Octavia Spencer Cannes Style Doubleshot

Posted on May 17, 2013

Miss Octavia gave us two very distinct looks to pore over. We have to say, it speaks well of her style evolution that she’s now at a point where she can switch up looks this effectively.


Octavia Spencer attends the ‘Fruitvale Station’ Photocall during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival in a custom Tadashi Shoji Chantilly lace drop-waist dress paired with Robert Clergerie shoes.

This is cute. The color looks great on her and we love those shoes. We like the idea of a dropped waist on her; demonstrating that the soon-to-be-pervasive Gatsby-inspired styles can be worn by more than just size twos. We think where this fails her is at the sleeve. A dropped waist effectively removes any woman’s natural body shape from the picture, but we like the way this skims her torso.  Unfortunately, adding those shapeless sleeves turned her into a square. Still, it’s a pretty and interesting dress and we very much like that she just subtly changed the conversation about clothes for women over a size six. It doesn’t have to be all Empire waists, all the time, darlings.


Octavia Spencer attends the ‘Fruitvale Station’ Premiere during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival in a custom Tadashi Shoji carmine red gown featuring draped tulle over brocade with sequin accents.

It’s gorgeous; love the textural qualities when you get in close. But oh LORD, Octavia. What happened with the styling here? Your makeup looks like it was applied eight hours ago and never touched up. And those SHOES. We may need to sit down for a second and fan ourselves.


[Photo Credit: Pixplanete/PR Photos, Getty]

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

  • Sobaika

    Second look is sporting some serious pole shoes, damn.

    • SassieCassy

      they look plastic!!

  • Judy_S

    Love the blue dress on her, just because it’s a change and she is rocking it.

  • SRQkitten

    The shoes are a puzzle, given that this is one place where it doesn’t matter if you’re a dress size 4 or 14. Would like the first dress more, I think if the lining wasn’t so light. But LOVE Olivia and her styling team for what they’re doing for those of us in the larger than a size 10 category.


    • j_anson

      Actually, I’m not sure it doesn’t matter. I would think that if you’ve got a lot of weight to distribute it makes a difference in which shoes are comfortable and sufficiently supportive. But maybe I’m wrong.

      • Speaking from personal experience, I can say that I notice a difference in the heels that I could wear pre pregnancy and the heels that I could wear post pregnancy – I am about fifteen pounds heavier than I was at my thinnest and I can feel the difference. Of course, there’s also the fact that my core muscles are much weaker and a host of other possible bodily changes. Still, I think the weight is a factor.

  • Further proof that, properly fitted and proportioned, there is little that a woman of more than size two cannot wear. Go Octavia!

    • MilaXX

      I was telling someone the other day I used to scoff at Stacy & Clinton always telling women to find a tailor. Guess what? I found a tailor (several actually) and it’s miraculous. A good dry cleaners will have one and not be too pricey. I then found out that if you are a Nordstrom card holder you get $100 free tailoring per year. Now I don’t mind buying the skirt that’s a little large if it fits my hips. I take it to the tailor and get the waist fitted, a bit of a hem & I end up looking like a million bucks.

      • Its a conversation I routinely have with my larger clients, male and female, who are often shy of wearing certain things because of preconceptions about suitability. I maintain a fairly large library of images of people of size who are perfectly turned out, to show them that they too can look great in what they want to wear, not just what style dicta proclaim.

        • decormaven

          Bless you, kind sir.

        • swiss_miss

          i am sure octavia is in that folder, right?

          • Without question. Along with QueenLatifah, and Adele

        • MilaXX

          Seriously it is so worth it. I also found a good shoe guy. I have wide feet and bad ankles from multiple sprains. My shoe guy is a miracle worker when it comes to cutting heels down and adding length to straps. Surprisingly most of these serves are not that expensive.

          • And being assured that you look good, only makes you more attractive, both to yourself and others.

          • Qitkat

            I had no idea that could be done. What is the limit with the heel adjustments? That is, how high of a heel can be cut down to how much lower? I pass by so many cute looks because I absolutely cannot wear anything much, 1½” maybe, which is basically no heel at all. Neuropathy feet, arthritic knees.

          • MilaXX

            It depends on the shoe and usually not more than an inch can be cut off. Just find a shoe guy who knows what they are doing. They will be able to tell you if they can do it or not. I’m more comfortable around the 2 – 2½ inch range, so I will buy a 3 – 3½ inch and get them taken down.

          • golden_valley

            Other than in New York and LA, do shoe guys (or gals) exist anymore?

          • MilaXX

            I’m in Philly. They exist.

          • rag254

            Whoa. Mind blown. Thank you for that info and idea.

          • MilaXX

            Now don’t go taking your Loubies and trying to cut them down. Make sure you trust the guy.

        • Qitkat

          I hereby award you The Golden Bastet, for exemplary service to bitter kittens.

          • I’m speechless. Thank you.

          • SRQkitten

            Speech, speech!

          • e jerry powell

            Don’t forget to thank your agent, your co-stars, your mother, every pagan god there is, your producers, the studio…

          • And here’s to you! *raises her glas of Barolo* (here’s evening already)

          • Hey, Malve, e Jerry, and SRQkitten,
            You’re making me blush.
            Thanks again.

        • Start a blog with that! Perfectly turned out looks for people who are not size 6! Like the Sartorialist, but for those of us who enjoy carbs.

          • If only I had time to add that in! It’s a great notion, however.

        • akprincess72

          I bought a horizontally striped skirt this weekend, I never thought it would happen, but the right cut? It work’s wonders (my particular cut for this one is pencil.) It’s brightly colored too!!! =)
          Size 18 & spreading my roots out!

          • Brava, M’dear!!!! And congrats on finding something that suits you so well.

          • akprincess72

            Update, wore said skirt today & received several compliments. This 40-something, was looking & feeling good! I think I’ll be a little more receptive to try more ‘fashion don’ts’. I’d post a pic (I think you’d be proud), but Disqus says no. =)

          • Congratulations!!!!
            This is terrific. Sad, though that pics are not forthcoming.

  • Call me Bee

    Agreed. Blue dress would be much better sleeveless or with just plain ol’ sleeves. I like the red a lot–perfect style for Miss Octavia. Shoes are ickky, too. But why does she look so unhappy? That’s what’s really ruining this look.

    • twocee

      I was thinking the same. She usually looks so happy on the RC and in both of these she looks tired and dare I say, grumpy.

      • j_anson

        Maybe she’s tired and grumpy about something. 🙂

        • I’m guessing her plan to make her eels electric didn’t work out as she’d hoped.

          • j_anson

            Now, see, that would be totally reasonable. I’d be grumpy about that too.

    • It’s true. She’s not giving us her wonderful smile in any picture. 🙁

    • swiss_miss

      because she knew that she would have to wear/is wearing those shoes:-)

    • I think a three-quarter sleeve would have been nice. It’s funny how her hair looks fine with the blue dress but not quite right with the red.

    • TheAmericaness

      (side mouth whisper).. that’s a lot of French people going on …. Ahem 😉

    • KayEmWhy

      I think women with – ahem- shall we say meaty arms are reluctant to go sleeveless.

      • GreenTurtle

        Very true. Even when I’m smaller, I hate my arms. Some of us just have naturally round ones. Nothing ruins a cute top faster for me than cap or flutter sleeves.

        • KayEmWhy

          Yes, I completely agree.

      • Some women. Also some women with skinny arms. It’s about the woman, not the size of her arm.

        • KayEmWhy

          Yes, that goes without saying, but since we are commenting on OS I’m sorry I didn’t make it clear.

  • I think both looks would have been improved by having her hair up.

    I do love how the first dress is just so accessible, and something most women could wear if they wanted to. The gold shoes left me feeling a little ballroom instructor-y, but given the venue, they work.

    This is the third or fourth red, lacy dress we’ve seen lately and I can firmly say, I just don’t like them. They always read ‘tacky’ to me. Of course pairing them with stripper shoes doesn’t help that much.

    • MilaXX

      They just feel old to me. I even tried one on in that teal color she is wearing. (not a Tadashi) . The color was great, but I felt like my granny in that lace dress. I can do a lace top, but I don’t think I’ll ever be on board with the lace dress.

    • C. C. Winslow

      Agree 100% about her hair. It diminishes her face, makes it look tiny.

  • Eva_baby

    At this point, I would bet that Tadashi Shoji has a forme of her, because her fit in his clothes is just too on point!

  • SewingSiren

    I like both dresses and the first pair of shoes. But the hair is off. Is it extremely humid at Cannes this time of year?

    • MilaXX

      It was raining on the last post, so I bet it is still a bit humid.

    • largishbearishAtlish

      I agree, the hair in the first pic just looks god-awful- all she needed was a pack of newport lights for that hair to look ‘after hours bar’l

  • SugarSnap108

    Agree completely on the first dress — It looks great, except for the unfortunate sleeves. I’ve always had the impression that dropped-waist dresses only work for the Size 2 crowd. I have been shown the light.

    On the second look, yes, the styling is plain awful. But I don’t care for the dress either. The textural details just remind me of my ballet recital days, and make my skin itch.

  • Meg0GayGuys6

    The only thing I don’t like about that first dress is that the horizontal section isn’t parallel with the ground. I realize this is just about impossible because when you move, the dress moves, but it still makes me twitch.

    That second dress is gorgeous! I’m not loving the hair at all 🙁

  • She looks exhausted and unhappy in both sets of photos.

    I prefer the fit of the red dress over the blue, although it’s pretty. Being a woman of a certain size, it’s nice to see her in something like that, although I agree, the sleeves are throwing it off. And possibly the skirt length. It’s just unfortunate that us mere mortals won’t be able to find anything like that in the shops.

  • aeb1986

    I love love love that color blue on her. She looks so dressed up and breezy at the same time. Love the red dress but the shoes and makeup are taking it down a notch

  • Tadashi Shoji would be a great guest judge on a PR “real women” challenge. He’s one of the very few designers who understands how to design beautiful clothing for women who aren’t stick-insect thin.

    • great idea! Also, his clothes are affordable.

    • Qitkat

      Especially if they would change the format to accommodate him coming to the workroom, before the sketching and the shopping, to give them some real world advice.

  • MilaXX

    Love the first dress & REALLY like that pose where she’d leaning back on the half wall. Someone had taken some fashionista lessons. Agree the sleeve would be better as just a regular short sleeve.
    Love the second dress, but I don’t think the bangs work here, the makeup is bad and the shoes don’t match.
    Still I really dig her style.

    • Qitkat

      Everything you said.

  • mmc2315

    Better make-up and fancier hair would dial up these looks.

    She & Tadashi inspire!

  • TropiCarla

    The dresses are pretty bangin’ on her. I can see where she might insist on sleeves because of insecurity about her upper arms (I have this fight with my Mom and MIL all the time), but you are right that the blue dress is not well served by them.
    As for that hair? Sheesh! That wig is NOT right for these looks. I can’t remember if I’ve seen her lately in a gorgeous updo, but she needs one STAT.
    The makeup is not photographing well, but I can’t rule out it looking pretty in person.

    Pretty darn good job overall I think. The stylists need to work a little harder to get those details right.

  • Snaps to Octavia for finding a fabulous designer who obviously knows how to style her generous figure to perfection. Now if only a makeup artist would take her under their brushes … glorious!

  • I don’t love the first one quite as much as the second. I like the dropped waist, but the fit is just a little too loose. The sleeves are an atrocity. She looks so great in that red, but I do not like the booms. They seem to age her.

  • She’s so adorable. I also think that along with a serious rethink of the sleeves on that blue dress, the neckline shouldn’t be so high. I think it contributes to the blocky shape, and having a slightly lower boatneck would work wonders.

  • Janet B

    Her hair and makeup have jet-lag.

    Love how well the dresses fit her, pretty and flattering.

  • decormaven

    Love both of the dresses, but think a sleeker, more upswept ‘do would have helped. The damp weather isn’t doing anyone favors.

  • She looks so unhappy lately.

  • Don’t you love how the lines of teal dress goes so well with the lines of her shoes? So very well put

    • calbear97

      YES this was my first thought. What perfect shoes.

  • One of the great fallacies of plus sized clothing is that all plus sized women should wear empire waists. For some of us, we look HORRIFIC in them. They are incredibly unflattering on me. I happen to be a tall (6’1″) woman and a natural waistline is what I need. Trying to find one is almost impossible.

    It makes me happy that she is changing the conversation, even if the dropped waist doesn’t work for me either. It would be nice for designers to get that no matter the body size, every woman’s body is different and different styles are needed.

    Love the colors she’s wearing, but I totally agree about the red shoes. She definitely needed something else.

    • shirab

      I don’t know if short people can wear them, either. I’m 5’2″ and of average weight, and anything I try on w/an empire waist makes me look like a kindergartner or like someone on the cusp of announcing a pregnancy (this I know because I wore such a garment to a family gathering a few years back and had several people ask me in a Meaningful Way how I was doing/feeling).

    • jenno1013

      I’m plus-size with narrow hips and empire waists make me look pregnant, too. I love drop-waist dresses (when I can find them) because they emphasize the smallest thing about me — my hips. I also love column dresses. I can’t wear anything with a nipped-in waist and full skirt because my waist does not nip in. The last place you want to draw a line across my body is in the middle. But at the hip, that line makes me look slimmer. Helloooooo, designers who decide to pick up on the Gatsby look — don’t stop at size 14!!

  • Great silhouette on first look, BUT, seems the “girls” are hiked up a tad too high! Agree on sleeves. Loose those platforms!

  • thecitysleeps

    She’s an inspiration for us bigger women when it comes to dresses. I love both. But would have changed a few things styling wise.

  • sagecreek

    I love her. LOVE HER.

  • The dresses are beautiful. I love the first one the most. Gorgeously fitted.
    Too bad I’m completely distracted by her hair. It needs brushed or trimmed or something.

  • jilly_d

    She looks terrific in both. That said, those sleeves on the blue dress, in conjunction with her “resting elbows on rail” pose, give her hilariously short T~Rex arms.

  • miagain

    Is she trailing someone else’s blue dress, or is that blue part of the ensemble?

  • jw_ny

    Wrong wig for these looks…I just want to brush those bangs and hair off her face…open it up, and tell her to smile. She often looks kind of sour and tired, and like she really doesn’t want to be there. She’s an acclaimed actress and should be able to fake it.

    Each dress is flattering on her, except of course the sleeves in the 1st one, as well I think her boobs look a tad to high in the 1st one as well…maybe just an illusion due to the dropped waist (?) idk, but I do like the color and style of that dress for her.

  • I really like the blue dress. I’m also itching to see the bodice worn as a blouse over skinny pants. Octavia could rock that look.

  • Isn’t dropped waist with flutter sleeves a standard flapper dress style, or is that something I made up in my head? I am not a fan of the cream under teal, but I love that teal color like whoa.

  • filmcricket

    LOVE the first look. Love. Even the shoes, although they look better in profile than head-on. The second one I’m not fond of at all although the colour’s great for her. The real problem in both outfits is her hair – it looks like she didn’t even take a brush to it, and I don’t think those heavy, uneven bangs are her friend.

  • claudemtl777

    In both sets of pics, she also looks none too happy…Is she there promoting a stinker? The red shoes are SexShopShoes (Try saying THAT five times fast 😉 )

  • carnush

    Yeah, something’s off in the red dress shots. Those shoes are horrendous. Both dresses are beautiful though.

  • Lisa M. (ReVoir) Kramp

    She is so gorgeous but I’m not liking her hairstyle at all in either shot and you’re all right, she looks exhausted. My mama taught me long ago that drop waist dresses balance a top-heavy frame, whether it’s your shoulders or your girls.

  • Joey Melliza

    the blue’s kinda giving me nurse after a day in the operating room realness

  • bxbourgie

    I agree about the sleeves on the first dress… and why is she standing there like that in that third shot? Looks like she’s waiting for a bus. Also, her hair upsets me. Looks like they were supposed to be spiral curls and just like her makeup in the second dress, didn’t get touched up before the red carpet.

  • beebee10

    Lady is killing it!
    So cool to see that dropped waist look so good and a very interesting color as well.

  • Pennymac

    I love both looks on her! The hair in both is equally unfortunate. Those “BOOMS” are just not working.

  • Julie

    Octavia Spencer should never not wear this designer. She looks great.

  • alyce1213

    I love her in both dresses, the teal blue is gorgeous on her.
    She’s doing so well lately, she’s eligible for nit-picking, a few tweaks:
    – Dark red nail for both looks; same color for toes (I hate black toenails, looks like undernail hematoma)
    – No to the cheesy red patent stripper platforms
    – No to heavy bangs – maybe side bangs would work. Must have better wigs
    – More sleep (?)

  • I love that dropped waist dress enough that I want it for myself! Let that be a lesson to designers and their marketing people – big girls can inspire clothing-lust in the mind of consumers just as much as waifs. Of course, Tadashi Shoji has long mastered this art. I love his ongoing work for Ms. Spencer.

  • StrandedFashionista

    She is rocking the hell out of those Tadashi Shoji dresses. She’s another WOC that should be getting more love on the cover of magazines.

  • Tee

    I’ll give the sleeves a pass on this one. I didn’t even notice them because the rest of the aqua dress is just so pretty. My new goal in life: I wanna look pretty.

  • PeaceBang

    That first look is awful. The sad puppy dog-ears hair, the horrid sleeves, the tacky shoes, the exhausted face. The second look is killer, but she looks so beat! Shiny, greasy bangs, and just mustering a smile. Not her usual glorious self. Those stripper shoes have got to go. But wow, great dress on her!

  • Love the day, hate the night. Somebody is too tired for Cannes!

  • Adriana_Paula

    I like the fluttery sleeves!

  • Kate4queen

    She looks great in both-but then I’m a big Tadashi Shoji fan myself 🙂

  • IMNAngryLiberal

    Octavia does not look happy in any of these pictures — was is jet lag? — trying to fit in with the French? — what?

  • CommentsByKatie

    Wow, she must have such confidence to rock a 20’s shape as a plus-size girl! I am a size-8 with a big bottom half and I stay far away from those 20’s shapes. But Miss Octavia looks damn good in that dress! She is giving me confidence with her fabulousness. Love it.

  • I love the turquoise dress. The color and the silhouette suit her SO well. I like the idea of the second dress a little better than the execution of it. Her makeup (in the second pic) looks awful, and the shoes need to be burned.

  • Octavia! What’s with the bitch face?

  • TSkot

    Does she look like she doesn’t want to be there or what??

  • Anniebet

    Sleeves and all, that first dress is absolute perfection, IMO. She’ not looking terribly comfortable in her posing with both looks, but it’s kinda beside the point. The red dress is rip roaring gorgeous. Plastic shoes, tired hair and makeup are sad, but what the heck? She’s Our Octavia!

  • Why does she look so SAD? She really does not look happy to be there, in either picture.

    I like both dresses.

  • Imasewsure

    I think the stylist packed the dresses for her but stayed home in LA… very DIY and not great for either look

  • Corsetmaker

    Love the second dress (minus the shoes). First dress…. 80s mother of the bride! I remember my mum having something similar to that for going to a wedding in about 84. All it needs is a corsage and a hat.

  • P M

    Miss Spencer, I love you and adore you……….. can someone please tell her it’s okay to smile on the RC once in a while?

  • Louise Bryan

    If I win the Powerball this week, I’m going to get Tadashi Shoji to make all my clothes, too.

  • NYCGlamourpuss

    The red shoes are tragic, but she looks beautiful in that gown. Not crazy about the first look.

  • quiltrx

    I like the first dress a lot. I think I’d like it even more if the lining were a light blue, and it had little to no sleeve.
    The second dress has a bit of a pulling look at the bodice, but overall it’s nice on her. The hair’s a bit wiggy with both looks.
    But damn girl, those red SHOES! We’re talking skid row hooker here! A Shoji gown and Payless shoes should never meet, dear.

  • Melissa Brogan

    I’m just distracted by how tired and uncomfortable she seems. Maybe the weather wasn’t agreeing with her! Too bad she couldn’t nap before wearing that gorgeous red dress.

  • I wish I was wearing those shoes right now.

  • samo_samo

    She looks pretty in both dresses. I think like the red a little more. And yeah…the shoes could be better, but for real we’ve all seen waaaaay worse on the red carpet so cut her some slack.