What have we learned about fashion from this year’s Golden Globes ceremony? The 2018 Golden Globes will be best remembered for the #MeToo movement; the decision that its supporters (male and female) would dress in black for the red carpet; the exclusively female award presenters; and a barn-storming lifetime achievement award acceptance speech delivered by the regal Oprah Winfrey. Beyond these historically vital messages about gender equality, what else can we take from this year’s Golden Globes? Well, dear reader, we absolutely learned how to rock black in a sea of other noir ensembles and still make our presence felt. The ceremony provided a master class in how to wear the color black. This fashion tutorial was not the most important message of the night. But hey, no matter where you come out on the weighty issues of the day, why not take the opportunity to learn more about how to make your fashion choices communicate precisely the message you intend?
Golden Globes 2018 night was the perfect lab experiment, actually: women and men with vast financial resources, eager stylists and luxury brands anxious to dress them, all looking to make the color black work as a standout glamour look. Like an eclipse, such an event doesn’t happen often, and attention must be paid — there are things to learn here. After all that effort, how did the glam squad do? And what can we humble few take from their expert tutelage when we start to pull ourselves together for our next big night out?
Here are 5 lessons learned, with photos courtesy of Getty Images to illustrate our points. We don’t believe in shaming here at Dandelion Chandelier, so you won’t find any “don’t” photos – just the looks we loved with the rationale behind them. We’re also not getting hung up on who designed what — the point here is about why these looks were winners:
1. If you’re wearing a monochrome outfit, you have to show some skin. No amount of embellishment is going to turn a black dress (or any other solid-color dress, especially a floor-length evening gown) into a knock-out unless there’s plentiful natural skin color from fabulous you on display. It’s best if you just go for it, but an illusion effect can also work — sheer fabric deployed strategically will get you out of the school-marm category. But we say show some skin! It can be your swan-like neck, your sensational legs, a three-quarter length sleeve to show off your delicate wrists, a plunge neckline to display your décolletage, or a sleeveless column to showcase your Michelle Obama-inspired arms – you do you, but let us see you. The dress is meant to celebrate your favorite feature. Why dress like a pilgrim? This is a party!
2. Just because its black doesn’t mean it can’t be fresh. Some of the young ingénues totally nailed the idea of black without looking like Whistler’s Mother. No one ever said that wearing a dress was mandatory – so a couple of cool girls rocked tuxedos or slim black pants that were absolute stand-outs in a sea of long mermaid hemlines. Just the right amount of embellishment balanced with confidence and spirit, and these women looked smart, elegant and ready to take on anything – while still respecting the all-black dress code. Brava!
3. Even if the dress code is “all black,” feel free to cheat – just a little. There were some stunning looks that were not strictly pitch-black, but that still respected the spirit of the movement. Kudos to the women who dared to bend, but not break, the rules. Further proof that you can show solidarity without succumbing to conformity.
4. Wearing black is all about getting the silhouette right. When the color is gone, a great look becomes all about interesting shapes, curves, and peeks of something interesting. Have a look at Oprah’s fantastic dress, and you’ll see what we mean – we’ll remember her amazing speech, and also her sexy hourglass silhouette (which made her seem even more authoritative in that Hollywood milieu). Simple, architectural looks seemed best to our eyes: embracing the modern, sleek, edgy vibe of black was a lot more effective for most than trying to add too many layers of ruffles and frills to soften things up. And mixing black leather with tulle or velvet is generally also not a great idea, as evidenced by a few dresses we saw — the change in the texture totally breaks up the flow and is just distracting. Black is tough, urban, sassy and sophisticated – don’t do things that dumb it down.
5. Hair, makeup and accessories require extra attention. It’s almost always the case that Hollywood stylists and their clients obsess as much over the right hair style, shoes, bag and jewels to complement their red-carpet apparel as they do about choosing the right outfit in the first place. When everyone is wearing the same color, the premium on getting those details right goes up exponentially. It’s a good reminder for all of us: we may think that our job is done once we’ve settled on what we’re wearing to a big event (this is true regardless of whether we’re talking red carpet or board room, by the way). Don’t be fooled. Choosing the outfit is just the half-way point: attention to hair, makeup and accessories is what’s going to make the difference between looking totally pulled-together and not. Killer shoes, interesting hair, a sensational bag — those are often the elements that make the entire look pop.
Of course, the other eternal verity is that fit matters when you’re trying to look polished. A handful of looks at the Golden Globes were wrecked by being poorly fitted — perhaps in the rush to change to the all-black palette at the last minute. We know its a hassle, but you really have to go through multiple fittings if you want the payoff of a perfect silhouette — why get that close to stunning, and then lose focus right at the end? The good news? Whenever your next big event occurs, if you opt for black, you’ve got the best road map possible thanks to this year’s Golden Globes. If noir is the dress code, you’ll have the look nailed.