She Leads, You Follow: BET Awards Edition

The BET Awards took place last night in Los Angeles, and while the award show itself was a can’t miss, there were also a ton of can’t miss fashions on the red carpet. Here are just a few of our favorite looks of the night:

Ciara wowed on the red carpet last night with boyfriend Russell Wilson, wearing a beaded gunmetal Wes Gordon dress which she paired with a similar gunmetal-colored heel. She kept her jewelry and accessories to a minimum, letting her stunning dress and her equally stunning beauty speak for itself.

Although she wore a different dress on the red carpet of the BET Awards, the black and white ensemble Nicki Minaj wore during the show was something to be admired. Replete with cutouts at the bust and waist, Minaj looked breathtakingly beautiful in this edgy take on a classic combination, which she punched up with a pair of sparkly tri-tone Rene Caovilla t-strap pumps.

Gabrielle Union kept it classy in a sparkly black Harlston Heritage gown that featured a halter neckline and subtly sexy cutouts at the waist. Union kept the rest of her accessories fairly simple, wearing a few white bracelets and carrying a black clutch.

Perhaps our favorite look of the night came from Nicole Ari Parker, who wore a white longsleeve gown with lace paneling detail. She paired the white-hot look with medium-sized chandelier earrings, although we think her best accessory was husband Boris Kodjoe, who matched his wife in a summery all-white look.

As always, there are some important things we can learn from these red carpet looks to spruce up what we wear everyday — because as they say, the world is our runway (or in this case, our red carpet!). Here’s what to remember:

  1. Try metal tones – Although you may think metal tones are only reserved for, well, metals, Ciara showed us that metal tones can look great on shoes and even dresses. Metallics like gunmetal are technically neutrals, so pieces in tones like gunmental, gold, silver or bronze are multifunctional because they can be paired with pretty much any color. If you want to introduce some metal tones/metallics into your wardrobe, start small. Try a strappy sandal like those worn by Ciara to get a taste of the metallic in your wardrobe. Once you get the hang of incorporating it into your wardrobe, upgrade to metallic bags or even an awesome metallic blazer (which can be a great piece for a girl’s night out!).
  2. Black and white is always a good idea – You can never go wrong with black and white, and Nicki Minaj certainly proved that in her BET Awards ensemble. What is particularly great about her outfit is that she wore the classic combination in a way that was refreshing and a bit sexy, adapting the classic to her own personality. If you want to wear black and white but are hesitant about looking dated, try to find pieces that are structurally different so the colors end up being presented in a new way. Try a fun crop top, a striped asymmetrical pencil skirt or even a shoe that takes black and white to the next level.
  3. Cutouts and paneling, oh my! – Gabrielle Union’s gorgeous gown showed us that cutouts are a great way to create shape in an outfit while also showing off a little skin in a nontraditional way. If you want to try out some cutouts, start small. The best place to start with cutouts to create shape is at the natural waist, so look for a dress or top that shows a little bit of skin at your natural waistline, but be sure not to show too much skin elsewhere (i.e. cleavage). If you just like the idea of cutouts in general, try a piece with a simple front and cutouts in the back; this not only acts as a little surprise in your outfit, but it also ensures that you’ll look good coming and going! But if the idea of showcasing open skin is a little scary, Nicole Ari Parker showed us another great option: paneling. The lace paneling in her gown functions in a similar way to cutouts by being able to create shape, while also showing just a little peek of skin. If paneling is more your speed, you can still look for pieces that have either mesh or lace paneling at the natural waist to create shape, or paneling at the back to create a visually interesting outfit.
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