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Thursday, September 26, 2013

How Lena Dunham Can Rock Her Next Red Carpet

by Kari Tervo

I don't really care that much about fashion. And I'm delighted that, as I get older and more comfortable with myself and how to dress this odd body of mine, I care even less about fashion. I'm on my own terms. I generally live in athletic skirts and tank tops, but when it's time to clean up, I know the go-to cuts that will help me feel my best.

It took me a long time to learn how to dress my curvy 5'0" frame. Note to critics: It could be a lot worse! The best way to describe my body is "Marilyn Monroe, by Picasso." I know how hard it is to dress a curvy body, especially when clothes are primarily designed for stick-thin women. That's the designers' fault, not the fault of women who don't have stick-thin bodies.

Women in Hollywood have it especially hard. If you want to make it to the red carpet, you have to have a red carpet look. It might be a little easier to shop with a stylist and a lot more pin money (that was my inner 50s sock hop girl speaking), but searching for the perfect curvy-girl dress can still be a snipe hunt.

Case in point: Here is Lena Dunham in her 2013 Emmys dress.

Image via

A lot of people hate this Prada dress, and Lena Dunham in it. Like I said, I don't know anything about fashion, but I kind of like it. I can't really speak to the shape because absolutely the wrong person is wearing it, but I really like the colors. They have the cheery pop of an early '90s Nintendo game. I guess the dress makes me happy.

Now there's Lena Dunham's body. There's nothing wrong with Lena Dunham's body. But that dress does not go on that body. She looks like she's trying to escape a deflating hot air balloon.

Lena Dunham does not have a traditional Hollywood body. And I love her for rocking herself the way she rocks herself. I have never watched anything she's been in, but in photos of this woman that aren't stills from the show, she displays not one ounce of insecurity.

Lena Dunham doesn't have a stick-thin body or, it seems, a lot of body insecurity. But what she does have are handlers. Lots of people around her to give her an opinion on her look for Emmys night, a night on which a woman is inevitably going to hear a lot about what she looks like. It's a night for red carpet image.

Lena, whoever is supposed to tell you "no" (you do have one of those, right?) failed you on Emmys night. Maybe they understand the frustration of dressing a curvy body and thought that was the best it could be?

No, no no (see, here, I'll do it). You can dress a curvy body; you just have to be aware of what's flattering. Here's how I would suggest you play up your assets come next awards show:
Decolletage (cleavage and your chest above it) is often a pretty place for women to play up. Not many women can go wrong with showing off a little cleave. But the plunge of this dress is too much. There's just not enough bust to fill out the top and counter-balance that gigantic poof of a skirt. Only a busty woman could pull off this dress.

Next year, try a pretty scoop neck with a splashy, glam necklace.
It's difficult for curvy women to wear a full skirt. The fullness of the skirt makes the hips look wide, not curvy. You wind up looking like your top half is normal and your bottom half is a screenshot from a fun house mirror.

Next year, try a dress that's fitted at the waist and hips. It should have a skirt with a classic A-line (no petticoats), or a pencil shape with some generosity. Even a tulip style might work!
It's difficult for short women to wear long dresses. Lena Dunham is 5'3", petite by most standards. Short, curvy women have difficulty pulling off floor-length dresses. We become enveloped by them. Hence, the "fighting to emerge from a deflating hot air balloon" effect we see here. I know that red carpet glamour calls for floor-length dresses, but this is your night to live, and you're not tall. You're just not someone who can pull off floor-length.  

Next year, flatter yourself with a shorter dress, perhaps cocktail length. Don't let your dress eat you!

Okay, well, I have just shocked myself by a) giving two craps about fashion, and b) penning fashion advice for a successful woman who doesn't give two craps about my fashion opinion. But, there you have it. Lena, I'm rooting for your fashion success on your next red carpet. Curvy chicks represent!

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