hit the skirt at its widest point, making the wearer look dumpy. You have to go with a cropped length. Similarly, anything too voluminous on top (be it a looser top or heavier knit) also won’t work. Despite all these criteria, I have become quite adept at making my “paper bag” work. Take a look!

More excitingly, I recently stumbled across another miracle skirt at Winners. It’s a whimsical Pink Tartan piece that seems to have fallen through the cracks; it had been knocked down from $129.99 to $9! Maybe those appliques are not for everyone, but I think they add just the right touch of fun to my maternity wardrobe. At last!!
Oh, and in case you were wondering about the skirt’s miraculous powers – bump-concealing powers, that is – wonder no more:

Love, love, love

I haven’t done a “favourite things” list in a while, mostly because for the latter part of the past year I really wasn’t all that fond of many things; I can thank pregnancy hormones for that. But as I have been slowly getting back my energy (and my will to get out of bed), it’s time to look around and see what’s new and lust-worthy in the world of fashion.
Let me start by saying that, as far as my personal shopping goes, pregnancy has definitely started to affect my habits. I simply can’t get excited about clothes the way I used to – unless we’re talking ‘roomy’ dresses. I have no idea what shape my body’s going to be in a few months, and still less in a year, which is a pretty strong disincentive when it comes to investing any considerable amount into new clothes. I have already had to deal with the heartbreak of having to “purge” my closet of all the clothes I can’t and won’t be wearing for the foreseeable future (needless to say, most of them are favourites of mine), and I can’t imagine buying more clothes only to the same end. But enough about my woes. The point is that, for now, the things I get really excited about are accessories. So it’s no surprise that two of my current favourite things fall into that category.
I’ve been really into gold lately (as opposed to my usual preference for silver), and I fell in love with this simple, plain gold ring from Links.
When it comes to jewelry, I veer from one extreme to the other – delicate to big ‘n gaudy – but as I get older I find that I tend to steer more and more towards classic, understated pieces that are something of a long-term investment. Don’t get me wrong; I still love my costume jewelry. But I’ve been thinking more and more about building a “collection” that, some day, might be passed on down to another generation. A piece like this is a good start. [And I have to give a shout-out to Links, because they have decent sales from time to time, which make this sort of thing a lot more feasible for the average gal.]
In keeping with my theme, I’m also loving the gold hardware (and everything else) on my new Marc Jacobs hobo bag.
This was another one of those phenomenal consignment finds I keep telling you about ($85!). It’s a totally different look for me – as I’ve been gravitating towards structured bags for years now – but it’s got the roominess and versatility I need from an everyday bag. I wasn’t sure about the cream colour to begin with; if I had my pick, I would never have thought to buy a light colour bag – not only for fear of smudges and stains, but also because I’ve been conditioned to think that black (or brown) bags are the most versatile. Well, I can tell you that I was wrong. I’ve worn this bag practically every day for the past month or so, and it really does go with everything! As for cleaning, I haven’t encountered any major stains yet, but I am still looking for a good leather cleaner, so if anyone has recommendations, please let me know.
Turning now to the realm of wishful thinking.

It all started with this street shot of Cameron Diaz. I can only dream of looking so effortlessly put-together on my casual “running-errands” days.

I know those cotton candy-colour skinny jeans will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think I’m in love with them. Not sure I could pull them off myself, (bump or no bump) but kudos to Cammie all the same. And, in addition to looking fab, she’s also on trend; it looks like skinny jeans in bright colours are going to be hot this season. I’m crazy about this sneek peek at Zara’s take on the trend – love, love, love the orange!  I just wish skinny jeans could be in my foreseeable future, but alas! I’m going to have to live vicariously through the rest of you. Make me proud, ladies! Again, bright contrasting colours are in, so don’t be afraid to go a little wild.

One thing I never thought I’d catch myself saying is … I’m crazy about sequins right now! Not those garish, in-your-face sequins that you might find at places like Forever 21, but their stylish, understated cousin (twice removed). I’m especially loving the clear sequins at Club Monaco right now – all in pale, neutral shades (light grey, peach, cream). At a lower price point, Joe Fresh is also bringing in some sparkle, with cute tone-on-tone sequin tanks in rose, brown and olive (only $19). 

Last but not least, Chanel has done it again. Their new limited edition nail polish has me wishing I wasn’t such a cheapskate. when it comes to my beauty products. It’s called Black Pearl, and it’s just the right amount of edgy and elegant. What do you think?