After Parties: Attire By the Ages

Here’s a scandalous confession: I did not get to watch the 88th Annual Academy Awards. I was at a family event during the interminably long Oscars broadcast and could not figure out how to livestream the show at the dinner table without arousing suspicion. Naturally, I taped it but what’s the point now? I just can’t bring myself to sit through the three plus hours (not to mention the red carpet pre-show!) in order to see fashion that, judging by what I’ve viewed online, looks rather uninspiring.

Instead I thought that the after party fashions, which don’t suffer from quite the same scrutiny and tend to be a bit looser (read: more fun and relaxed) could provide a more interesting take on things. After all, the various after parties including the ones hosted by Vanity Fair or Elton John are where everyone lets their hair down, while still glamming it up.

While probably not the most PC thing to do, I’ve decided to break it down along age lines (please excuse the unintentional pun!) in order to compare what’s good and what’s not so good. Despite the ever flowing fountain of Youth (or is it the ever filling syringe of Botox?) the question remains about who should be wearing what at what age; apparently a particularly “needling” one among the Hollywood set.

The Young ‘Uns: Ages 19-31

Selena Gomez in Louis Vuitton

This category can take plenty of fashion risks with one suggested caveat: The dress that requires the ditching of all undergarments is not necessarily the best choice. I’d like to point out that, contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to look hip, cool, and chic without being “strategically naked” via cutouts and sheer fabric. You should not be dressing as if this is a game of “Wardrobe Battleship.” Certainly Selena Gomez pulls off (or actually pulls on) this feat in her silver Louis Vuitton column with just enough embellishment to keep things interesting.

Emma Roberts in Yanina Couture

Emma Roberts took a big risk of looking mumsy in her floppy sleeved “spider blob” Yanina Couture dress but, to me it paid off; she is channeling a young Cate Blanchett look which I love.

Hailey Baldwin in Gabriela Cadena gown

Hailey Baldwin fits into this category (at 19, she’s the youngest of the group) to show that although she’s rocking a trendy cutout along with the ubiquitous “Jolie” leg slit, it still looks classy due to the high neck and stunning color.

Aubrey Plaza

All I can say about Aubrey Plaza is that she seems to be missing something–uh, like her dress. Maybe her house was on fire and she had to run out in her slip? That’s pretty much the only excuse I will accept for her look.

The Middle Ages: 34-46

Malin Akerman in Elizabeth Kennedy

This category is usually where you see the best fashion. These women are old enough to know what looks good on them, have developed their own style, yet are secure enough to still take a calculated risk. In this category I would place Malin Akerman in Elizabeth Kennedy at the top of the pack (I also liked Mindy Kaling’s Oscar dress with the huge flowing back bow by this designer),

Jessica Alba in Roberto Cavalli

followed by Jessica Alba in her simple but statement-making white Grecian style dress with a wide black belt and geometric gold necklace.

Amy Adams in Atelier Versace

The “Oh-no-she-didn’t award” goes to Amy Adams in webby/string-y Versace which does her amazing figure no justice, followed by worst dressed Gwen Stefani in a ridiculous bid for revenge/ attention after ditching her cheating ex-husband and moving on to Blake, Miranda Lambert’s former man.

Gwen Stefani in Yanina Couture

As the oldest of the bunch, (46) Gwen has probably the most slamming bod but do we really need to see her in a few strategically placed flower petals to drive that home? Ironically this is from the same designer (Yanina Couture) that looked so classy on Emma.

The Elder Stateswoman:  56-82

Joan Collins

Here we can point to an example that proves that age ain’t nothing but a number: 82 year old Joan Collins far outshines the other two women in this category, although they are relative youngsters in their mid 50’s. Granted, Joan’s look was probably plucked out of the Dynasty wardrobe closet from back in the decade that matches her age (huge shoulder pads are so out that they’re in again), but Ms. Collins knows what works for her and she’s sticking to it.

Patricia Clarkson

Unfortunately Patricia Clarkson and Andie MacDowell are dressing way too young and looking more than a tad ridiculous by doing so. Patricia’s colorful floral appliques are too sweet, plus the silhouette and style of the mullet prom dress is unflattering and inappropriate.

Andie MacDowell

Andie MacDowell is also a fashion victim who looks as if she raided her daughter’s closet. This gorgeous woman should have stayed clear of the “boob window” as well as the pompadour hairstyle. I’m sorry to say that they could both do so much better if they had just chosen something more classic while adding a trendy flair with an eye-catching accessory or two. Hey, Pat and Andie, just a suggestion — how about taking a page out of Jessica Alba’s style playbook? Better yet, why not try ringing up her stylist before next year’s award season?

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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