Awards season special: red carpet style

Arts LogoWhy is it that when Emma Stone rocks a low-cut scarlet gown at the Globes, it fits perfectly, and she can appear effortless rather than uncomfortable? How does Angelina Jolie look classy in red and white satin? Why do even the stars who end up on the “Worst Dressed List” still look better than I did at my senior prom, when I worked so tirelessly to create the perfect ensemble?

Either life isn’t fair (which may be true regardless), or, they are cheating.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Cheating.

Although they may be toned, tanned and confident, celebrities are not flawless. No one is. But when the cruel lens of the paparazzi closes on them, they want to be sure they’ve done everything possible to make themselves just a little bit closer to that ideal.

Stars don’t simply purchase a gown off the rack, slip it on and strut down the red carpet. Their dresses are fitted to their every contour and filled with pins. They are tight, they chafe, and they sometimes stab. It’s no walk in the park. But look at how it turns out in the pictures: can you blame them?

To highlight how things can go wrong, I’ll elaborate with more of my personal prom failures. I’d decided to go with a short, satin dress. I was adamant that it be form-fitting, which proved a bit of a challenge since I have no real curves to speak of, especially in the booty area.

I got it fitted anyway. It was frumpy. So I got it fitted a second time, and it was slightly less frumpy. My stubborn tailor was sure that I needed adequate leg room to be able to walk. By the time we were done, I could have comfortably hiked a trail.

It was very close to prom at this point, and the tailor wasn’t budging, so I resigned myself to a margin of frump.

Girls and guys, please learn from my mistake and do not resign yourself to frump. It is simply not necessary. You have a shape, and it is your right to flaunt it! In hindsight (hah), I realize that I could’ve pinned that thing to kingdom come.

And it doesn’t stop at pins, either. Also necessary in the equation for the perfect gown is tape, shapers and innovative bra solutions. Stars toe a very thin line between sexy and scandalous. While they’d all like to be congratulated on their daring dress, they’d rather not start a media storm over what that dress may have accidentally revealed.

Though tape is all very well and good, most like a solution that also adds oomph. This is where  the plethora of shapers and bra-type solutions come in handy. If you’re going this route, make sure to buy a full range of these products and give each one a test-run. There is absolutely no one-size-fits-all solution.

I know this because I fell prey to a brutal cup product that laid such a claim. Not only did the cups not properly fit, but the peel-off stickers that were supposed to hold them firmly in place were quickly sweated off in the humidity, leaving me much worse off than had I simply used tape.

And while I can’t even begin to comment on the make-up and hair process, there is one more crucially important step in fashion: the shoes.

The most important thing to note when finding a dressy heel is to make sure that it’s sky-high. I know super-high heels are super-painful, but they elongate the leg and will add a lot to your overall silhouette.

One vital note: they should be tall but not so over-sized and heavy that you have to stick your feet to your shoes with adhesive and suffer the trauma of not being able to take them off at the end of the night (sort of a reverse-Cinderella phenomenon).

Sadly, this is indeed another pearl of personal wisdom.

And of course, remember the importance of posture! Shoulders back, head up. I am proud to say that I managed this bit adequately. Although, by this point, there wasn’t much I could do to salvage the look.

With all these red carpet tricks, I’m certain I could have rocked out Prom 2010. In the future, I know I’ll be able to work it like a star at any fancy-dress event I might be so lucky to attend.

The only question now is whether all that pain is worth the gain!

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