Fashion ‘Holice Oscars Special

Welcome to the to the inaugural edition of the Fashion ‘Holice – the Soho’s very own take on celebrity style that attracts men.  Which styles draw rave reviews from women and repel men (hint: peplums) and which cross gender lines?  There were four key trends at this year’s Academy Awards that illustrate the difference between men and women, and within those trends, it’s a story of contrasts.  We’ve got sleeves vs. shoulders and demure vs. vampy.  Now let’s break it down.

Shoulders – Bridesmaid Kristen Wiig, The Artist’s Missy Pyle and model/actress Milla Jovovich nailed the rules of attraction by bearing their shoulders.  I’ve got a post on shoulders coming, so I don’t want to throw a spoiler into the mix and will keep it brief.  Men love a shoulder, even more so if you only let them look at one.  Leave them wanting more is the lesson (see JLo), so for now, I’ll leave some mystery for my coming post.

Sleeves – When Gwyneth Paltrow arrived in a cape, the Twittersphere started to buzz about a new trend – maximum coverage. I heard one stylist position this as an empowerment thing: women exercising control over what they reveal. I believe women are more or less in control of that anyway, unless of course they are celebrities, so my guess is that they opted for high fashion over high control. And to men, high fashion = high risk.  Any guy who saw Shailene Woodley in a bikini for most of The Descendants is wondering why she chose to cover all last night. As for Gwyneth, she was proud and statuesque and very grand dame. Women loved it, but I’ll bet that while some men appreciated the idea, the look left the majority lukewarm. Who got the reveal right? JLo. While her nipple received the most PR for exposure, the woman continues to master the fabric-to-skin ratio.

Demure – What a mixed bag. The gamine thing seems to work consistently for Natalie Portman, probably because she is so very beautiful. Known sex bomb Penelope Cruz looked a bit like a prom queen, albeit one with an amazing rack. But there were two standout fashion failures in this category.  It pains me to say that Emma Stone’s bow was not only derivative (see Kidman, Nicole) but is the type of feature that confounds and potentially terrifies most men.  Also, kudos to Michelle Williams for wearing attention-grabbing coral that showcases that alabaster skin, especially on her open back, but was that a… gasp – peplum?  I once purchased a peplum skirt after a fashion editor convinced me it was ‘timeless, elegant and fashion forward.’ When I tried it on for my… gasp – mother, she simply said, ‘Honey, that’s a boner shrinker.’ The tags hang on that skirt to this day.

Vampy – No surprises here; men love a vamp and a few celebs played the part last night.  Notably, we have Angelina Jolie in her go-to goth get-up with a slit that got her right leg its own Twitter feed. Men might have been amused watching her work it like a kickstand, but they do like an, ahem, slit.  She also had a good red pucker, ‘bedroom hair’ as we’ve come to define it and a surprising glow.  Analysis? She and Brad had sex in the car.  Rose Byrne also showed her edge in her black asymmetrical situation.  The jury is out on this one. While the dress is surely sexy, her stick skinny frame couldn’t hold it up.  I also wonder if that heavy fringe and parting scrambles a male mind – it’s entirely too intentional.  On the subject of confusing fringes and eating disorders, I give you Rooney Mara. Yes, Rooney, you’re edgy and you’re fashion, but was last night’s dress the success we’d expected?  Men may like her dominatrixy vibe but if you intend to show some skin, you might want to be a bit more flesh and less bone.

Finally, in the area of hair and make-up, I want to give a shout out to Jessica Chastain, who just looked outstanding.

So what have we learned? 1) When it comes to style that attracts men, ask first ‘What Would JLo Do?’ 2) If it’s got a peplum, think twice. 3) We need some male feedback on the fringe.

What’s so right? What’s so wrong? Over to you?


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  1. #1 by A.M. on February 27, 2012 - 9:57 pm

    Thanks for teaching me the word ‘peplum’ and why to avoid it at all costs.

  2. #3 by The underboss on February 28, 2012 - 12:08 am

    Now I like fashion and I like the sex appeal of it. My favorites were Angelina and Penelope Cruz. I liked Viola Davis’s dress especially the color to go with her skin tone. JLo hit the raw sex appeal for me. I liked the dress but it more about skin than the dress. I could not describe it. Penelope did look like she was going to prom. I could not stand Michelle Williams’ dress. I thought it was at the top of the list on bad ideas. Angelina never fails to disappoint. The bow killed Emma’s dress. I loved the color so I forgive her for it. Skin helps but I just like a nice dress. I am a man by the way.

    • #4 by sohospeaks on February 28, 2012 - 8:32 am

      As a man, I am thrilled about your reply because we’re on (mostly) the same wavelength! You raise a good point about Penelope – maybe I have high expectations of a prom queen. Funnily, right after I posted, I thought I should have given a nod to Viola. There was something quite naturally sexy about her look and there’s no denying that she knows how to work her best assets. Thanks for your comments.

  3. #5 by Fashionista Betch (@marie_pimentel) on February 28, 2012 - 1:55 am

    Im soo over Angies Right leg!#Need attention Much?

  4. #7 by jennamilly on February 28, 2012 - 4:39 am

    Love this breakdown! Makes looking in my closet a whole lot easier…! #antidemure

    • #8 by sohospeaks on February 28, 2012 - 8:26 am

      I saw you at the Oscars on the night, vamp. I have no worries about what’s in your closet!

  5. #9 by The underboss on February 28, 2012 - 6:38 pm

    We agree for the most part. I do think I am most attracted to the vamp. Maybe because of the perceived danger. Great blog. I will check in periodically.

  6. #11 by SoBro on February 29, 2012 - 6:26 pm

    Sorry, SoHo, but I have to disagree with you. In that dress, SoBro thinks JLo is a no-go. Normally I’d say Angelina is a hag compared to JLo but Angelina’s black dress takes the cake this time.

    • #12 by sohospeaks on February 29, 2012 - 7:06 pm

      SoBro – Soho not only welcomes your opinion but your rhythm. I think Angie did right by herself, but that leg… Honestly?

      • #13 by A.M. on March 7, 2012 - 9:43 pm

        I keep having nightmares about Angie’s right leg coming to strangle me in my sleep.

  7. #14 by Brendan on March 7, 2012 - 10:09 pm

    I have to say, as a gay man, I though Gwyneth looked amazing, Angie was just annoying, Meryl was showing her bra (black), nathalie portman looked 17, JLo got back (no news there) and totes agree….jessica chastain was the biz. Her and Gwyn get my best dressed. On the man side, Jean DuJardin is hot. Thats all.

  8. #15 by Chappers on March 13, 2012 - 1:29 am

    Hey Soho,
    I’m befuddled with your sartorial praise for J.Lo this year…
    She looked like a 1977 rollerskating waitress at Studio 54 on her way to roller-deliver some wet wipes to Stevie Nicks who was busy having cocaine blown up her ringer through a straw in VIP…

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