The Oscars have come and gone, and, thankfully, so has the media frenzy that accompanies it. It seemed like this year’s pre-show hype was more ridiculous than ever – I couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing some bullshit about “Hollywood’s most magical night.” However, judging from the media coverage, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the Oscars were awards given out for outstanding work in film. More and more, attention has become focused on the red carpet and what celebrities are wearing – E!’s endless red carpet coverage and Joan and Melissa Rivers’s TV Guide Channel takeover are a testament to this. This shift is unfortunately representative of our celebrity-obsessed culture – a natural by product of which is the constant fixation over celebrity fashion. This leaves me asking . is celebrity fashion really that serious?

Jess Cox

As a self-ranked fashion advocate, it may seem a little bizarre for me to question an over-obsession with fashion. However, it seems like celebrity style is being taken way too seriously. Walking into Urban Outfitters and seeing the book “How to get Celebrity Style” with a giant picture of Jennifer Aniston’s face on the front, is pretty ridiculous. Why would you want her style? Don’t you want to find your own? Fashion has always been a form of creativity and self-expression. What are people saying about themselves when they run out and buy clothes only because they’ve seen their favorite celebrity wearing them? Fashion is not about seeing how well you can jock someone else’s personal style; It’s about how well you can create your own.

It’s OK to look at a celebrity and get style inspiration. Some people need help when exploring their own fashion sensibilities, and considering the put-together, well styled looks of many famous people is a fine place to start. However, it’s not right to pore over the pages of Us Weekly trying to figure out what brand bag or watch your favorite celebrity is wearing so you can buy it for yourself.

Concerning the obsession over red carpet style: The media needs to not only calm down, but also reevaluate its idea of what constitutes “good” and “bad” fashion.

Admittedly, the Oscar red carpet is not just about admiring the gorgeous gowns and handsome suits – we watch because we also want to laugh at who messes up (i.e. Bjork’s infamous swan disaster, or from this year, Lauren Hutton’s completely inappropriate Yves Saint Laurent “outfit”). Critics, however, love to bash anything even remotely fashion-forward. For example, Charlize Theron’s deep green Dior Haute Couture dress (with a giant bow on the left shoulder) was panned by critics. However, I think Charlize looked amazing.

Critics are too scared of pushing in new directions on the red carpet; all they want to see is a smiling and adorable Reese Witherspoon in a safe and cutesy dress. God forbid somebody like Charlize actually make a statement on the biggest fashion night of the year. Please, every lady put on a vintage Chanel dress with some variations of sparkling embroidery on it and some generic diamond jewelry borrowed from the same “hip” L.A. jeweler, and march down the red carpet single file. No offense to Reese, whose clean and elegant aesthetic works well for her, but this should not become the singular look during Oscar night.

People should not be punished for pushing the envelope or making a statement – they should be lauded. Good for Charlize. She looked so good, she started looking inhuman. Haters need to stop criticizing the supernatural goddess look and start wishing for more of it.

And anyway, we’ve almost forgotten an important point – the Oscars are about best in film, not best in fashion. I’m not saying to completely ignore what the celebrities are wearing – I’m just saying we need to remember the damn point. I love fashion, but I love remembering the point of stuff even more. Instead of obsessing over who looked good and who looked bad, let’s redistribute our energies to focus on whether we look good. If the same amount of attention was paid to what celebrities wore on the red carpet as to what normal people wear in everyday life, everyone would start looking a lot better.

So, celebrity style: it’s not that serious . get over it. I guess if you actually really do need the guidance of famous people to make fashion decisions, you’re not going to let me stop you, so whatever. Just make sure you stay out of my face because I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to that bullshit. Now go buy InTouch magazine.

Faria can be reached by e-mail at fjabbar@umich.edu

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