Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Join me.. in a Red Carpet Resolution.

So.. it's awards season again, and once again we are subjected to an onslaught of nasty words directed mostly at famous women who dare to dress up and attend awards ceremonies. I ranted about this last year and my opinion hasn't really changed. 

This year, I am once again making a Red Carpet Resolution, and I invite you to join me. No matter how tempting, no matter how many times you are invited by the media to weigh on other people's fashion, hair and makeup choices.. resist. refrain. Just remember what your parents (hopefully) told you.. "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all...". There is no need to get all "Judgey McButtface" about some other woman's choice of dress, handbag, shoes or whatever.  If you like what they are wearing, great! If you don't like it, at least acknowledge that they're wearing what they like, and they have every right on earth to that choice, even if it's not the choice you would have made. 

Simple? It should be. 

I know first hand a small bit of what it's like to cop the criticism of my peers for my clothing choices. Many (many) years ago, in 1989 to be exact, I was a sixteen year old girl - at the height of awkwardness and insecurity and the ravages of puberty, and at that time, one event and one event only loomed large in our collective minds - the semi-formal. To us it was the Oscars and the Golden Globes and every other awards ceremony you can think of rolled into one. The amount we obsessed and stressed over every tiny detail is embarrassing to recall.. 

After much agonising and fruitless searching, I found a dress to wear that I loved. It was red - one of the first red dresses I ever owned, I think. It had a crossover neckline, and ruching, and a swishy skirt.. I felt like a princess in it.  Here I am in all my awkward dorky glory:

Okay, now when you take into account that this was the eighties, I think I look okay. I think I look quite nice, actually.

My peers? Well, they didn't agree. They took one look and dubbed this a "Prostitute Dress". They teased me mercilessly for months and months afterwards. They'd sing the Sting song "Roxanne" whenever the semi-formal was mentioned and reminded me what an utter embarrassment I had made of myself. 

When I think about this, even now.. I feel ashamed. Not of the way I looked or of my dress, but that I didn't stand up for myself more, and realise how baseless and unimportant all those mean words were. Almost-forty year old me wants to go back in time and give those nasty girls a real piece of my mind, and give sixteen year old me a hug and some badly needed emotional support. 

When I see "best and worst of the red carpet" and other snark-based media articles in the news, when I see those sorts of "What was she thinking!" articles, when I see people inviting others to offer unsolicited critique on someone's fashion or makeup choices.... all I can think about is those mean girls.. and a vulnerable and awkward sixteen year old with a fragile ego who deserved a lot better from her peers.

I'm not sixteen any more and my skin is a lot tougher these days - but I vowed then that I wouldn't ever be one of those "mean girls" and, if I can, I'd ask you not to try and be one of them either. 

We're all better than that, aren't we? 



  1. Yes! And sadly the women most singled out for criticism are those who try something a little different and interesting. I think you look fabulous at your formal!

    1. Thank you.. it would be lovely if we could all retract the claws.. I agree it often seems as though who are brave enough to try something a bit different are punished more harshly.

  2. You look really pretty in your red dress but it's different when you're sixteen I know. Great post!

    1. It's impossible for me to look at this picture in anything close to an objective fashion, but yeah, I really don't think it's that awful! :)


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