Mindy Kaling at The Young Storytellers Foundation’s “Biggest Show”

Posted on October 15, 2013

We were all set to sharpen our claws on this one, but then we saw what the event was and realized that dressing like a grade school teacher was the smartest, most appropriate way to go.


Mindy Kaling attends The Young Storytellers Foundation’s Annual “Biggest Show” in Santa Monica, California.

No, really. It’s not a bad idea at all for her to come to this event with a very toned down, relaxed, practical look. Like she’s ready to sit on the floor and read a book to 6-year-olds.

On the other hand, we’d argue – quite strenuously, in fact – that there are definitely better ways to execute this look. Let’s do that, then. Let’s mentally correct, shall we?

The shape of that vest is kind of awful and we really don’t like the matchiness of the blouse to the pants. Plus the bows on the flats make them look like tap shoes.  A less “dental smock” vest, a shirt that provides some contrast, and some simpler flats, maybe with some beading or other kind of less obtrusive detailing, and we’d call this perfect.

Your turn. Play with your Mindy paper doll and tell us what you come up with.





[Photo Credit: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images]

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

  • Latin Buddy

    I really like HER but this is a disaster. Keeping the teacher motif, it looks like she overslept and just made it to get kindergarden class before the kids realized she was late. Hair is a mess, she looks like she ran to the red carpet, and she is wearing sweatpants.

  • greathill

    I love Mindy Kaling. She dresses goofy sometimes but that’s her thing. Her show is one of the funniest on TV. those shoes are totally her.

    • I don’t think Mindy goes out of her way to dress goofy. Mindy really loves fashion and from the way she dresses to her tweets to her Instagram posts, she really wants us to know that.

      I like Mindy. Her show is awesome. I wouldn’t mind chillin’ with her. But I’ve never been a fan of her outfit choices.

      • ConnieBV

        They dress her amazing on the show. She should have lifted one of those outfits.

      • Sobaika

        I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive – she very much loves fashion and clothes, it’s obvious and she has fun with it. The results are sometimes goofy. Only makes me love her more.

  • uprightcitizen

    I kind of like the shoes and the shirt. The vest has got to go, though. I would: lose the vest, unbutton the top button of the shirt (which is making me feel claustrophobic just looking at it), hell … unbutton TWO buttons, ditch those earrings (where did they come from?), and add a very fitted little white cotton blazer with princess seams.

  • Take out that bitch of a sweater vest and put a red blazer where it should be.

  • Leah Elzinga

    keep the shirt and pants, add a contrasting belt (red? orange? maybe emerald green?) and perk it up with some simpler shoes. I’d love to see a sleek, cognac coloured oxford.

  • julnyes

    Blotting paper would be #1 on my list.

  • allcapsERINN

    Add a belt. A big hat. Some big red shoes. A parasol. Some cartoonish Salma Hayek-Balenciaga sunglasses. . . . Sorry, the minute I read “paper doll” it all went to Silly Town. My paper dolls always looked like they just tumbled out of clown cars.

  • mmebam

    Lose the vest. Black cigarette pants. Unbutton some of the top buttons.

    I’ve never been a fan of the loafer-style flats, so I can take or leave the shoes.

  • formerlyAnon

    Not a flattering moment for her. A different version of hair, clothing and possibly makeup could be just as venue-appropriate and more flattering.

    • demidaemon

      Yes, I am more disturbed by her make-up and the fact that her MA obviously forgot the setting powder needed for photog flash heavy events. Mindy looks like she is melting.

  • marlie

    The outfit doesn’t bother me so much as the makeup. Her makeup is always a little too monochromatic.

    • MilaXX

      She chooses bad lip colors always.

    • Constant Reader

      Agreed on the makeup. Too monochromatic and the foundation is unnecessarily heavy.

  • Glam Dixie

    My Mindy doll would have blotting papers and better shoes and we’d probably lose that vest thing and exchange it for a cute jacket.

  • KateShouldBeWorking

    I’m OK with this. She looks super-approachable and I think that’s important at a kid-centered event.

  • imspinningaround

    Whatever. Those rules aren’t real.
    They were real that day I wore a vest!
    Because that vest was disgusting!

  • amanda siegelson

    i’d just remove the vest entirely.

    • MilaXX

      remove the vest, untiuck the shirt and open a few buttons

  • Amanda Welliver

    I love the shoes.

  • Jaeda Laurez

    V-neck the vest, move the straps out- where the top of the vest hits, it’s more narrow than the bottom of the vest, so she looks wider. It also needs shaping- she has a waist, but it’s hidden here. Her hair looks awful- a quick brush would have helped, and some blotting tissues. Other than that, eh…on a basic level, it’s fine.

  • AmeliaEve

    It needs to open up around her face. At the least, swap the vest for a cardigan and open the blouse at the neck. Maybe add a long necklace to further open things up. With her thick hair, it’s all just too top-heavy. Extra bonus points if the cardigan is a nice color pop, like tangerine orange or yellow-green, and maybe pick up some color in the flats.

  • ChelseaNH

    Straight leg pants instead of tapered; V-neck or open collar

  • sagecreek

    Horrible, horrible. More open collar, longer vest, generally more relaxed look would have worked better.

  • therealkuri

    I feel like I’d like everything else about this look way more if only the sweater vest had a deep V-neck, had some waist shaping and maybe came down another 2 inches or so. If I was knitting a sweater vest for her, that’s what I’d make.

  • BrooklynBomber

    Just get rid of the sweater vest. The rest I like. (If it’s chilly, add a cardigan.)

  • MilaXX

    Keep the pants, dive her a contrasting top, a cute bootie with a no more than a 1 inch heel, a lip with more contrast less shine and this is the one time you do not need a dangly earring unless it’s a hoop no larger than a nickel.

    • Qitkat

      But Mila, I thought you were the queen of the over-sized earring!

      • MilaXX

        I am, but even I wear small ones when appropriate.

        • Monabel

          Are small earrings ever appropriate?

          • MilaXX

            I think so

  • Qitkat

    Keep the shirt, but unbutton it all the way, layer over a feminine tee shirt, lose the pants, substitute with jeans, and trade the flats for a cute short suede bootie.

    The vest is an abomination, almost like a bullet proof cop vest, don’t save it for another day, or even give it to the thrift store, shred it, and stuff a fake Halloween pumpkin with it!

  • Plin

    Keep the pants and, hey, even the shoes. White blouse, cute patterned V-neck button-down sweater vest in bright, fun colors.

  • BazoDee

    She needs to borrow some of her character’s clothes. That dress Mindy had on when her pastor boyfriend quit being a pastor would have been stunning here.
    Okay – first she needs some makeup and hair stat!
    I like the shirt. I would try an orange or brown vest or mini scarf and brown belt with brown flats. The pants are serviceable but not flattering, but that may be the sweater she’s wearing.

  • Tatiana Luján

    What I dislike most about this look is the makeup.

  • valerie747

    Wear what you want, Mindy. BUT STAND UP STRAIGHT. Love, Mom.

  • I wish she hadn’t done her own make-up.
    I like the outfit – and don’t mind the shirt and pants together (pants are adorbs – love the zipper) but it’s definitely the vest that is bothering me. She needs to show some appropriate skin (neck) and her waist! Zuzz the sleeves, wear a black jacket, make sure the shirt is fitted to her. There. I fixed her. Which I felt compelled to do since I heart her.

  • Janet B

    A jacket in another color would be nice; green, orange, red, something. Ditch the vest and earrings.

  • Trickytrisha

    Hmm, not sure this one is salvageable, but it’s Mindy – so bad makeup and sweaty face, my aunt Gladys’ clothes, and tap shoes don’t matter. She’s still Mindy, thus adorable.

  • jilly_d

    I AM a schoolteacher, and I WANT those shoes.

  • Sadie-Ann

    I agree that I like the idea of this, but it didn’t come together. Also, she looks exhausted.

  • quiltrx

    I totally love the shoes, and I like the color on her if not the outfit execution.

  • Jacob Bowen

    Funny you say “teacher”. If the younger teachers at my school wore ANYTHING close to this they would be totally out of place. Teachers look pretty cute some days!

    • Targettaste

      But we know ALL teachers and librarians dress badly! Ugh, stereotypes.

  • I think it’s less dental smock, and more lead vest for the dental x-rays. Not cute in any circumstances. The shirt looks like it could be adorable.

  • Michelle Wilson

    I’d be ok with her clothes if her hair looked a bit more polished. I don’t mind the matchiness of the shirt and pants because, as she so often says, she’s a tiny Asian lady and it kind of visually elongates her, even with the vest chopping things up a bit.

    • Not applicable

      agreed- and i’m guessing it was too warm for this sweater- that’s some super shine going on…

  • oat327

    I love her but this is grim. Ditch the bulletproof vest and this outfit improves tremendously. Add either a blazer or new pants in some shade of not-blue.

  • murt

    Wow that makeup is absolutely horrible………. she looks so drawn and tired compared to what she normally looks like.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    Storytellers don’t generally read books aloud like we lowly children’s librarians do (except when, you know, we bust out the storytelling skillz from library school) — it’s oral storytelling, usually done standing up and very active. Which the grade school look is also appropriate for, and certainly the flat shoes. Toppling over in your shoes while waving an invisible sword at an invisible windmill would be very embarrassing, which I totally don’t know from personal experience.

    But yes — it can definitely be done better

    Let’s see.

    I’d have gone with flat Mary Janes on the feet (the strap keeps them from slipping off in the middle of storytime — or being kicked into the air during particularly vigorous action scenes — which I really should keep in mind the next time I go shoe shopping). Birkenstocks would be venue appropriate, too, though I can’t make myself recommend them. Generally, for storytelling, the more you look like you live on a commune and eat homemade granola, the closer you are to “the look.” Pants… maybe a less, um, vivid blue. Top: Something much flowy-er. Peasant blouse, maybe? And if she wants a vest, just a loose one, maybe with a mild beaded decoration, worn casually over the ensemble.

    And a hat. She could totally use a rumpled fedora here.

  • papillon

    I just can’t get over how bad her make up looks. It looks like she started sweating in it.

    That being said, this outfit makes me think of Emma Pillsbury but not as well executed. They go for that restrained, buttoned down look with her and I always think she looks adorable so maybe if they took some style clues from her styling, it would have looked better. As it is, she just looks kind of frumpy and that sweater is really ugly.

  • psykins

    Watching this week’s Mindy project and she is literally wearing the same button down and best (except in the show the vestis bedazzled and more fabulous, and paired with a kickass hot pink skirt). Is recycling a costume kosher? Or just smart marketing?