Oscar Gowns: Fetch or Wretch?

The year I lived in Memphis, my friend Andy and I devised a ratings system called "Fetch or Wretch?" "Fetch," obviously, was derived from the classic film Mean Girls, and is the highest of compliments in the world of fashion. "Wretch," on the other hand, I think is pretty self-explanatory. 

That year at the Oscar party we went to, he and I dressed up as glorified Joan Rivers clones and interviewed/judged all the celebs on a makeshift red carpet: 

 Obviously, we were very fetch (but also intentionally tacky, just like Joan.) 

Obviously, we were very fetch (but also intentionally tacky, just like Joan.) 

Being that I love fashion and that I love awards shows, I thought I'd run down my list for Fetch or Wretch: Oscars 2016. 

Let's start with the good, in no particular order.


Saoirse (I had to attempt that spelling about 4 times) was nominated for Best Actress alongside some real heavy hitters last night for Brooklyn, where she plays an Irish immigrant to America. This dress is the epitome of right gown, right wearer, and right venue. And, as a little nod to her Irish role in the film, it's emerald green. My only tiny gripe here is that the skirt is sheer, which I'm sick to death of. But otherwise, perfectly fitted, perfectly styled, and if you look at any close-ups of her face, her makeup is FLAWLESS. 


Say what you will about the meat-dress-wearing, arriving-in-an-egg pop star, but she knows how to nail it when it counts. I think this partnership with Tony Bennett has done her some good in terms of knowing when to class it up. Her hair and jewelry choices are exactly right. The fit on the bodice is not my favorite (in fact, in almost every photo but this one, it's downright awful) and it's doing weird things for her boobs. Overall, the look is striking and classic, but still different enough to be quintessentially Gaga. And we all know I love a jumpsuit. 

...doesn't hurt that her man candy is in a perfectly fitting tux, himself. 


I realize this one will be widely disputed. I am not in love with her weird topknot, but I think this is such a perfect look for her. Rooney Mara always goes for severe ice-princess on the red carpet, and she usually nails it. This dress, though not something I would wear, is the definition of Rooney Mara at an awards show - and because it's perfectly fitted and styled well (for her particular aesthetic), I love it. 


I know, I know. Another controversial pick. But y'all, LOOK AT THE FIT OF THIS DRESS. Cate Blanchett is such a queen when it comes to style and posing on a red carpet, and this is just another entry in her reign of fabulousness. Though the details on this dress kind of grate on my nerves (like a hundred butterflies just landed on her simultaneously?), the color is lovely, the neckline is plunging without being vulgar, her head looks great, and the fit is literally flawless. As with most things, a little confidence in something unusual goes a long way. 


Miss Naomi was not up for any major awards, but she still brought the thunder without being too attention-seeking. The color, the beading, the fit, and the styling are all near-perfect in this look. She managed to nail it without taking attention away from award nominees, which is an art form all unto itself. 

Honorable mention: Chrissy Teigan, who SLAYED us with her fabulous pregnant self. But she couldn't make my list because I am so sick to death of this naked dress trend WHEN WILL IT END. 

Now, let's get to the struggle bus. 


1. Kate Winslet. 

GIRL. What. Are you doing. This looks like the Titanic sank, you got up on that door, pulled a seal out of the ocean, clubbed it to death, skinned it, and wore it last night. Almost everything about this is bad, from the straight neckline to the fit to the scuba-suit weirdness to the loose and beachy hair when it should've been up. The skirt is puddling. The accessories are bad. I really can't say enough. It was a swing and a miss. But we love you, Kate. Do better next time. 


Another choice that I know will be controversial. All I can see when I look at that party-streamer skirt is Paris Hilton circa 2002. The half-back hair looks far too casual (Jordan says when women wear their hair half-back it looks like Legolas) and needed more height, the belt is huge and clunky...I really was disappointed by this look, especially since she was picked to (and did) win. I'll give her some credit for fit - the bodice is beautifully tailored to her and the color is right, but the skirt and the details of the look overall make her a WRETCH. I genuinely feel like people are loving this look purely because she is absolutely glowing with happiness and it's distorting their judgment. Congrats on your win, Brie. Now send that dress back to the early 2000's where it belongs. 


"Woof." That was me out loud when I saw this gown for the first time. At a quick glance, this isn't terribly offensive - a light colored, well-fitted gown. But the longer you look at it, the more problematic it becomes. While Cate Blanchett did a plunging neckline without being vulgar, this is a neckline that tipped the vulgar scales all the way over. Put simply, it's just too much cleavage. Olivia Wilde has lots of very square features, namely that fabulous jawline, but that means that whatever she chooses to wear doesn't need to further accentuate the squareness of her face. This neckline is rectangular, her choker cuts her neck in half and creates more squareness, and her hair is pulled all the way back, making her head a (you guessed it) square. She needed to soften this gown up - hair down, no choker, and this might have been a win. 



I can't wait for this freaking trend to die. I know J Law has a contractual obligation to wear Dior, this look aged her about 20 years. It is SO deeply matronly while still somehow being super-sexual. I hate the tiered skirt, I hate the skin-toned underlay that makes her look naked, I hate the visible black boning in the bodice, I hate everything. Good for her for the hair color and the lack of sparkly accessories (which would've pushed this from just plain bad to stripper), but this is a HARD miss for me. Wretch. 100%. 


Dear Rachel McAdams, 

Every girl in America wants to be you. You have a face like a damn painting. Your hair is like gold spun by woodland creatures. You are an American ideal. But if you think that in all of fashion-world, in all the design houses, that this was the right gown for you, then fire your stylist. The color is great, but that's about it. If you're going to wear something loose-fitting and body-skimming, the fit better be absolutely perfect. And perfect it is not.

And if you can't afford a steamer, you can borrow mine, Rachel. Those wrinkles from sitting down in the limo on the way there are half of why you are decidedly WRETCH. 

See you tomorrow for Bach-capping, ladies and germs. Get ready for SEX ISLAND.