Girl, That’s Not Your Dress: Debra Messing

Posted on August 23, 2012

Debra, we trust that the following pictures will serve as explanation enough:


Debra Messing attends the “Post-It Your Words Stick With Them” Program Launch in NYC in a Rafael Cennamo dress paired with black pumps.

It’s a really cute dress (although a really odd one for a daytime event at a public school in August). But that high-waisted full skirt ain’t doing you no favors, girl. It’s not that it’s unflattering to you; it’s just that it really doesn’t suit you, and it looks, well, kind of juvenile. Sweetie, pack this dress up and send it to Hailee Steinfeld to wear to a holiday party. Let’s get you into some Victoria Beckham, pronto.

And isn’t it about time to update the Grace Adler hair? Maybe a little layering?

Also: Good on you for taking an interest in children’s education. We’ve always felt that any celeb who understood the value of that is a celeb who knows the score.

[Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]

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  • Pupioso

    Good comments overall. The dress indeed is too juvenile looking and her hair does need an update as well. 

    • As soon as I saw this on her yesterday, I heard TLo in my head saying, “Girl, that is not your dress.” Although it’s a great dress and it looks terrific on her, she is way too old for it. 

    • Judih1


  • That’s Zooey Deschanel’s dress.

    • teensmom99

      Just saw this after I posted the same thing.

    • MilaXX

      That’s the dress that Zooey would wear but shouldn’t

      • With tights…

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          black tights with glittery threads woven into the tights…

          • piecesofconfetti

             And sad 1″ round toe pumps.

          • artsykelly

            Hahaha, oh no I was just thinking how much cuter it would be with black tights and silver round toe pumps.  I have the same aesthetic as Zooey D.  🙁

    • bitchybitchybitchy


      • Wendi126

        Damn we’re bitchy. I love it. Bitter kittens are by far the best poster people on any blog.

  • The bodice fits her really well, change the full skirt to a sleek pencil skirt and she’d look killer, at a holiday party in December, that’s one heavy fabric for August. 

    • kschwarting

      Exactly what I was thinking–heavy metallic fabric for daytime in August?  Eesh.  It’s still the best she’s looked in ages considering the schmattas she wears on “Smash.”

  • gabbilevy

    With a sleeker shape, this could have been a knockout–but still for a holiday party.

  • holzfaellen

    I’m sorry, but every background that has “Post-It” written all over it looks cheap and makes the wearer of an X-thousand-dollar garment look silly standing in front of it.

  • Sobaika

    She never gets it right. Which is strange because she’s a beautiful striking woman. It shouldn’t be hard to dress her at all.

    • ampg

      I feel like certain actresses have this blind spot about what works for them – like because they’re tall and beautiful they should be able to wear anything, but it just doesn’t work that way.

    • MilaXX

      I think its adjusting to dressing her body now. In her younger years she was a red carpet favorite.

      • Imasewsure

        Yes she was always a best dressed type until recently so I think it is either a “change of life” problem or a “need to change your stylist problem.” She might have even been a Rachel Zoe (or a Brad) regular…. change the hair… change the clothes!!

    • TieDye64

      I know and it really is a shame because she is lovely. Clueless.

  • All I can say additionally, about this dress, apart from its being actually a terrific one, is that it is perfectly constructed in every detail.
    And okay, so clearly I’m having a ‘thing” about shoes today. The sling backs with the bows? um,….no. Not with this you don’t.

    • Funny, I actually really like those shoes, and also think they work with this dress (which is very Judy Jetson, to me a good thing).

      •  I do like the shoes, myself, just not with this. She needs something a trifle less playful with this dress, and in this situation.  I agree with a lot of the Kittens, and our esteemed hosts, that its a bit much for the event.

  • IMNAngryLiberal

    These high-waisted, full-skirted dresses seem to be everywhere and really, no one over the age of 16 or so should be wearing them.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      What is it with the high-waisted look? It seems to this Bitter Kitten that that is a tough look for many women to do well.

    •  As a late 20-something with a wardrobe full of full-skirted dresses, I honestly think the high-waisted trend with these types of dresses need to die. You’re right, it looks juvenile and throws off the wearer’s proportions, especially if they are (like me) curvy and/or short-waisted. I think the 50s ‘prom dress’ style can look adult and elegant when done correctly.

      • IMNAngryLiberal

        I always think of the 50’s ‘prom dress’ style as June Allyson dresses.  I also think they can look adult and chic, but they need NOT to be high waisted and NOT short — I think they look best below the knee or even calf-length.  I have a black calf-length dress that looks like one of the dresses Lauren Bacall wore in How to Marry a Millionaire and it is very adult and elegant!

  • I don’t love the dress, but it doesn’t bother me. Agreed that she would look gorgeous in something by Posh Spice.

    And I love the Grace Adler hair. 

    • birkatbaby

      exactly what you said.  And I definitely see layering there.  Wish my hair could do that. 

  • The shoes really tip it into Toddlers & Tiaras territory.

    Am I the only one who thought the dress looked like it was made of duct tape? I’m all about a houndstooth but that? No. It’s giving me a headache. 

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Designers’ your challenge today is to creat a look made from duct tape…..

      • MilaXX

         The duct tape folks usually have a fashion show once a year. You’d be amazed at the stuff people make.

  • ampg

    Based on my 30 seconds of Googling, this appears to be kind of a ridiculous “education” program…apparently it “encourages parents to use Post-It Notes to encourage their children to do well in school.” So it pays lip-service to a real problem (parental involvement) instead of actually helping, but maximizes product placement.  I can’t tell if there’s a donation involved somewhere, but either way I’m not terribly impressed with Post-It right now, or Debra Messing for lending her name to it.

    • l_c_ann

      She brought them publicity, so that’s good.  Calling it a ridiculous education program is about right.

      I do like the lecturn for her, I’d hate to have to use it in real life.

    • Wow – like somehow buying Post-Its is going to increase parental involvement? And how would that work exactly – like parents leave Post-Its with messages like “do your damn homework!”? That trivializes what you note is a real problem to the extent that it’s almost offensive.

    • They’re partnered with, which helps teachers secure materials for the classroom. Everytime you click on their page, Post-It donates a dollar to the organization.

      • ampg

        That definitely makes it better – Adopt A Classroom is a great program.  Although I’d still rather see less product placement and more publicity for the program.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          I suspect that donors have to accept a certain amount of product placement with the program-I’d like to see less of it too, just don’t know that the corporate donors would accept that.

          • MilaXX

             If you just want to help teachers is a great website. I like it because you can donate even a small amount and you can also help out a school in your area. I try and help out a few times a year. The school even has the student send thank you notes and sometimes they include pictures. it’s good way to do good even if you are as broke as I usually am.

          • ampg

            Oh, definitely – I mainly said that because a quick Google search of the program title turned up a lot about Post-Its and not much about Adopt A Classroom.  Although I went back to the Post-It website and saw the Click to Donate button…but the relationship still isn’t well explained.

        • MilaXX

           Well I saw her interview on GAA and they definitely talked about supporting teachers. The product placement doesn’t bother me if it’s a means to an end.

  • GillianHolroyd

    Normally I would hate this look but other than too-formal-for-the-occasion, I think she pulls it off. No complaints.

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      I agree; it is a holiday dress, but I like it here; however, the bows on the shoes are just too much.

  • I am so over women with beautiful hair thinking they need exstensions! NOOOOoooooooo!

    •  You mean women don’t need My Little Pony hair to be beautiful? 

      • LesYeuxHiboux

         I wish I had My Little Pony Hair. With iridescent cellophane streamers.

        • With the correct applications of both money and products, you could!

    • MilaXX

      Not so sure she has extensions in. Hasn’t Messing always had pretty thick, long hair?

  • BazoDee

    Definitely a bit too twee 

  • Doesn’t Michael Kors usually dress her? She should stick with him. This dress looks like it was made out of a really fancy bedspread.

    • AudreysMom

       ha ha, I get it. “stick” Post it Notes. 🙂

    • MilaXX

       Yes I think  she’s more of a Kors or even Calvin Klein gal than a Vicky Beckham. Becks is a bit more body conscious.

  • Introspective

    Definitely a holiday twee kinda number that is completely not working for a 40something celeb with an appearance to make in late summer.

    Her hair is gorgeous to me but the dress is really bad, and together with the shoes and thir unnecessary bows, made me throw up a little in my mouth. Between the fuckery she was styled in for Smash and the shit she puts on in her spare time me thinks Gracie needs a tutorial with some sassy gays about what works for her figure and age…

  • This would be cute a holiday party… even on her.

  • quiltrx

    I love the dress, but I agree it’s not her dress.  I’d need about a foot added to the bodice to get the waist in the right place!


  • teensmom99

    and here I thought it was Zoe Deschanel’s dress (it would even look good with black tights, at a holiday party).

  • I do love the dress, and it’s not atrocious on her. But yes, holiday party attire for sure. 

  • AudreysMom

    What IS that fabric? 3M is just down the street from us. I’m going to check it out. Whatever that is definitely looks made from an adhesive materials factory. 

  • It’s not that bad but it’s not that good either.

  • Judy_J

    I am in 100% agreement with what you guys said.

  • sleepycat

    I am a little confused on how post-its are great learning tools. Frankly they are impractical for daily school use, although the overachievers will like them to organize their day. lol And yes I am bitter about overachievers. 

    • MilaXX

       I’m paraphrasing but if I recall correctly from the GAA interview, they are encouraging parents to send notes to their kids as part as an anti-bully/self esteem campaign and Post It is donating funds/proceeds to teachers.

  • miagain

    Curse you two… I was about to whine and say that I really like that dress…. and then I read your comments… tail between legs, you are right, this is not her dress.  I promise I will never veer from the TLO line…. sigh

  • schadenfreudelicious

    it could work, with opaque black tights…in December….

  • janetjb

    Change the skirt to a pencil skirt and I think it would be the perfect holiday dress for her. 

  • Pants_are_a_must

    What a twee dress. Debra Messing is really not twee, and she has never been. The shoes are cute, though.

  • Lisa

    Actually, I don’t think this is terrible. It’s a skosh young for her, but not overly so. I’d say, with as frumpy as she *could* look, this is fairly good for her.

  • oh no!

  • SewingSiren

    I don’t hate the dress on her, she could do better though. And I completely agree that it’s all wrong for an A. Summer B. daytime event. Why do they all do that? I mean they employ someone to know what’s what don’t they?

  • I actually think she looks great here. Maybe a little twee, but great.

  • nannypoo

    This would be a great dress on a younger person, but the fabric looks bulletproof. On the bright side, if you spill on it you can just hose it off and you’re ready to go.

  • MilaXX

    I. Saw her on GAA in this. Definitely too young for her.

  • lilibetp

    The bodice isn’t bad, actually.  It’s the full skirt that’s not doing her any favors.  If it  had a straight skirt, and was gold instead of silver, it’d be okay.

  • SignLadyB

    I’m with those who don’t hate the dress or the look. Except that it’s the height of summer. I think overall, she looks better than she often does, which is much too old. Do agree on the hair, however.

  • Judy_S

    I see the points being made, but I think this dress is a pretty good choice for the event. She needs to stand out against backgrounds of neon brite colors, and her hair is already neon itself, so this dark-but-sparkly-and-patterned dress works.  I don’t know what group she is addressing (kids? parents? principals? 3m execs?) but the ladies’-room-icon silhouette works, too: playful but, for those aware of sex, sexy without any vulgarity.  I like the fact that she doesn’t look at all formal or businesslike.

    • MilaXX

       She was on Good Afternoon American and then there was a ceremony/press conference somewhere. (I forget where, they mentioned it on the show).

  • formerlyAnon

    I think it’s a bit much, but I also think the dress is within boundaries of what one can get away with if one is very attractive and well-maintained. At the very least, it’s not being overwhelmed by the background, so there’s that.

    I like her hair, but it isn’t looking remotely ‘natural’ here. All it needs is a little height at the crown and she’s ready to sing backup with the B-52s. (I, personally, think this is a good thing but I don’t know if it’s what she’s aiming for.)

  • CassandraMortmain

    I love the look.  She looks pretty great.  That said, the dress seems much more suited to a holiday party than an education-related pr event.  And the shoes need to have those bows ripped right off.  Then they’d be perfect.  So refreshing not to see someone in platform hooves for a change.

    I can never tell if someone has extensions unless they’re really badly done, but I always assumed that this was her natural hair (except for the enhanced color).  And if you’ve got hair that looks like that, why not wear it long?  It’s gorgeous.  Where is it carved in stone that anyone over 35 must have short hair?  As long as the long locks work for you (and they do for her), then go for it.  Not everyone looks good with short hair.

    • MilaXX

       Pretty sure it’s all hers. I don’t think she needs short hair, but she needs a change, even if she blew it out straight it would be better than this. This looks like she’s trying to hang onto her 20’s. Personally I think 2 – 3 inches less would do her good.

  • EEKstl

    I love this dress, but agree the fullness of the skirt can make it a bit “twee.”  When I put my fingers up to the pic to block out the fullness, it instantly became a more age-appropriate dress, a narrower skirt made this look killa.  But overall I think she looks great,  tho she should have worn less fussy shoes and yes, needs to update the ‘do.

  • I invented Post-Its.

  • Scott Isaacs

    Really, I think the title should be “Dress, That’s Not Your Background.” Or vice versa.

    Incidentally, I look at Gracie here, and am reminded of Julianne Moore in “Far From Heaven.” High-waisted dresses all around, and she rocked them all. Looked fabulous. I do actually think Grace could do something with a high-waisted dress.

  • I didn’t think she looked terrible before the jump, and looking at the full photo, I still don’t think this is too bad. She’s definitely done worse. 

    Seems to me that she’s channeling Mrs. O.

  • Susan Crawford

    I can’t imagine many dresses that would look good against a background of pink plastic lunchboxes with the Post-It logo plastered on them.

  • kimmeister

    If the houndstooth from the bodice had been continued all the way down in the form of a sheath dress, this would have been divine (although not for summer).

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    The metallic houndstooth check does not read daytime to me.  It is a cute dress, but I like TLo’s suggestion of Victoria Beckham for Ms. Messing -also, yes, please update the hair style.

    • MilaXX

       I agree, she needs a haircut. It doesn’t have to be severe, but maybe 2 -3 inches off & some long layers would be nice.

  • KaileeM

    I saw her in this dress on the Good Morning America program they now air in the afternoons. It’s the first time I heard about this Good Morning (Afternoon?) America, so it was doubly surprising to see a guest wearing such a non-daytime looking dress on a daytime television program.

    Wonder if Rachel Zoe still dresses her? 

  • kikisayshi

    At first glance I thought, this is cute, what are they talking about? And then… scroll-down NO! It’s not FUG-worthy, but just no.

  • I kinda miss the crazy curly Grace Adler hair, but then, it’s exactly the kind of hair I always wanted, but know I would have hated if it were mine. 

  • charlotte

    “Messing” means “brass” in German. Maybe that’s why she feels the urge to wear a metallic dress.

  • BrooklynBomber

    Definitely a trend now, isn’t it: the full skirt. We’ve seen it a lot in the last few weeks. It IS a cute dress, but I’m not crazy about seeing grown ups in dresses the same shape as the dresses I wore for parties when I was 6. Maybe a teenager could get away with that bell-shaped skirt, but it’s just not a dress for a grown up.

  • mshesterp

    Oh, I love Donors Choose!  Nice plug.

  • cleep1000

    I don’t hate it. Her legs look great. Never understood why she doesn’t show them more often.

  • MarissaLG

    She looks best in things that are a little more grown up and chic- she should leave that dress to Zooey or Chloe.

  • Seems a bit heavy as well, doesn’t it ?

  • Samuel Donovan

    While I wholeheartedly understand your argument, sometimes you gotta stop thinking so hard and just appreciate how AWESOME a girl looks in her dress.  This would be one of those times–this is a WERQ to me.

  • PrunellaV

    She looks more upholstered than dressed.

  • EverybodysStarling

    I’m just a sucker for houndstooth. And now I want to watch Will & Grace all over again.

  • Allison Woods

    Yes, she needs a little Vicky Beckham prontito.

  • Huh. I don’t see it. Looks fine to me. Fits nicely, pretty dress, and the color helps make it “old” enough for her.

  • guest2visits

    Er…it looks good on her, and it fits her. I think I might give her a pass just yet on the too-old for it motion.
    As long as every dress in her closet is not the MaryJane playdate style; I think it’s ok.
    The hair might be alot better swept up or back.

  • m0r0

    She is no longer the waif she was on Will and Grace and cannot figure out how to dress her new body. Obviously Will Chase likes it so she really should just embrace it.

  • PeaceBang

    I’m right with you on all your critiques, and the shoes are too cutesy by half as well.

  • bellafigura1

    “Post It Your Words Stick With Them” program launch. I know we’re supposed to be discussing Deborah, but what?  What does that mean?

  • Too cutesy by half, Grace! Get some gays in their to jutzz the hell out of it!

  • chelwi

    I would love to see her in one of Victoria Beckham’s dresses!

  • She has bunny nose from her botox

  • The issue with this is the length mainly, it’s too full a skirt to be that short.  Would work better below the knee, and at a Holiday party ;-).

  • funkypeanut

    I was wondering whether she’d mistaken the venue and thought that she was going to the duck tape prom award ceremony….

  • Maybe she isn’t allowed to change her hair because her SMASH bosses won’t let her? That’s how showbusiness works.

  • The dress sure does look like something 3M manufactured.

  • E. D.

    That bald spot is unnerving.  Leave the poor hair alone for a while (get a cut though).