The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: It doesn't matter who wore it better

Lady Gaga attending the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala on May 6, 2019 in New York, N.Y. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Graylock/PA Wire/Zuma Press/TNS

Awards shows are an American pastime. However, the best parts of a show are often not the awards themselves, but the red carpet events before them. 

Many of us have spent hours gazing at celebrities decked out in the finest garments that money can buy. From wearing exclusive brands to having Chanel style your wardrobe for the night, there's no doubt that awards shows are lavish events. 

But these shows are not all camera flashes and diamonds. 

Magazines and other news sources, especially women-targeted magazines such as People and Star, profit off of commenting on celebrities and their outfits. While celebrities are judged for their outfits on a normal day, something about awards season increases the judgment tenfold. 

From the Oscars to the Tonys and everything in between, “worst dressed” and “best dressed” articles have existed for a long time. 

But who are these magazines to say what a person should or should not wear? Is it really fair for them to judge what makes someone feel pretty or confident? 

Besides, their standards aren't even consistent. For example, at the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards, stars such as Emily Hampshire were torn apart for playing it casual, while others, such as Jurnee Smollett, were criticized for their more glamorous looks.  If you are going to judge outfits, can you at least make up your mind? 

Fashion magazines have no right to judge people, and it is backward of them to continue to do so. We don’t sit in our classes and rank each other from worst to best, or bully our friends for their fashion choices. If it is unacceptable for The Daily Tar Heel to publish a “The Worst First-Year Looks of All Time” article, then it isn’t okay for Marie-Claire to proclaim what “The Worst Oscar Dresses of All Time” are. 

These rankings are incredibly toxic. Whether a part of the coveted “best dressed” or the despised “worst dressed,” celebrities deal with the repercussions of these rankings for a while. That Marie-Claire article was published in 2020, and it features an outfit worn by Edy Williams in 1974. It must be humiliating to have something you wore one time (46 years ago!) thrown back in your face over and over again. 

On the other hand, it must be incredibly stressful to remain in the “best dressed” category. Once someone is proclaimed to be a "style icon," they have to constantly outdo themselves or dress just as well as they did in the past. Celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o are featured multiple times in these categories — Nyong'o even has a separate article dedicated to her “best looks."

The obsession with ranking everything in the fashion world is incredibly toxic. People won’t be able to feel like they can be fashion-forward or creative with their outfits if they are worried they are going to be ridiculed, or if they're too preoccupied with being adored. 

This issue is not only a celebrity problem — it's an us problem. Fashion is a choice, and we should be doing everything to empower each other, not tear each other down. It doesn’t matter what these people think; it's up to the person wearing the clothes to decide what they want to put on their own body. 

What celebrities do and love, a lot of us decide to do and love as well. If we really want society to be more accepting, we should start by being accepting of those we admire first.

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