Mindy Kaling on the Late Show

Posted on September 20, 2012

Kittens, we’re only on our first of three cups, so maybe that explains why we’re so ambivalent about this look:

Mindy Kaling makes an appearance on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ in New York City.

Alexander Wang ‘Diego’ Studded Bag. Brian Atwood ‘Follow Me’ Pump.

It’s just not singing to us, y’know? And we can’t quite pinpoint why. We think the shape of the dress isn’t her best friend, nor is the heaviness of the fabric. We think the sleeves are unflattering and the waist is either too high or poorly defined (possibly both).

On the other hand, we love the fabric and the little belt action she’s got going on. The subtle teals and greys really work for her. The bag is pretty kickass. The shoes… we just don’t know, poodles. The “pop of color” rule doesn’t always apply and while it’s true this somewhat heavy and serious dress needed a shoe to lighten things up, we don’t think these bright purple suede pumps were the way to go. We would have suggested a lighter (as in, not heavy), more delicate pair of black shoes. Or maybe a pair of booties, although we’re not entirely sure they’d work.

We don’t get it. There are a lot of things we like here, but the overall look is not impressing us. Off to have another cup while y’all hash it out for us.


[Photo Credit: Enrique RC/PacificCoastNews.com. alexanderwang.com, brianatwood.com]

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  • I think it’s pretty cute. but since it’s in the afternoon in austria i’m on my 6th cup of coffee – that might do the trick 😉

    • I agree, It’s not giving me life but It’s quite a cute lil’ dress and is it me or her legs look killer!

  • The waist and belt just cut her in the wrong place and the sleeves are just too long. for the proportions of the dress. The color of the shoe is ok but the style just isn’t right. Something a little lower heel, maybe-a little more grounded. And the purse just doesn’t go with the style of the shoes. They both are great pieces but they fight with each other. Separately, the pieces are nice but together they’re just a hot mess.

    • I don’t mind the waist and belt, but agree on the sleeves. But I love that happy face!

  • I think, for me, at least, placing a slightly different belt, an inch or so lower, would cure most of the subtle ills here. The shoes? I would have been more inclined towards a brilliant blue-green. Something that refers to the teal in the dress, without copying it.

    •  Yes!

    • MilaXX

       I like the idea of a blue/green shoe. I would scrap that dress altogether. She tends to go for A-line and bell skirt and I really don’t think they work for her body.

      • I’ve always believed that, properly fitted and proportioned,any shape garment can be made to work for someone, regardless of their shape.  But there are some issues here, she needs to address in fit and such.

        • MilaXX

          true, but not outrageous andif you are a working gal who allows herself one or two nice bags a year, actually affordable. Or do like I do and wait til they hit Nordstrom’s Rack and get it for half the price.

        • Lori

          This is true, but in some cases it’s so much work to make a particular garment flattering that it’s really not worth it 99% of the time. I don’t think that anyone should believe that because of their shape they must always wear X or never wear Y, but at the same time getting dressed in the normal course of things is not supposed to require that much adjustment.

          I’m sort of a picky eater and I have a rule when ordering in a restaurant or considering making a recipe at home—if I have to make more than 3 changes or deletions I just move on because at some point you’re changing what the dish is and at that point I feel like I should just eat something else. I feel pretty much the same way about clothes. If I have to do alterations to several parts of the garment in order to get it to work for me then I file it under “not my dress” and just move on.

          •  I call it the point of diminishing returns.  How much effort is it worth, in the long run?  But if its really meaningful , then by all means, go for it!

        • MilaXX

          I think whether you are fat or skinny, some shapes just don’t work on certain body types. I think people should dress to flatter their shapes rather than try to shoe horn a garment to you body. I have yet to see Mindy wearing any bell or A line look that flatters her.

  • DeborahJozayt

    There’s just so much that needs to be fixed to make this a workable dress for her. She should have just put it back on the hanger and started over. 

    • Lori

      Yes. My guess is that she got seduced by thefabric into not realizing that this is not her dress.

  • Vickiefantastico

    I actually think she looks quite cute. Something about the placement of the belt makes her look short, but otherwise, I think it’s working on her. I’m not one who usually loves a “pop of color”, but I actually love the shoes. The bag is a little heavy but okay.

    • Sobaika

      I think she looks cute, but regular-gal cute. I could replicate that outfit from my own closet, so can most other girls I know. She needs something a bit chicer and lighter for a late night talk show.

      • SassieCassy

        yeah, especially since shes promoting what could essentially become her star vehicle. she needs to project sophistication instead of that girl from your psych 101 class who was super bubbly when talking about multiple personality disorder

  • miagain

    Somehow, I think that dress would look a lot better if it were a bit longer.  The shoes would not be my choice…

  • The sleeves hit 

  • I personally think this is the best she’s ever looked. Mindy loves herself some fashion but yet can never get it right on what works well for her body. I’m impressed with this look for her.

    • Sobaika

      She’s really open about her love for fashion too, which makes it all the more sad when it’s not quite there.

    • MilaXX

      It’s true Mindy can’t get fashion right, but I think this is still a miss for her. She appears to like A lines and I don’t think they work for her.

      • Not saying that this was a fantastic A+ look on her but compared to what she usually looks like on the red carpet or wherever, this is almost her heaven sent moment to my eyes. 

        Clearly, I’m grading on a curve here. lolol.

  • teensmom99

    On my second cup and I think you got it on the nose when you said: ”
    We think the shape of the dress isn’t her best friend, nor is the heaviness of the fabric. We think the sleeves are unflattering and the waist is either too high or poorly defined (possibly both).”

  • MoHub

    I think it’s time to revive the Victorian dipped waist. Makes the upper torso look longer and slimmer without visually shortening the legs. I used to have a couple of colored denim dresses with dipped waists, and they ameliorated every one of my figure flaws.

    •  Here, Here!
      Bravo for the pointed waist.

    • lbl

      What’s the dipped waist? I think I know what you’re talking about, but I’m not sure.

      • MoHub

        The waist seam comes to a point in the front center—but not low enough to point to one’s lady parts—and slopes up to the natural waist at the sides. In the back, it either sits at the natural waist or has a slight curved dip to elongate the back waist, but not as deep as in the front.

        • lbl

          Thank you! Yes, I’d love if that came back.

    • MilaXX

       I had to google that. It came up as Edwardian dip waist. I think it would look good on her, but I also think the real culprits here are the A-line skirting and the belting.

    • formerlyAnon

      Ahh, I had forgotten that I had a couple of blouses cut like that back in the day. Because it was The Style they were a little more girly than I favored but I loved them anyway because I actually thought I looked thin enough in them. 

  • mjude

    i am not sure if that is a good look for her.  i kinda like the dress but it makes her look a bit large?

  • Cautiously Pessimistic

    The dress is a cute idea, but for that much shape and structure, it needed to be three or four inches longer.  It’s making her look considerably wider, especially in the second picture.

  • MissAnnieRN

    The pattern of the fabric is going to be seizure-inducing on camera, I think.  Also, Mindy – why so much foundation?  It doesn’t appear to be matched very well to her skin tone.  Surely they make high end foundation in multi-cultural shades?  She’s looking a bit orange.  

  • RebeccaKW

    That dress makes her thick and the shoes are a terrible choice for this.  Also, I don’t like the makeup-she looks tired, like she just work up. 

    I do like the fabric, though, and I think she’s cute as a bug, so I’m sad this isn’t better.

  • Sheila Luther

    Horizontal stripes are not a pear-shaped girl’s friend. 

  • Sweetie, that’s not your dress. Let it go. It’s doing weird things to your body shape and not flattering anything. 

  • Kappyapp

    I think it looks like an inexpensive dress bought in a low-end department store – the fabric just looks cheap or something. I hate the shoes because they belong on a stripper, or with a completely outrageous outfit, not with a basic cotton dress.

  • Rita Banninger

    The American natural waistline has moved up several inches in the past several years thanks to Stacy and Clinton and Michelle Obama I suppose.  But to me this makes her look like her belt is just below her chin.

    • holdmewhileimnaked

      it’s cos for the first time in decades we are allowing more than one body type to share the airwaves.

    • MilaXX

      I don’t think they always look for a natural waist, I think they look to define a waist  by belting the most narrowest part of the body. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the natural waist  on a plus size gal, hence Mindy’s look.

  • The dress is cute, but the skirt has too much heft. It widens her. And I would have gone with an ox-blood heel, something a little less flashy.

  • Erin Nice

    Mindy! Exciting – I love her. But no, this isn’t working for me either. Hair and makeup are pretty, but the heaviness of the fabric combined with the shape of the dress isn’t great. Still, she always manages to be totally cute regardless.

  • yeah, I don’t think you are supposed to combine a higher waist with a full skirt; it just makes you look short-waisted. I don’t mind the sleeve length, it’s different but I concede that it could be contributing to the problem.

    If this just sat at her natural waist, different shoes… well basically start all over. Except the bag, love it.

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    booties would be horrible, theyd make her look like she was four feet tall. all torso, too, on half sticks. w/ that dress, which is already doing that? oh no. she has looked so so much better than this. it’s a real misstep from tip to stern.

    • Sobaika

      Yeah. I don’t think she has the leg shape or height for a dress with booties.

    • MilaXX

       I think as a winter fashion and in a better dress a pair of booties with tights could work. Not with this dress, but a more flattering dress and she could definitely get away with it.

  • roadtrip1000

    To my eyes the short high-waisted style of the dress draws attention to her bust and her legs but then makes everything in between look like a throw pillow. Very few women can pull off that silhouette. Also, I suspect that having a sleeve length that runs parallel with the belt is making her look wider than she is. I do like the fabric. The colors are great and it’s perfect for fall. But the shoes look like they were going to a different event. They’re just too brightly colored and the heels are too sexy for the rest of the look.

  • Judy_J

    The shape of the dress makes her look very short-waisted.  It’s not flattering.  And the pumps, while cute on their own, just don’t work with this at all.

    • Valdri8

      The shoes, with that little gold heel, are too delicate for the dress

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      I agree. This just isn’t her dress.  On an unrelated topic, I just finished her book “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” and she is hilarious.

  • I think she looks really good in that dress! I wish the color was something maybe a little more fun, but I think the cut and the very defined waistline are flattering! That said, I do wish the sleeves were shorter.

  • allyc

    My undying love for her overrules how iffy I am about this dress and those shoes.

  • NatalieD28

    I always get excited when I see someone has my bag! I love it but it’s so unbearably heavy! The dress is just not working for me though…

  • unbornfawn

    It is definitely the proportions. She looks rather bell shaped. Her bottom half look huge. The sleeves should be a couple of inches shorter or longer. She’s got Flo’s problem with belt placement, it is too high, in spite of that it is a great belt with the dress. The shoes are wrong. Lighter black hills, booties would do her no favors. The dress is fine, if not bland.

  • Beyond the heaviness of the fabric, I think this is a great look for her! 

  • nannypoo

    The full skirt is not flattering for her. But here’s what I really wonder: since every celebrity on the show enters through that door, why don’t they do something about those dumpsters? 

  • GorgeousThings

    My problem is that the cut of the dress – specifically the poufy skirt and sleeves, makes her look very wide. I know that the whole “wasp waist” look is big for many younger women right now, but it’s not a good look on a large majority.

    And those shoes are positively hideous. The only thing I like about them is the color. Other than that, she looks like she’s wearing hooves.

  • kolokOlchik

    Was she always this chubby or is the dress making her look 3 sizes bigger than she is?

  • MilaXX

    This is when that “use a belt to  define a waist” biz doesn’t work and why I never do it. She’s too short for it to really work. Also the A line of the bottom half of the dress is making her look her hips look wider. Something with a faux wrap or ruching would have been a better look for her. Examples: one and two. Love the shoes & the bag, but I would dump that dress.

    That said, I adore Mindy and think she’s hilarious. I can’t wait to see her new show.

  • EEKstl

    I’m with you.  Great fabric but the silhouette is not her friend.  That fabric in a straighter cut, like a shift, body skimming but not too tight, would have been much more flattering.  As for the pop of color shoes: At first I was on board, but upon revisiting while the shoes are fab, they’re just not the right color for this dress.  Even a more subdued, autumnal purple would have worked.  They’re just too bright.

    • Tatiana Luján

      More like burgundy?

  • Rand Ortega

    An unbelted shift would look so cute & modern on her. Love the shoes but maybe in a different color? AW always does a rockin’ bag, that’s a given. Miss Mindy has such excellent taste in fashion, I just wish she’d find a stylist who understands her shape & what will flatter it. I love her & really looking forward to her new show, “The Mindy Project”.

  • formerlyAnon

    It’s riding the line between “not flattering, shouldn’t wear for photos” and “I accept my shape and like this dress and am going to rock it anyway.”

    I don’t mind the shoes, though I accept that some pair I cannot imagine due to weak visual memory might be better. 

  • I can’t see anything but those shoes.  And I love them!

  • schadenfreudelicious

    the shape of the dress is not flattering, waist is too high, skirt is too bell shaped, she looks a mile wide in that second photo and i am guessing she is not..I’m somewhat ambivalent about the purple hooves, i dont think they are the best choice for that outfit however….

  • greyhoundgirl

    She often looks very short-waisted.  Needs a different style to elongate rather than visually compress her.

  • Carrieanno

    Just please – no booties!

  • 3boysful

    I like the shoes with it.
    The problem is the horizontal print/weave is just making her look WIIIIIIIIDE.  This fabric would be cuter in a more column-style dress.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    The shoes and the bag are badly matched with this dress. And I don’t like that dress on her either. It’s a decent try, but ultimately not very successful.

  • MissMariRose

    That bag is hideous. Alexander Wang should be ashamed of himself. 

  • BrooklynBomber

    Agree with everything you said, except about the little belt action. I know it’s de rigueur to throw a little belt on everything, and it’s a not-so-truism these days that with a belt you “define” the waist. But sometimes an unbroken line is far more flattering. This is exactly one of those times. With that fabric and that print, leaving the belt off would create an illusion of length. The belt, on the other hand, makes us see width.

  • Anathema_Device

    Aww, I love her and find it hard to criticize her. You nailed it, though, on the heaviness of the fabric and poofiness* of the sleeves. Otherwise, I think the shape is fine, especially if it were in a lighter fabric.

    The audiobook of her book “Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?” is a very fun listen. It is like having a funny, chatty friend to hang out with while you’re commuting or doing stuff around the house. REally made time fly while I listened to it. 

    *The dictation feature on my phone heard “poofiness” as “poop penis.” I just thought everyone should know that. Glad I read before posting. “The poop penis of the sleeves” is funny but confusing.

  • Christine Marie

    . . . I just. . . don’t think I. . . . nope. 

  • aja1223

    As someone whose body is somewhat like Mindy’s, I think it needs to be said that the “A-line will always slim” thing is overrated. Sometimes a more figure hugging look actually is more flattering. This dress to me reads too much like she’s hiding her figure, you know? Just a thought. I also agree the heaviness of the fabric is not helpful.

  • Now after 4 cups of coffee, I still can’t like it. The dress is way too heavy looking and the shoes don’t go. 

  • Tatiana Luján

    Ithink some shoes the same color as the ones Emma Stone wore with the green Calvin Klein outfit would have been a better choice. I really love this dress, but you may be right about this not being a flattering shape for her body. 

  • ecallaw1977

     She needed a bra that matched her skin tone better, because you can completely see it in the second picture.

  • Judy_S

    I am not sure who she is, so I can’t comment with the wisdom of knowing other looks. But I like this. The shoes jar somewhat but they lift the look quite a bit, drawing attention to her amazing legs and just suggesting that there’s more to her than meets the eye.

  • janetjb

    It’s an okay dress, but it’s not for her. 

  • Theres a mismatch situation going on here with the studs, the prim, thin stripe dress, and the super skinny heel in a saturated hue, plus is in the same color family as the dress, which is on the muted side of the spectrum. Either do a less intense bag/shoe with this dress or pull out a real kick-ass dress for the bag/shoe. 

  • Le_Sigh

    She’s so bloody adorable – I heart her lots.  But I think the cupcake silhouette is not her friend.  She’s already got some killer cuves and the heavy fabric also makes her look weirdly lumpy.  

    Cute colors/shoes/face though!

  • Stubenville

    That high contrast fine pattern probably gave the broadcast engineers hissy fits. It probably had a lot of moire effect on mid range camera shots.

    Remember bitter kittens – only solids and bold patterns on the TV camera. Wearing a fine herringbone will be cause for a  broadcast engineer to want to kill you (and you never want to aggravate the tech folks.)

  • Agree….The colors work on her, but NOT the horizontal ribbed pattern. Maybe if the sleeves were much shorter and there was a little air around the neck line it wouldn’t be such a chubby effect? Also her hair looks a bit dirty / too slick!

    • Rand Ortega

       Hi Bert!
      Loved your dress for the L&T PR collection. Looking forward to your continued endeavors in fashion. I’m a big fan!

  • kimmeister

    The sleeves/shoulder area are the worst offender to me.  She needed a stronger shoulder (possibly shoulder pads) to counteract the natural slopiness she has going on there.

    The shoes in and of themselves are great, but the fact that the criss-cross at the ankle is asymmetrical on her drives me batty.

  • belfebe

    The dress is cute, but it’s a case of “Girl, that is not your dress.”  It’s terribly unflattering on her and makes her look heavier than she really is.

  • kaycem

    i really like this dress, but more for me in a casual-running-around kind of way than fancied up as it is here.  anyone know who made the dress?  i want to wear it with tights and boots, stat. 🙂

  • sashaychante

    The dress is not for her…it’s making her look larger than she is.  It kind of looks like an oversized sweatshirt with a belt thrown on to give it shape.

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    The waist is way too high. She’s pretty curvy, but also short so the proportions of her garment have to be exactly right. The dress needs a lower waist, more open neckline, and slightly shorter skirt (to go with the lower waist). This cupcake silhouette doesn’t really work on any grown women, but especially not on those who need to emphasize their waists. She looks like her torso is being pushed down into her hips/legs, like some sort of Transformer robot.

    She irritates the bejeezus out of me as a comedienne, so I’m hoping the new show fizzles out and I don’t have to see any more of her marble-mouthed delivery of narcissist-plays-coy jokes.

  • ashley d

    You pinpointed the sleeves and the waist problem: she’s a big girl and the exaggerated sleeves don’t do her body any favors, and the high waist makes her look squat. Sadness, because she’s a cutie.

  • NCDFan

    Horizontal strips, belt under her boobs – it gives her a very odd shape.

  • melanie0866

    It’s the horizontal stripes.  You have to built like a drinking straw to pull them off, and Mindy is not.  This makes her look short and wide.

  • marilyn

    This dress is not her color because 1) it is too close to her hair, which looks like black with gray highlights.  2)  She needs earthy colors, not slate gray.  Lavender, slate gray and teal do nothing for her.  Look at her lipstick:  It is a light bluish pink.  It does nothing for her.  She needs something that works with her skin color.

    Also, the cut of the dress is interesting, but it would be better in a lighter fabric.  This fabric is too heavy to be used for this type of dress, which does not flatter her.

    The pop of color in the shoes is okay. 

  • Jessica Goldstein

    I think she needs shorter sleeves and a less full skirt. It looks to me like the waist hits her at a good spot, but the proportions just aren’t flattering. I have a very different body than Mindy, but like her I do not have a teeny-tiny Kate Middleton waist and/or legs that go on forever. You need at least one of those to avoid looking thick in a dress like this.A lower neckline would be more flattering, too.  Those are my two cents anyway.

  • Trisha26

    She looks like a tree stump. The gathered waist/poofy skirt style flatters very few women – especially those who are short and more than a size 0. Everything’s wrong about this look to me – except the bag. That I would kill for.

  • Dot

    The dress screams church function, while the shoes scream drag queen. Kind of schizophrenic here.

    • Monabel

      Yes. Nonetheless, I kinda like it.

  • j_anson

    The proportions just aren’t right. Though I don’t think it looks *terrible* or anything.

  • maggiemaybe

    I like the dress but those shoes are bumming me out.

  • Lilak

    I was OK with this on photo #1.  Head on it’s perfectly decent, but seen at any other angle (#3 and esp. #2), it’s a tea cozy … and Miss Kaling is not a little teapot. 

  • Qdahling

    Yes, have her give ME the shoes and you guys can find something more appropriate for her.  

  • Textbook example of proportion gone wrong

  • Ella Hawthorne

    I think the neckline might be a little high. Or the belting is wrong. The proportions just seem off either way.

  • bellafigura1

    The problem is her bosoms are two inches above her waist. I suspect a terrible bra.  The job is not getting done to offset the horizontal stripess, the delicate belt, the heavy dress. And I am so sick of the POP OF COLOR I’m close approaching women on the street to tell them enough already. (Every other woman in NYC is sporting pink or cobalt or purple pumps.)

  • galcurly

    Neckline too high, belt too high, belt too narrow, skirt too short.   The shoes are actually the saving grace.   Anyway, the germs of a good idea are there.

  • I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve had plenty of tea, and I do not think this was flattering at all to Mindy.  It’s all too heavy, oddly proportioned, and I don’t think the colors are right.  The sleeves make her look like she’s wearing shoulder pads.

  • julnyes

    I can’t stand her, but I think she looks cute in a regular woman on the street way.

  • sk8tfan

    Horizontal stripes are never a larger girl’s friend.

  • ccm800

    I hate everything. The bag, the shoes (when is Gloria Steinem going to show up and trip these slaves ridiculous heels?) the dull ass dress and its horrible proportions but ESPECIALLY that TERRIBLE lip color.