Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The 2013 ACM Awards, or, You Won't See THIS at the Oscars

Country music has a fashion sense all its own. Boots, Stetsons, alligator skin, shorts, big hair, denim. It’s all part of the phenomenon that is country. Of course, there are always plenty of celebrities who wear more traditional “red carpet couture” to the ACMs, but where’s the fun in that? You can tune in to the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and even the Emmys to see that. But only at the Academy of Country Music Awards will you see gems like these:

Leopard print, tiered ruffles, a bustier, rhinestones, spiked platinum hair, and red platform stilettos. The only thing Tobi Lee seems to be missing is an obnoxious hat. Well, and good posture. Didn’t your mama teach you to stand up straight, honey?

The flesh-colored tutu/corset combined with snakeskin cowboy boots makes RaeLynn look like a six-year-old playing dress-up in Mommy’s and Daddy’s closets. The bright red flower and matching lips are a terrific pop of color, though. And her Mama (and possibly her ballet teacher) did teach her good posture.

Shania Twain goes slightly more conservative but very distinctly country in an all-black ensemble including thigh-high boots and a flared thigh-length strapless minidress with a trailing sash. On most women, this outfit would look like a shapeless sack but Twain pulls it off beautifully.

Somewhat less successful in the all-black category was Tori Kelly. Any one of these elements – belted leather shorts, tailored tux jacket, demure black-and-white buttoned-up shirt, and fabulous ankle-tied pointy pumps – could have worked. But the combination looks disproportionate and confused. And the frizzy, dark-rooted, non-hairstyle isn’t helping her cause any.
A few stars went for a more traditional look but gave it a nice country twist.

Carrie Underwood, a perpetual fashion favorite of mine, hit it out of the park with this traditionally-cut gown covered in giant pink and red peonies, accented with a wide black sash and matching clutch, and topped with a loose, messy updo.

Sheryl Crow opted for a traditional corset-style top but paired it with flowing harem pants. I’m not sure I love it in this still photo, but having seen similar styles in motion, I imagine the outfit had a lovely sweeping line as she moved, and the slight informality of pants is perfectly appropriate for the ACMs, and for Crow’s personality. She could have used a bit more color in her necklace than the gold that vanishes against her bronze skin, however.
Others tried a bit too hard to be avant-garde and unconventional.
Kaley Cuoco looked out of place in this admittedly fantastic dress that could have worked if she’d topped it with something other than this odd, faux/1980s tall bangs hairstyle and nude lips/Sharpie eyeliner combo. Based on her expression, I think she realized it was a misstep but by then it was too late.
I really like the trend of shorter, simpler, cocktail-style dresses that I saw at the ACMs.
Although I miss Kelly Clarkson’s darker locks, this gorgeous electric turquoise looks stunning with her blonde hair, and the pointy gold shoes are perfect.

Lauren Akins went even simpler in this plain peach dress with a slightly full skirt, a V-neck filled in with a big silver necklace, and strappy black sandals – and, of course, a perfect, and perfectly-coordinated, pedicure. Top it off with long, tousled, sun-kissed wavy locks and a cute guy on her arm, and she already looks like a winner.

A few other notable looks worth mentioning:
Beth Chapman cannot have an easy figure to dress, but she looks absolutely stunning in this pale-pink Grecian-inspired gown with impressive support (if also impressive cleavage), just a hint of silver detailing, and perfect pink piggies peeking out from under her hem.

Taylor Swift and Jana Kramer wore very similar metallic gowns with rhinestone-encrusted scoop necks and Art Deco patterns. Perhaps a bit dressy for the ACMs, but lovely and flattering without being too over the top. And both were wise enough to choose simple hairstyles and understated makeup and jewelry to avoid overpowering the intricacy of the gowns.
On the whole, the fashions at the ACMs were fun and flattering. There were beautiful bright colored gowns in yellow, deep rose, rich peach, and royal blue. There were peplums and keyholes and asymmetrical hems. There were black gowns with splashes of color in bags, shoes, and mani-pedis. There were short dresses, long gowns, pants, and shorts. There was hair up, hair down, hair curly, and hair straight. But the thing that I liked best is that with very few exceptions, there were big smiles. And if you’re having fun, who cares what anyone thinks about what you’re wearing? Even if you’re wearing a leopard print bustier and red platform stilettos.

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