She Leads, You Follow: NAACP Image Awards Edition

The Pasadena Civic Auditorium was filled to capacity on Feb. 5 when television, film and music’s best and brightest came to celebrate Hollywood’s efforts to create a more diverse landscape at the 47th NAACP Image Awards. With awards going to the likes of Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson for Outstanding Actress in a drama and Queen Latifah for her role in Bessie, the awards were a must-see event.

But while some were honored for their outstanding performances and groundbreaking influences on the entertainment industry, many deserve honors for their impeccable red carpet fashion.

Scandal’s Kerry Washington was the definition of elegance in a black and white Victoria Beckham number, complete with a plunging neckline and a hint of sparkle, says ELLE. Washington completed her look with a box clutch, minimal jewelry and a neat updo.

Following suit in an equally stunning all-white ensemble was partner in Shondaland Viola Davis. The How to Get Away With Murder star walked the red carpet in a white tank-style gown with silver beading outlining her frame. Adding even more sparkle to her luxurious look was EFFY jewelry, says ELLE

Gabrielle Union decided to provide some contrast in a black tulle gown. The mermaid gown featured a dramatic skirt and an illusion top with a V-neckline and lace appliqué. Union topped off her look with a piecey updo, dewey makeup and a statement ring.

Although these leading ladies are dressed for a night of celebrating Hollywood’s most talented, there are several things that we can take away from their looks to apply to the way we dress every day:

  1. White on – Washington and Davis both wore white gowns, but they were far from boring. While Washington’s ensemble feature asymmetrical folding at the bust and a band of beading at the waist, Davis’ all-white look was framed in silver beading. These little details not only look visually appealing, they also help to create shape in the garment. For example, the band of sparkles at Washington’s waist creates a focal point in her outfit, making her waist appear even narrower than it is. The beading on the sides of Davis’ gown starts at the shoulder, widens around the bust, narrows at the waist to define her waistline, and widens slightly again at the hips, all to create a perfect hourglass silhouette. While these may just look like fun details, they are actually quite useful; so when you are shopping for anything from a dress to a top to a skirt, look for details such as panels, seaming or even embellishments that act in a similar way. The best place to start would be to look for garments that accentuate your waist, which could be done through a seam, a peplum or even a sheer panel across your midsection — all of these are tiny details that make a big difference.
  2. Go deep – Both Union and Washington wore gowns with deep necklines, and they have a great reason to do so: a more open neckline not only draws attention to your face, but it can also elongate your neck (which makes you look taller overall). Union’s V-neck actually helps to deemphasize a larger bust since the neckline is angled out toward her shoulder; this gives more width to her shoulder while slightly narrowing her bust and creating a slimmer waistline. Washington’s more rectangular neckline acts as a fabric frame for her face, acting as a pointing device to direct our attention from the band of sparkles at her waist straight up to her naturally beautiful face. Wearing a more open neckline has obvious benefits; whether its in the form of a fancy gown, a cocktail dress or a casual top, V-necks can make you appear long and lean while also directing our attention to your pretty smile.


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