Girl, That’s Not Your Dress: Hilary Swank

Posted on March 30, 2012

Y’know, we could write a couple hundred words about why we think this dress isn’t right for Hils, but we think we can do this more efficiently.


Hillary Swank attends Leonardo Da Vinci’s Latest Exhibition:’The Saint Anne’ Leonardo Da Vinci’s Ultimate Masterpiece at Musee du Louvre. Hilary Swank wore a Salvatore Ferragamo dress.

Not Hils:

Salvatore Ferragamo Pre-Fall 2012 Collection/Model: Linnea Regnander



Not Hils:

Let’s do that one more time just so we’re all on the same page.


Not Hils:

Now, despite this efficient and inarguable method of proving our point, we suppose we should explain. We’re not saying Hils needs to be a model to wear this dress – or even that anyone needs to be one. We’re just saying there’s the way this dress is supposed to look, and then there’s the dress that Hilary is wearing. It has nothing to do with body, because Hils’ bod is and always has been slamming. No, it comes down to: this is a very girly, coquette-style dress and Hils is many things, but a coquette is not one of them.

Sweetie, pack this dress up and ship it off to a Fanning sister or Carey Mulligan.


[Photo Credit Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images,]

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  • The only thing about this that works is the color, which is perfect for her.

    • Anathema_Device

       Heh, should have read you first, of course. I said the same thing. That color on her is such a tonic after seeing what that orange-red blouse did to Ashley Greene.

      • janetjb


  • Judy_J

    Her limp and lifeless hair isn’t doing her any favors, either.  She looks like the “before” in a shampoo ad.

    •  I’m so distracted by her awful hair, I almost don’t notice how awful the dress is on her.

      • Knightley

         Same here.  I wonder if the dress would look better if her hair looked like it had been washed in the past month or so.

    • greyhoundgirl

      Yes–I immediately thought the same.  It looks so raggedy.

    • drdarke

      Hillary Swank’s never really taken care of her hair – she’s right down there with Alexa Chung. You want to ask her, “Don’t you own a comb, young lady?”

      The only time her hair looks good is when it’s either short or in a ponytail.

  • IAmJ

    Also: Girl, That’s Not Your Hair.

    • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

      That’s the problem — it IS her hair!  Dragging down her face, stringy, and unwashed, by the looks of it.  She needs a stylist to show her how to do her hair so it doesn’t age her.  And to wash it.

    • CCDilg

      Right..brush your hair!

  • Jennifer Hejtmánková

    What is always with HER HAIR??

    • Glammie

      I figure that after she won an Oscar playing the ulitimate androgynous character, she was told to play up the whole girly-femme thing so that she wouldn’t get typecast.  Of course, she then won her second Oscar for playing a female boxer.  She has a long face and long straight hair doesn’t work with it.

      Neither does this flowy, Victorian New-Romantic dress.  Hillary can’t do whimsy. 

      • RebeccaKW

         Ugh, did you see her in that Black Dahlia movie, where she was supposed to be that femme fatale?  Yes, she’s beautiful, but that sex-pot style character did not suit her. 

        • Glammie

          Didn’t see it, but while I think her face is interesting and attractive, it isn’t soft.  She should stick to sleek stuff and not try to fight her looks.  It doesn’t work–she’s never going to have Michelle Williams round face.

          • RebeccaKW

             Exactly.  She’s the hot chick that kick your ass, not the damsel in distress.

  • JasmineAM

    Absolutely loved the photo comparison. 

  • Joyce VG

    Wow. No.

  • sherrietee

    And for gods sake, do something with your hair.  

  • Spicytomato1

    I saw a photo of this yesterday, I think, and it jumped out at me because I think it’s a lovely, intriguing dress. 

    But Hil’s hair is just so wrong — looks like she just jumped off a golf cart and into a dress Michelle Williams’s stylist mistakenly left on her hotel room bed. 

  • Yikes. I was going to say this is NOBODY’S dress but it does look good on the model. The length and size seem to have a lot to do with it, but even then, I doubt it would look right…. can’t pin point it. Hair is pretty dang bad, though, too. 

  • DaveinAlamitosBeach

    Hilary, bangs please.  You almost have Elisabeth Moss fivehead there.

    • MilaXX

       See I don’t think every fivehead needs bangs, however a center part is never a friend to us big head gals. A side part and a better hair style would work wonders.

  • If I’d seen this dress only on Hilary, I would have thought it was just an awful dress, period.  I was a little startled to see how good it looked on the model.  Hilary didn’t do either herself or the designer any favors here.

  • CatherineRhodes

    I actually winced when I scrolled down. Truly hideous.

  • Jecca2244

    That color is BEYOND. I’ll take it!

  • TheOriginalLulu

    Agreed, TLo. Also, it’s a dress that has so much going on that it practically demands a sleek hairstyle. I’m not sure she even ran a comb through her hair before heading out the door and it just isn’t working. 

  • MilaXX

    Too many elements for Hills. Oddly it somehow looks too big on her.

  • Anathema_Device

    Eep. Awful on her. The lank hair isn’t helping matters, but that dress was a terrible idea for her to begin with. Love the color, though.

  • ballerinawithagun

    This almost looks vintage/retro so it should only be worn by a young, a coquette as you said. On Hillary it just looks like she is still wearing a dress from her youth.

  • nannypoo

    Hillary demonstrates for us here how to take a pretty dress and use it to transform yourself into a frump. I thought immediately of Dakota Fanning, who is in the right age group for this dress and needs color. And, by the way, where is Hailee Steinfield these days? I miss that adorable little fashion sprite.

  • Sara__B

    She didn’t do anything to own this dress. It’s too big and too long for her, and nothing in the styling says “Hilary Swank” (except the lank hair).

  • You know what? I like this dress on her. I think the real problem is her hair; it just looks messy and pulls down her face. If you are going to wear a dress with this much design in it, everything else has to be very clean. I hate the fishnets with this too; it makes it much to fussy and overdone. With better hair and nude stockings this would be great.

    • Laura Valentine

      Yes! I feel like — sleek pony, nix the fishnets, maybe change up the shoe and get a bag with more contrast, and it’s fine.  The styling just ruins it.

  • butterflysunita

    That dress is so all kinds of wrong on her.  And the fishnets only increase the wrongness.  

  • demidaemon

    This is more of a “Girl, You Shouldn’t Have Left the House Today” look for me. The hair the dress, the tights, the shoes, it’s all making her look crazy, dissheveled, and a bit like she escaped the mental hospital, ransacked someone’s house, and the showed up out of nowhere for this event. 

  • GorgeousThings

    Using the same photos, I would re-caption them thus:


    “No Hills”

    That’s all

  • BrooklynBomber

    Too funny.  Though I’m not sure that’s even Not Hils’ dress. 

  • Liz

    Oh man, that thumbnail looked so promising.  And I am so willing to overlook flaws if I get to look at purple.  *sigh*

  • Dagney

    Hmmm, I would change the styling.  Give her a cute, high ponytail, trade the fishnets for super-sheer black, and shorten the hem.

  • MoHub

    Fanning is exactly where my mind went!

  • miagain

    I don’t think that’s anyone’s dress…

  • granddelusion

    I think maybe this is just an ugly dress. It’s certainly a tad overwrought.

    •  It’s a hideous dress. “a tad overwrought” might be an understatement. It just looks worse on Swank than it does on the model, but, seriously, only a tiny bit worse. That dress should be burned.

      Also, I think this is the first time in my life that I haven’t loved fishnets.

  • PastryGoddess

    Why does Hils always go for the obvious looks.  Girl has the body and the bearing to wear avant garde and out there looks.  Why she doesn’t have Mary Kantranzou, Stephane Rollande or McQueen on speed dial is beyond me. 

  • ccm800

    would have helped had it been altered and not hang on her like a damn bag – a long bag. 

  • mom2ab

    And while you’re at it do something with that hair.

  • JaneDC

    She’s swimming in it: look how long the sleeves are! If she didn’t set my teeth on edge by just existing, i might be able to care.

  • Celandine1

    We can only wish a Fanning sister would wear this color. Am begining to think they have some kind of skin allergy caused by color.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I’m actually not convinced this dress works on the model either. Or at all.

  • Excellent critique!

    The dress just reads as harsh on Hilary, where it would read as interesting and sweet on a Fanning.

    • CozyCat

      Or Leighton Meester. 

  • Kyle Crawford

    you really hit this one right  on the head, SUCH a pretty dress… just not for the lovely Miss Swank.

  • PeggyOC

    Poor Hils. She so very seldom dresses right for her body type.  

  • crash1212

    I get your points, but that’s nobody’s dress. Ugly. Even on the model.

  • PeaceBang

    Wow, I love that dress. On the model. You’re spot on, as usual, and that straggly hair certainly didn’t help matters. This frock needs a romantic girl wearing it, not a sporty Amazon goddess.

  • Martha Deutsch

    And after you go to the post office, get your hair did!! That mop will make any look an OUT.

  • marilyn

    It looked fine on her, except the sleeves were a little too long, but that is not a deal breaker.  Maybe she is preparing for a role.  

  • It looks three sizes too big for her, which I think is the main problem. Also, did a wig fall on her head on the way to the venue, or has she given up haircare for Lent?

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    i think one of the main problems is that the dress loses its stun factor once it is no longer lit so you can see the pleat details.
    not to mention that i agree it is way too big & that is probably its big issue here.

  • formerlyAnon

    There is too much going on all over the dress for those over-the-hands sleeve ruffles. It’s just that one thing too many.

    And I think it wouldn’t matter who was wearing it, though you’re right, it’s not her vibe.

  • WHY couldn’t she at least have lost the monochromatic belt and fishnets?

  • Snailstsichr

    How can I be expected to concentrate for the rest of the day when all I can think is how cute Carey would look in this dress??

  • Carey Mulligan or Mia Wasikowska could look fabulous in this dress. But hopefully their stylists would be less lazy and not copy the look verbatim from the runway/lookbook…

  • Guest

    I’m putting vaseline on my face and taking my earring off for this fight.  

  • Sweetvegan

    She’s too short for that dress. That dress was made for someone several inches taller. The sleeves are too long. The bodice is too long so it just pools around her waist in a very unflattering way. Too often, these celebrities wear dresses that were loaned by the designer, so they can’t alter them. And most celebs are not as tall as models. Short celebs, like Sarah Jessica Parker, constantly look like they’re little girls playing dress-up with their mom’s clothes.

  • I see Florence Welch in this. With a short enough hem it wouldn’t make her look so damn old, but has the floaty romantic thing going on.

  • Frump city on Hils.  And she’s no frump.

  • librarygrrl64

    Oh, sweet Jesus, that’s not her anything. Her HAIR, Louisa!!!

  • Seth22431

     Nothing is so frequent as to mistake an ordinary human gift for a special and extraordinary endowment.

  • I think it’s the hair that’s killing it, too. It looks like my hair does after the gym.

    • Sally Brownson

       I was about to say- no mention of the horrifying hair? She looks like she got out of the shower and forgot to brush.

  • Take up the sleeves and somebody please wash that woman’s hair. Oh, for the love of God, these are basic styling tips…

  • kimmeister

    Am I the only one who’s not liking her eye makeup?  It’s giving her crazy eyes.

  • She just doesn’t get that she’s not a rom-com queen or a girly-girl.  Sheesh.

  • Monabel

    More awful hair.

  • She’s got ginormous knees. Not cute from certain angles.

  • Rand Ortega

    That isn’t anyone’s dress. Seriously.


  • TheOtherChristina

    I love this dress, so I get why she would want to wear it, but it could not be more wrong for her. She needs a sporty Victoria Beckham look and a goddamn haircut.

  • Lisa

    She looks like three times a knucklehead in this dress!

  • jw_ny

    What a mess!  It looks like she got caught in a torrential downpour!  Her hair is a disaster and the pleats in the dress are all smashed and wrinkled.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Hilary Swank does have a great body, and this dress isn’t doing that body justice. Agree with Uncles T and Lo, this is more appropriate for a Fanning sister or Carey Mulligan.

  • quiltrx

    It’s okay down til about her elbows, then it goes really wrong for her.  I do love that color on her (and I love the color, period).

  • Gah! Her head is as tall as her shoulders are wide.

  • margaret meyers

    Bravo.  You identified a very fine point about dressing, and expressed it perfectly.

  • That’s one ugly dress.

  • guest2visits

    She doesn’t look awful, but the hanging hair does make the dress seem like its dripping-slipping down off of her.

  • adnama79

    Not a dress for a grown-ass woman.

  • berkeleygirl

    Hils looks like hells.

  • Sophie Collier

    Yep, it’s definitely a teen-to-early twenties style dress.  Chloe Morentz would look cute in it too.

  • TieDye64

    She just looks SAD. From the limp locks down to the shoes. Sad.

  • It looks so sloppy on her. Not just the hair (which is very nearly a coked-out kind of sloppy), but the whole look. The sleeves, the fit in general; it just looks sloppy.

  • ri_dic

    I think that dress is NO one’s dress. Tiered skirt with chains with lace with fishnets with matching purse? Most of those elements on their own are horrible.

  • ChaquitaPhilly

    I agree that she should fix that hair, but that isn’t ANYBODY’S Dress!

  • Vic

    Horrible dress. Period.

  • vmcdanie

    The fishnets really push it over the twee border too. Hillary is having a rough few years professionally, no?

  • Dead-on commentary.

  • Candigirl1968

    Good gracious that’s awful. 

  • The dress says “sweetly old-fashioned young girl.”  Hilary Swank is none of those things.