“Leaning in” with the Best and Worst Dressed at the 2016 Golden Globes

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home


The Golden Globes is the rare night when TV and movie actors walk side by side and sit next to each other around tables to celebrate the year’s best. It’s also one of the best nights for Hollywood fashion. I am equally interested in what they wear and what they say.

For this year’s recap (see 2015’s here) I’m plotting the good and bad again. This year I’m looking at female star style and who are choosing to “lean in.”

Leanin.org explains the “lean in” movement. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, is a book by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg that...

“…focuses on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions, and changing the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do… We are committed to offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals. If we talk openly about the challenges women face and work together, we can change the trajectory of women and create a better world for everyone.”

Sign me up.

As I looked at the nominee’s style I, too, thought about if they had “leaned in.” Had they spoken up about the gender bias in their workplace? Had they used their fame to advance the feminist agenda? What have they said or done to advance or challenge the status quo? 

After some reflection and investigation I plotted them on the two axis mentioned above. Voila! Check out this diagram:

The six featured are listed in alphabetical order.

Lady Gaga (Versace) – The singer was rewarded for her acting ability over the weekend. While she wasn’t a winner of the most humble award, that made her an obvious champion of the “leaning in” cause. She's going after everything she wants. Perhaps the speech was a tad selfish but I reckon a man in a similar position would not face criticism. Her architectural velvet dress and old Hollywood makeup and styling seemed fresh and appropriate for the occasion. Gaga is a winner for me.

Jane Fonda (Saint Laurent Couture) – This woman is such a bad ass in my books. She has been blazing the trail and fighting for human rights for decades, all the while bringing more creativity to her dressing that most of her juniors combined. She is fresh and feisty. I appreciate that I won’t be bored of what she is wearing or saying.  She consistently gets it right. For those reasons she is a winner to me.

Taraj P. Henson (Stella McCartney) – The light, body skimming dress with beautiful train was lovely against her dark skin. She fucking glowed. She owned her moment and has gone on record to talk about her well-deserved achievements while still coming across as both thankful and ultra-confident. Maybe we should all have more Cookie in our life? Winner!

Jennifer Lawrence (Dior) – This zesty coloured cutout gown is one of her most memorable looks during her multi-year partnership with Dior. Kudos. Her groundbreaking open letter via Lenny Letter last fall was a welcome reprieve to the silence many actors feel when talking about gender bias in Hollywood. Kudos again. She, too, is a winner to me.

Amy Schumer (Parbal Gurung) – While her style game is lacking (I suspect she doesn’t know her most flattering shapes or desired aesthetic quite yet), her commentary is on point. Look no further than her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy, for evidence how she is advancing women rights issues and awareness weekly. Not a style winner yet but she’s definitely a “Lean In” winner.

Kate Winslet (Ralph Lauren) – Her look is boring (and a bit lazy in both fit and originality) and proved she had no interest in advancing equality of wage for Hollywood’s female actors. In November of 2015, Winslet participated in the annual The Hollywood Reporter Actress Roundtable to discuss pressing issues. When asked to comment on the wage gap between male and female actors she deflected the question by saying it was, “vulgar.” I think what’s vulgar is not using her privileged position to help others. What a total wasted opportunity. She's a loser in my books.

There you have it. My short and not-so-sweet recap of 2016 Golden Globes. Perhaps next year I’ll focus on men.

You may wonder, why does it matter if a female actor “leans in” and be well dressed at award shows? I reply with this: If people with extreme privilege, an impressionable audience, and ultimate access to most anything in this world can’t, how are the rest of us feel inspired enough to try?