Given the middling reviews of 2011’s Academy Awards telecast, thank goodness A-listers brought their A-games to the red carpet, where there were surprisingly few missteps.
We round up the most gorgeous looks spotted at this year’s Oscars, as well as some honorable mentions from earlier awards shows. Get ready: Wedding and prom seasons are just around the corner.
Pretty in Purple
The color of royalty was a particularly appropriate choice for Oscar queen and soon-to-be mama Natalie Portman, who looked radiant in her purple Rodarte. Whether you prefer a striking shade like Portman’s or a lighter lavender like Mila Kunis’ Elie Saab, go for a gown in ethereal, gauzy fabrics for ultra feminine glam.
Aidan Mattox Beaded-Strap Halter Gown, $265, Neiman Marcus
The carpet wasn’t the only thing rolling in red on Oscar night. Many stars donned cherry hues in a variety of styles, from Anne Hathaway’s voluminous Valentino to Sandra Bullock’s structured Vera Wang to Jennifer Lawrence’s va-va-voom Calvin Klein. Go classic with a red lip and updo ala Hathaway or, for a more modern take, try Lawrence’s lined eyes, dewy skin and loose, wavy tresses. A little red dress is especially cute for spring cocktail parties.
Alice + Olivia Cabella Tie Dye Tank Dress, $295, Nordstrom
Stars like [Mandy Moore in Monique Lhuillier, Gwynneth Paltrow in Calvin Klein and Annette Bening in Naeem Khan shone on the red carpet in metallic columns and gowns. For a youthful look, try a knee-length sheath that you can pair with bright, colorful accessories.
Rachel Rachel Roy Asymmetric Slip Dress, $149, Rachel Roy
When everyone else is wearing workhorse LBDs, a gown with a print is like a breath of fresh air. Many of this spring’s maxi dresses feature lush, blurred prints in fluid fabrics and rich colors, for a romantic look that still feels modern. None wore it better than Mila Kunis in Alexander McQueen at the SAG Awards.
Nicole Miller Sweetheart Strapless Foil Printed Gown, $510, Bloomingdale’s
Amid the sea of princess gowns, a few starlets stood out because of their simple, sleek, no fuss frocks. Go bright like Emma Stone in coral Calvin Klein at the Golden Globes, or sparkle like Amy Adams in blue L’Wren Scott and Michelle Williams in Chanel Haute Couture at the Oscars. To complete the minimalist look, keep makeup and hair understated. A few glam bracelets will add some bling.
Adrianna Papell Illusion Back Sequin & Bead Gown, $278, Nordstrom
Bare necks were all the rage this awards show season, with the focus instead on bold earrings and bracelets. Spring’s color blocking trend means you can mix and match hues, so try a cuff with a contrasting colored stone, or go with some 70’s inspired drop earrings.
Cuff with Stone, $22.90, Akira
House of Harlow Tribal Drop Earring, $100, SHE Boutique