While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, there is a consensus of sorts when it comes to deciding who is the best (and worst) dressed at any celebrity-attended gala. It's particularly riveting to study actors and actresses at the Academy Awards, or Oscars, to see where fashion trends are heading.
Colors, designers, and accessories can work together to land a star on one list or the other. We analyzed the best dressed Oscar attendees from the last 20 years to find out how an actor or actress can improve his or her odds of being the best dressed at this year’s ceremony.
Ladies’ Oscar Choices
Color trends for women come and go, but over time, some colors have garnered more praise than others. White, metallic, and black is the trendy trio here, and have been worn by over 40 percent of best dressed women at the Oscars since 1996. Gwyneth Paltrow made her Oscar debut in 1996 with Brad Pitt and had everyone talking about her white Calvin Klein dress. Nearly 20 years later, she rocked a white Tom Ford gown that included a unique cape.
At the very bottom of the list are orange and brown, which only around 3 percent of best dressed women have worn over the last 20 years. However, Jennifer Hudson has been a best dressed woman twice wearing both of these colors; she wore a brown Oscar de la Renta dress in 2007 and an orange Versace gown in 2011.
Clothing designers also carry a lot of weight when it comes to deeming someone “best dressed.” Versace is the power label here, with 8.7 percent of best dressed celebrity women sporting the label's looks. Armani is a close second, followed by Dior and Chanel. Frequently best dressed actress Kate Hudson wore Versace in 2003 and again in 2014.
Jewelry designers also make their mark on the red carpet. Notably, Harry Winston made an appearance nearly 20 percent of the time at the Oscars. At last year’s ceremony, Charlize Theron wore $3.7 million worth of Harry Winston Diamonds.
Men’s Oscar Choices
Trends for men don't sway as much as they do for women, but black is a classic pick for most celebrity men – making the best dressed list 70 percent of the time. Recently trendy blue comes in second. Eddie Redmayne rocked a dark blue Alexander McQueen tuxedo at the ceremony in 2015 and went on to win the “Best Actor” Oscar later in the evening.
Best dressed men may have a smaller sample size than their female counterparts, but these men all have several things in common. For one, they dress in Gucci more than 15 percent of the time, and when they're not donning these threads, they’re choosing Burberry or Tom Ford around 11.5 percent of the time. John Legend wore Gucci in 2015, while Ryan Gosling followed suit in 2016.
What to Wear to the Oscars This Year
To step it up a notch, we focused on the best dressed colors and designers for men and women. The best dressed women at the Oscars most commonly wear metallic Armani gowns, like Cate Blanchett in 2007, Anne Hathaway in 2009, and Naomi Watts in 2013. Appearing in a white Calvin Klein dress also gets you labeled “best dressed,” like Julianne Moore in 2010 and Lupita Nyong’o in 2015.
Male actors were dubbed “best dressed” most often when they wore black Gucci, which worked well for Chris Evans in 2015 and Tom Hardy in 2016. Another winning combination for men was black Tom Ford or Burberry, which was the choice of best dressed Bradley Cooper in 2014 and Chris Pratt in 2015.
How Times Have Changed at the Oscars
Over time, celebrity fashion trends change. For example, from 1996 to 2000, Vera Wang, Versace, and black were the most popular trends among women at the Oscars. From 2001 to 2004, however, there was a huge drift away from darker colors, as pink and Chanel rocked the Academy Awards red carpet.
Versace came back into vogue with best dressed women from 2005 to 2008, with blue making waves instead of pink and black. From 2009 to 2012, metallic was the most popular color, especially when it was fashioned into a Marchesa masterpiece. From 2013 to 2016, Dior nabbed the spotlight and white became the hottest color.
Best Dressed Men and Women at the 2017 Oscars
While we can’t predict who will make the best dressed list for this year’s Oscars, wearing certain colors and designers may boost a celebrity’s chance of being noticed, like white and Versace for women, or black and Gucci for men.
One thing is for certain, though: We can’t wait to see what the stars will be wearing on this year’s Academy Awards red carpet.
We analyzed several best dressed lists about the Oscars to see which women were chosen from 1996 to 2016. This resulted in 175 dresses. We also logged which designer they wore according to the source, as well as the jewelry designer (when available). The color recorded is subjective. Since men’s fashion at the Oscars has been far less analyzed until recently, we used GQ’s best dressed list from the past three years.
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