Helen Mirren at the “The Hundred-Foot Journey” New York Premiere

Posted on August 05, 2014

Darlings, we’re going to indulge in a little red carpet psychoanalysis and tea leaf-reading.

Consider Dame Helen:

Helen-Mirren-The-Hundred-Foot-Journey-New-York-Premiere_Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (1)Helen Mirren attends the premiere of “The Hundred-Foot Journey” at Ziegfeld Theater in New York City.

Helen-Mirren-The-Hundred-Foot-Journey-New-York-Premiere_Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (2)

Helen-Mirren-The-Hundred-Foot-Journey-New-York-Premiere_Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (3)

Helen-Mirren-The-Hundred-Foot-Journey-New-York-Premiere_Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (4)

Helen-Mirren-The-Hundred-Foot-Journey-New-York-Premiere_Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (5)

It’s interesting to us that she chooses to dress this way because honestly, we’ve never met  – and can’t imagine – any woman in her sixties wanting to dress in lacey retro styles like this. And with good reason, we might add. It’s just smart for any person past forty to make sure they’re not rehashing styles that were in vogue when they were young because it looks like you’re trying to hold onto the past (see entry for: Ciccone, Madonna)  The silhouette, crinolines, basic pumps and cardigan all could have been worn by little Helen at her first Freshman dance (or whatever the English equivalent may be). Additionally, it’s odd to us that she adopts these very grandmotherly styles – except grandmothers haven’t really dressed like this in decades. The effect is this odd combination of looking matronly while chasing her own youth at the same time. Or at least that should be the effect, because for the most part, this really works for her. We imagine a sassy haircut and a sassy attitude (not to mention a still-killer bod) go a long way in mitigating any negative effects in her style choices.

Anyway, our point is, her style took a turn in this direction roughly 4 or 5 years ago and we wonder if it wasn’t in response to all the “Helen Mirren is SO hot” rhetoric that bounced around the celebrity-sphere at the time. Once she got snapped wearing a bikini, it became quite the thing to declare how much everyone wanted to Be or Do Dame Helen. We still think she could stand to loosen up just a bit, but in a way, we admire her for holding onto her dignity and saying through her style choices, “That’s quite enough of that, thank you.”





[Photo Credit: Darla Khazei, PacificCoastNews, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]

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  • SewingSiren

    I think the dress is great, but the accessories take it a little too retro.

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    • Plus I just don’t think black shoes were the right choice.

      • Dorothy & Michael n/a

        Black shoes with a navy dress? No no no.

        • sparkle_burnout

          Oh heavens I must disagree, navy and black are a classic combo and can be marvelous together. Agreed, it’s not working for me here, but I blame it more on the style of that pump.

          • MoHub

            For some reason, I want to see a Mary Jane strap on those shoes.

          • Sophie

            I like the combination, but my grandmother (who is about the same age as Helen Mirren) says it always reminds her of orphans’ uniforms. Maybe it was a different colour combination in England? I’m just not used to seeing women over a certain age wearing navy and black together.

      • KateShouldBeWorking

        She favors hose so I think we’re stuck with a pump. I would have voted for a plummy-pink version.

        • Yes, or even a basic mushroom suede.

      • demidaemon

        Good catch. I remembered not liking the shoes that much either, even though they are pretty non-offensive ion their own.

  • Christopher J. Tucker


  • HomeOfficeGirl

    The dress is just alright, but not bad. I really love her soft hair and make up here. She’s working all that!! Just watched a clip of her on The Tonight Show… she’s so fabulous.

    • I do not love the dress. That strip down the middle of the skirt just looks weird, like some kind of modesty panel or something.

      • Monabel

        I thought the lighter sections on the sides were trying to evoke 18th Cent. panniers on a court dress. In either case, not a success.

      • sk8tfan

        Yes, it looks like she’s wearing a giant cross down the center; practically Elizabethan. And it only needs pearls with the cardigan to go full on retro. And yet I adore her; she looks like she’s having the time of her life, and her hair is perfection. I want to be her, unfashionable as she is.

      • mlurve

        I wish it was all that blue color

  • Nicole Sauvage

    It’s a flattering cut (shows off her figure and pretty collarbones), it’s probably easy to wear (in the sense that it allows for good foundation garments as needed), the earrings are rockin’, and her skin is just frustratingly great. The only thing I’d change is the sweater, which looks like it’s from the Gap. Throw some rhinestone buttons on it, at least.

    • Cardigan is all wrong, and the bra-colored purse ain’t helping.

      • KateShouldBeWorking

        That purse is aggressively dull and far too warm in tone. A pewter was called for here.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        I think a shrug or a lovely shawl could have worked better than the cardigan.

    • EZ Pass

      I’m pretty sure I have that cardigan: it’s the featherweight cashmere cardigan from Pure. Lovely, but not for the red carpet, perhaps…

      • MoHub

        I don’t know. The cardigan kind of makes it for me just because it’s so wrong, and Queen Helen is so right.

    • doodle_bug

      He skin is frustratingly great because she’s had a facelift. See the scar up the edge of her earlobe and ear in the hairflip picture. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just that you shouldn’t be frustrated by it. 🙂

      • livesarah

        I think she’s had some recent work. But as much as I’m against plastic surgery, I think it’s just that most celebs go overboard. Dame Helen isn’t desperately trying to look 40, and whatever she is doing has been executed with such restraint that she looks pretty effing fantastic

  • Anna

    I would’ve gone with a different shoe, but Queen Helen looks very pretty. I love whatever she’s doing in the 2nd last photo.

  • eowyn_of_rohan

    I don’t know, I think that hair-tossing pic is still sexier than any Lea Michele or J.Lo “of course” get-up. You’ll have to try harder not to turn us on, Dame Helen!

    • StellaZafella

      I WOULD certainly ask her to the dance…

  • Scott Cooper

    It helps that the hair and make up are so fresh. If the make up had been heavier, and the hair stiffer, she’d be in trouble. And the heels. Lower heels or flats and all she’d be missing is the walker.

  • greymain

    je l’adore!

  • GillianHolroyd

    Love it from head to toe. She’s treading that fine line like a pro.

  • OffToSeeHim

    Could NOT POSSIBLY love her more. I don’t even notice what she’s wearing, I just want to go to lunch with her. I mean, this is fine, she looks happy in it – what I love about her is that she commits. She never looks uncomfortable or like her stylist pushed her into anything.

  • Maria Parramore

    Her face looks amazing though. She’s gorgeous. Not gorgeous for her age. Just flat out gorgeous.

  • SistaT

    I think she looks wonderful (other than those Nine West basic pumps). Classy and pretty and radiant. I admire her and I don’t even know her. She just seems a sterling example of how to dress stylishly and beautifully without having to cling on to one’s youth in a way that becomes embarrassing.

  • Glam Dixie

    I hate that dress and really don’t like it with the black pumps either, but somehow she is making it work for her. What is this sorcery?

    • StellaZafella

      That which is the queen of fuckinfantastica…

  • Mr. J.

    That lip color, the whole thing….Oh yes.

  • cmb123

    The second photo (from the waste up) is gorgeous. Her hair, the neckline, the makeup; all amazing. It’s the shoes and the weird panel in the skirt that give me pause. But she is working it and working it well. All hail Dame Helen!

  • stellavision

    Looooove that pink lip on her. She’s not wearing anything as bad as a burlap sack, but even if she were, she could sell it to me with that look on her face.

  • In_Stitches

    Pink pumps to match her lips would have tipped it over into the WIN column. As is, there’s just too much beige. The underskirt peaking out, the cardigan, that rectangle she’s holding…sure, she has great earrings and an awesome cuff, but the beige wave really neuters the look’s impact.

  • Adrianna Grężak

    “It’s odd to us that she adopts these very grandmotherly styles – except grandmothers haven’t really dressed like this in decades.”

    I wonder if she’s referencing the grandmothers she knew? My mother follows style magazines and websites, but she’s still convinced that I’m supposed to wear nude panty hose to work.

    • Jackie4g

      Voting with your esteemed Mother. Ceptin’ in the summer months.

  • Tanya Wade

    I want her hair. Saving this photo for the hairstylist! As for the outfit, loose the hosiery, get a better dress and cuter shoes but keep the twinset look.

  • Anapestic

    I suppose if I’m forced to think about it, I don’t much like the dress/cardigan/shoes, but her face and overall bearing are so fabulous that it’s hard to notice the outfit. She looks terrific!

  • kipper

    Isn’t it just her being British ?

  • BayTampaBay

    I think she looks great.

  • MilaXX

    I wish the crinoline wasn’t there, but she works a lace dress far better than I ever could.

  • @Biting Panda

    Eh, she looked better on Live! this morning.

    The dress is great, in theory, but the fleshy panels and purse, and slightly too dark stockings, are making her nearly. . .frumpy?

    Love her, of course, but the Devil is in the details, and these are off.

  • Sarah

    I love that dress! I would totes buy it. I would not put it with those shoes, but I can’t hate. She’s awesome – in the truest sense of the word.

  • AmeliaEve

    I felt this was a scrolldown win. The bit of pastel petticoat at the bottom in a color that calls back to the cardie makes this whole look playful and flirty to me. It’s just a touch of HBC swag that keeps it from being fussy. Love.

  • queeniethebold

    She just has the most spectacular attitude. i heart her with all my heart. And her skin! And look at her gorgeous collarbones/decolletage. To die.

    i just turned 60 and am always told that i “vibe” younger; could never do the lacy/crinoline-y getups. But more power to Queen Helen of Fanfuckingtastica for doing it her way (even though the bag and the shoes are kind of awful, i ignore them because of all the other goodness that is inherent in the look, mostly owing to her insides, if yanno what i mean).

  • luludexter

    from the waist up this is absolutely wonderful – and her hair, as usual, just looks beautiful. I agree the silhouette isn’t quite right and the shoes – ugh. Its the shoes and hose more than anything that age this outfit.

  • Kitten Mittons

    I’m not sure of her reasoning, but I really don’t care for this look at all. She looks great in blue, but that dress is not very flattering, and I don’t think it would be on anyone. The crinolines are that lovely underwear color, so it just looks liker her slip peeking out. I don’t like the seam at her waist, or the extra seam at her hips. I really don’t like that the dress is lined in two different colors either; it gives this weird color blocking effect. The cardigan is cute, but it was unwisely matched to the old bra color crinolines, and then the purse is matchy-but-not-quite. The shoes just don’t go with anything else.

    All that said, her face is radiant, her hair and makeup look wonderful, her jewelry is beautiful, and she just looks like so much damn fun. I want to see her in something that is worthy of her. Whether she wants to go sexy, sassy, or more demure, I know that she can do better than this.

    • demidaemon

      You just wrote my exact thoughts in thesis form. Thank you.

      • Kitten Mittons

        I do what I can. I figured I’d save you some time and finger wear n’ tear.

  • majorbedhead

    From the waist up, it’s perfection. I’m not loving the skirt or the shoes, but eh, whatever. It’s Queen Helen. She can do what she likes and I will just smile and nod and clap approvingly (albeit in a quiet and polite way) and hope that I look that good when I’m her age.

  • I think she is oozing a lot of fun and confidence, even if the style is dated.

  • FuhUgh

    This is a rare miss for her. If the dress had been all blue – without the blush underskirt – it might have worked. The combo of cardi and underskirt creates an unflattering blockiness. Seems like that blush underskirt might have been a “no,” even without the cardi. And the shoes are kind of horrifying. They are moving her into “QE2” territory. Perhaps she needs to be badass and wear Cate Blanchett’s boots if she’s having shoe issues with comfort or stability.

  • Judy_J

    I think she looks great. Love her hair, and the cardigan with the dress works for me. But then, I’m in roughly the same age pocket as Dame Helen, and I would totally wear this. I love her hair, and I love that she cuts her own hair. Hell, I love everything about her. She’s my role model.

    • alliekat9090

      Mine too. I look to her for inspiration as I head into my golden years.

    • Constant Reader

      I feel like at a certain point, we should have to be cold if we don’t want to. And I never want to. 🙂

  • decormaven

    Attitude: fabulous. Shoes and purse: rare misstep.

  • Little_Olive

    I appreciate the analysis (boy, that’s why we’re here) but I just think its a bad dress paired with terrible shoes, a cardigan that does not go and an afterthough of a cluthch. Sorry, Dame Helen. But you’ll get back on your feet in no time.

    ETA: Girl (dame), that is not your lipstick.

  • kimmeister

    I don’t love the dress, but it would look a lot better if it were about 4 inches shorter. I would be more accepting of the peeping-out lining if it were uniform in length rather than sticking out 0.5″ in some places but 3″ in others.

  • Yolanda

    I think the dress is fine. It’s the unfortunate choices in accessories that are killing this look for me. I love Dame Helen. Those black pumps and blush clutch make my eyes twitch.

  • ashtangajunkie

    The only part that really bothers me is the black pump. Her face looks spectacular. She’s a hottie, cardigan and all.

    • alliekat9090

      I think Queen Helen has less than spectacular legs and has to be conservative as far as footwear. It is the one part of her anatomy that is less than perfection and she is aware of that, so she doesnt usually wear shoes that attract a lot of attention to her ankles. I adore this woman.

  • NMMagpie

    When you can flip your hair with that kind of panache, you can wear whatever the hell you want. LOVE HER!

  • Qitkat

    On Fallon last night, Queen Helen wore a cute short pinky-red leather jacket with a low-cut, cleavage-baring white and red patterned dress with a semi-full skirt and white pumps. No lace in sight. Pretty adorable, and so funny. Love her hair.

  • alliekat9090

    I dunno. I love it. Its just young enough without being cutesy. I get no vibe at all that she is “chasing her youth”. On the contrary. And her short bob is DEVOONE.

  • Fanny_Trollope

    I think she’s pulling this off like a boss.

  • Janet B

    Such a gorgeous face.

  • Gatto Nero

    Great analysis of this look, TLo. I saw the cardigan and lace and initially thought, “Uh oh.” But then, she’s radiant and confident! This works.
    I might just swap out the heavy black shoe for a soft grey one.

  • Mothra

    That dress would look better sheath style, with the cardigan and a different shoe that doesn’t scream “look at these dame’s cankles.”

  • The dress is fine, I guess, but this outfit just makes her look ridiculous — a word I never want to associate with Helen Mirren. She’s dressed like someone’s aunt who never goes to formal events so she puts on some random stuff from her closet and hopes for the best. Then puts a sweater over it because she’s chilly.

  • MissusBee

    I think she makes it look pretty, not stuffy, which is down to her hair, make-up and attitude. Howevah the cardigan is too casual for this and brings it down.

  • The cardigan is 50 shades of wrong, and the partial lining of the skirt (the blue rectangle in front) makes me twitch. The shoes are not wonderful but then again she may not have the pretty feet of a younger woman so I totally understand her not opting for strappy little metallic sandals. Her hair bob, face, earrings, and the color and neckline of the dress are all magnificent. I agree the vibe of the dress is a little “Grease”-y and something with not quite so many petticoats may have been more flattering (as well as still staying modest and age-appropriate). All in all, though, far more positives than negatives. So keep kickin’ it, Queen Helen! And PS: I am definitely going to go see the movie.

  • Trickytrisha

    Sorry, but The Empress of The Whole Wide World can wear anything she pleases and be as quirky or old school as she likes and still be forever awesome.

    *except for those shoes….


    Oh, I love this look on her! Retro yet totally fresh & elegant. She wore the same shape on the “Tonight Show” in a white & coral floral print with a very cute coral jacket. I call this “dressing to appeal to the target audience of the movie you are currently poledancing for” look and it is so well done. Brava, Dame Helen……

  • Tracy_Flick

    I love her but none of this matches. The cardi looks like she put it on when she got home to make tea. The shoes and purse don’t match anything, and the lipstick is a crime. The length of the dress couldn’t be less flattering.

  • FibonacciSequins

    Hot Grandma. Not many can pull that off!

  • evave2

    I think she looks terrific (well, goshdarnit, I AM her age, approximately); the shoes and the purse seem a little TOO something for me, I find myself wearing cardigans TOO because I worry about my upper arms looking flabby (NOTHING gets rid of that, at least I can’t seem to do anything about it). But it’s a cute cardigan however it seems to match the purse too much.

    Listen, I just woke up, I have a house full of guests, I always like the way she looks. I bow down to the queen. She looks so good to me.

  • Imasewsure

    I agree with our Dr Uncles wholeheartedly and yet she looks so damn fabulous, I don’t really care (which is also in agreement with our dear Uncle Freuds). She is so luminous!!

  • Patrick Cleary

    Her bag looks like a manilla file folder.

  • ktr33

    There’s something so charmingly British-seeming (or at least to my American perception of such) about throwing a plain little cardy over lacy evening wear.

  • Columbinia

    I can handle the dress but NOT the cardigan. Button cardigan over lace dress is a travesty on anyone. But in Dame Helen’s case, it makes me think that she should have one of those chains with jeweled clips at the neck of the cardigan and should wear it cape style over her shoulders, which takes it into school teacher retro. *Shudder*

  • julnyes

    I actually kinda hate this entire look from the neck down. Her face and hair are lovely, but the dress is juvenile to me.

  • I think she looks fabulous and sassy. I love it!

  • sunflower

    While I agree with the sentiments about her overall style in general, I think this outfit is a total miss for her. The dress is completely unflattering, too heavy, long waisted, and makes her look stumpy. And nothing matches! I’m surprised so many people are loving this!

  • LadyVimes

    I dislike the front panel on the skirt, and I’d put a different colored cardigan with it, but overall this is lovely on her, especially when combined with That Sass.

  • Milos Mom

    I love the look and say more power to her. Everyone does not want to pour themselves into something tight and I am pleased to see a woman of her age look divine utilizing character rather than silly trends. More power to her.

  • gefeylich

    Yeah. If the dress had a sheath skirt it might have looked age-appropriate (although retro-Mad Men-y). This puts me in mind of the similar and ridiculously inappropriate dresses Kris Jenner wears, but then, she’s delusional. Helen F**king Mirren is definitely not.

  • I think she looks divine. It’s the shoes I hate. (And are those stockings I see?)

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    I would ditch the cardigan for a shrug or a shawl, but I love Dame Helen-especially that haircut and her attitude!

  • brown-eyed girl

    I think she looks lovely, but suspect I’d think she’d look lovely whatever she was wearing. Which is really what it’s all about, right? Happy to see that Dame Helen’s ankles prove that she is human, after all. Her feet have got to be killing her.

  • Pterodactyl111

    I love a cardigan, but I’m not sure it goes here.

  • livesarah

    Apart from the boring shoes, which can be excused, I think she manages to make this look pretty sassy. I think the modern hair, makeup and attitude take it up a notch or ten.

  • At age 28, I would wear this entire outfit and love it

  • Michelle Lim

    I think she can pull this off!

  • SoAnnaPropriate

    Like the dress, lurv the lipstick, hate the shoes.

  • LuluBI

    Awesome lip color for her

  • demidaemon

    Not loving the dress, mostly for the way the hem works. It’s making me a little cross-eyed and confused.

    In other news, I kind of want to see this movie (just based on how awesome she looks and acts in the trailers) and I am careening my way towards the end of Prime Suspect, which she is also awesome in.

  • Drunken Housewife

    I think she’s wearing it because it is fun to wear. I’m turning 50 very soon, and last year I bought a retro dress with a crinoline (mine is scarlet and has some racy peepholes over the tops of my breasts– I imagine internet comment readers gagging at the thought of fifty-year old breasts on display, but honestly the dress works for me). After decades of wearing dresses with at most a thin slip under them, it’s delightful to swish around in a big old skirt. there’s something about patting the crinolines down and arranging them around you which is just fun, fun, fun. Dame Helen seems like a woman in general who knows how to enjoy herself.

  • ItAin’tMe

    It’s the matronly shoes and the shiney hose that are doing her in. The rest could be forgiven because it looks good on her. The cardigan says her bare arms are no longer an asset, but at least she knows it.