FIT!! Fit fit fit fit fit fit fit!!!!!!!!!
It doesn't matter how wonderful a garment is. It doesn't matter how beautiful the design or fabric is. It doesn't matter if it's a museum-quality vintage piece or off the rack from H&M or a one-of-a-kind couture extravaganza. It doesn't matter how much the color makes your eyes pop or how much fun the skirt is to twirl in or how much it reminds you of a beloved dress you wore in college (though all of those things are certainly nice).
To paraphrase someone whom I never in my life intended to reference: If it doesn't fit, it looks like shit.
Excuse my language. But I feel quite strongly about this.
The corollary to the Law of Fit is that just because you can squeeeeeeeeeeze yourself into something doesn't mean it FITS.
Case (as usual) in point:
Here is Beyoncé in her Elie Saab dress from the Golden Globes last Sunday. It doesn't fit. Well, yes, she's in the thing and all that, but it doesn't fit her. If a garment is so tight it makes you wince when you look at it, it's wrong. I'm not knocking her right to cleavage -- the gal's got a great rack & there's no harm in working it -- but that's not cleavage, it's medieval torture. Also, let's note the pose. Almost every picture I've seen of her in that dress has her with her hands planted firmly on her hips like that. Ladies, we have all done something like that at one point or another, haven't we, so we recognize it. That's not merely a "look how fierce I am" posture. She's pushing that dress back down over her hips, because it's so tight it's riding up. You can see the bunching in the photos. Those of us with tushies know how walking makes for some wiggling, and the wiggle plays havoc with the fit if something is too tight. This is too tight.
Here's the dress as it appeared in Elie Saab's Spring 08 HC show.
First off, yes, of course, these two women have COMPLETELY different body types and so of course the dress is going to look different. Please don't think my quibbles are with Beyoncé's body -- I think she has an amazing body: curvy and womanly and gorgeous. My quibble is with the way the dress fits her body. If you look at the dress on the runway you can see that it skims down over the model's body and that combined with the pattern of the beading gives it something of a sense of movement, which is a nice thing in a dress. Actually, I might go so far as to say that it's an essential thing in a truly great garment -- that feeling of movement. Clothes are for the human body, and human bodies move. If a dress fights with that, like Beyoncé's dress above, it looks terrible. That dress on her is a completely static creation, mostly due to how damn tight it is, and that's a shame because we all know girlfriend has got some moves.
Another case in point:
This is a young woman whose name is Meghan Fox. I have no idea who this person is or why she's famous. The brief interview I saw with her on the red carpet show made me suspect that she's either a complete lunatic or thoroughly unlikeable. (She kept going on & on about how insecure she is and how ugly she always feels... Whatever. I'm not saying beautiful people can't have self-esteem issues, but let's keep them away from the red carpet microphones when we're wearing dresses that cost as much as some folks' cars. My guess is Ms. Fox here is well aware that her job in Hollywood, whatever it may be, didn't come her way because she was a stellar trigonometry student.)
The dress is Ralph Lauren and had soooo much potential, I thought. The beading is spectacular and I'm certainly not against well-executed sparkly. But oh, it's sooooo tight! Why? Why does it have to be so tight? Did Ms. Fox's stylist fear that if she were able to breathe in the dress, if there was an extra half-inch of seam allowance, that it would somehow transform her into a blimp? You have to do a LOT of work to disguise a body like that and make it look bad, my friends. You don't have to do a lot to make it look fantastic. Also, that extreme tightness is aging. It sounds counter-intuitive, but that skin-tight-ness has the effect of making her look a good deal older than she probably is (and it's not helped by the skinned-back hairdo). It's almost matronly, which is ridiculous. She's young, she's lovely, loosen up a little, already.
Here's the dress on the runway:
A whole different thing here. It's helped by the fact that the model is moving in the photo, but again -- it's so snug on Ms. Fox that it looks like she can't move and that's such a waste. The dress on the runway looks effortless, "oh-this-old-thing?" tossed on, and all the more gorgeous because of it. Such a lovely contrast between that intense beadwork and shimmer and the ease of the silhouette. I really like that. And you can bet your Spanx that Mr. Lauren (or a close associate) was running around behind-the scenes at that runway show and gave the thumbs-up on this dress and that's how it was meant to look. (Besides, Lauren's thing has always been that easy American luxe -- gorgeous without trying. He's never been a skin-tight guy and there's no reason to believe he's starting now.)
Most likely I'm preaching to the choir here. If you're reading this you're probably a Right Thinking Individual such as myself and you've been nodding your head all along. But I would just like to point out that all of this plays out in the aisles at the grocery store as well the red carpet and it bears repeating: