In the lyrics of “Summer Nights”- “He showed off, splashing around!” And yes, with that it is officially time for summer vacation or dreams of it at least, which means enduring the painful experience of swim suit shopping. But with so many styles to choose from what’s the one that can make you feel most like a sweet Sandy from Grease or romantic Allie from the Notebook?They made their comeback on beaches last year but the origins of retro style bikinis give us concrete evidence for why we find it so appealing. In the earlier days of pin-ups, when films still had production codes that prohibited the exposure of belly buttons on screen, gorgeous women modeled fuller coverage bra tops and high-waisted briefs. The look emphasized womanly curves and complemented voluptuous ladies. If there is a time when women feel pressure to look waif-like, it is at the beach or poolside where the evolution of the bathing uniform makes it a necessity to nearly bare it all. We’ve all heard it though, how Marilyn Monroe was a size 12, how thighs touched, how models had a full sized chest, etc. Women forget how we’re not all supposed to look like the famous women of the 40s or all like the leggy models of today. People come in all different shapes and sizes. That is why the retro style suit is great; it allows you to cover up a little more than with the itsy bitsy teeny weeny one, roll in the sand looking fashionable and confident, and gives you the oppertunity to channel your inner pin-up.
Urban Outfitters- $78
ModCloth, Esther Williams- $90
*Picture from Coolspotters.com
1. Leslie Bibb in Zac Posen- The tight bodice, the voluminous skirt, the shiny midnight blue print, and the creative detail above the chest made this dress a masterpiece and a magnificent choice for the occasion. She also drummed up attention with her siren orange lips.
2. Julianne Hough in Carolina Herrera- The fuschia color she wore is very popular right now and we will probably be seeing even more of it after she proved just how sexy it can look.
3. Jessica Alba in Michael Kors- With her shiny locks draped over one shoulder, Alba would have looked luminescent with or without a gold dress, but she made the designer (standing in the background) proud by wearing his label and specifically a flattering one-shoulder pleated gown.
4. Scarlett Johannson in Dolce and Gabbana- While this dress reminded me of what Leighton Meester wore the same night, Johannson pulled off the nude tulle much better. First, she avoided the jagged cut on the fabric and picked flirty off the shoulder sleeves. The tulle started much lower on the pearl encrusted bodice drawing attention to both the decorated top and the princess bottom. The color was also not right on Meester who selected a dark lipstick, bronzer, and pulled back bun, all of which were too severe for the fairy-tale dress.
5. Ashley Greene in Donna Karan- This was the goddess gown of the night. It may not have been the most daring dress, but other than that, I would be speechless if I was trying to craft criticism.
6. Renee Zellweger in Emilio Pucci- I love seeing her on the red carpet because she always picks something beautiful. The ruffle tail on this screams (only for the Met Gala!) and the elegant opaque and sheer combination on her black dress looked age and body appropriate.
7. Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior Couture- While the dress is surprisingly complicated and a bit mysterious, it does doing everything right. It covers enough of her body before it becomes sheer and the glitter fades out. It’s also the perfect length, and the two fabrics are interestingly intertwined hypnotizing viewers with intrigue.
8. Nancy O’Dell in Zac Posen/Lala Anthony in Zac Posen- Zac Posen knows how to make a womanly dress and the ones worn during the Met Gala were solid proof of playing up hot curves and designing in bold and bright colors. Because Nancy O’dell’s and Lala Anthony’s dress were somewhat similar I was only going to select one for the list but alas both carried Posen’s trick to success by being in amazing colors and having a gorgeous form. (So really the list is my top 11).
9. Camille Belle in Ralph Lauren- The sheer rim on the top keeps her plunging neckline safe and in place. The dress is classy and well constructed, with textured abstract shapes on the silver fabric.
10. Wendi Murdoch in Vera Wang- A paragon of an amazing Vera Wang dress everyone wishes to hang in their closet. Her diamond jewelry and radiant make-up made the bright dress pop even more.
*Picture links from Why Fame, A Bit Coquettish, A Beautiful Life, and Stitch