Lena Dunham at the Miu Miu Spring 2014 Show in Paris

Posted on October 03, 2013

Question: Should we yell at Lena or should we coddle her and say soothing, positive things to her? Because the issue here isn’t that she looks bad…


“Girls” star Lena Dunham attends the Miu Miu Spring 2014 show at Palais d’Iéna in Paris in a Miu Miu outfit paired with Prada accessories.

… the issue here is that this is easily the best she’s ever looked in public — and she’s clearly miserable about it.

Let’s break this down and do a little style psychoanalysis. We once again want to vehemently deny any idea that Lena “doesn’t care” about fashion. It’s getting to be an increasingly ludicrous defense when we’re talking about her in a custom Prada gown or attending the Paris fashion shows. These are not the actions or choices of some fashion-rebel-outsider. This is someone ready and eager to sit at the fashion table. When we look at our own limited coverage of her here, it’s nothing but names, names, names, darling: Prada, Miu Miu, Valentino, Thakoon, Reed Krakoff, Saint Laurent. That’s a gal who loves to wear fashion, make no mistake. In fact, a woman with that track record is almost always called a fashionista, but for some reason, no one wants to apply the word to Lena.

Examining the kinds of looks she favors, it’s clear she likes very bright colors, and dislikes sleeves and anything that skims the body too closely. She seems to tend toward items that are comfortable for her and easy to move in. But she likes to show off her body, or at least show off that she’s not ashamed of it. Of all her fashion idiosyncrasies, that last one is the one we support and applaud the most. We just strongly disagree with how she interprets that idea. In short, she needs to grow up.

We said it the other day when talking about that disastrous Rebecca Minkoff outfit; that her style choices are akin to a toddler playing with her food. Looking at her here, in something that was almost certainly lent to her by the design house in order to attend the show (i,e., likely to not reflect many of her own choices); something (relatively) minimal, but classically chic and understated, her facial expression gives her away. She looks like a 3-year-old forced to wear her nice clothes when she wants to go out and play in the dirt. Put her in an ill-fitting clown dress and she’s grinning from ear to ear, though.

We think Lena took the admirable style ideas of loving her own body and looking for clothes that don’t restrict her, and interpreted that mostly as strapless or sleeveless outfits with little to no shape to them. It’s not that she “doesn’t care” about fashion; it’s that she doesn’t know how to do it well. We strongly suspect she thinks this looks like dowdy old-lady clothes on her. She doesn’t understand that a well-shaped garment that fits your body correctly will yield far better results and show off your body to full effect at the same time. She literally doesn’t understand how good she looks here. All you have to do is compare the body language here to the body language when she’s wearing some candy-colored sack. Sure, she’s doing her best to make it look frumpy by slumping down like a moody teenager, but this dress fits her better and looks better on her than practically any other thing we’ve seen her wear for a public appearance. Someone needs to show her that you can take a shape like this and do a million things to it, from raising the hem to changing the neckline to taking off the sleeves to rendering it in red leather – and it’ll work for her almost every time.

What we’re trying to say is, Lena, honey, it’s okay to look like a grownup. Sometimes, it even benefits you.

And speaking of red leather, that coat is TDF, darlings.



[Photo Credit: INFphoto.com, Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]

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  • flamingoNW

    She looks fantastic! LOVE the coat!

    • chylde

      That coat is killah!

    • jen_vasm

      And the jewelry is giving me life. They should’ve let her play with the shoes a little. Just a little.

      • Synnae

        Agree, the shoes could have been a tad more exciting. Rest of the outfit is killer even though I feel like quoting Annie “you never fully dressed without a smile”

    • It’s a really great coat and makes this outfit. Without it, Lena looks like some backbencher MP; quite the honorable member from South Little Puddington. Very safe, very dowdy, very non-descript.

      (Semi-related: That coat’s the same one that Harper’s Bazaar (half) dressed Gabby Sidibe in, right?)

      • Gatto Nero

        Sorry to say that although I agree with the uncles about fit and dressing like a grown-up, the navy dress and safe black shoes are a bit snoozy. Love the jewelry and the red leather coat, however.

  • Jarethee

    *Stands on Chair Applauding* Bravo!!!! To her foray into Fashion AND this psychoanalysis!

  • All the outfit needed to kick it up a LOT was some serious shoes. the pumps really drag it towards Blandietown, USA.
    That said, I applaud her efforts and it does seem that each time she takes a step closer to the right place for her face, frame and sensibilities.

    • tb

      (Kiltdntiltd, I am willing to bet you will be in the Lounge tonight…because I will be on my way to the farm to re-energize my poison ivy which is just today starting to abate. Have one for me if you show up!) I agree with the shoe assessment. Heck, I agree with anything you say, have you noticed?

      • Hey there, tb!
        Sorry to hear about the poison ivy, ICK!

        I won’t be in the lounge tonight. having to be floor manager on Thursday evenings means I can’t be hanging out on my iphone, making and reading commentary, dammit.
        I promise you I will have one in your honor, real time this evening when I finish work. I’m meeting a couple of friends at a local wine bar.

        And I have noticed that we seem to think along the same lines. Kinda cool, that!

      • formerlyAnon

        Without taking anything away from the degree to which you & Kiltdntild are simpatico, it IS easy to be in agreement with him. Even when one disagrees, he states his viewpoint so reasonably, often offers real *information* to explain his reasoning, and judges stringently but expresses judgement kindly.

        (edited for clarity)

    • mlle

      Yes. Let her wear fun shoes, so she stops moping that the fashion people forced her to dress like a boring grown up. Those pumps are basically the same as the ones I keep under my desk at work (although mine cost less, of course).

      • Eck-Zack-Lee!

      • Anplica Fiore

        Colorful shoes would have really made this pop! She looks awesome here but would have been a WERQ with a bit of whimsy & color on her feet.

    • carlaaxtman

      Some serious shoes and SOME DECENT FUCKING POSTURE.

      • Lilak

        With you all the way. Shoes, definitely . . . But for now I’d be satisfied with what is surely Rule #1 (square one on the game board?) for Grown-Ups: STAND UP STRAIGHT. HEAD HELD HIGH.

    • BrooklynBomber

      My thought exactly: she really looks great in this silhouette but the shoes turn her into the mayor of Dullsville (sister city to Blandietown?) on her way to a press conference about the annual budget. LENA: Get rid of that stupid necklace (I don’t care if it IS Prada: it’s an oversized version of something for a 12 year old), get a better necklace and some killer shoes, and you’ll be happy. I know it. Oh, you can ditch the bracelet, too. You may keep the bag, if it makes you happy.

    • poggi

      Yes! I would so wear this with leopard print pumps (my daughter
      pointed out to me that mine are technically jaguar print pumps–see tv is educational). Actually I could even see this working with her more staid shoes if she just looked happy or lively at all, like she was playing the part of the rich society maven who is having an affair with a pool boy.

    • Iva

      Agreed. Her body looks quite nice, but my problem is that this outfit doesn’t look like her. It looks like the sort of bland ensemble that Stacey and Clinton would push on her if there was a very special Lena Dunham episode of What Not To Wear. Maybe with some different shoes or accessories she could infuse a bit more *her* into it?

      • ConnieBV

        THIS. There has to be a happy medium between this, which is frankly killer but also frankly Dame Helen Fab, to the mess she usually wears. Why not take this silhouette and make it in a bright color, like a teal or a peacock green? Then add fun shoes. I don’t think the answer is to make her dress conservatively and eliminate all trace of personality. Hell, I’d be depressed, too.

      • GSMSF

        I agree. I wouldn’t appreciate it if I was asked to wear that dowdy dress, and I’m 48! How is it that Prada gave Lady Mary a younger cuter dress? Lena certainly comes out with some doozies, but I love seeing her youthful style, bagging it up in a fancy librarian’s outfit is a real shame. I’m glad she at least has the sense to know that.

    • marlie

      The whole rest of the looks is such a huge step in the right direction that I’m ok with the boring shoes. There’s nothing *wrong* with them. so for her, bravo.

  • Love this look on her. The dress, however, could be an inch or two shorter. Would kill for the red leather coat.

  • anabel22

    Best she’s looked since last year’s Emmys

    • Rhonda Shore

      This is the best I’ve ever seen her look…Absolutely love her in the dress and the coat is beyond!!!

      • anabel22

        Her makeup looks good and I’m really digging the jewelry

  • Sara Brams-Miller

    Yeah that coat is pretty gorgeous.

  • “It’s okay to look like a grown up.” I think that is hitting the nail on the head with her. To look grown up is to be uncool and she *really* wants to be cool. I’ve long agreed she does like fashion and she is trying very hard, but she chooses being aggressively, preemptively, defensive over finishing the look off right. She purposefully gets something major (fit, body language, attitude, etc) wrong so that we can say *that* thing is wrong, not what she is doing as a whole.

    • MaryMitch

      Maybe that’s why she always stands like a little girl who has to pee.

    • mlle

      I also think she wants the cred that comes with saying she doesn’t care, since she spent her at least her college years if not most of her 20s in an environment where materialism is generally looked down upon.

      • DTLAFamilies

        But that’s what grates on me about this girl, because she comes from huge money, everyone she went to school with and socializes with comes from huge money, so please spare me the poseur bullshit about not being materialistic.

        • formerlyAnon

          Having known a number of people with family money during my ex-‘s progress through pricey grad school, I’d say having a trust fund often correlates with a drive to live unostentatiously in one’s younger years. Partly guilt, partly an awareness of their own privilege. It can be infuriating if you are living check to check with no health insurance, but as long as they’re not disparaging those who don’t have their soft landing waiting in the background wanting to make & spend money, I don’t have a problem with it. I think it’s part of the learning process, and the more thoughtful DO learn. [He had a housemate whose family owned half of a West coast pro sports team you would absolutely recognize, and who paid all of her food, housing, books and incidental expenses for two years by working at a car wash.]

          • DTLAFamilies

            I went to an Ivy and currently work at an Ivy-equivalent school and while some privileged kids are uncomfortable with their privilege, it’s also true that a lot of them slob out as an assertion of their privilege. They don’t put in the effort because they don’t have to put in the effort–their social status is secure regardless.

            It reminds me of the kids who showed up at my college graduation hung over, wearing last night’s clothes, hair unbrushed. They didn’t have to treat graduation respectfully because there was never any question that they would be graduating and joining the plutocracy. And Dunham reeks of that kind of privilege.

          • formerlyAnon

            I do think there are more of the taking-their-privilege-for granted sort than the other. It’s an easy thing to do; I know I have taken my own privilege for granted, often, and my family is a mix of middle, upper middle and working class with ne’er a trust fund or vacation home in sight and raised in a religious tradition that emphasises responsibility to those less fortunate.

        • cbt22

          I agree with you for the most part, but I do want to disagree about one point. I went to school with Lena (though I didn’t know her personally), and I don’t come from “huge money.” None of my friends at Oberlin came from “huge money.” Yeah, it’s an expensive school. But most of us are on financial aid or are lucky enough to get scholarships. And yeah, as an Oberlin grad, I can say pretty definitively that materialism is generally looked down upon there. I’m not going to say that Lena is or isn’t materialistic, but please. Let’s avoid the “everyone” generalizations.

          • fiddlecub

            Oberlin was my school too, and I was there on almost full scholarship. The Oberlin culture was always one that embraced the Bohemian aspects of life, and the kids I knew that were well enough off never flaunted it. In fact, that kind of behavior was not welcomed with open arms, as the school prided itself on its social awareness and its own progressive place in history. Furthermore, the mix of the two schools at Oberlin–the music conservatory and the liberal arts college–had a positive impact on Oberlin culture. I came from a low-income family and never felt uncomfortable among my friends that came from money. The Ivy league attitude is rare on that campus, in part because there are no fraternities or sororities. Social hierarchies are not the Oberlin way.

            I don’t know Lena, but I can assert confidently that not “everyone” that went to school with Lena had the “too-cool-to-care poseur” attitude.

          • cbt22

            Hey, Obie!

      • gefeylich

        Can’t have it both ways. Either you’re a hippie/hipster rebel who wears thriftshop clothes exclusively and truly doesn’t care about fashion (ie, her TV persona) or you’re a person who hits fashion shows and wears bespoke designer clothes. One or the other, girl, make up your mind, because now you’re coming off as a little schizoid.

        And thank you, T&L, for putting paid to her “oh, she doesn’t CARE about fashion!” apologists, who are laboring under false logic.

    • ankali

      I don’t watch her show, I haven’t read more than snippets of her interviews, so for all I know she is a huge poseur hipster douchebag. But what if she’s not? What if she does care about fashion, isn’t trying to pretend that she doesn’t, and simply enjoys the clothes she enjoys? Like, her enjoyment of fashion, her sense of feeling beautiful, stems as much from subverting conventions of what looks good (like decently tailored clothes) as from wearing bright colors & showing off her tats?

      And if so, then what is the BFD about her continuing to dress the way she likes?

      I dunno, the uncles’ treatise today really rubs me the wrong way; to me it comes off as really condescending — she’s being compared to a toddler because she doesn’t like this dress we think she looks pretty in, and she clearly does like clothes that we don’t think flatter her.

      • I like how you say “subverting conventions of what looks good”. That’s beautifully said.

        My completely presumptuous assessment of her is that it comes from defensive place, rather than a place of enjoyment. There’s something calculated about her “mistakes” that conveys contrivance. But as she enjoys pushing people’s comfort buttons, maybe the intent is not based in insecurity.

        • ankali

          Yes, your last sentence is precisely what I was trying to say, in many fewer words.

          • But we never said a word about her being insecure.

          • ankali

            You say defensive below. To me that’s close enough, but reasonable people can disagree.

      • I’m not sure I understand your entire first paragraph in reference to our post. We’re claiming that she DOES love fashion but that she doesn’t do it very well, in response to the many people who defend her poor style choices by saying “Oh, she just doesn’t care about fashion.”

        As for the question of your second paragraph, you could – and should, in fact – apply that question to literally every single celebrity covered here and then ask if you want to read critiques of their clothing. Because if we applied that question to every single celebrity, across the board, all our posts would read exactly the same way and no one at all would come here to read “Here is Angelina Jolie in Prada. Who cares how she looks? She’s dressed the way she LIKES” over and over again.

        She’s being compared to a toddler at least partially because she literally dresses like one – in brightly colored sacks with no sleeves. And also because, as we said, we think her choices are kind of defensive and ill-thought-out.

        • ankali

          Sorry, my post was scattered such that some of my frustration with others’ comments (and not just on this website, or today — she’s such a lightning rod, ankali) was mixed in with what bothered me about your original post.

          Which was the assumption that her fashion choices aren’t fully thought-out. Given how savvy and deliberate she appears to be in other areas of her career, I think it’s at least as likely that she’s dressing to challenge certain reasonably expected reactions to her body in clothes (and that doing so is a huge component of her enjoyment of fashion) as that she knows as much about what she’s doing as a toddler playing with her food.

  • SewingSiren

    Lena Dunham in the role of Victoria Beckham.

  • AmeliaEve

    I would do some very unsavory things to own that coat, and I think I’d feel like a total badass in it. I think you guys are onto something about her attitude. I feel like part of it is a failure of imagination. If I were wearing that outfit, I’d have on a pair of killer sunglasses and maybe a floppy hat and inside I’d be feeling all Modesty Blaise and dangerous. It’s an odd thing to say about an actor, but she seems so strident about being herself that she misses the fun part of dressing up, in both senses of the word. Yeah, she could have some more interesting shoes here, but I think the classicism is part of what makes this a fun retro look. She even has her hair combed. If I’d change anything here (besides her attitude and posture) I’d shorten that necklace by about an inch so it doesn’t conflict with the neckline of the dress. This could be a really fantastic look.

    • mlle

      Ooh if we’re adding retro accessories to this, I want to wear it with gloves.

  • Jessica Freeman

    Yes, she looks great, but it isn’t “her” and she knows that. She could have done a color or pattern with that dress and felt much better about it.

  • filmcricket

    She looks amazing and I am droooooling over that coat. You guys are right, there are so many things she could do with the basic elements of this outfit – largely playing with colour and pattern, because the shapes are darn near perfect – that could express her playful side and still be flattering rather than hideous. And if she really wanted to, she could wear a sleeveless, low-cut-back version of that dress to show off the tats, which I get the feeling is what’s really bumming her out here.

    • demidaemon

      Yes, but what kind of low-cut back would it be? The lemonade version (ick!)? Or something respectable and sexy? My guess is the former, sadly.

  • xmixiex

    holy crap, cheer up, girl!!! this is the best you’ve ever looked ever!! geeze!

  • VioletFem

    This looks really good on her but it is clearly not her style. A shorter hem and maybe a fun pair of shoes could made this look better suited for her. That coat is amazing.

  • StelledelMare

    Well done boys. As a psych grad student, I think you hit all the right points. Clearly she is not having fun here but it didn’t have to be that way. She could have made it fun and still looked this good but as you said, she doesn’t seem to know how.

    • conniemd

      I would agree with you that she is not having fun. Just look at her face and body language in the pictures without the coat.(She does look less miserable with the coat on, I guess it’s that it is colorful). As others have said, the dress is so perfectly simple that she could use accessories like jewelry, hat, kick-ass shoes, even a crazy belt to express her personality. The point of a LBD is that you can make it to fit your mood or occasion by accessorizing it in so many ways. The Prada elements are what is making her look older and bland.

  • LaSylphide

    Almost unrecognizable in that wonderful red coat. Now, if she would just stand up straight in the black dress…

  • TAGinMO

    I don’t interpret her look as “miserable.” It’s more “looking good and knowing it” crossed with “grown-up face.”

    Fantastic look for her all around. More of this, please, Lena.

  • sagecreek

    She looks great, but she still needs to STAND UP STRAIGHT.

    Totally agree with your analysis, btw, unks.

    • mlle

      YES. I want to make her balance things on her head until she learns to keep her spine straight and shoulders back.

    • omg_dora

      Doesn’t this picture just make you want to yank her shoulders backwards?

  • AndreaSkates

    The coat is AH-mazing, and she ought to love it! I get why she thinks the dress is boring. It is. But two inches shorter, and in a bold color that also popped with the coat, rather than being all Senator’s wife under the coat, and she could have had a grown-up version of her candy-colored dream. (Also, it is true that this dress is too long waisted for her, even if she stands up straight, which is part of why she feels like she’s borrowed from Boring Mom Closet.)

    • Tatiana Luján

      I fully agree with you.

  • Jennifer

    She looks so great! I covet this entire outfit, especially that coat. This is what I envision me wearing to work every day, instead the reality is Frumpy McFrumperson. I wish she felt comfortable in this!

  • I feel her pain. This is boring, despite how good she looks! Ace analysis, T&Lo.

  • Breatheinthegood

    PRETEND STYLIST please TLO!!! I would love to see what you suggest for her.

  • Diego!

    She looks amazing!! It’s a pitty she is having a bad day and doesn’t enjoy this moment. The coat is to die for and I love her jewelry! Lena, you give a big bonus to your stylist please! 🙂

  • Miranda


  • Bridget Michlig

    She has HORRIBLE POSTURE no matter what she wears. She desperately needs coaching on standing up STRAIGHT and opening her shoulders. NOTHING will look good when you stand like a lazy schlmupf.

  • PeggyOC

    Drops mike. She should wear this all the times. Fits her. The color is great and all the pieces are doing the right thing for her build. She should send that red coat to my house, now that she’s worn it once and surely can’t wear it again.

  • Coleen


  • themandy

    I really want to take this poor woman bra shopping. She looks great other than the lack of support and awful posture.

  • Introspective

    spot on analysis of her body language and generally off kilter approach to fashion, uncles.

    & another thing, this look defines “personal best” like nothing we’ve ever looked at on the internet…

  • How can she be sad about that amazing red coat!! Give it to me, girl, if you hate it so much.

  • Candigirl1968

    Sometimes I wonder if the fear is that by wearing something that actually looks like it was intentional exposes the truth – that Lena doesn’t simply like clothes, but that she likes really really expensive stuff. I liken this to Zosia’s continuing to outfits worth five figures while refusing to brush her hair. They are trying to claim the notion that they don’t take this stuff seriously, when their actions (e.g., “let’s get designers to make things especially for me!”) betray the truth.

    At some point, though, particularly if you are going to wear made to order couture and are no longer a teenager, you need recognize what looks good on you – or find someone that does – try to pick those outfits, and frigging stand up straight once in a while when someone is taking your picture.

    • MilaXX

      I think she likes clothes, but that looks like it came from her mom’s closet.

      • demidaemon

        I don’t think its the dress. It’s pretty normal (part of the problem, I’m sure). It’s the styling which will take it from young and fun or older and too “grown-up.” I think, with different accessories, this could appeal more to Lena (and the BKs, it seems, though I think she looks fine as is).

  • Laura Renee

    You’ve hit the nail on the head again, I think. Despite the unhappiness radiating from her, her face is flawless here. Even her hair is better than usual! I hope a stylist uses photos of this event to sit down with her and explain to her basically what you said, in whatever words that work.

  • thecitysleeps

    I would kill kittens for this outfit and I love kittens. But I love Lena and I honestly think she’s trying to do the suave, sophisticated face here (not the miserable one per se). She’s just very literal in her acting choices and I do love her and her show.

  • Judy_S

    The coat is great. The dress looks good on her body (and makes her body look good too) but I think it looks a bit boring and DOES make her look older than she is. I sympathize with her desire to bare her tats–because they are a physical reminder that she is indeed very young.

  • Jaeda Laurez

    Heh- she looks positively over it. But my first thought wasn’t “wow, this looks great,” it was “wow, she looks like somebody’s really nice mom.” The clothes fit well (and that’s half the battle with her), but they’re aging. Like, that terrible yellow dress could have been really cute if it were more fitted and had an actual back to it. And she changed those ugly shoes. This…eh. I get the larger point, but I don’t particularly like this on her either.

    • MilaXX

      Feels like a fat girl dress. I don’t think she’s fat, just not Hollywood skinny. I don’t like it either.

      • DTLAFamilies

        But it’s a classic Audrey Hepburn dress, not a fat girl dress at all.

        • MilaXX

          No, it’s a plain black shift. There’s not color or pizazza to it at all. It screams “cover you upper arms”, “black is slimming”.
          There is nothing young or hip about that dress. She looks like her mother. Like I said, the shape is good, but that’s it’s This is not Lena’s dress.

          • DTLAFamilies

            I’m not saying it’s Lena’s dress, I’m disputing what you’re saying about it being a fat girl dress. There are armies of working women of all sizes wearing a variation on the dress.

          • MilaXX

            Okay I see, no it’s a fat girl dress in that so often fashion likes to default to the plain, black dress or plain dress in neutral colors. Lena’s not a working gal. She’s a celeb at Paris fashion week wearing a sensible dress and sensible shoes while Ciara wears thigh high suede boots, Katy Perry wears a cute plaid dress, Angie Harmon wears purple one day & white fur with leather the next. Lena’s not going to the office so why is she dressed like that. It’s not a fat girl dress because it’s a LBD, it’s a fat girl dress because it’s not right for her or the event. It’s too safe, sedate & boring. That kick ass coat feels like an attempt to circumvent that, but the minute she takes it off she ages 30 years.

          • DTLAFamilies

            Ah, you’re talking fashion world’s perception of fat and what you should put on a “fat” girl (because Lena Dunham is not fat, FFS). Got it. And I agree. I wonder who is dressing Rebel Wilson because she clearly hasn’t bought into that bullshit.

          • MilaXX

            And that’s the problem. Lena isn’t fat, but she’s not Hollywood skinny.

    • Tatiana Luján

      The dress is really poorly fitted. If it fitted der well, it would look as a basic-every-girl-needs-one-of-those-black-dress, and not as somebody’s mom’s clothes.

  • Trisha McGrenera

    Love the analysis, uncles! “Candy-colored sacks,” so true!

  • hellkell

    Stand up straight, tits out, Lena! She always slouches, and it drives me bonkers.

  • NMMagpie

    Personal best.

  • jw_ny

    The black dress has no personality…which she is full of. I was wondering, at first, if this is an F U to all the criticizers.of her more unconventional looks…but then I thought that if it were an F U, she’d be giving a bit of a sneer. She just looks stifled. I prefer her in something more suited to her personality, but not to the extreme of the ones in the links posted.

    That red leather coat tho…truly looks fab on her.

  • Carla_Charlton

    There must be some kind of shoe that would look less blah — maybe just a jazzier pump. I also don’t love the jewelry, specifically the bracelet which, to me, looks too big on her and too much for the outfit, given that she already has the elaborate necklace. But the COAT — GORGEOUS! And it looks great on her.

  • amf0001

    This outfit (much cheaper variants!) is what I see on women my age all the time – and I’m 50. It’s too old for her, and she’s not happy in it. Even the red leather coat is something a stylish 50 yo would buy to be a staple for years to come. And I wear those shoes. Everything is too mature here.

  • sunflower

    I think she looks fabulous! It’s a great shape for her. I also think it’s hard to analyze someone’s thoughts from paparazzi photos. Her expression probably has nothing to do with her outfit

  • rkdgal

    Nailed it, guys. Hope she embraces your philosophy and makes it her own!

  • Mmbop

    I hate this on her. This outfit IS joyless and boring. Jessica Lange or Meryl Streep could wear the same outfit and get the same applause, which strikes me as hugely problematic. Sure, her body looks conventionally attractive, but Lena isn’t conventional. She isn’t built like Diane Kruger, so why should she attempt to mimic her shape? In my opinion, mimicking the fun that Diane has with fashion seems like a much better choice.

    Man, I am tired of people policing my body.

    • “Man, I am tired of people policing my body.”

      This? Is absolutely ludicrous in response to the above post.

  • amber.


  • Stella Zawistowski

    This is a personal best. Also, GIMME THAT NECKLACE.

  • MilaXX

    I wonder if the issue is that it’s a plain, black shealth dress. Despite the many positive changes in plus size fashions there is still a lot of people who hold to the theory “wear black, it’s slimming”. I wish they had given Lena that dress in anything but a neutral color because that is the shape she should wear. She needs to stay far away from anything with an A line. I can understand why she might be unhappy, the dress fits well, but reads a little mature. The coat is the only thing saving the look.

    • demidaemon

      I believe that it’s never the color, but the silhouette that flatters. It’s true, though; Prada could have spiced up this silhouette with any fabric choice–the shape is fairly conventional. I wonder if that wasn’t a slight slam to Lena’s previous choices. If anything, any problems with this look should clearly be put on the fashion house, not Lena or her stylist, if such a person exists.

  • LipstickForPigs

    This is exactly what pisses me off about this girl. OH NO! Did someone GIVE you gorgeous clothes to wear to an event that most women only dream about? Oh that is fucking pout-worthy indeed….poor dear.
    Fuck her and her mopey face.

  • decormaven

    Gents, please be sure to bill the going rate for this excellent fashion psychoanalysis consult. It should be equal to the price of that gorgeous leather coat.

  • Erica_Vuitton

    Hum. I sort of see this as more “I’m at a serious fashion show so I’m going to put my serious face on.” The two examples linked, she’s at fun events so she puts the fun face on. Looking back at old posts, she seems to do that quite often. Met Gala and Time 100 event “serious event, serious face.” Award shows “fun event, fun face”. @Marlie has said it often and I 100% agree, she needs to get a good tailor on her team to make her clothes fit properly. And a bra. She SERIOUSLY needs a good bra. I would’ve liked some color on her lips but that first pic is hands down a personal best.

  • CatherineRhodes

    Interesting analysis, but must respectfully disagree on this outfit. The coat is beyond fabulous, however, Lena Dunham in a sensible LBD and black pumps makes me die a little inside. It’s like someone from the House of Prada performed a lobotomy in order to make her behave in a respectable way. Yes, she looks “grown up” as in “aging” — remember, she’s in the same 20-something range as Katy Perry and Gaga, why should she dress like a politician’s wife at a fundraiser? Yes, her Emmy’s gown and the Rebecca Minkoff yellow thing were disasters — but there’s a whole lot of middle ground between that and this.

  • Constant Reader

    I admittedly live in a little world of my own where the name Lena immediately makes me think “People? I ain’t people!” so I’ve never seen Lena Dunham in anything except TLo posts. Until now I had no idea how very, very pretty she is and how great she can look. I’d like the skirt a skosh shorter and the shoes a tad more fun, but overall this “vintage with an edge” look is working for her.

    • NinaBoo

      Loves me a “Singin’ in the Rain” reference…

  • Tamara Hogan

    She looks f’n AWESOME.

  • Tarquin

    Without the jacket; a young Angela Merkel in an HBO mini-series…

  • BuffaloBarbara

    What a nice, comfy looking LBD. She looks good in it.

    She could wear stuff like this a lot, and save her sense of whimsical fun for crazy accessories… you could get away with almost any kind of jewelry in a dress like this.

  • shorty j

    wtf I want to shake her and shriek “YOU LOOK SUPER CUTE.” But I am admittedly a sucker for bits of tattoos poking out of workwear, as I mentioned briefly in the last post about her. I really wish she could embrace the classy/edgy dichotomy, for lack of a better phrase, it’s one of the most fun things I (as an emotionally stunted, tattooed, professional grown-up) have come upon in my 20s.

    • DTLAFamilies

      The Sartorialist featured a woman in a similar black sheath and she had full sleeve tattoos and long curly hair and looked amazing. I agree that the professional/rebel dichotomy can really work on the right woman.

      • shorty j

        Ooo, I’m gonna go look that up right now. Thanks!

  • MilaXX

    The more I look at this, the less I like it. In fact, the only thing I think they got right is the shape. The shoes are awful, and everything else is just too mature. She looks like her mother. This is not how you change a person with magpie mentality towards fashion.

  • lalahartma

    She looks great!!!!

  • ♕ Natalie ♕

    We really don’t need to show her how to look good. She’s vile.

    • sagecreek

      She’s vile? Seriously? As a person?

      I doubt that.

  • beebee10

    OMG, you guys nailed it. NAILED IT! I admire you ability to see what a lady wants and where she is missing it, no matter who that lady is. That’s why you aren’t mindless bitches, but bitches with very thoughtful and interesting minds! I bow down.

  • crash1212

    Everything about this look is a win…except her posture and facial expressions – which makes me want to smack her as I steal that coat right off her slouching shoulders.

  • Jennifer Ford

    She has *the worst* posture that it makes it hard to appreciate the lovely outfit.

  • Lori

    “In fact, a woman with that track record is almost always called a
    fashionista, but for some reason, no one wants to apply the word to

    I thought that to be called a fahionista a person had to get it right more often than not, or at least have incredibly interesting failures. Dunham doesn’t, which is why it never occurred to me to think of her that why.

    • mlle

      I agree. Fashionista implies someone who’s doing more than just wearing the labels, although I guess “aspiring fashionista” could fit someone who doesn’t really know how to do more than slap on an expensive dress.

    • A fashionista is just someone who’s really into fashion. It doesn’t necessarily imply anything about her skill or taste.

  • Janet B

    “Moody Teenager” really sums her up.

    eta: Moody toddler also works, I think they are close in temperament.

  • Jeremiah Capacillo

    She’s almost channeling 90s Winona Ryder.

  • Adrianna Grężak

    I agree 100% with this blog post, it’s exactly what I felt when I saw the yellow Rebecca Minkoff dress.

  • boweryboy

    I sorta get where she’s coming from. Some people just aren’t comfortable getting dressed up. I absolutely hate wearing suits no matter how good they may look on me. On the occasions that require one I can’t wait to get home, rip it off, and go back to my jeans, t-shirts, and Chucks.

    On the flipside, if I had free access to Prada, Thom Browne, or Gucci suits I would seriously reconsider rocking the shit out of them at every given opportunity.

    With that said, she does looks fabulous.

    • “Some people just aren’t comfortable getting dressed up”

      Yes, but one of our points is that she’s clearly not one of those people. She loves getting dressed up.

      • boweryboy

        “Yes, but one of our points is that she’s clearly not one of those people. She loves getting dressed up.”

        That’s why I sorta get where she’s coming from. Obviously, she loves dressing up but not dressing up, if that makes any sense.

        This level of dressing up is outside of her comfort zone even though it’s fierce and flattering on her. Yet put her in an ill fitting fashion disaster and she’s the belle of the ball.

        In an attempt to give her the benefit of the doubt, I tell myself her fashion choices are some sort of performance art as much as I know they’re not.

  • Josefina Madariaga Suárez

    Although I don’t like where the hem hits (it’s a tiny bit too long), this one’s a keeper.

  • Lori

    Seriously, why does Disqus hate me?

    • sagecreek

      Oh, check out Slate’s new commenting platform. You’ll fall on your knees and thank God for Disqus.

      • Lori

        I know there are worse commenting systems. I just can’t figure out why Disqus has suddenly taken to making my posts appear and disappear at random. It’s like Disqus is gaslighting me, which is not something I need in my life.

        • formerlyAnon

          I think it’s having a rough week? After months of performing predictably, yesterday my posts disappeared and occasionally posted in reply to the wrong comment. [So far, so good, today. Maybe it’s visiting us like the Angel of Chaos in the night, reminding us of its power before moving on to someone new.]

  • tereliz

    Her body in this dress looks better than her head for once. Never seen her look so put together. Edgier shoes might have made her feel better about it though.

  • Jennifer Peters-Ahnberg

    She looks fantastic. That coat. My god. If my kidneys were worth anything, I’d sell ’em both, just to be buried in that coat.

  • Danielle

    I didn’t know it was possible to be sad whilst holding Prada.

  • teensmom99

    I could use this whole outfit and I would smile.

  • Christy Bishop Cricow

    Interesting analysis….but I have one more. She grins and mugs for the camera when she is wearing kind of bizarre things–like ‘take THAT!!’ Here, to me, perhaps her expression is discomfort……and maybe it’s a relaxed, grown up look that she’s relating in wearing this incredibly gorgeous, grown up outfit. Perhaps this is ‘I look great, and I don’t have to dare you to criticize me.’ Either way, she looks amazing. And I want that coat!

  • Aurumgirl

    That coat is the most gorgeous thing she’s ever worn. I suspect that she stepped into these clothes not because they were “suggested” (beautiful and flattering as they are, you know she’d never have chosen them in a million years) but because what she’d planned to wear was heavily (and bluntly) criticized. I think she looks hurt, and that might account for some of the slouch and pout. I also agree, she thinks a hell of a lot about fashion but somehow isn’t aware of the idea of “protesting too much”. There’s a bit of insecurity in the way those tattoos are always showcased. That’s my opinion, but in the end it amounts to the same thing: grow up.

  • samo_samo

    I would werq the the hell out of that coat! And my shoes would be killa. It’s so good to have a dream.

  • “You say….I only hear what I want to….”

    Lena Dunham wants to be pop of color girl. She can pair that up with some mid-nineties references and come out one hell of a fashionista

  • Tatiana Luján

    I love how she looks with the coat on, with the coat on it’s a WERQ for me, but that dress is poorly fitted.

    • omg_dora

      I think it’s just that the dress was tried on or even fitted to her when she was standing up straight! When she slouches, everything in the bodice sits wrong. The skirt may be a little too tight, I’m not sure about that.

      • Tatiana Luján

        the skirt is too tight and a bit too long, the torso is too long (it doesn’t just look too long because she slouches, look at the bags it makes on her back in the last picture) and the zipper runs until the middle of her butt. A good posture would help, but I, that don’t have the amount of money she has, wouldn’t wear such a poorly fitted dress. My body is very similar to hers.

  • Laura Poehlman

    I want that whole look right now. But I am 45. I can see where Lena wants a little more fun going on in there.

  • lesmaha

    Wow!!! She looks amazing!! I hope she gets the psychoanalysis she needs, because this is a wonderful look for her! Just needed a little more makeup, I think.

    Also, I think she needs coddling. Speaking as someone with issues of my own when it comes to clothing, shopping, and my body.

  • kimmeister

    This is also the best I’ve seen her hair and makeup too. She doesn’t have a lot of makeup on, but look at those brows, they’re groomed without a bare patch in sight!

    • conniemd

      Yes. First time I have ever looked at a photo of her and thought she was pretty.

  • frannyprof

    She looks amazing. And I don’t interpret her expression as one of misery. I think she’s trying out a “fashion bitch” face. She just needs to practice a little more, take some cues from Vicki B., and she’ll be good to go.

  • Avray

    It’s Paris. If she was smiling she would be the only one within a two mile radius.

  • formerlyAnon

    She put on her grown up clothes. The ones she bought in deference to family occasions at which her beloved grandmother(s) will be present. She looks GREAT. If her posture were better, she’d look like she owned her place at the event.

  • SophieCollier

    .I imagine the overall atmosphere is different at fashion week than at a premier or promo where you feel a bit silly and you have photogs yelling your name and try to get you to smile. This is a more “grown up” affair and I think she’s merely acting accordingly. See, I don’t see misery in her expression at all, but someone who is trying to “give face” but is still new at it. I’d describe her expressions more as “shy” than “uncomfortable.” She does look great and hopefully she can figure out not just what to wear but how to wear it confidently. She still slouches, no matter what she’s wearing or how big she’s smiling

  • quiltrx

    That coat should make ANYBODY feel happy!
    This could be a real ‘fashion bitch’ outfit if she carried herself as such. You can have fun with a ‘serious’ outfit that flatters you, Lena!

  • twocee

    I would cut someone for that coat if it had full sleeves. The 3/4 sleeves kill it for me.

    But yes, this is the best she has ever looked in any pictures I’ve seen of her. Time to grow up indeed.

  • gubblebumm

    girls need to wear a bra…

  • Imasewsure

    Hopefully she can take the lessons learned here today and apply them to her own fun (but awful awful awful) style. I really don’t like to see fashion train wrecks so it would be awesome to see some positive changes (but this is truthfully a bit dull)

  • GreenTurtle

    Armchair psychology here: Maybe the posture is telling us what her mouth won’t: that for all the talk of body acceptance, she’s trying to convince herself as much as much as the rest of us. Faking it until you make it. And this is not meant to be denigrating whatsoever. I applaud her, but when she doesn’t get to aggressively control the message with some wacko outfit (screw you- I’m not into fashion and you can’t judge me) she starts looking uncomfortable. Maybe because there’s not as easy a defense for shrugging off the criticism.

  • BeeBeauNYC

    That posture!!! I would yell at her for poor posture.

    • sagecreek

      Oh, many of us have already done that for you 🙂

  • mommyca

    OMG that coat!!! Spectacular! and I agree that she looks fantastic here… She sort of has a Miuccia Prada vibe to her…

  • Not applicable

    she looks great- but she obviously caved… makes the “win” feel a little hollow… :/

  • ErmengardeGreen

    She does look terrific. I think the thing with her is the arena of competition. She doesn’t want to try her best in the looks-and-style category and come up short. She wants to flout the category. I agree that with the right approach or guidance, she could be doing personal bests stylewise while still celebrating her body, having an offbeat aesthetic, etc., but my guess is that for her it’s more important to look cool than hot.

    • demidaemon

      The question is, can you look cool when your outfit looks like crap?

      • martha


  • Zaftiguana

    I can only hope that the face is “This is my serious fashion face” and the posture is a misguided attempt at the couture slouch and that maybe she does know she’s killing it.

    But you guys are probably right.

  • Sarah Thomas

    That coat is pure Buffy Summers. Maybe if someone told her that she’d like it better. Homegirl seems like she’d be a Buffy fan.

    • mlle

      I miss Buffy and her endless supply of leather jackets and pants.

  • jdoodad

    I don’t think she’s miserable so much as she’s doing what she believes is ‘high fashion face’.

  • msdamselfly

    She finally looks appealing

  • Well said!

    I love Lena, and I want everybody else to love her, too. When people gasp when they see her or make fun of her in any way, I have to wonder if they’ve seen her show.

  • Nancy Karpen

    Yeah, she needs to stand up straight. But she really looks great here.

  • martha

    A dress of this shape in a fun, funky pattern would be perfect for her.

  • Well fucking said.

  • willworktomorrow

    She just strikes me as a privileged young woman who doesn’t appreciate how much she gets to have and do. Her attitude seems immature and lacking gratitude and humility, and no matter what clothes she wears, she’ll never be lovely wearing that expression.

  • Jacquelyn

    Must. Have. Coat.

  • Monabel

    Is that the end of the zipper poking out in back? Even though the dress fits well-yay!

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    I wonder what she sees when she looks in the mirror, because this is the best she’s ever looked and she doesn’t seem to be very happy about. Were it me, I’d be grinning from ear-to-ear. And I would wrestle her to the ground for that coat and I would win too!

  • Donna Tabor

    Baby steps. She’s so close, let’s not scare her, okay?

  • bellafigura1

    Bang on, boys. This is brilliant. Now she needs to make her face catch up.

  • YourLibrarian

    I never realized before how dreamy her skin is.

  • Kate4queen

    She looks lovely but your analysis is right on!

  • Dixie_Sugarbaker

    Her biggest two problems are that she never wears a correct fitting bra and she does not stand up straight. She may be young, but those puppies need to be lifted.

    Also, since she does not seem to appreciate fashion, may I have her coat?

  • Joanne Robertson

    That coat is giving me LIFE!!!

  • Darva Sutra

    She truly needs Blerta (love you Tina Fey!) as a real-life get-a-grip friend. Stop sulking, that coat is TOO DIE FOR! Miuccia did her a solid here. She’s pissed off cause none of her asinine tats are showing with this look.

  • marlie

    I COVET that coat. She looks amazing, with the coat on and without. Agree – best she’s ever looks. Don’t get the sourpuss face.

    Also, she looks CLASSY. Not something I think anyone has ever said about her. Kudos!

  • Laylalola

    She’s looks cutting edge in the first shots, actually, and a good 25 pounds or more lighter with clothes that fit better.

  • Coco Cornejo

    There’s nothing youthful in either of these looks. My 80-year-old bohemian aunt (if I had one) would rock that jewelry. But a 30-something actress, writer, director? Not so much.

  • Lisa M. (ReVoir) Kramp

    Coveting that coat with the intensity of a laser beam.

  • SportifLateBoomer

    To me, especially without the coat (which I covet madly) she is channeling Style-conscious Lady Investment Banker realness.

    That’s not necessarily a good thing, although it all does fit her well and suit her body.

    Did I mention i would kill for the coat? And the jewels?

  • alyce1213

    Yes, it’s a beautiful coat, but frankly it’s pretty basic. I see it and others just like it in all colors, all over the place, in any leather store in the city (or online).

  • Trickytrisha

    Dat slump is a buzz kill. But yeah, she looks great. Too bad it’s not something she enjoys.

  • E2_Remote

    I actually kinda like Lena, so I really hope that I’m not reading her facial expression as the ultimate example of 1st World Problems: “Can you believe those awful fashion tyrants at Miu Miu and Prada MADE me wear this stuff to a fashion show in PARIS???”

  • Synnae

    Dear TLo- thank you for writing what I thought!

    Good luck getting it into her head though, that’s gonna take a while…

  • demidaemon

    I am applauding the style psychoanalysis! Bravo, gentlemen, bravo! As for Miss Dunham, here is what I have to say: Girl, it’s okay to look good and have clothes actually touch your skin. In fact, do more of this and people might not put you on the worst dressed list repeatedly. You look smoking!!!!

  • StephanieLovesTLo

    I am seriously dun-ham with this bee-yotch. You’re in Paris FFS, wearing thousands of dollars in free stuff. Get over yourself.

  • rage_on_the_page

    Want. that. necklace.

  • Jaime

    I *covet* this coat like a pregnant woman covets ice cream and pickles. or something. It would look SMASHING on me…

  • Lidia Starkova

    Lena, no.. Don’t go all the way to your 60s right now. Shape wise I agree with TLo, but color combo is USSR in 50s. Matchy cuff and necklace is SO aging..
    Color, print, detailing! Would be great for her to try nordic designers like ACNE, bruuns bazaar, filippa k and noa noa. Those are just so right for her!

  • Shawn EH

    She’s rocking a 50s Riviera vibe there for me; lose the bangle, that’s it. Maybe she’ll figure it out.

  • kikisayshi

    I am loving all of this, down to her hair and makeup. She may not like people saying this, but she actually looks pretty.

  • and here i was thinking that coat is vintage, due to its condition- see the wear around the buttonholes and the scratches on the collar? i imagined she found it in a thrift shop and is lucky enough to own it! as to the slump, i seriously wonder if she has scoliosis or some other such thing. and the frown? maybe she has cramps.

  • zingit

    Not only do these outfits look the best we’ve seen on her, that haircut and style is best I’ve seen on her!

  • Fuchaforever

    She looks like she’s going to a funeral

  • Dreamwr8tr

    It’s pretty and it fits her well and it’s the best she’s ever looked imho, but clearly wealthy office casual does not make her happy. I don’t think changing the color palette would help. Pack up those designer clothing and send it to someone who looks happy in them.
    I don’t understand why people keep throwing clothing at her. Lena manages to make everything look terrible or look supremely unhappy.

  • CommentsByKatie

    Peggy Olson Realness. She does look great.

  • Contralto

    The entire outfit is TDF, and she would look amazing if she would just STAND UP STRAIGHT and SMILE, for God’s sake. Honestly, I just want to knock the crap out of her sometimes.

  • Wait, wait. What is “TDF”? Too damn fine? Tired, dreary, foul? Tacky, dumpy, fucked? To die for? Too despairingly frumpy?

    • Contralto

      To Die For.

  • Clair Ellis

    This is literally the best I’ve seen her look ever. One reason is bc it’s fits and it’s classy/classic. The red leather coat is amazing. Also, I like the fact that I can’t see her tattoos. I have three and I love them in general, however most of the time they don’t make her look as fabulous as she could. The fact that they are hidden this time around add to the classy-ness of the look. Smile girl, it’s all women’s best fashion accessory!!!

  • Hanoslava Galapagos

    And this is why everyone should listen to Tom & Lorenzo. What a great post.

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    I hate that dress. This looks like the dress you wear when you play the oboe in a community orchestra. YAWN. And someone please tell this woman to stand up straight.

  • littlemac8

    In the olden days this outfit is what we would have called becoming! And she looks pretty!! Huzzah, I love it. Hair and makeup are best ever. Did I say she look PRETTY! Why, yes I did!

  • irielle

    I’m not a fan of hers, and I thought she looked FANTASTIC here, but T&L are totally right. She looks so glum.

  • StellaTex

    She’s pissed cause she’s not showing any of her hideous tattoos.

  • msdamselfly

    It could also be the mileu that’s making her self conscious. A Paris fashion show- there’s bound to be some serious fashionistas who are judging her looks by traditional standards.

  • Pepper Collins

    If only she would stand up straight…

  • GM

    She looks amazing here! Indeed, apart from the sour puss, as you’ve noted.