In or Out: Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Valentino

Posted on June 21, 2012

Stylists and starlets, please line up for a tutorial, entitled “How to Wear Neutrals Without Looking Like a Ghost or a Serial Killer Who Made a Dress Out of Skin.”

We’re working on that title. Anyway, Mary Elizabeth, could you please step forward?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead attends premiere of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” in New York City in a Valentino dress paired with Brian Atwood pumps.

Now, we’ll grant you that a slight hint of color would have been welcome practically anywhere in this look, but especially in the shoes. But that’s almost beside the point because this is such a masterful choice of neutral for her that she looks too nice for us to criticize. The reason this works is because she’s not wearing a shade that matches or clashes with her skin tone. Instead, she’s wearing something slightly browner and ever-so-slightly darker than it. But what really sells this dress is the textural element. It’s beautifully rendered; one of those articles of clothing that you might have to resist touching when you see someone wearing it.

We think she looks gorgeous and damn close to perfect here. We’re willing to entertain rebuttals. And when we say “entertain,” we mean “laugh at them.” It’s true that she’s a bit too brown overall, but you can’t deny she’s polished as hell. The only real issue we have is that this all looks a little heavy for June (which seems to be quite an issue lately with R.C. appearances).


Vote Now!


IN! Polished and perfect!


OUT! Dull as dishwater.



In other neutral dress news, Lucy Liu’s bedsheet was voted OUT but Keira Knightley’s fashion fairy getup got an IN.

[Photo Credit: Charles Norfleet/PR Photos, Larry Busacca/Getty Images]

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  • MarissaLG

    Not WERQ level, but definitely IN!

    • Gorgeous! Definitely an In! It helps that she’s wearing her hair down,  which adds some contrast between the dress and her skin as

  • In! I actually love this in spite of the color

    • Me too.  I don’t like beige, tan, sand, taupe, etc much at all, yet here it works! 

      • Were it a car, the color would be derided as “retirement tan”.  

        Champagne is another taupey beige color name…

        •  “retirement tan” is now making its way into my daily vocabulary, thank you!

  • Without question, an in. She looks classy as hell, fully put together, and in flawless taste.

  • jmorino08

    Gorgeous! Definitely an In! It helps that she’s wearing her hair down, which adds some contrast between the dress and her skin as well. Can we also rejoice that she’s not sporting the “one shoulder” hairdo?!?!

  • j_anson

    IN. Being a brunette rather than a blonde is helping her a lot, too. Although I’m going to stop looking at it before all the beads on the fabric that kind of make it look like *really expensive* pilling car upholstery convince me otherwise.

  • Kriky

    Very In! I envy her hair.

  • In.  

  • Am I really going to be the first to post! I’m so excited! Ahem – IN! She looks beautiful.

  •  Oh no – somehow the other comments didn’t show until AFTER I posted. Ah well. I still say “IN,” even if I’m not the first.

  • Clueless_Jock

    This dress calls for an updo.

    • Call me Bee

      Oh yes!  While her hair is really pretty here, a soft updo would have really made a sophisticated statement! 

  • In-the color looks great with her hair and I love the detailing.

  • EEKstl

    Yep, yep, yep and good shoe choice too.  IN, bien sur!

  • lovely! how to not look like you’re wearing clothing made entirely out of old bras.

  • And btw, DAYUM that is some perfect makeup.


  • lovelyivy

    In, although she is so young and pretty it would be nice to see her in something that read a wee bit younger sometimes. I always feel like she has raided Helen Mirren’s closet.

  • IN!! She looks beautiful! 

  • shawnhunter

    In! the shoes upset me though

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I love me some MEW on the red carpet, but I’m pretty sure I’m seeing nipple pasties. If true…it might be an automatic OUT.

    • Qitkat

       Lol. I’ve noticed that a lot of folks look more carefully at pictures than I do.

    • AthenaJ

      I’m assuming their pasties too, which really isn’t much better than showing the nips themselves. Such a shame, the classiness of this getup just took a nosedive.

    • MilaXX

       I’ll take seeing petals over nipples any day of the week.

    • filmcricket

      Yup, and you can see undies, too. This looks heavy, but it’s in fact a stealth sheer or something. WHY don’t people test out their dresses with flash cameras before they step out of the house?

  • Qitkat

    In. Being a brunette definitely helps. As well as the varied interesting textures.

  • bluessis

    In defense of wearing things that look too heavy in June, here in Texas it is sweltering outside (triple digits all next week) but I always freeze my a** off inside with the air conditioning. Which is where anyone in their right mind would be anyway.

  • allj

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the gorgeous dress! Dislike the shoes, though.

  • gsk241

    I think she looks pretty and polished – IN

  • Obvious IN. Works because of the PERFECT hair and makeup, which is making me jealous to put it mildly.

  • Larkin21

    Overall look is great. Something about the make-up isn’t working for me but not a huge complaint. IN!

  • TieDye64


  • Funkykatt

    I love the color but I think the dress looks like it was made from a burlap sack covered in lace and nuggets of granulated sugar.  But then again, Ricky and Fred made burlap sack dresses for Lucy and Ethel while in Paris and a big time designer stole the idea.

    • raininmai

       Ha! I posted before I read this and said something very similar, without the Lucy reference.  🙂

      • Funkykatt

        Yeah, I saw it and thought, of course, ‘great minds’.

  • So nice to see a starlet looking classy and elegant instead of trashy and half-naked.

  • hughman

    What are the circles at the area of her nipples? Are they flesh-colored pasties to wear with sheer dresses? Is there such a thing? PATENT PENDING. 

    • joancarol

      Mr. Coffee filters

    • MilaXX

       YES and yes

  • Sara__B

    In. She may be looking at Cathy Cambridge as a style icon, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

    • ballerinawithagun

      That is exactly what I was thinking. In.

  • In December, a full-on IN.

    In June, still an IN, but not quite as much so.

  • StellaZafella

    Hand tinted sepia…that’s meant as a compliment. the browns and auburns are the pop and the dress IS all the jewelry needed. This is luxe and classy without being ostentatious. I notice and even like the darker nails…

    I could see Kate wearing this, too.

  • In, but not quite perfect. Those shoes are awful. 

  • Joyce VG

    IN.  I think she’s totally working the beige.

  • I see what you’re saying about the color.

    But sorry. From here, that texture looks like pilling burlap. 

  • IMNAngryLiberal

    I like the hair, makeup, and dress (although I think it could have used a thin belt), but only a qualified IN because the clutch and shoes are boring and matchy matchy.

  • AmandaCathleen

    I saw this the other day, and while I absolutely LOVE the dress, I just can’t with those shoes. They kind of ruin the look for me. And yet… … … that dress is too gorgeous to give this an out. So, IN. But seriously—enough with the satin pumps on the red carpet already, starlets.

  • mjude


  • Anna Tree

    Not found of the hair but that doesn’t stop it from being a clear IN

  • MilaXX

    Small IN. This looks better when viewed close up. The full body shot looked completely dull, but a closer view allows you to appreciate the textural elements. The fact that she’s not a pale blonde also helps, as does the fact that she didn’t pair this look with nude silly putty pumps. Still, I agree a hint of color or contrast would have kicked this up a notch.

    • Yes that’s what I logged in to say; the long shot looks monotonous but closeup it looks great, love the fabric. Also: needs a belt.

  • In_Stitches

    The only thing that qualifies for an out here is that tragic hair.  That’s no ombre, that’s just a grown out die job.  The shoes are a little boring and satin metallic pumps are always going to read mature to me, but the dress is fabulous and the shape flatters her like nobodies’ business.  IN.

    • holdmewhileimnaked

      i think she has to be wearing it on purpose cos there is just no reason to grow out a dark –> light dye job that way. she doesnt even have to put peroxide on her head to go dark.

  • AlinaValero

    in. gorgeous dress and her makeup is flawless!

  • TheOriginalLulu

    Beautiful dress. She looks gorgeous.

  • DaveUWSNYC

    Effort paid off…IN. 

  • Lina_bee

    IN. That is a great dress with the right skin tone and hers is just (barely) enough of a contrast for this to work. I would have chosen burgundy shoes, though.

  • greyhoundgirl


  • In!

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    other than the edging towards unforgivable strip of lace below where mere mortals have, um, hooters [i guess], yes, this is a great dress. i wonder why the last shot makes her look like she has a hostess dingdong beneath the bouclé burlap but i think that neither a matter caused by the dress or by the person, but by the lighting.

  • Call me Bee

    Beautiful.  Love that the shoes are just a titch darker than the dress.  Plus–both items coordinate well with her skintone and hair.  IN! 

  • another_laura

    And when we say “entertain,” we mean “laugh at them.” ”


    And of course I give an IN.  She looks lovely.

  • In!  Love her, and she is working those neutrals for all they’re worth!

  • lordandtaylor

    Oh, so IN. Looks loverly. She should let Princess Kate borrow this dress as it would look wonderful on her too. It is so obvious, she has good gays.

  • IN. She’s rockin’ the neutrals.

  • In! My first thought was, “Oh! Pretty.” And I’m definitely feeling the eye makeup.

  • altalinda

    Tepid in.  Also, stringy hair.

  • NurseEllen

    Big fat IN for her.  Plus, may I add that I ADORE HER EYEBROWS?  I may?  Thanks, BKs.

  • jw_ny

    IN..because of the dress, and her makeup looks pretty.

    Hair is tragic, and that clutch, with those shoes, and that nail polish…all matching…bores me.

  • sk8tfan

    In. She looks beautiful, and not washed out like so many starlets do in neutrals.

  • Vaniljekjeks


  • calimon

    I find the dress to be a little too Grandma’s Closet, but she still looks happy and radiant…In.

  • butterflysunita

    IN.  But why are these starlets all wearing beige?  Aren’t they getting all these free clothes so they can entertain us?  Why are they boring us in this way?  

  • kimmeister

    I’m confused by the tips of her shoes.  It’s just the right spot for the peep-toe, and yet I see no toes.  Is it a pleat?

  • Cathy S

    I definitely think it’s in. It’s a lovely dress and she looks fantastic.

  • I agree, and, like you, I usually shudder at the neutral-on-neutral deployment. For this look, leaving the dark hair down helps, too.

  • CassieLee22

    love it IN

  • janetjb

    Texture without looking like a skin disease – IN!

  • BazoDee

    IN -but gosh it does not look like June attire! 

  • Judy_J

    Not loving the hair, but still IN.

  • PeggyOC

    In.  I’d love to see this dress in a deep burgundy, and I think she’d look 10x better in that color, but it’s still a good dress, and she’s styled and put together very well.

  • Jessica O’Connell

    Agreed on all points – definitely an IN.

  • formerlyAnon

    I irrationally (?) dislike the dress, at least for this season, but I cannot deny she wears it well. In.

  • Stephanie Leach

    Who is holding her bag in picture 1? I was so proud of her for going clutch-less. I’d call this one an IN.
    Slightly off-topic, but my Brother-In-Law dated a Mary Elizabeth W… something, and now I can only refer to her as MEW. 

  • rhl25

    She’s giving off a Duchess vibe. Me likey. In.

  • IN! She looks gorgeous. Well done, MEW.

  • Saucysusan

    Out because I not only loathe this color,I think the placement of the horizontal elements makes her breasts look oddly flat.

  • alyce1213

    OUT. Old lady dress.

  • crash1212

    Total IN.

  • Beautiful! IN, with applause.

  • Jessi03

    Lovely!  IN!

  • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

    IN.  She looks lovely, everything works, and that is a great dress.

  • Rand Ortega

    The dress would look nice on someone else like Barbara Walters or Lee Radziwill. 

    Can someone please explain the allure of this movie? It’s almost as if Hollywood is again pathetically & vainly attempting to diminish 1 of the most important periods of American history, particularly 1 that is shameful racially, by trivializing it w/ a ridiculous, impossible twist, aka “The Help”? Am I wrong? I know “Pride & Prejudice &  Zombies” is coming out later in the year, but since that is a mash-up (the new Hollywood buzz word) of pure fiction, that’s not nearly as offensive (though I’m sure Emily Bronte fans would beg to differ). Help me understand, BK’s & UF’s!

  • Jangle57

    I think a sandal for a shoe would have lightened the look but that’s a minor point and otherwise I think the dress is gorgeous – IN

  • Is…that….sparkly burlap?

    Agree that she looks good (aside from the nipple tape).

  • raininmai

    The shade is just fine for her coloring. But I just can’t get behind this fabric that looks like burlap and plastic lace doilies. Regardless, that burlap needs a belt. I’m going to say, out.

  • IN – although in close up, it looks like that dress is made out of burlap. I’m going to assume this is really not the case. She looks really put together!

  • IN! I’ve never seen her looking this soft and sweet … she’s a flashback to Paige Turco.

  • Amy Ellinger

    In.  Can I give her eyebrows a WERQ? Because they are divine.

  • nicole seligman

    she’s totally channeling duchess cathy realness, am i right?

  • phrenk

    The shoes are boring, but everything else is nice: IN.

  • Pretty, IN! But I will always prefer her Ramona Flowers look. I wish I could pull off Ramona Flowers hair.

  • IN. She looks great and has a way of really carrying off possibly problematic clothing.

  • Sarah Michaels

    She looks gorgeous. Hair. make up, dress, amazing. Shoes, eh.

  • demidaemon

    IN. She looks stunning. Also, I would totally want to touch that dress.

  • Lisa Dugan

    Definitely In.  I’m still not understanding all the heavy outfits for summer.

  • newtonGOTbeaned

    Um, TLo, do you not see the nipples? I’m pretty sure visible areolae = automatic OUT.

  • elemspbee

    OUT. This looks like a dull bridesmaid outfit. 

  • I love it! The dress is gorgeous, and the color is just the right neutral for her. Agree that she could have done better with the accessories, AND that it’s a tad wintery with the long sleeves. 

  • Cat_In_A_Hat

    I agree: Pretty close to perfect. IN!

  • PastryGoddess

    Hi, can we just call her MEW and go with it.  I’m tired of typing out her name.

    I’m giving it a WERQ

  • IN. Surprisingly enough, since I hate neutrals 99% of the time. The colour is just great on her.

  • jcolli69

    Those shoes are a SNOOZE…but everything ese is FLAWLESS. IN!!!

  • Alisa Rivera

    I don’t get all the love for this dress. The fabric looks like burlap and the cut is frumpy. I don’t think it particularly flatters her skin tone either. OUT.

  • In, just lovely.

  • frankystein123

    Stunningly beautiful and classy, a win in any situation I would say.

  • jessicasac

    It would look better on someone else and her hair is so boring.

  • Lovely, IN.

  • quiltrx

    IN.  I agree that it’s the texture that makes this interesting, and takes the old-bra color somewhere interesting.

  • jabes

    Out.  I don’t like that color at all on her at all.  I think my aesthetic with these shades must be different from the norm, because I tend to like the dresses that everyone else says looks like old bras!

  • Liverpoolgirl

    Out…dress of lace curtains and potato sacking

  • GTrain


  • guest2visits

    Love this whole look, she looks great in this. I only wish her hair wasn’t half-n-half.
    I LOVE this dress; the combination of what looks like burlap with shimmery sparkles overlayed. And the small perfect lace insets.
    I agree texture is what makes this dress so special.

  • DCSheehan

    Hardly worth voting but out. Bleh. Yawn.

  • RzYoung

    IN, I have the hugest crush on this girl’s hair! 

  • IN! She looks lovely.

  • Aly Light


  • Lilak

    IN, but only if we’re not counting the hair.  Everything else about her looks fresh — so why on earth show up with walk-of-shame tresses?!  Flat, lifeless, a hideous two-tone, and what’s with that product-laden comb-over in the front?  Ew.      

  • Louise Bryan

    In, with the proviso that it looks more like a March look than a June look.  Given the over-the-top air conditioning that occurs in a lot of movie theaters, I don’t necessarily blame her for that.

  • Renaissance_Man_ATL

    IN!  And thank goodness she wore a darker shade of shoe and NOT the hideous “nude” ones that have been so prevalent!

  • IN! She looks lovely.

  • sandy murphy

    After looking at the 2nd picture, all I can see are nipples. Huge nipples! 

  • golspie

    Simple , unforced, classic.


  • IN! She looks lovely.

  • sorry, out.  bland and boring.  while the makeup looks good at a distance, up close it is too much.  the gold eyeshadow up to the eyebrows and the stiff and gobby lower lashes just aren’t working for me.

  • mila_8


  • Samantha Irene

    In! the shoes are not so good – but not so bad that I can’t just pretend they don’t exist.

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    Beautiful hair, too.

  • IN! Great texture, though a pop of color would have been greatly appreciated.