The 82nd Annual Academy Awards airs this Sunday, which means more stars getting it wrong on the red carpet regardless of the time and money spent on their looks. But luckily, everyone can learn from their mistakes. We present to you four Oscar 2009 red carpet hits and misses, and four dresses that really work. Oscar nominees, we hope you’re reading.
1. Make sure your dress fits. Jessica Biel is known for her body, so why she would dress it in a long column of ill-fitting satin is beyond me. In comparison, Anne Hathaway’s dress looks like it was sewed onto her body.
Jessica Biel’s dress had a large satin sash that added too much volume to her torso. The delicate draping on this fitted Marc Bouwer Glam It white silk gown ($435, down from $725) is a flattering way to have architectural details on a dress.
2. Be bold– in a good way. Everyone should stand out, but take precaution. Beyonce’s dress fits her well, but the big, gold, floral print is better suited for drapes. Freida Pinto’s blue dress popped on the red carpet, and it made the right statement.
Prints are hard to pull off, but a solid dress in a bright color like this blue Halston Heritage Asymmetical gown($525) is easier to work with. The electric blue color and the side knot make this dress even more unique.
3. Dress for your age. It’s okay to want to look timeless, but aging yourself is a big don’t. Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz are both in their mid-thirties, but Kate’s dress makes her look years older. The lace detail and the cut of the dress do her no justice. The shape and fit of Penelope Cruz’s dress looks sophisticated and modern without making her look old.
Black is a good color for all ages, and although this JS Boutique Cutaway Shoulder Beaded Waist Gown ($178) is conservative, the key hole, beaded waist, and jersey material make it modern.
4. Don’t let the dress wear you. There is fine line between looking like a modern day Cinderella and a character at Disney World. Miley Cyrus looks like the latter–remember when she looked like she aged 10 years on Harper’s Bazaar’s cover? Marion Cotillard is also small, but the tulle and thinner belt make the dress lighter and less overwhelming.
Wearing a dress with Cinderella-esque details is okay, but it works best in small doses. This A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz Black Strapless Dress ($173.99) has fun tulle trim and a satin bow, but the shape is simple and will not overwhelm.
Want more surefire ways of looking great? See our guide to the best black dresses, then see what designer will dress Gabby Sidibe for the Oscars. When in doubt, see our guide to party dresses, and the dress that works for everyone, of course.