How sharp tailoring replaced flowing gowns on the Oscars red carpet

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Billie Bhatia

Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler and Awkwafina were just some of the stars to eschew floaty dresses in favour of slick suits at the 2019 Academy Awards.

We can bank on the Oscars for a few certainties: emotional speeches in which someone important is forgotten, a controversial win (remember the La La Land debacle of 2017?), and a red carpet graced with some of the world’s most dazzling gowns.

But while they might be beautiful, dresses at the Academy Awards have become rather ‘safe’ in the last few years. Rarely are you stunned by what you see on the Oscars red carpet: most female attendees opt for traditional shapes and fabrications, with lengthy trains thrown in for good measure. That isn’t to say that Oscars guests don’t look great – they do. But fashion at the Academy Awards generally just isn’t as exciting as the looks seen at say, Cannes Film Festival or The Met Gala.

This year, however, the Oscars red carpet got a much-needed shake up. Some of Hollywood’s most powerful women eschewed the normal gown situation, instead opting for polished (and rather badass) trouser suits. And it wasn’t just the women shaking up gender norms, either. Pose actor Billy Porter shut down the red carpet in the most applauded outfit of the night: a tuxedo dress.

If you ever needed a lesson in breaking the mould, here’s how to do it. 

Melissa McCarthy

Best actress nominee Melissa McCarthy’s flowing cape and cinched-in tuxedo-style trousers make for an effortlessly chic take on the traditional trouser suit.

Amy Poehler 

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Amy Poehler attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Amy Poehler is known for not taking life too seriously, but when it came to her red carpet look she was all business. Wearing high waisted trousers with a ruffle dinner shirt and tails, she took this Alberta Ferretti suit to new heights.


HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Awkwafina attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina put the party in pantsuit via this Dsquared number. The all-over glitter effect and giant bow made for an epic red carpet moment. 

Jennifer Hudson 

While Jennifer Hudson opted for a one-shouldered red dress for her official Oscars arrival, it was her onstage look that was the real showstopper. She wore a striking black suit to perform her song I’ll Fight, which appears on the soundtrack for RBG – the Oscar-nominated documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Who said a tux couldn’t have a train?

Elsie Fisher 

Eighth Grade star Elsie Fisher proved you are never too young to have your own sense of style, wowing in this Thom Browne trouser suit – mixing just the right amount of quirky and cool. 

To see more from the 2019 Academy Awards, click here.

Images: Getty Images 


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