Octavia Spencer at “Red Band Society” LA Special Screening

Posted on June 26, 2014

We’re always saying that good style partially comes down to the venue. Simply put, you have to dress appropriately for where you’re at. We’re not talking dress code, although it’s important to stick to ones both stated and unstated (as in, no gowns to brunch and no flip-flops to weddings). We’re talking about knowing what works best for you in a particular kind of setting and making sure you stick to it. It’s about asking yourself “What am I trying to say about myself at this event?” and then putting an outfit together that sells that point.

This is a roundabout way of saying that we’d probably huzzah this look if she was just walking down the street and getting through her day, but it’s a distinct disappointment to see her on a red carpet like this.

Octavia-Spencer-Red-Band-Society-Special-Screening-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (1)Octavia Spencer attends Fox’s New Drama ‘Red Band Society’ Special Screening and Q & A at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Octavia-Spencer-Red-Band-Society-Special-Screening-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (2)

Octavia-Spencer-Red-Band-Society-Special-Screening-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (3)

Octavia-Spencer-Red-Band-Society-Special-Screening-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (4)

In theory, dark jeans and a simple jacket are totally appropriate for an event as relatively low-key as this one. But she had to know she was going to be photographed, and this simply isn’t the most photogenic outfit in the world. The sweater and the jeans are both a little on the snug side, but the real issue here is the jacket. First, it needs to be buttoned. That would automatically pull this outfit together and make her look a little dressier. Second, it needs to not be the exact same shade of blue as the jeans, because the effect in pictures is to make her look like she’s wearing a way-too-tight pantsuit. She needs a little contrast between the top and bottom to work. She also needs a bag that doesn’t look so beat up, in a color other than blue.

Love the sandals, though. If she’d just switch out the jacket and the clutch for something just a little more upscale, this would totally work.




[Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]

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  • RussellH88

    If this were a Gal on the Street post, she’d look great. But since this is a Red (Blue) Carpet, she needs a bit more oomph.

  • Kent Roby

    Ms. Spencer gives the look of someone who hates making these appearances (which seems odd for an actor).

    • Anna

      She does look like she’d rather be somewhere else….although, I can imagine constantly going to events like this would get old as shit after awhile.

      • e jerry powell

        She’d rather be watching the movie already, I think.

    • MilaXX

      Can’t say I blame her, I’d hate it too. Especially since dressing as a curvy gal is kin to splaying dragons some days. Even the smaller gals have trouble dressing in the RC. Imagine doing that when half the designers out there barely condescend to even the thought of clothing over size 12.

    • marlie

      She always does. BUT… let that be a lesson to the other stars who hate the red carpet schtick… you can force yourself to make an appearance and not look like a smacked ass. Sure, this outfit isn’t great, but she at least made an effort to look presentable.

  • Anna

    Octavia looks good overall, but boring. The outfit doesn’t really seem to fit her personality. Needs some more jewelry, a little color, and as stated, a better jacket.

  • Janet B

    Looks as if she’s really using the clutch. Unfortunately top to bottom, not the right outfit.

    • Alloy Jane

      Yes. The “problem” with the clutch is that it is not empty.

  • Glam Dixie

    Really dark wash straight leg jeans would have been an improvement over the ice cream cone effect that skinny jeans give to heavier girls.

    • I would have gone the NYDJ Marilyn Straight in black.

      Preferably the ones with the glitzy sparkle down the side seams on the outside. I own those myself. 🙂 Not sure they are still available though.

    • Gatto Nero

      So few people can wear skinny jeans well!

    • Wink

      Just because it comes in your size, that doesn’t mean you should wear it.

      • Sarah

        Corollary: Just because you can get it on, doesn’t mean it’s your size. (No shade to Octavia, but I see this all the time)

        • Kitten Mittons

          “Brenda, why don’t you try on one of these….in *your size*?”

          No shade either, I was just physically incapable of holding that in.

          • amanda siegelson

            a great reference to a fab moment in a fave movie – brava!

          • Kitten Mittons

            One of my favorite SJP roles, because you just want to punch her.

          • amanda siegelson

            that and l.a. story are my faves for her…

          • Kitten Mittons


        • marlie

          Absolutely. I’ve been with people who have tried on something questionable and who have said, “this fits.” Just because you can zip it doesn’t mean that it fits. No one listens to me when I suggest trying on a different style, though.

      • kimmeister

        Another corollary: just because it’s sold in all of the stores doesn’t mean you should purchase it.

        • Wink

          Amen. Every trend does not work for every person.

    • schadenfreudelicious

      Agreed, straight or even boot cut would have been much more figure flattering

      • I loathe bootcut jeans. They just make my legs look fat all over – but with remarkably slender knees. Straightleg or skinny (skinny cut, not too tight) are much more flattering.

    • Kathy

      As a curvy gal myself, these pants look like they’d be really uncomfortable, especially when seated.

    • Jessica Freeman

      I also tend to think its about balance. You can’t wear skinny jeans like regular jeans if you’re not thin. It’s about balance and the best I’ve seen women look in them is when they wear them with a tunic or other loose fitting top that is a bit longer than just a shirt.

      • Tami from Seattle

        Please let us know what thigh size is too big around so we can be sure to cover-up in public. I hate when I go out of my house and disgust people by not covering up my offensively fat self.

        • Jessica Freeman

          I certainly didn’t mean what I said as an offense. And I apologize if it came across that way. It was intended to sound as such that we can all wear skinny jeans, that different body types wear them differently. I do not fall under the “thin” category and I wear my skinnies with tunics.

          • Tami from Seattle

            I’m sure you have a lovely body to match your lovely picture. Please don’t cover up because you are afraid of society judging you.

    • Kimmu

      I’m intensely sick of people insisting fat women can’t wear skinny jeans. I know it’s shocking, but not all of us actually want to apologize for our size and try to shrink ourselves through our clothing. I love skinny jeans because they hug my legs and they’re comfortable.

      • Glam Dixie

        I love skinny jeans too, but just because I like something doesn’t necessarily mean it looks good on me. Wear what you like but dark wash straight leg jeans would have dressed this up and looked better too. ymmv, of course.

    • kimmeister

      That principle doesn’t just apply to heavier girls, it also applies to thin girls with wide hips.

      • St. Ace

        As a relatively slender girl with wide hips, THIS.

  • I have to wonder if this looked a lot better in person than it does under flash photography. :/

    I suspect that jumper might actually be a gold or silver metallic but it isn’t coming across in the photos. And the material of the jacket is looking uber cheap in these photos.

    It is funny because we had the episode of Project Runway Allstars here tonight where they had to make something that photographed well and could be worn on the red carpet, and photos were taken of the outfits midway through – Korto had to totally remake her dress which in the end turned out to be a good thing. But it is a lesson about photography that anyone who gets photographed in an outfit needs to be aware of – you *need* to test it out and not just assume it is going to look fine. 🙂

  • Danielle

    The hair needs some zhuzhing at the very least.

  • 8daysaweek

    Good idea, bad execution. I’d like to see this with a white (or off-white, or whatever – matched to the sweater) and more fitted jacket, better hair and a metallic clutch.

  • OffToSeeHim

    And girl, get your nails done!

  • MilaXX

    I’d dump the jacket & sweater & go for an eye catching top. The bag look kmart collection . I’d switch that for something cuter as well

    • FibonacciSequins


  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    Sorry but I love this and I think she looks great. I would say and think that even if I wasn’t afraid of getting a poo pie from her.

  • Jessica Freeman

    it’s just so….boring. which seems to reflect her feelings about being at this event.

  • MartyBellerMask

    Someone give this lady a free purse. Come ON. She’s an Oscar winner and she’ll actually USE it.

  • marlie

    She looks good, but she also looks like “casual Friday at work.” Even a statement necklace could have helped.

    • Constant Reader

      Oops, missed this before saying essentially the same thing!

      • marlie

        Great minds and all that. 😉

  • WinterSantiaga

    I don’t mind the skinny jeans. When you’re a bit heavier, you’re a bit heavier. That doesn’t mean your clothes should have to be as flattering as possible, which essentially means make you look as skinny as possible. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just don’t think it should be the first thought when choosing an outfit.) If she likes to show off the shape of her legs that’s fine, even if it’s not the most flattering style. The top could be a bit dressier, or maybe I just don’t like the neckline… And I like a dark blazer(not this one though!), unbuttoned, over a lighter shirt on bigger women especially. Buttons can sometimes be very constricting..

    • marlie

      The only think I will disagree with is that I don’t think flattering equals skinnier. Flattering only means that the look accentuates the figure and the features that the person currently has, period.

      • Glam Dixie

        Exactly, and that’s why Tim Gunn always stressed fit and proportion so much on his brief style show. Skinny jeans throw off the proportion when they make you look like an ice cream cone with a ball of ice cream on top. Balance is key not making yourself look skinny.

        • marlie

          I’m not making any sort of statement on skinny jeans or not; I was responding to the OP’s statement of “That doesn’t mean your clothes should have to be as flattering as
          possible, which essentially means make you look as skinny as possible.” I disagree with the “…which essentially means make you look as skinny as possible.” part of the statement.

          Flattering is not about making you look skinny; making you look skinny is not about being flattering. In my opinion, those two concepts have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Flattering is the right color, shape, whatever, for the wearer’s height, color, size, shape, proportions, etc. It has nothing to do with making someone look thinner than they are.

          I have zero opinion on where skinny jeans fit anywhere into this equation.

    • MilaXX

      I don’t mind the skinny jeans either. I just think the top/jacket and clutch are too casual for the RC

      • poggi

        I agree. A top with a prettier neckline, color,embellishment or something would have done it for me.

  • conniemd

    The nice thing about dark blue jeans is that they can be dressed up with about any colored jacket. Print looks great too. Some of the jackets we’ve seen in the men’s collection would look smashing.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    If this were a black jacket, I’d be great with the whole outfit.

  • Shawn EH

    If she can wear sandals with jeans, why not a more statement-y sweater, sans jacket! This is just too blah.

  • Constant Reader

    I’m beginning to feel like a cross between a parrot and a magpie here, but this outfit would benefit tremendously from some jewelry. My preference would be for bigger, more noticeable earrings to highlight her gorgeous face, but I’d be happy with a long necklace or a statement bracelet.

  • Ann VerWiebe

    That clutch looks like it could be her actual purse.

    • Fordzo a.k.a. Fancy Mukluks

      Not even her purse. Her wallet. I think I see her supermarket shopper club card peeking out.

  • kimmeister

    Unfortunate name for a TV show. Yes, I understand its premise, but it sounds like a cousin of the Red Hat Society.

  • Shannyn Marie

    Buttoning the jacket wouldn’t have helped. Since it’s not that tapered, it would just make her look heavier than she is. She looks like she did her best, considering the fact that the energy she gives is that she wasn’t thrilled about being there.

  • AnaRoW

    From what I can find out, most of the cast showed up in blue jeans and shorts so I’m guessing the invitations said casual. I wonder why they bother putting up a red carpet for events like this. She looks fine for the occasion but it’s the red carpet that’s incongruous.

  • Granny panties

    I think the top should be long enough to cover the crotch and butt when wearing skinny stretch jeans on ANY size of lady. That said as a curvy women I do not like the silhouette of maternity top and leggings that seems to be dominate the last few years. I normally really like the pretty dresses Octavia usually wears.

    • Alloy Jane

      A tunic over jeans does nothing but make a big ass look even bigger. This is great if that’s your goal, but not so much when ass size makes you self-conscious.

      • Granny panties

        I agree. Not a long top over jeans, or trousers, but over the various forms of skintight “denim” and spandex society is calling pants nowadays. I think its inappropriate to see crotch and butt so clearly in stretch fabric, this applies to all sizes. I was at a mall yesterday I realize this is the current fashion, but I think its gross.

  • Fordzo a.k.a. Fancy Mukluks

    I’d get behind this look if those jeans were a wider leg. A “trouser” jean would look much nicer, IMO. Which I’m sure everyone was waiting for.

  • ktr33

    Casual Friday, Accounting

  • SophieCollier

    Got no issues with the tight jeans. In fact, I think big girls look amazing in skinny jeans. But it does look like she’s shown up for a managers conference or something. Jazz it up, love!

  • SuzyQuzey

    She looks TIRED. Seriously, look at her eyes. It was probably a huge effort just to pull this together. I’ll give her a pass, maybe because I have had a completely life-changing week, and I probably don’t look so good, either.

  • Alloy Jane

    Call me crazy but I love those jeans and that wash on her. It’s the jacket that bothers me. And the color of the clutch, I suppose. But I think if she wasn’t wearing the jacket, that Dodger blue would not bother me.