Last night I went to sleep pretty early, around the time that, oh, I don't know, the Best 2nd Gaffer was being handed out. Yawn. Horrible show. Only thing worse were the dresses — but more about that in a minute.
At the same time, Mrs. Obama was wowing us with this ensemble. I liked it because:
1. It flattered her. You just KNOW when something is really good. Her Inauguration ballgown was okay but it wasn't fabulous, like this was. Maybe she figured this outfit — the dress plus the necklace — was too edgy? Who knows. This is great and that wasn't. This hugs her curves and highlights her best feature — those gorgeous shoulders and arms.
2. It's interesting. She could have chosen a borrowed diamond necklace or a small necklace or her own or a piece of costume jewelry. Instead she chose this Tom Binns necklace. He does a lot of crosses and skulls jewelry — not my thing. But I love a lot of his other stuff.
3. She didn't try too hard. You can picture Mrs. O reading a book to Malia and Sasha before jumping in the shower and heading downstairs for this dinner. The dress, the necklace, twist the hair up, put on a little eyeshadow in addition to the usual makeup, and voila!
By contrast, last night in LA, the dresses on the red carpet were a fiasco. There was Sarah Jessica Parker, typically so fabulous, falling out of her dress. (Maybe she's pregnant but hasn't realized it yet? Or she's prepping for a role in a movie set in the Renaissance? I can't see any other rationale.)
Others weren't much better. Kate Winslet is so, so beautiful but her dress was a little overdone. Angelina Jolie — beautiful, yes, but what a dull outfit. Jessica Biel, Marisa Tomei, the list of don'ts is quite long.
There were two people who stood out as looking their best: Melissa Leo and Meryl Streep. Maybe it's hard to be 20something and look fabulous? I don't know. (Anne Hathaway looked good, too — and Natalie Portman, ditto.)
Melissa Leo looked good because her dress was the same color as her hair. And that works. The green earrings were the right idea but not perfect — the green was a little too sharp and too cold in color to complement her coloring. I would have put a beautiful antique coral festoon necklace on her to sort of fill in that neckline a little, but I loved the neckline and sleeve — really pretty on her.
As for Meryl Streep: The off-shoulder neckline looked beautiful on her! The color was good, and although you could picture her primping at home, she looked comfortable and she looked like herself. (Sophia Loren has always just been a beautiful woman — let's be kind and leave it at that.) I might have put a necklace on Streep, too, but I thought she looked really pretty.
I have a six-year-old daughter who likes nothing more than playing dress-up. There are a couple things she's worn often enough now that they look comfortable on her. She walks in her normal gait and speaks in her normal tone of voice. Others don't look as comfortable or as familiar. Women who are playing dress-up should recognize their limitations — and strive to remain themselves. Otherwise they just look like little girls playing dress-up.