It’s Back to School Time and it’s Back to the Emmy’s…let’s grade the red carpet looks.

I’d like to preface this post by stating that I am fully aware that opinions are like….bellybuttons (sounds nice than that other thing everyone has one of), in that everyone has one. This is why the exact same dress can end up on the worst dressed list and the best dressed list because the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In this case I’m going to get to be the teacher and I can get to grade these red carpet looks. And like any good teacher I’m going to give constructive criticism to those who I feel have potential to improve their grade next time.  Read along and please feel free to share back how you’d grade these looks.


Nicole Kidman  


This is Nicole Kidman  and this ain’t her first rodeo. Between her country crooner hubby and a mile long list of movies she’s walked this walk a few times. And I’d like to think (in my head of course) that she has class. Class in that she knows this is the Emmys, where they hand out awards for acting on television. Not too long ago television used to the be the J.V. of Hollywood, with movies being the Varsity team. Then cable got good, like really good, like better than most movies good, the Varsity team decided they wanted to play on the J.V. team. Guess what happens when a member of the Varsity team comes “down” to play with the J.V. team? People swoon, people stare and first row television actors are now seated in the second row to make room for the movie actors. If I was a long time television actress I’d be pissed. I’d be all like “Nicole, you already have A list status, can’t you just let us little television people have this one thing? Can’t you just keep your Oscars and let us have this? We already share the Golden Globes!” But then again I can be a brat so maybe they really don’t care. What I’m saying is that I think Nicole is aware that she draws a lot of attention (tall, gorgeous, movie star) and I think this dress hits all the right notes without her coming in and scoring a touchdown accompanied by an obnoxious victory dance. That’s why she gets an A from me.


Reese Witherspoon

Here’s another “movie star” at the Emmys, but this time I think the message is all sorts of lost in translation. I get it that Reese is all about empowering women and being a #girlboss, but this awkward take on the menswear dress just feels like she dumbed it down. Instead of Nicole’s whole “I know they will be looking at me so I will kinda bring it but not go full on look”, this was all like “I know they will be looking at me so I will just wear something that doesn’t look like I was even trying, you know so the tv people can still have their night.” I’d actually like to cut off the sleeves. Then it is a little more sexy and a little less suit like. I give Reese a C. 

What can Reese do if she wants to bring her grade back up? She needs to give the people what they want. How about an ode to Elle Woods, our favorite legal eagle, in girly pink. She can still be a serious producer and feminine force without losing her fun factor. I’m going to stick her head on Jane Fonda’s body and dress, which I think is just a bit too much pink for Jane (would have rocked in black or all white). There, that’s better.


Zoe Kravitz

Your parents are Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet. You are cool by default. You can do edgey. But this is edgy fun. It us an ombre fringed rainbow. Her hair is fringed. The jewelry is perfect. Those cheekbones could cut ice and her eyes look like she may kill you. The only thing missing on this dress is a smile. With a dress that fun she should look happy! I give the overall look an A. 

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle is gorgeous. Like jaw dropping gorgeous skin. So why did she borrow crazy old Aunt Edna’s bolero jacket? I don’t get it. Maybe she wanted to go away from her usual sleek and sexy but with her body it’s a waste. Plus her dimples always make her somewhat cute, which means she can get away with a somewhat sluttier dress.  I don’t understand the necklace. Or maybe it is a collar. This is a D because I know she can do better.

I’m going to take the white dress off of Sofia Vergara and put it on Gabrielle. Someday her body will be soft and mushy like mine and then she can whip out the black illusion lace to hide it all.

Sofia Vergara

Speaking of Miss Sexy herself I think I’m getting bored. Yes, her body is banging but we always see this silhouette on her. I like her new bangs and I’d like to see her go one step further and go with something unexpected.  I’m going  to grade this look as a C. Forgive me because I didn’t catch the name of the actress that was wearing this dress but I think I’d like to Sofia try this out.


Mandy Moore

I’m a little biased here because I love Mandy Moore. Do you know anyone that doesn’t like Mandy Moore? She’s just so…likeable. I also love the tv show This Is Us. The dress is a little bit fashion-y but I mean that in a good way. The simple diamond jewelry is a subtle accent for these funky tiers done in this classic palette, and the pink lips are perfect. But this dress is not subtle. It calls attention to it when it exits a limo and sashays down the carpet. Mandy’s at a really great place in her career right now and I think this dress was a perfect choice. I happily grade this with an A. 

Michelle Pfeiffer

Damn this woman does not age. She’s lovely. But I am not loving the dress. Michelle has been around a long time and because of that I think she can take some risks. This dress was not risky. I don’t mind the top half but the bottom half is just dowdy. Maybe a velvet cigarette pant instead?  I’m going to give this a B.

Felicity Huffman

The hair, the makeup the jewelry, the train…Felicity looks fabulous. Head of the class, grade A. 

Regina King

I’m bummed. I love Regina. And clearly she could kick some serious ass and probably win an arm wrestling contest with Miss fab arms herself, Michelle Obama. But here’s the thing…muscles and hard bodies need some fat and some softness for balance. I don’t mean body fat but fabric fat. There should be some flow and some drape. When the lines are too severe and angular it can have a masculine effect. This dress does nothing for her chest, or her sternum. I do love the earrings though. This is a D.

How can we bring this grade up? Fabric and flow my friends. If you have chiseled and sculpted muscles don’t hide them but don’t saran wrap them either. Soften them just a bit. The juxtaposition of a gorgeous fabric against the strong lines of a sculpted body is gorgeous. Let’s stick Regina in Jessica Biel’s dress. Jessica has a similar tone body with a broad chest line. I love this dress on Jessica but the color feels blah (imagine it in an emerald green on her!!).

Ellie Kemper

I don’t watch a lot of tv. Not because I’m intellectually superior and have better things to do but because sleeping is like a hobby to me and I prefer to devote a lot of time to it. And I have kids who are awake later and later and we don’t have the same choices in shows. But man I love me some Kimmy Schmidt. So good. I love that Ellie is smiling. I love the velvet (very on trend) and the beading. I love that the nails match the dress (I’m seeing a lot of this). But I do not like this sheer hemline thing. It’s dumb. I either wish it was short and stopped at the velvet, or that the velvet layer was full length. This is so close but I give it a B.


Heidi Klum

Oh Heidi, this is just unfortunate. Too many bangles, too high of a slit, and too much boob running away from you and into your armpit. She’s Heidi Klum. She doesn’t need all those bells and whistles because she is a bell and whistle. This is an F, because clearly she forgot the assignment.

How to fix this? Go back to basic building blocks. Heidi Klum may have bells and whistles but she needs to have all the feels associated with bells and whistles. Sequins to the rescue! Oh and let’s come out and support these breasts. They have been through 4 children and despite cosmetic help they can still use some good ole bustier support. I think this dress goes back to her model days and it would work, but she would have some serious competition as Laverne Cox is clearly wearing the sh*t out of this dress.


Susan Sarandon

And that, boys and girls is what to wear on a red carpet. Did I mention she is 70? She is a star and she damn well knows it. This is what an A+ looks like.

But please fire your publicist if they tell you to pose with your hand on your butt. That’s just weird. I feel like I she is grabbing her butt being like “Ya’ll see this? I still got it. It’s better than yours. And I’ll kick your ass at ping pong.” ( I read she is part owner of a ping pong club) But no need for the grab. The lines of this dress tell us that everything on you is still good. Oh and notice how her nails are matching her dress too.


*Insider Tip – Tailor, tailor, tailor.

Milo Ventimiglia and Joel Kinnaman.


We can’t forget about the men. Even though they can all feel like a bunch of penguin suits there is one thing that makes the difference for men and for women. Rarely are things a perfect fit when they come off the rack. Designers use fit models when they get down to the nitty gritty of physically constructing their clothes from sketch design into fabric and form. That form is a human being picked by that designer to fit their sample size – often a 0 or a 2 for women. Not because smaller is prettier but because it is easier to work with the fabric on a smaller scale. My point is don’t discard things in your closet, or when out shopping based on something that could be an easy fix. Does it take a little more effort? Yup. Can it cost a little more? You betcha. Do clothes fitted to YOUR body and YOUR shape help you LOOK and FEEL your best. For sure. The  polish and precision on these guys above comes from making sure the buttons fit at just the right points on their waist. The pants should be tailored behind the things and come to the most flattering point at your ankle and shoes. Also notice the sleeve length. It’s perfect. When it all comes together properly you don’t notice all these details, but when it is wrong you know it is wrong, you just don’t know why. Find a tailor. Ask around…it could be your local dry cleaner or somebody’s grandma. Make them cookies, buy them wine and whisper sweet nothings in their ear. They will be your secret weapon and you should honor them as such.


Who passed your class? Who failed?  All opinions welcome and thanks so much for reading!!






Published by suziegaffney

owner at Suzie Gaffney Styling

One thought on “It’s Back to School Time and it’s Back to the Emmy’s…let’s grade the red carpet looks.

  1. Your reads always make me smile. Thank you always for sharing and I pass your articles along to a group of 10 at the office and they love reading 🙂

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