As far as I’m concerned, ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ dressed lists don’t belong in this century, let alone this decade.
Most obviously, we all know that it must feel dreadful for a celebrity to spend hours getting ready for a red-carpet event, wearing an outfit that makes them feel great, only to wake up to headlines proclaiming that they actually looked dreadful. It goes without saying that opinions on fashion are individual and subjective, but the judgement of the tabloid media can be incredibly cruel.
I’m also inclined to argue that there are some rather unpleasant, underlying themes that tend to dictate whether celebrities- in particular women- end up on the Best Dressed List, or the Worst Dressed List. Almost every female entrant in Cosmopolitan’s Best Dressed List for the 2020 Golden Globes awards is extremely slim, and the vast majority are white. In other words, they are conventionally attractive.
When it came to evaluating the looks on display at the Grammy Awards, Cosmopolitan did deign to include Lizzo, a plus-sized black woman, in its Best Dressed List. However, rather than describing her as a ‘princess’ or a ‘glamazon’, as it did other female celebrities, the magazine chose to focus on how Lizzo had undergone a ‘glow-up’. It went on to state that she displayed ‘a level of polish in her style we’ve only ever seen snippets of before’. To me, they seemed surprised that Lizzo could look so glamorous, and insinuated that her usual look was the opposite. Cosmopolitan seem to have even surprised themselves by placing someone who is not completely conventionally attractive on the Best Dressed List.
The fact that Lizzo is surrounded by more young, slim women, makes one wonder whether the judgements on what makes a ‘Best’ dress are more to do with the looks and body shape of the women wearing the dress, than the dresses themselves. If a dress is worn by someone thin, I’d argue that it’s more likely to be judged positively.
In addition, these lists seem to encourage ‘slut-shaming’. Several of the dresses that are judged negatively feature comments on their revealing nature, with the Daily Mail berating Tove Lo for having a ‘tacky pink bra’ on display. If a woman dares to be confident whilst baring her skin, it seems fashion critics everywhere consider it perfectly acceptable to label her ‘cheap’.
“Many of these articles are written by other women.”
The saddest part of this whole affair, is that many of these articles are written by other women, who seem to enjoy both nit-picking at others’ appearances, and pitting women against one another. This awards season, I’d like to challenge these women to develop some empathy, and think how they’d feel if their scathing headlines were directed at themselves, rather than some poor stranger.
Last modified: 9th February 2020