Olivia Wilde in Carolina Herrera

Posted on March 28, 2012

We want to like this dress more than we do and we’re not quite sure why.


Olivia Wilde attends the Empire Film Awards 2012 in London in a Carolina Herrera dress paired with a Jimmy Choo clutch.

Carolina Herrera Spring 2012 Collection/Model:Jac

Jimmy Choo ‘Candy’ Clutch

It’s got the long sleeves and high neckline that spurs everyone to yell “Sister-Wife!” as a criticism, but that’s not what bothers us. She’s shown a fondness for more covered-up styles before and they suit her. It’s got some glitter to it; just enough for the red carpet without being showy about it. But why does it look so much better on the model than it does on Olivia? Is it the shitty hair that ruins it? The ridiculous platforms? Maybe, but we think the real reason this doesn’t work on the RC is because the print is too small in scale to read well in candid photographs, which means all of the visual interest in this dress is nothing more than TV static in pictures. We suspect this looked much, much better in person.

But that still doesn’t excuse the shitty hair and platforms.


[Photo Credit: Landmark, Solarpix/PR Photos, elle.com, nordstrom.com]

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  • Actually, I think it’s her posture that is making it look bad. She looks droopy and sad.

    • moppet

      That was my first thought. Posture. The hair is almost the same as the model’s and the shoes can barely be seen in the photos. Also, though I like her subdued makeup in general, I wonder if it was the right choice here.

      • NinaBoo

        Agreed. After posture, my next thought was “color!”  Everything is very blah, hair is bad, posture sucks. Olivia Honey, would you rather be curled up on the couch in your sweats from high school and reading a book?

    • Droopy and sad. First words that popped into my head.

    • I thought the same thing.  It is really droopy around her torso.  She is way too pretty to be wearing droopy dresses.

    • siriuslover

      Yes, I thought she looks “frumpy.” I think the posture is what’s doing it here. 

    • My first thought as well.   There’s something really off about this look on her.

    • Exactly what I was thinking – that first pic’s posture makes her boobies look sad…

  • gsk241

    I don’t particularly like it on the model either, although Olivia’s hair isn’t doing anyone any favors.  To me, the dress looks like frumpy chainmail.

    •  chainmail was my first impression as well.

    • erinbinek


    • NurseEllen

      That was in the same ballpark as my first thought, which was, should be worn by Guinevere in a production of “Camelot”; just add one of those cone-shaped hats with the flag hanging from the side.  Too unstructured, not at all flattering on a pretty woman.  I’d sort of be surprised if this really did look better in person.

    • Verascity

       I actually thought it WAS chainmail for a minute.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      I think it’s the dress. It simply isn’t very attractive-bland color, and it looks like a long sack with a belt.

    • TheDivineMissAnn

      Yep, chainmail.  And it hangs like it’s heavy chainmail too.

  • kimmeister

    I would’ve loved bolder makeup with such a subdued (color-wise) dress.

  • The way the belt dips in the front makes her look like she has a belly which I am quite sure she does not.

    • pookiesmom

      Yeah, I think it’s a shape issue more than anything. On the runway, the top is a little noticeably blousey (as though it’s tucked into the belt), where in this, it’s saggy and the “u” shape as it’s hitting her waistline makes it look like she has a belly. 

  • schadenfreudelicious

    in some of the shots it looks like rumpled chainmail…it may have been better in person but it photographs terribly..

    •  I think “rumpled” is the main problem here.  There’s more rumpling going on than draping.

    • Like she’s on her way to the Ren Faire, but she’s not really totally into it.

  • I love it on the model, but not on Olivia. It’s partially her posture, and I also think that the dress works when it’s moving, but not necessarily standing still. 

    • another_laura

      This!  many times.  Movement makes it work.

  • cleep1000

    The lining or undergarment is pulling and wrinkling, even on the model. The outer garment looks like netted rope. Her face is way too shiny and bland; a bolder lip and a little color on her cheeks would have helped. The shoes are horrid! The color is wrong for her. That is not her dress! It might not be anybody’s dress.

  • Bozhi

    It’s a dress that shows better moving.  Standing there, it just hangs.

    • ballerinawithagun

      I agree, it needs movement. Also 2″ shorter.

  • MK03

    Guh. What a drab, frumpy little number. 

  • It looks like chainmail at first glance, that’s what’s wrong with it. 

  • tween00

    Kinda looks like the dress is made of chain mail. Very Game of Thrones (which in my wildest fantasies TLo would start following… well, not my WILDEST, but, you know)

    • girliecue

      I like the idea of a chain mail dress, especially if the chain mail looks beautifully feminine. But what I’d really, REALLY like is for T Lo to start blogging Game of Thrones…

      Unfortunately, the rumpling going on underneath this dress is super distracting. I totally buy Olivia Wilde as a mid-millennium princess, though!

  • nannypoo

    This is an awful dress and it looks terrible on her and on the model. It’s droopy and unflattering, the fabric is ugly, it doesn’t fit, and it’s a bad color. It’s so bad I didn’t even notice the hair or shoes.

    • alyce1213

      … which are equally bad!

  • Judy_J

    Something about the fit is off, too.  The color (or lack of) isn’t helping, either.

  • I really like it from the neck to just above the waist, and there it loses me.  Agreed that more thoughtful hair and some color on her face would have helped, but mostly my objection is that without any kind of enforced waist shaping it looks like she’s wearing a paper sack.  That belt is just not up to the task.  I think it looks frumpy on the model too, for what it’s worth.

  • eclare

    Looks like chainmail.  And she actually looks a lot like Lena Heady, so the whole thing is giving off a Game of Thrones vibe.

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    i will always love platforms.

    that said, i think the problem is that the dress is just poorly fitted. maybe the thing w/ the print adds to the problem, particularly in photographs, but i think the fit, especially across the mid-section, is the main issue.

    edited to add:
    no, it’s all of it. the arms, under the arms, the hips, all of it.

  • RebeccaKW

    It seems droopy at the neckline and waist…maybe it needs to be fitted better b/c I don’t see that on the model.  The hair and shoes aren’t helping and neither is that hideous background.  And maybe a little more color on the face.

  • MilaXX

    The hair is horrible but I like the makeup for a change. The platforms don’t go at all, but there’s something odd about the fit. I don’t know if it’s too long, too big or what, but it looks bunched up in places. Pretty dress, bad fit.

  • Anathema_Device

    Like other BKs have said, the fit is the problem. It could be a cool look if it weren’t so sad looking on her: droopy and sack-like. Also, the shoes and hair don’t help matters at all.

  • janedonuts

    Is it because it looks like a droopy suit of armor?

  • Sara__B

    That dress requires impeccable posture and energetic posing EVERY SECOND to pull it off. In the second picture from the bottom, she brought it. First two pictures? Not so much. (The black shoes and clutch are black holes of energy-sucking. So blah.)

  • jw_ny

    It does look better in the close up shots, probably since you can’t see the saggy boobs, saggy belt, fabric puddle at the floor, monotonous color grey ….and you can see the pattern and her skin beneath.  Overall looks rather dull…which is odd with all that cheap sparkly silver stuff all over it. 

  • vintagion

    Its the color of dirty bathwater and the fabric just droops so easily. I definitely agree it could have used a bold make-up element to jazz it up, but I think the color just does her no favors.

  • ccm800

    I dont think it does all that much for the model – especially in the midsection…Its like a sparkly Renaissance Fair ensem to me. 

  • she just isn’t that into the dress

  • Ignorant question – are these gowns altered at all from the runway?  I understand you can’t drastically modify loaned couture, but this just doesn’t fit.  What looks light & floaty on the runway looks like lumpy, weighted-down armor on Olivia and it’s ridiculous that her hem still drags the floor even in those enormous platforms.

    Entire industries are built around celebrity appearances, and no one can baste a hem?

  • Julie Fountain

    The dress looks airier and lighter on the runway, maybe because it’s in motion?

  • sk8tfan

    You dislike it because it’s an ugly dress, sillies. Color of regurgitated oatmeal and doesn’t fit. Dress is doomed.

  • It looks like maybe it’s a little too big on her.

  • svtl

    Unfortunately the unsuccessful (or too successful) negligée hairstyle makes her wonderful outfit resemble negligée.. On another note, she probably looks attractive even in culottes, so it doesn’t quite matter what she wears 🙂

  • It looks sort of goddess-y on the runway, but frumpy on the red carpet, which I think says something about how models sell the garment by making it move.  Some dresses look better in motion than they do just standing there.  Actresses need “just standing there” dresses.  Also: visible foundation garments will kill a look every time.

  • BayTampaBay

    The dress works on the model because she is very tall. 

    The dress does not work on Olivia Wilde because she is not “over” tall.

    Also, the step & reapeat does the dress no favors.

  • Nora Mulllin

    It looks better on the model because she doesn’t need it hemmed 3 inches. Also, there’s no shitty hair and bad shoes. On top of that, the model has good posture.

  • jjfg

    I think the pattern is an issue – at first I actually though it was chain mail (OK, LIGHT chain mail, but still…) – and that gives it a heaviness that isn’t helped by the fit at the midsection.  She looks moderately frumpy.  Add the shoes and sloppy hair, and I’m just glad this wasn’t an IN or OUT, because I’d hate to give 13 an out.

  • butterflysunita

    Even on the model, that dress looks like a potato sack.

  • Lilak

    Can’t make the blouse do its blouse-y thing when you have boobs larger than the typical model’s.  Hair needs to be sleek.  Clunky shoes SO wrong for this gown.  Absolutely requires some lip color.  Basically: teh moddle’s duin it rite.

    Gown also looks best in motion … and the catwalk lighting makes the sparkle actually, you know, sparkle (lends sorely needed interest to the color & pattern of the fabric).

    Lucky Jac . . . poor Miss Wilde.   

  • Lilithcat

     But why does it look so much better on the model than it does on Olivia? 

    It looks droopy on her.  It doesn’t fit quite right, and it’s one of those dresses that must fit right.

  • Eva Whitsett

    She looks like a dumpy sack of potatoes, and I don’t like it on the model either.

  • hughman

    On the model it reads “Greek goddess approaching her throne”. On Wilde it reads “Joan of Arc’s walk of shame”. 

  • To me, it looks floaty and ethereal on the model; on Olivia it just looks droopy. The black platforms weigh it down as opposed to the weightless silver sandals on the model. 

  • Posture. Details. Angles. The dress looks sloppy on her and not chic and trendy. Which, is kind of one of the body type issues of girls with subtle curves trying to rock gowns made for the well and truly waif-ish. It’s catching at her bra-line and that belt sits super unflatteringly. 

  • Elaine Lang

    If she had better posture and better-engineered undergarments, I bet you’d have a more favorable impression.

    As is so often true…it’s the little things that take a WERQ to a “honey, no.”

  • filmcricket

    Possibly because it looks like tinsel attached to a farmer’s wife’s dress? Or it could be the dishrag colour or the lousy fit, or the fact that the model couldn’t make it work either…

  • janetjb

    I’m not sure who could pull off that dress, but it’s not Olivia.

    Does the dress fit? It’s so rumpled that I can’t tell plus the color is all wrong for her.

  • Rroxy

    I don’t like the dress at all. The material looks like she just stepped into her empty potato sack, the color is dull, and it bunches everywhere. Never mind the bad hair and shoes, this was a rag from the get-go.

  • She looks droppy and a bit sloppy.

  • Frumpy!

  • Lisa

    Yeah, I agree that it’s very “Sister Wife”.  Sister Wife with a little bling tossed on for a special occasion.  

  • marilyn

    The other problem is the drooping belt.  Her waist gets lost, and the dress loses all of its shaping.  It just looks like an ill-fiitng sack.  if the belt sat on her waist, it would look A LOT better.  I don’t care about her librarian bun, that just adds to the Sister-Wife theme.  The shoes have nothing to do with this, so at least they are covered up.   The dress may also look a lot better when it moves.  Standing still makes it look dowdy. 

  • Nonnah

    I was thinking it’s the fit.  She looks dumpy.

  • It’s the belt! Sad belt!

  • scrappy1

    I actually quite like the makeup.  Though the rest of it is shite.

  • She is NOT werqing that dress. She seems to be embarrassed to be wearing it. Oh my. It’s a lesson in how to make a beautiful gal look bad. 

  • margaret meyers

    All these gowns with long sleeves.  sigh.  It’s so easy to do this wrong — I think half the problem with January Jone’s gown yesterday was the long sleeves.  And here again. 

    I think there’s very tricky chemistry involved when you put long sleeves on a gown.  The arms easily end up looking huge and heavy instead of providing a slender and graceful contrast to the long, clothed torso.  And the body ends up looking wide.  The proportions are so hard to get right.

  • annieanne

    The cut at the sleeves makes her boobs look squooshed and droopy and the belt plus the accent at the waist gives her a tummy. Add in the rather sad colour and limp fabric and the whole thing looks drab and lifeless.

  • h2olovngrl

    She looks like she just pledged her sword to Frodo. “One does not simply walk into Mordor!”

  • greyhoundgirl

    Frumpy fit.

  • efishfan

    Someone went a little crazy with the brow pencil.

  • It looks like Arthur’s chain mail on an episode of Merlin except longer. His chain mail is droopy and unflattering too.

  • TheOtherChristina

    Agreed re: pattern scale, although I think the pattern is probably the best thing about this dress. It looks better on the model, but I don’t know if I would go so far as to say it looks good. The real problem is that Olivia’s dress is too small and she’s too busty to pull off this cut. Possibly too curvy overall.

  • CQAussie

    That clutch is adorable, I really love it!  I can’t say the same for this outfit….

  • For some reason my mind went straight to Maid Marian/Guinevere/Lady of the Lake. It just seems to hang on her and looks kind of sloppy.

    • Celandine1

       That’s was my first thought, Arthurian lady. Arthurian lady in a droopy chainmail dress and a sparkly chastity belt.

  • fiestyfashionfem

    It’s kinda like a “Game of Thrones” dress in the first picture.  Weird – right?

  • ziarah

    It looks like it’s made of cheap chain maille. 

  • lalahartma


  • The whole thing looks saggy. Like her skin is drooping. ugh

  • Derek_anny

    Give her a sword and she can bisect three young tourists from Utrecht.

    I also think the disparity between her and the runway is length.  The sleeves are longer on her.

  • I wish it was on Florence Welch.

  • Judih1

    What do you think of the purse? To me it is a blah purse that costs a mint just because the Jimmy Choo name is plastered prominently on the front. Nothing unique design wise, just a piece of advertising.

  • j_anson

    I’ve gotta go with: “Because it looks like a chain-mail smock over cotton padding.”

  • Joey Melliza

    the model’s thinner (especially around the hips) and taller…. Olivia’s too fat for the dress to make it WERQ! — this is not your dress child!

  • To me it seems the most fetching aspect of the dress on the runway is how it appears to move. It loses that glittery, diaphanous quality when the wearer is standing still. Plus, as said below, sadboob posture is sad and droopy.

  • amanda crow

    It helps that the model is in motion.

  • Sally Brownson

    Bad chainmail. That’s what it looks like to me…

  • I think it’s just that the catwalk lighting is bringing out the sparkles on the model’s dress which draw the eye downward and elongate the shape.  The sparkles aren’t showing up on the red carpet leaving all attention around the droopy chest area..

  • Christina MacDonnell

    it looks like chainmail.  hate it.

  • TieDye64

    No, not digging this at all. Not on her nor the model. It just makes me sad.

  • Looks like she’s wearing chainmail.  I dig it.  But the shoes are absurd!

  • I think it just looks gray, washed-out, at least in the photos and on her. Probably a very sexy dress in person or in private life, so to speak, with the transparency, but pallid in a photo.

  • amber_julene

    Two words: dishrag chainmail. Okay four words. Two compound words made of four words.

  • miagain

    It looks like she’s standing in front of a bunch of Krispy Kreme donut boxes!

  • fringebenefit

    Bottom line: it’s one of those dresses that only works in motion…once you stand still, it lumps and clusters. 

  • lilibetp

    I want to like Olivia Wilde more than I do and I’m not quite sure why.

  • DinaSews

    I think the dress just needs to be moving.  It really is airy and light which does not translate to standing on the red carpet.

  • Sarah Phillips

    It’s also too long and the waist ‘dips’ more than on the model. It doesn’t fall right

  • sagecreek

    Meh. Bad Ren Faire look.

  • Jecca2244

    the hair and the face….yikes.

  • It looks like the kind of mesh knights used to wear under their armor.

  • belfebe

    It seems that the dress is not fitted so well.  Looks a bit weird on her.  And the styling is off.  Pretty dress.  Pity it’s not well fitted and styled.

  • PeggyOC

    jingly schmatti

  • ChaquitaPhilly

    How can she possibly look so dumpy? It really doesn’t look very good on the model, either, so I suspect it’s just an impossible dress.

  • kaycem

    i think the curved arc of the belt makes it look droopy (slash) does nothing for her body AT ALL.  even the model looks like she has a pooch and you KNOW that’s not the case.  i agree wholeheartedly about the print — something larger scale would’ve been perfect.

  • TheOriginalLulu

    I just don’t think that this color does anything for her. Plus the fact that she’s all shiny and her hair looks like she went to the event straight from the gym. Olivia, you disappoint. You’re so gorgeous; you can do MUCH better than this.

  • NCDFan

    It isn’t fitted well through the bosom. It looks lumpy.

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    Weird.  I love it.  I think because it looks faintly medievalish and I am a sucker for things like that.  

  • Hon, where I come from, this is known as a croker sack.

  • twocee

    Frumpy and doesn’t look like it fits her.

  • It doesn’t photograph well, at all.  Don’t stylists check for that kind of thing?

  • splix71

    It looks chip.

  • piecesofconfetti

    I dunno, it looks a little “Game of Thrones”y to me.

  • She looks super droopy, and also it doesn’t look like it fits right.

  • Also the fabric is pulled straight through the belt, so the belt looks like it’s badly fitted rather than giving a poofiness to the torso. On the model that looks really cute, but she changed the silhouette to one which it’s not suited for.

  • It looks like chain mail.

  • Tracy_Flick

    I don’t think it looks great on the model either. The belt detail looks saggy, and it makes the whole look sort of bed-sheety. I actually like the print and think it looks Joan of Arc chain mail in the photos, but the waist treatment ruins it.

  • Sophie Collier

    The loose, saggy belt makes her look dumpy, which she simply cannot be.  Bad fit and not exactly a pretty dress to start with.