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Academy Awards 2013: Gowns I’ll Actually Remember Tomorrow

I’ve been watching the Oscars since I was young enough to need training wheels, and over the years, I’ve been wow’ed by several gowns.  Even in recent memory, there have been spectacular looks on the red carpet.

Michelle Williams in yellow Vera Wang.  Halle Berry in Elie Saab.  Reese Witherspoon in vintage Dior.  Cate Blanchett…in anything.

People occasionally ask how I choose my best dressed list, because it’s usually a bit different than the ones you see elsewhere.  And the truth is, that I have just one guiding principle: Which looks do I remember fondly the next morning?  Because if I’ve forgotten about your gown by breakfast, that is not a good sign.  Here are the gowns that I couldn’t stop thinking about.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive

I love Jessica Chastain, and I always look forward to seeing her on the red carpet, but her gowns are usually a disappointment.  However, this coppery Armani fits her beautifully, complements her alabaster skin without washing her out and her hair and makeup are flawless.  She may not have won an Oscar, but she definitely burnished her fashion street cred.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Stacy Keibler in Naeem Khan

Stacy Keibler has a lot of shade thrown her way, but no one can deny that she looked amazing last night.  The beading on this dress is incredibly intricate and stylish, the tailoring is impeccable and everything else is just right.  I would have liked a hint of color on the lips, but that’s a small matter.  Good job, Brad Goreski.


Jennifer Garner in Gucci

This violet column gown with a ruffled train is stunning.  I especially love the shallow sweetheart neckline.  And while I am usually averse to lots of jewelry, her necklace, bracelets and rings are all perfectly curated.

Who else joined Mrs. Affleck on the best dressed list?  And which gown will Belle be dreaming about well into 2014?  Find out after the jump.

21st Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party - Inside

Nina Dobrev in Naeem Khan

If you don’t walk the Oscar red carpet, do you still belong on the best dressed list?

When your look is as perfectly tailored and flawless as Nina Dobrev’s you do.

The sleek, modern ponytail and the smoky, sultry makeup are truly lustworthy.  The dress itself has a gorgeous cut and an interesting, but not too busy, pattern that gives it a more relaxed feel.  And I think those are the same lovely earrings that Zoe Saldana was wearing…


Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

I wasn’t sure that this dress would make the list, but I couldn’t get the crumpled texture of the fabric out of my head.  I love how it takes an otherwise treacly, pale pink gown and makes it current.   And the long necklace worn backwards, with its delicate chain and hint of sex appeal just wowed me.


Kerry Washington in Miu Miu 

This dress stuck with me because it was one of the few brightly colored gowns we saw last night, and because the interplay between the tones in the beading and the color of the accessories is expertly done.  I love mixing the darker tangerine with the coral.  And with such a bright palette, it would have been all too easy to overdo the makeup with a coral lip or too much blush, but Kerry keeps it subtle, flawless and pretty…just like always.

But what was my favorite look of the night…the one I’ll remember next year and beyond…


Charlize Theron in Dior

This gown is just a marvel.  A sleek, architectural marvel with just a hint of Old Hollywood in the peplum and train.

The makeup is soft and feminine to play up the sharp edges of the dress.  The jewelry is crisp and simple.  And the hair keeps the look fresh with its tousled boyishness.

At first, I thought it needed a belt.  Just a thin band of platinum.  But now, looking at it again, I realize it doesn’t need anything.  It’s perfection as is.

So who do you think should have made the list?  And which gown were you most smitten with?



  1. Tsampamama says:

    For me it’s a tie between Jessica Chastain and Charlize Theron. Jessica Chastain’s dress was Rita Hayworth-worthy. Charlize Theron’s dress was perfection – old Hollywood juxtaposed against that tomboy hair. I also agree on Stacy Keibler’s dress – just fabulous. Naomi Watt’s dress could have been so bad but it fit her to perfection and looked amazing. Anne Hathaway could have used some help from that tailor. I was not a fan of Jennifer Garner’s dress. It looks better in a still shot but didn’t like it at all on TV – it looked especially bad against the red of the red carpet. Nor did I like Kerri Washington. It was that annoying bow that wrecked a perfectly good dress (also see Reese Witherspoon). The other hits for me were also Olivia Munn and Diane Kruger.

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  2. Tsampamama says:

    Oh Goodness – I forgot Amy Adams – I loved her dress too. Thought it was way better than Jennifer Lawrence’s dress. She was already having trouble walking in it on the red carpet so that walk up to the stage was just rife with the possibility of a fall…

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  3. BN says:

    Curious what your thoughts are on Naomi Watts’s dress. Also, will you be doing a third list — an “almost” best dressed — this time? Hope so! These posts are getting me through my Monday.

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  4. SB says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Amy Adams as well. Loved her dress and especially the color with her skin tone.

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  5. SS says:

    I agree with your picks–but was most taken with Naomi Watts! I thought that dress was stunning, and memorable, and risk-taking, and well-fitting, etc.

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  6. SQC says:

    Agree with the above posters. I loved Naomi Watts and Amy Adams. Amy Adams’ was especially nice since she’s had some misses on the red carpet in the past. Also thought Octavia Spencer looked amazing.

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  7. Christine says:

    I really liked Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts as well. I disagree about Jennifer Garner – while the color was beautiful, there was something in the fit around her waist and breasts that was not flattering. The dress either needed to be tailored more or she needed better foundation garments.

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  8. LadyDay says:

    Naomi Watts just beat out Charlize Theron for me. Stacy Keibler and FLOTUS were 3rd and 4th. It was close and they were far and away better than almost anyone out there.

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  9. Jen says:

    SO agree on Charlize. Perfection.

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  10. Lexi says:

    Loved Jessica Chastain! She bucked the makeup trend too and did her own thing. Charlize Theron looked like a copy of Anne Hathaway’s look at the Golden Globes: https://cdn03.cdn.justjared.com/wp-content/uploads/headlines/2013/01/anne-hathaway-golden-globes-2013-red-carpet.jpg

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  11. GoGoGo says:

    Oh you know who else looked pretty awesome actually? Robin Roberts in the bright blue velvet. It was velvet, which was random, but in an almost slinky cut. I dug it, I don’t know about anyone else.

    (She must have been one of the earliest people on the carpet, because for a long time she was one of the few pictured online.)

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  12. GoGoGo says:

    Oh you know who else looked pretty awesome actually? Robin Roberts in the bright blue velvet. I dug it, I don’t know about anyone else. Not Top-5, but an honorable mention.

    (She must have been one of the earliest people on the carpet, because for a long time she was one of the few pictured online.)

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  13. GoGoGo says:

    (Oops, sorry for double-posting mid-edit.)

    February 25, 2013/Reply
  14. Brittany says:

    My best dressed list included Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Olivia Munn, Kerry Washington and Sandra Bullock. I’m really sad I missed Nina Dobrev’s dress. That is truly amazing. It seems a little too casual for the Oscars, but she didn’t do the Red Carpet so she’s probably OK. The cut and pattern are amazing.

    This look is Jessica Chastain’s best so far this season, but I’m still not in love with it. The cut and detailing is great, but I don’t like the color with her skin and hair color.

    February 26, 2013/Reply
  15. Lady Lawyer says:

    Big fan of Jessica Chastain’s dress and agree that she looked much better here than she has the rest of the season.

    I wasn’t totally in love with Charlize’s dress, but her makeup was GORGEOUS. I don’t even know what it was about it that I loved so much, but when she was on camera, it was the first thing I noticed and yelled about to all my girlfriends. Well done.

    February 26, 2013/Reply
  16. Becky says:

    Reese Witherspoon’s vintage Dior haunts my dreams (in the best possible way).

    February 27, 2013/Reply