Each December, we curl up with a pile of carbohydrates, some gin, and a red-velvet cake to reflect on the lessons of the last 365 days — not from our own lives, but from the pages of Us. After all, what is Hollywood if not a stellar life coach? Without famous people, we wouldn’t know how easy it is to starve yourself thin about an hour after giving birth; how best to fake-marry a slimy douche bag, distressing your mother; how not to handle nasty public breakups; and, of course, how not to dress. Indeed, here are ten vital things we learned from celebrities and their fashion choices in 2008.
It Takes a Rare Man to Pull Off a Mustache. And if that man isn’t George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, or Robert Downey Jr. — all of whom have taken, and failed, Lip Lawns 101 — then odds are it also will not be you. Because unless you are The Young and the Restless’ Victor Newman, whose mouth topiary nicely underlines his attempts to destroy/disinherit/wish death upon people in that dramatic German accent, you will probably end up looking like a cheesy porn star or a low-budget pimp.
Leave the Jumpsuits to Professions That Demand Them. We don’t care how many designers sent them down the runway, nor how many stars — ahem, Blake Lively, Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal — paste smiles on their faces and pretend they love them. We’re not buying it. Jumpsuits are bad, mmmkay? They’re either tight and junk-chafing, which helps only the makers of Monistat, or baggy and shapeless — which is great if you are, say, an astronaut or a mechanic, but can be detrimental when it leaves us wondering what ate your waist.
But Fish Scales Can Be a Good Thing. Generally, a girl doesn’t want to look like the proverbial cold fish. But the white Jean Paul Gaultier stunner Marion Cotillard wore to the Oscars in February reminded us that there are exceptions to any rule, and that — we can’t believe we’re saying this — apparently, seafood can be sexy. Warning: Attempt only under professional supervision.
Whatever Solange Wears, Do the Opposite. When your sister has invented a split personality just so she can wear a metallic robot hand, and you still look more cracked out than she does, something is terribly wrong. Solange Knowles spent 2008 promoting her album in an eye-searing collage of feathers, giant beads, ruffles, and hot-pink leggings with elephants on them — all of which felt like sad attempts to wrest public attention from her older sibling. Couldn’t she just take a cue from Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and steal Beyoncé’s thunder by marrying a rocker and naming her kid Hakuna Matata or something? At least babies are cute.
Don’t Fug Up Your Youth. It makes us feel way elderly to say this, but nothing riles us quite like seeing a pretty young thing actively trying to look old. Evan Rachel Wood attends every event wearing more makeup than Liza Minnelli, despite having her whole life to hide behind ten pounds of slap. And Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen looks like a strung-out aging rocker with her bad bleached mullet and smudged eyeliner. Wash your faces! Also, stand up straight. Lousy kids.
Being on a Reality Show Doesn’t Make You a Fashion Designer. Take note, Lauren Conrad, Aubrey O’Day, Heidi Montag, Paris Hilton, Mel B, Nicole Richie, Whitney Port, and assorted Kardashians.
Shopping a Lot Doesn’t Make You a Designer, Either. Take note, every other celebrity in Hollywood. Especially Katie Holmes, whose two cheap-looking creations — done in collaboration with her stylist — look like they’d fail a QVC quality-control test. Stick to buying somebody else’s expensively unflattering jeans, kid.
Looking Good Is Still the Best Revenge. It worked for Anne Hathaway, who rocked the press tour for Get Smart while her ex-boyfriend was weeping about how prison isn’t as cushy as his penthouse. And it REALLY worked for Shania Twain, who divorced her allegedly cheating hubby and then whipped out some intense cleavage at the CMAs. Now that Amy Winehouse is supposedly single, we hope it’s her turn. She could start slow with basic nutrients and go from there.
We Are So Over Sex and the City. The movie did well this summer, so we may be alone here. But between the world treating the four stars like the second coming of the Beatles and the movie itself being a glorified clothing montage peppered with character assassinations, we are still — seven months hence — sick of it all. We couldn’t even get excited when Sarah Jessica Parker showed up to the premiere with a potted plant on her head. Here’s hoping the rumored sequel languishes in Kim Cattrall’s agent’s in-box for a while.
The Perfect Sparkly Minidress Can Make People Forget That Time You Shaved Your Head. For the longest time, the name “Britney” conjured up tragic images of torn tights, dilated pupils, boobs oozing from see-through tops, and bad wigs. Then this year’s VMAs happened, and improbably, now when we think of Britney, we picture her in that killer silver number and suspect that she might just make it after all. Such is the power of a hot dress. And a shower. Something for us all to bear in mind as we head into 2009.