Best Dressed of 2014

Jack Wardlaw

So as we find ourselves in April and my lent resolution becomes a distant tattered memory (who was I kidding, giving up alcohol? Really?), I thought I should do a quick round up of some of the best fashion we’ve seen so far this year. Only a quarter of 2014 has passed but already we have some looks that are set to become iconic for this decade, let alone this year, so coming up is a (completely and unashamedly biased) list of the Top Ten fashion moments of 2014 so far (as well as a few special mentions both for good AND bad reasons).


10. Coming in at #10 is Cate Blanchett who practically rewrote the rulebook on sophisticated glamour at the Oscars in February, despite easily having the most expensive ensemble of the night. Her dress: Armani Privé. The Price: $100,000. That sounds like a colossal figure, and to anyone else it would be, but Blanchett accessorised her nude embellished gown with around $18 million worth of Chopard jewellery. Yes, you read that right. She was walking around in an outfit that cost over $18 million. If anyone else wore it, it would look ostentatious and sickeningly vulgar, but Blanchett’s über-glamorous blonde waves and relaxed smile make this dress absolutely stunning.


9. Undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the Brit Awards was modelling legend Kate Moss striding out to collect David Bowie’s award for Best Album, dressed in an outfit from his Ziggy Stardust days. The outfit, a red playsuit printed with white rabbits, was named the ‘Woodland Creatures’ costume and was worn on stage in 1972, but what is really surprising is that this outfit fitted Kate practically perfectly, so imagine how skinny Bowie must have been back in the day! It was a moment of music history and so even though it is not a gorgeous red-carpet gown, the look still deserves its place on this list.


8. Currently on my iPod there is an eclectic mix of Lady Gaga, Muse, Adele, Kodaline, Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machine and Paloma Faith. I’m not exactly the most adventurous with music; I know what I like and I only listen to that. It is hard then, for a new band to make it to the dizzying heights of my iTunes, but one band that has done so in recent times is London Grammar. The hauntingly beautiful vocals captured my attention straight away, and then Hannah Reid’s dazzling Elie Saab gown that she wore to the 2014 Brit Awards caught my eye. Her beautiful body was framed perfectly in this timeless design, and she flew the flag for youthful elegance at a time when the rest of her peers are most likely rocking the bum short and crop top combo. Hannah, you are AWESOME!


7. Emma Watson has probably had the most scrutinised transition from girl into woman of anyone in recent memory. The whole world watched as she shrugged off her goodie-two-shoes Hermione Granger image when she cut her hair, and ever since she has been consistently making Best Dressed lists for her youthful yet playful and creative red-carpet looks. On anyone else, this look would be a train wreck, but this amazing backless Dior Couture look she wore to the Golden Globes is just the right balance between young, interesting, fashionable and sexy, and proves that she can pull off just about anything.


6. Remember when Posh and Becks did that whole ‘matching leather outfit’ thing about 10 years ago and it was one of the worst eyesores known to man? Well at the BAFTAs this year, Angelina and Brad showed them how to do it, with Mrs. Pitt opting for an effortlessly sexy undone Saint Laurent tuxedo. The tumbling hair and subtle smokey eye give this androgynous outfit a seductive edge and the pointed heels make Jolie look like pure sex on legs.


5. She has portrayed some of the most powerful women in the world, including Margaret Thatcher and, perhaps the even scarier Miranda Priestly, but at the 2014 Oscars, Meryl Streep didn’t just prove that she can look incredible for her age, but she can look incredible full stop. The Lanvin dress she wore was perfectly cut, the belt showing her womanly silhouette without it clinging anywhere undesirable. She gave the rest of the actresses a lesson in how to dress with impeccable style, and the bias cut top revealed some of the beautiful décolletage she flashed in The Devil Wears Prada, proving that sexy does not have an age limit and that it can be done with utmost class. I wish Meryl was my beautifully fashionable Grandma.

4. If Meryl is my celebrity Grandma, then Emma Thompson is my celebrity mum. Bitingly sarcastic, fiercely witty and utterly hilarious to watch, Thompson represented a million women as she stood on stage and threw her heels away at the Golden Globes, which was a shame because they were beautiful heels. Her vintage dress was perfectly fitted and you could see her confidence radiating from that cheeky smile. Imagine meeting her at a bar and downing a few cocktails before hitting the clubs – she would out dance anyone and be the most incredible partner in crime. She never pretends to be anything other than exactly what she is, and why would you when what you are is practically perfect in every way? (Yes I know she didn’t play Mary Poppins, but she did play that other magical nanny, which is close enough)


3. To say that Lady Gaga has made some divisive fashion choices in the past would be the understatement of the century, but when she attended the Atelier Versace Haute Couture show in Paris in January, she reminded everyone that she is still a fashion force to be reckoned with and that when she gets it right, boy does she get it right! Her look was classic Gaga: Dramatic, theatrical and glamorous, but it was a far cry from the meat dress, the sky-high patent platforms and the body stockings. The contrast of the black dress with her platinum hair was beautiful in itself, as was her make-up, which was perfectly pitched with dark eyes and a natural lip. She steered clear of over-doing it all, which was a relief (sometimes she does stray slightly too far into circus performer for my liking) and the hood gave a touch of Grace Jones to the ensemble, and how can anyone not love that?


2. Emma Watson! I couldn’t resist putting her in again, because as I was writing this I saw pictures come through of the Noah premiere in London and when I saw her bespoke Ralph Lauren dress, my jaw hit my keyboard. This dress is perfect for her: Slightly quirky (with the asymmetric draping), fresh and youthful (it seems Watson can pull off ANY colour) and seductive without being provocative (the sheer skirt flashing her perfect legs but in a mature, sophisticated way). I have yet to see Emma wearing anything less than absolutely spot on which justifies her double entry on this list.


1. And so the best dressed award goes to…. who else? The adorably cute Lupita Nyong’o. It was the only thing people could talk about as the Oscars approached: What would she be wearing? After a string of hits, including that beautiful red Ralph Lauren cape dress and the stunning Gucci teal gown, all eyes were on Hollywood’s hottest new talent. Unsurprisingly, she chose Prada. Having starred in the Miu Miu campaign already, it was an obvious choice, but nevertheless she still easily commanded the attention of the world’s fashion press. Not only was the dress suitable for a disney princess, but Lupita’s infectious smile and indestructible confidence created a real fashion moment as she twirled around on the red carpet, her dress billowing out as she did so. Lupita gave one of the most beautiful acceptance speeches in history that night, and she is an exemplary young woman, which is why she thoroughly deserves to top my roundup of the Best Dressed of 2014 so far!


Now, don’t you men out there worry, I haven’t forgotten you. It’s hard for a man to stand out on the red carpet, we get a choice of a suit, a suit or maybe even a different kind of suit. Nevertheless, I’ve picked two guys who were able to show the rest of the male species how it’s done, without looking like they’re trying too hard. For men, understated is always best, and Tom Odell knows this instinctively. Instead of opting for the traditional black suit jacket, he decided to mix things up and wear a long blue coat (which I am actually completely in love with and have been stalking high street shops ever since trying to find one similar), but by pairing it with a neatly collared shirt, waistcoat and suit trouser, he still looks impossibly dapper yet youthful and cool. Top marks Tom.


The other man who deserves a mention is the incomparable Jared Leto. I used to say that no one ever looks good in a white suit jacket, but now I have to amend that statement. ONLY JARED LETO looks good in a white suit jacket. The red bow tie is a great touch and his personality really makes this look work. But be warned, if ANY OF YOU out there try this, you better have balls of steel because you run the risk of going dangerously close to the awkward teenager-at-prom look, and that is definitely not cool.


And now we come to the special mentions category. She may not have made the Best Dressed list this time, but there should be a Special Recognition Award presented to Victoria Beckham this year. After delivering yet another sterling collection at New York Fashion Week, Mrs. Beckham has confirmed her place as an internationally renowned fashion designer, and since the days of the Spice Girls, has finally found her style, one which deserves high praise. After the WAG extensions, then the blonde bob, the boob job and the leather trousers, when Victoria announced that she wanted to become a fashion designer, the fashion world, myself included, were skeptical to say the least. I was convinced she would be awful and give up after two collections (that was actually the story for Kanye West’s ill-advise foray into high fashion), but I will happily admit that I judged her by her cover and was completely slapped down when she presented her first collection. Her work ethic has always been “as long as I make my dresses properly, people can say they don’t like them, but they can’t say they’re not good” and this is an ethos that I personally want to adopt in everything I do. Her collections have become the epitome of modern elegance, and her personal style evolution has reflected this. Taking her bow, Victoria opted for a simple black three-quarter length sleeved top and black midi-skirt with stiletto heels. Absolutely classic, absolutely chic. When you remember where she has come from, and see where she is now, it is hard to have anything other than respect for her and everything she has achieved post-Spice Girls. She is easily the most successful one out of the lot of them now.


Now the fun part. The Worst Dressed of the Year so far. This won’t come as much of a shock I know, but  this award has to be presented to Miley Cyrus. Love her or hate her, you cannot defend this abominable look. Seriously, what was she thinking? I know she’s trying to shake off her Hannah Montana years, and wants to be edgy and daring in her fashion choices, but this is a step too far. Don’t even get me started on the hideous turtle-neck or the weird neckline, or even the nipple tape. It’s the sleeves! It looks like she’s skinned a polar bear! I wouldn’t mind the hair and the makeup which actually aren’t that bad, but the body stocking and the bikini briefs just top off one of the most supremely awful looks ever to be seen on a human being. Sorry Miley, you just look like a child who got into Gaga’s wardrobe and is playing dress-up. Give it up.


So there you are, I hope you’ve enjoyed my round up of the best and worst looks of this year so far. I don’t mind if you don’t agree, but I’m sure you will agree that with only a quarter of the year done and with some spectacular looks already, 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for fashion and I can’t wait to see what is coming up in the rest of the year.

Headline Image: Wonderland Magazine

About Jack Wardlaw

The first things you should know about me are the basics: I am 19, an English Literature student at Exeter University and love everything about fashion. Somehow I get to model as well, so I get a backstage view of the industry.