Nina Dobrev in Elie Saab

Posted on March 11, 2013

Nina isn’t quite a PhD-level dress-wearer, but she’s on her way. We’d say she’s studying for her Master’s at the moment. Which means she should attempt the occasional difficult dress, even if she can’t quite rock it. How else will she learn?


Nina Dobrev attends the John Varvatos 10th Annual Stuart House Benefit in an Elie Saab dress paired with Pollini shoes and a Jimmy Choo bag.

Elie Saab Spring 2013 Collection/Model:Tilda Lindstam (IMG)

We think this is quite pretty and has a little interest to it. She’s mostly pulling it off. But man, do we ever not like that bodice. First off, it’s designed in such a way as to instantly make the dress look like it’s too tight on the wearer and she’s about to bust (literally) out of it. We don’t think that vest detail adds anything but a feeling of sloppiness. The dress would bemuch prettier and simpler (in a good way) without it

Love the skirt, though. And that’s a nice shoe choice, even if they’re a little colorless and matchy.


[Photo Credit: Getty,]

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  • It’s a silly dress, and the skirt is busy enough without the busy top. She looks better than the model, though.

  • DeborahJozayt

    Her toes look like they’re a roller coaster.

  • MilaXX

    That dress is not for any woman with even a hint of boobs. That is a dress for flat chested women only. As for the shoe, sorry I cannot appreciate any footwear that does not fit. Her toes are hanging on for dear life and it’s distracting.

    • Sobaika

      I have miniature feet and can never find the right size. I’ve tried inserts before, and they sometimes work – only if it’s the right type of shoe and the insert is placed just so. For example, I don’t think they’d work with Nina’s shoe here because her toes are bound to slide out of that no mater what. They can help with a closed pump though.

    • NC_Meg

       I use heel grips when shoes are a little too big for me but I have also heard that inserts work. I think @Sobaika:disqus is right, though. I needs to be a closed toe shoe.

      • This is a super random thing to notice, but I think it might be something specific to Nina’s feet. Her toes always hang off the front of her sandals, and when she wears pumps her heel is usually a good half inch in from the back of her shoe. There must be something about her foot structure that causes them to slide forward.

        • MaryAtRealityTea

          She probably has really narrow feet.They used to make narrow shoes, but I guess not anymore. My grandmother was always a size 37 narrow as she told every shoe clerk from here to eternity. 

          • littlemac8

            You reminded me of my own dear departed mother who could go on about her narrow heels!!

        • editrixie

          Just for the hell of it I went up and looked and also looked at some other pics — she has feet like mine. My toes don’t curve down sharply at an angle the way most folks’ do, and you can see hers don’t either, it’s more of a squared-off, slight slope. I had a boss once call my feet “Fred Flintstone feet.” And she probably has a narrow heel, like I do — it’s a bitch to find sandals where not only your foot stays in where it should, but your toes don’t hang off the edge because most toe shapes are more angled.

    • 3boysful

       Re flatchests only:  Exactly.  (As is much of fashion, actually.)  If you cover up Nina’s head, the photo could–almost–be of Pamela Anderson.

  • Sobaika

    The little vest thing is ridiculous and she would look infinitely better is someone ripped it off her as she stepped onto the red carpet.

    • zenobar

      Agreed!  It’s not a good sign when I see a dress and the first word that pops into my head is “THORAX”.

  • You guys nailed it: that bodice is AWFUL.  Sad that I am almost more distracted by her (new?) bangs than the heinous bodice, however.  Nina is completely gorgeous, but the bangs are not doing her any favors (in my opinion). Perhaps I am just grumpy because of the time change? 

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      It’s not just you.  Her hair looks terrible.  It looks like it hasn’t been brushed all day.

      • Thank you for confirming.  It appeared to be fourth-day hair to me, but I’m SALTY today, so I couldn’t be sure.  And her hair is normally so lovely…

  • snarkykitten

    PhD in fashion or not, that dress is offensively ugly

  • I HAAAAATE the white vest thingy on the dress. It would be so much prettier without it. The shoes are just fine with the dress, and her hair and makeup are flawless.

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    I like the skirt and the shoes but that top is straight off of Mod Cloth.

  • altalinda

    Everything you said, plus I hate the messy hair.

  • StellaZafella

    Nina rocks…the dress does not.

    A lace bodice with a tight, low cut vest and full striped skirt smack of international costume-ry…too literally to call it an “interpretation”

  • Annabelle Archer

    My a neater up-do for the hair would have helped, but really it’s the dress and not her styling that has made for the wonkiness.  
    I’m loving what she’s doing lately.  I have no idea who she is or what her day job is, but she (her people?) has great taste. 

    • Alyssa

      She’s the lead actress on the CW show Vampire Diaries. Never seen it, but I hear she’s pretty good in it.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    I love the skirt of this.  I can’t figure out the vest.  The shoes are giving me sympathetic toe-ache.

  • Sara__B

    She’s gorgeous and wears clothes beautifully, but even SHE can’t make that ugly bodice work.

  • I think the structure of this dress is very interesting but I am not totally on board with the fabric choices.

  • Introspective

    scroll up fug here is assisted by the undone hair. the look seems uncharacteristically sloppy for someone who is usually impeccable on the RC. 

    experimentation is only interesting when it seems like effort has been put in. sorry nina, not today hon.

  • Monday1900

    What a strange dress!  It has potential but the materials (especially the lace on the bodice) look really cheap.  I like the color combination. 

  • barbarienne

    Yeah, I am so not loving the current trend for this sort of bodice. It comes in many forms, but the overall “Here are my tits and here is a frame/sling around them” thing is tiresome.

    There is no way to elevate the bar-wench in a corset look. Go full wench or don’t bother.

    • AthenaJ

      ‘Go full wench or don’t bother’

      Yes! Go wench or go home!!

  • Beautiful girl, ugly dress. 

  • Ediths_Head

    Agreed. Girl and skirt are great. Shoes are also nice. Bodice is horrifying, even on the model.

  • kimmeister

    I don’t mind the vest detail, it’s the lace that seems wholly unnecessary to me. 

  • joything

    She’s got more bust than the model, so yes, the design of the bodice looks too tight.  I don’t think they could have let it out more without changing the overall design of the bodice. 

  • nannypoo

    I don’t like the boobs bursting out of the vest attachment and I hate the shoes.

  • Like the skirt, but what is up with these bib bodices of late.  Ugly.

  • ankali

    I don’t mind the bodice, but her hair is very uncharacteristically ATROCIOUS.

  • MarissaLG

    I literally thought this was JWoww from the thumbnail.

     That said, I really don’t like this dress. It looks like the winning dress of a Project Runway challenge where they were only allowed to use the scraps from the previous week’s challenge. 

    • HomeOfficeGirl

      Yes – thank you.  Me too!!!  And that is wrong wrong wrong.  
      “Could be pretty but all I see are boobs” = Jersey Shore Thumbnail. 


  • marilyn

    The combination of the top and bottom screams ‘square dance costume’.  I think the unfortunate top does her in.

  • lobsterlen

    I am saying a little prayer that this boob bib insert thing isn’t a coming hot trend because we have already seen a variation of this today on Blake Lively. 

  • alyce1213

    It would have been nice without the white vest thing, and I love the shoes.

  • Eva_baby

    Well if I were on her dissertation committee and this was part of her submission she’d be sent back for major revisions.   My marginalia notes on her would say that I find her ideas somewhat pedantic and she needs to sharpen her focus.  Frankly I find her style somewhat forgettable.  Pretty but forgettable.  She’s not ready for the Ivy’s.  More like a State College.

  • with a lower neckline cut straight across and cap sleeves, this vest concept could be a cute modern interpretation of a german milkmaid dress. i would like it like that!

  • MaryAtRealityTea

    Yeah that bust is a travesty. She’s a tiny little thing and it still looks like she’s in a size too small. Not flattering. The skirt is adorable. I think the bodice just makes the entire thing say: ‘too much going on. threw everything at the wall to see what sticks. couldn’t make up my mind. dizzy yet?’ Or something… 

  • libraangel

    It looks like that white vest is holding her boobs up

  • poggi

    I saw this earlier and thought that it does not fit her right, but now after seeing the model I realize it does fit her right. It’s just weird.  

  • Trisha26

    The entire thing looks “crafty” and home-made. Hate the lace and HATE that U-shaped bodice-containment situation.

  • Lisa Dugan

    I’m not a fan of the dress but she looks lovely.  This is often the case.  She usually manages to look great no matter what she’s wearing.  It’s also nice to see her hair with some wave.

  • TSkot

    Can she not afford a comb?

  • Nonmercisansfacon

    I would’t really say she’s studying for her Master’s yet. Maybe a Bachelor with Honors? Skirt is beautiful and the top would work without that grey lace bodice. 

  • fursa_saida

    Agree that the vest detail should go. Also, what the hell is going on with her (usually fantastic) hair? Fix those two things and we’re home free.

  • kathrineb

    I really dislike the lace they used on the bodice, looks very chain-store. But skirt portion is really nice.

  • Jeez — you commenters are crazy! As a woman with boobs, I’d wear this in a hot minute. It is so sexy, nips in her waist, and is a lovely dress altogether.

    As a note: I love Ren Faires, so this may be affecting my POV, but still. Luv. Huh.

    • Indigo54

       Ok but,  before you wear it, think about what T & Lo would say if they saw you in it.  I always do that. 

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    MilaXX is right re the boobs making the dress work a bit hard. But I still love the dress because it’s light and happy and spring-y.  And I sortof like the shoes because they don’t compete with the dress.   

  • Cathy S

    I love the skirt. But that bodice is terrible. Not good for anyone with a bust at all.

  • no, no, no.  

  • Indigo54

    The designer must have been in a bad mood.  Maybe was crashing against a deadline and just threw this mess together at the last minute.   It happens.