Jessica Chastain Double Shot

Posted on February 05, 2013

Miss Jessica is providing a wonderful visual aid for that perennial lesson “How and When to Deploy the ‘Nude’ Shoe.” Class is now in session.

Open your textbooks and consider Figure 1.1:

Fig. 1.1

Jessica Chastain attends the 85th Academy Awards Nominations Luncheon  in Beverly Hills, California in Erdem.

Erdem Pre-Fall 2013 Collection

This is an example of the correctly deployed “nude” shoe. She is wearing a focus-pulling, visually interesting dress and anything too showy or declarative below the ankles would’ve overwhelmed the look, causing the pieces to fight with each other. It helps that these shoes are proportionally perfect. Anything too big or clunky would be awkward.

Essay Assignment: Address the following points: This dress is really cute, although we’re not convinced on the lace sleeves. Hair and makeup are very pretty.

Now, consider Figure 1.2, class:


Fig. 1.2

Jessica Chastain attends The Hollywood Reporter Nominees’ Night 2013 Celebrating The 85th Annual Academy Award Nominees  in Beverly Hills, California in Givenchy.

Givenchy Resort 2012 Collection

This is an incorrectly deployed “nude” shoe. While they are lovely shoes, it is evident that this dress needs something to complement it. In this case, the shoe is too non-commital; too afraid of the dress, if you will. A shoe is needed that will answer the challenge of the dress, so to speak. Instead of fighting with the dress, a showier shoe, in this case, would balance it out more; make the look more cohesive.

Essay Assignment: Address the following points: This is too much dress for her. This is also too much eyeliner for her.

Class dismissed.


[Photo Credit: Getty,, Erdem]

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!

  • captrenault

    Professors T-Lo, is this going to be on the exam?

  • What did she do to that Givenchy?? It died!

    • Sobaika

      The shrug (?) was removed and the lapels (?) look like they were steamed/flattened. Both aren’t choices I necessarily disagree with, it’s not really a red carpet-friendly dress.

    • dress_up_doll

      The original look takes my breath away. It’s stunning!

  • eowyn_of_rohan

    The second dress seems to have some kind of fabric vagina above the peplum.

    • editrixie

      You know, give me a fabric vagina any day over the same old, same old boring safe shit everyone keeps deploying. Or turning interesting things into boring things.

      • eowyn_of_rohan

        It wasn’t a complaint.  I actually loved an almost identical Givenchy dress in white that Rooney Mara wore last year.

        • editrixie

          Sorry if I made it sound like I was saying that. I wasn’t trying to — I’m just saying that that would be preferable to the way they’ve tried to make it here, changing it from interesting to boring. But then, I often think looks presented here are fantastic when everyone else is saying, “Ew!” just because I find them refreshingly different.

    • Adriana_Paula

      I was going to say it looks like an O’Keefe painting.  Which is to say, a vulva.

  • ohayayay

    This is weird, but since seeing Zero Dark Thirty and reading about the person her character is based upon, every time I look at her, I just see Claire Danes playing Carrie from Homeland. They both have the same eerie/delicate/weird beauty to me and, since they’ve both portrayed the same obsessive CIA agent, I’ve conflated them in my mind! Even though I know they don’t look all that similar.

    • ChiliP

      I think their performances are very different. Jessica’s acting in ZDT was far more subtle than Claire’s in Homeland (not nearly as many crazy eyes and quivering cry faces).  Not that I’m trying to take anything away from Claire Daines, who I think is great, but their roles call for different portrayals. They kind of approached “obsessive CIA agent” from opposite ends of the spectrum, imo.

      • ohayayay

        I agree that the performances were totally different, which makes it even weirder that I see one and think of the other! I guess seeing two totally different approaches raised the question in my mind of who this person really is – the “real” person who has been fictionalized and played by them both.

        I adore Claire Danes as Carrie, including the crazy eyes/cry faces. I think the show does a pretty decent job of dramatizing the interior life of a brilliant person with a mental illness. (Basing this on my experience + my fiance and close friend who have bipolar.)

        Jessica’s performance in ZDT was more subtle and, while I think she did a fine job with it, I felt the script did not really give us room to understand or explore her motivations, emotions, and her interior life.

  • Lilithcat

    ~raises hand~

    Will this be on the test?

  • ChiliP

    I’m trying to finish my assignment and focus on her shoes, but I’m too distracted by how gorgeous she looks from the neck up. I’m not sold on the sleeves on the first dress, but otherwise, what a stunning look for her.

    • ballerinawithagun

      I’m with you, I don’t like the flimsy lace on the Erdem, but the dress is great and a good color for her. The Givenchy needs the shrug for balance. Her coloring is too delicate for that heavy eyeliner. Her make-up is much better in the first photos.

  • Sobaika

    Agree on your assessment of the nude shoes, disagree on your talking points. The first dress is one of the lovelier and more complimentary looks I’ve seen her in (I know everyone hates lace but whatever) and her makeup is excellent in look #2, especially in the closeup. She’s one of the few who can pull off heavier makeup.

    • Jecca2244

      I love lace and i love this dress. ok, basically i agree with your entire point! I think the eyeliner is great. She doesn’t do it all the time and it works here. 

    • Tatiana Luján

      I don’t like lace, but I like the lace sleeves of this dress.

      • RebeccaKW

         I think that dress is a good example of proper deployment of lace.

    • Airkisses

      Looking at the pictures here over time makes me realize that makeup can look REALLY different close-up vs. far-away.

    • TieDye64

      Yes, and I love her makeup in the 2nd look as well.

    • oohsparkley!

      I agree with you. I thought the makeup in the second look really made her eyes pop in the closeup. She can carry that heavy eye-liner.  It did look a little strong in the full body shots, not exactly sure why. I thought maybe the picture was washing her out, but it really just looks like her eyes are mesmerizing.

  • BrooklynBomber

    Hey ho! Hell no! Lacy sleeves have go to go!

    I kind of live the Givenchy, though the side view is troubling.

  • Jangle57

    Look 1: sheer lace sleeves have got to go otherwise nice look
    Look 2: raccoon eyes;  what happened to the front ruffle on her dress as compared to the model’s?  her’s looks all sad and droopy, and finally, boring shoes

  • decormaven

    Essay 1.1 – J’adore this dress, even with the lace, and for once, putty pumps aren’t giving me eye-twitch.
    Essay 2.2 – A pity she didn’t go with the runway look! That’s too much eyeliner for anyone.
    Short & sweet on the essays! Can we have a haiku challenge next time, please?

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    Love the first dress pretty and elegant and fun; I don’t even mind the lace sleeves.  The second dress however — what do we call those things on the front of her dress?  Labia Lapels?  Is that a thing now?

  • That is some PhD level fashion blogging, bravo!

  • gabbilevy

    If you guys taught a university class I would commute in from DC every week. Legit.

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      Maybe TLo would consider teaching via a Webinar.

      • gabbilevy

        Or a Google Hangout.

    • dress_up_doll

      Lucky me, I live near campus. I get to stalk the professors like a love starved freshman!

  • MilaXX

    Assignment 1) The lace sleeves look like her arms are diseased, and hit at an awkward length. I’d prefer her sleeveless.

    Assignment 2) I like the eyeliner. It works with the makeup and dress.The hair, btw is fab! I wish she had worn black pumps instead.

  • FrayedMachine

    I think the primary issue with the second dress is that the definition at the waist is lost. In the shot with the model it looks absolutely gorgeous with the added pleating and the folds to give the illusion of a belt. On her… it looks like all of that detail is gone which makes it just overwhelm her with no break in the design to make -her- look like -she- is actually wearing it. I also honestly thought she was walking barefoot. I had to do a double take. As for the first dress,  meh. I could do without it. The sleeves don’t really take much from it but I think the detailing and pattern on the dress would be more striking without them.

  • imperfectlaura

    Figure 1.2 also shows the wrong kind of nude shoe for her.  IMO, nude shoes should either be close to the skin tone to make for a longer leg line or more of a contrast to make more of a statement.  This shoe is that weird middle where it looks like it’s trying to match her skin tone but doing a poor job of it.

    I’m not a fan of the blue lace sleeve, but that first dress is fierce. The second dress’s proportions with the ruffle going down the front and the peplum are throwing me off.

    • Sobaika

      Agreed about the color of the shoe – one of the reasons they’re so popular is because they can blend in and make your legs look longer and slimmer. If they’re not blending enough (or contrasting enough) they’re sort of pointless.

  • SerpentsDance

    Oh dear. The first picture of her in that second dress is awful. It doesn’t even look like the same dress that the model is wearing!It makes her look wide on the bottom and shapeless on top.

  • filmcricket

    I actually prefer the makeup in the 2nd photo. That shade of pink in the first matches the dress too exactly and is not a good colour for her. 

    Hate the lace sleeves on the first dress. The second dress is just sad. 

  • Tatiana Luján

    I am sorry, but I just don’t think the nude shoes were correctly deployed in the first example.
    The color story of that dress is in cold colors and the nude of the shoe isn’t either contrasting or complimentary to the color story. Picture this dress with these same shoes, but in pewter color, doesn’t it look better that way?

  • You have indeed written (and illustrated) the definitive “Nude Shoe Textbook”.  I will be waiting for the follow-up, “Clutch vs. Minaudiere: Identification and Proper Deployment”.

    I actually love Jessica’s makeup in the Givenchy photos–I think it gives her definition and sass, and helps the viewer ignore the crappy dress she’s wearing.  I do hate the lace sleeves of the Erdem and wish she had had them removed entirely.

    • another_laura

      ‘ “Clutch vs. Minaudiere: Identification and Proper Deployment”.’  This inquiring PUF wants to know!

      Thanks, NurseEllen, for my best giggle so far today!

      • Why, thanks!  I like knowing I made someone giggle!

  • Tatiana Luján

    The second dress needed the sleeves to balance the peplum. Without the sleeves, the dress doesn’t work or flatters.

  • formerlyAnon

    1st dress: This is a lovely (if you go for the big florals, I don’t) up-scaling of a dress for the ladies who lunch, old style at an overpriced country club. The lace sleeves are not only ugly, but too formal for that environment, so they must go.

    2nd dress: If she weren’t posing (in the first picture) like one of the sponsor’s models at a county fair/rodeo, she might not look as if she were not up to the dress. It looks great with her coloring. More sophisticated hair would help – what’s wrong with a cut that has some *shape*? I know that’s not in style, at least not in Hollywood where long hair is associated with perpetual babe status, I guess.

  • Disagree about the eyeliner, but agree about everything else

  • jilly_d

    Love her in that Erdem.  Yes, it probably would be better with out the sleeves, but it’s so great in the first place, I can deal.  It looks like the Givenchy spent a week folded in her suitcase before she put it on.   Yikes.

    Her hair and makeup look extremely beautiful in both examples, especially the first.  But I ain’t mad at the eyeliner; she stepped out of her usual box and it works for me. 

  • Janet B

    Sleeves shouldn’t end at her waist, shorter or longer (or gone altogether – my choice). She’s worn blue lace before, didn’t she realize we wouldn’t like it this time either? 
    The eyeliner is okay, the dress isn’t.

  • I like the first dress – I think it’s pretty and feminine and classic, which suits her (unlike the edgy or avante-garde looks she sometimes seems to prefer). I don’t like the nude shoes in the first example, but that’s more of a personal preference.

    The second look is for “PhD-level” fashionistas, and she is NOT one of them. It doesn’t help that the detail on the bodice looks limp and shapeless on her, unlike the version on the model. And wrong shoes, period.

  • In our class, nude shoes always get an F. 

  • Little_Olive

    This woman bores me in general, so I appreciate the stronger makeup she is sporting. I do not particularly care for either dress and hate both shoes, on their own and with the dresses. 

    I fear I can only hope for a C+ here. 

  • RocknRollmom

    Complete agree re Figure 1.1.  Only comment would be I like the lace sleeves as they nicely balance the dress in my mind.  I agree as to the shoe comments in Figure 1.2.  I am thinking someone just didn’t pack the right shoe (bad stylist!) as that shoe makes no sense with the dress.  However, she says with some trepidation, I do not agree as to the rest of the comments on 1.2.  I think she looks great in the dress and eyeliner.  I am suspect in the right light the makeup looks quite good.  I like the dress on her a lot and think it would not look like too much if she had the right shoe.  Overall, she looks tremendous.  I hope she wins.  Her performance has stuck with me for weeks and given me much to think about. 

  • ojosazules

    The black dress on the model has structure, intent. What happened to one she is wearing? It looks like it melted. 

    • Adriana_Paula

      It doesn’t seem like a dress that would survive a ride to an event very well.

  • Imasewsure

    I don’t even mind the lace sleeves since she looks so pretty. Also even like the second dress and heavy makeup…. hate them damn shoes though

  • Carly Warnock

    Loving the Erdem dress on her! The Givenchy is awkward to wear I think and not so flattering on anyone.

  • nannypoo

    Although those lace sleeves are ridiculous, the first dress is so pretty and looks so nice on her that I can accept and even sort of like them. The second dress is so dramatic for her that I think the eyeliner is OK with it. I love her hair and makeup and attitude in both outfits. But I don’t like the shoes with either dress.

  • Essay assignment for figure 1.1: By nature, Ms. Chastain has a very pre-rafaelite set of features. Thus, the floral and lace dress is so complimentary and beautifully classic on her. However, because her features are naturally mature, I find the middle part hairdo to add more years than is fair to her. I think a veronica lake hairstyle would have been just right to give this otherwise romantic look a twist of modernity, as the beautiful choice of shoes has helped to do.

  • teensmom99

    I think the top picture is a personal best.  I usually don’t get it with her.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I would like to write my essay on: Jessica Chastain, Better In Editorials (Despite The Conventional Beauty)

    Would this be acceptable?

  • Essay assignment for figure 1.2: If Ms. Chastain were my paper doll, I too, would delight in the irony of combining her romantic-era traits with the bold, modern-art qualities of this LBD. I would draw upon the futuristic aspects: the neoprene material and the “spacesuit”-ness call for glam-rock (ziggy stardust) influences in make-up (ie.less liner, more shimmer), and gun-metal metallic heels. A hair accessory such as the small “cluster of stars” barett Would also be really fun!

  • MissMariRose

    Oh dear God, this is the third time in 2 days that I’ve seen a skirt that tapers significantly at the knees or below. I hope this isn’t going to become a thing.

    PLEASE tell me this isn’t going to be a trend!

  • Trisha26

    Look 1: Don’t like the matching pink lipstick or the lace sleeves but she looks lovely. Look 2: Why isn’t the front ruffled foo-foo pulled together as on the model? It looks like the same dress, no? Hate the peplum effect. 

  • Violina23

    My three year saw the first dress and said “oooooooh, I want to wear that dress”.

    She saw the second one and started singing the hokey pokey… interpret this as you will 🙂

  • Why oh why do they butcher the original outfits?  A tweak here and there I get, but not removing key parts of the design.  

  • bd73

    fig. 1.1: i don’t like the nude shoe. the same shoe in black would not have competed with the dress. it would have grounded it. i’m confused by the constrast. are we formal-after-6pm or tea-time?

    fig. 2.1: love this dress. looks amazing. the model photo is confusing. it looks extremely tight and the shoes look rugged. not a dress i want to wear. jc however is working it. the dress flatters her figure and her angular face wonderfully. the same shoe in black would be okay. i wouldn’t mind something with skinny straps, though. you have a point about the eyeliner. it’s too blunt. some shading/tapering was needed.

    • libraangel

      Jess looks edgier in dress#2!

  • libraangel

    Teacher, teacher: will I get a ‘F’ if I disagree with you? 1. HATE the dress – grandma dress – and would have had a plain blue pump with it. 2. LOVE the dress, and think finally Jess looks chic! But I do agree that it needs a showier black shoe (with jewelry bits or gold or silver?), so does this mean I don’t have to stay after school?

  • Gentlemen, I would pay damn good money to take an advanced level style course from you.

    • carolynmo

      Yes! Me, too.

  • Agreed on all points!

  • neofashionista

    She looks LOVELY in both
    And as an aside she was very very charming and intelligent on Jon Stewart last week
    I was impressed

  • Mary229

    I think she looks fantastic in both outfits.   Also, her hair and skin is flawless.   Love this lady.   Amazing talent.

  • j_anson

    I love this post! I often read your commentary on something that’s off or overused or used wrongly and think, “yes, I can see that’s not working, but I’m not sure what to do to correct it,” because I am a fashion newbie. Those posts are still fun, of course, but I figure you guys have lots of wisdom to dispense on exactly how to tweak things. So, hooray for how-tos on the pitfalls of fashion.

  • RzYoung

    Mr and Mr TLo? Sir, sir, did you know that in the UK you can now get married? 🙂 

  • Elleachaudaucul

    Am I the only person who loathes dress no.1? It looks fine on the model in the staged photo but I don’t love la Chastain in it. There isn’t enough negative space in the pattern on her. The heaviness of the embroidery in those colours reads like something from my grandmother’s house.

    • libraangel

      No, you are not the only one – I hate the dress


    NO to the lace sleeves her, everything els pretty much agreed with the host/Masters.  Curious, did anyone else think the dress she wore on “Ellen” yesterday was just awful on her?

  • Emmyllou

    Love you deeply, but you guys are NUTZ when it comes to nude shoes. Utterly and completely OCD nutz. XXX

  • carolynmo

    Thank you, professors. This post is one of many reasons why I love this site.

  • MarissaLG

    I think Navy should be the go-to color for red-heads from now on. Enough with the Green!

  • Anniebet

    First dress – hell yeah! Second dress – what is it with her obsession with draped front bodices? Is she self conscious about her bosoms? I can’t find that style attractive on a lovely woman.

  • PeaceBang

    Can I bang your erasers? 

  • Alyssa

    I love the dress in Fig. 1.1, and the makeup in Fig. 1.2. I think she can pull of that eyeliner, but wouldn’t want her to do it all the time. The first look is the perfect example of nude shoes. The second look might be less offensive if the shoes matched her skin tone better, but it was not the look for nude shoes! I enjoyed class today!