Michelle Obama is always the fashion leader at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner, which took place April 28. This year, the first lady wore a strapless floral Naeem Khan gown with a tight bodice and fuller poofy skirt that tapered at the knees. It was the picture of fashionably chic and sophisticated -- and most of the Hollywood contingent followed suit. And of course, what fun would it be if some didn't? Taking Hollywood to D.C. means walking a fairly fine line.
The perfect combo at a D.C. event like this is ladylike and stately with a small amount of sex appeal. It's not the Globes, and it's a far cry from Cannes. Yes, there's a big media presence, but the focus is on the politicians and the comedians. Kate Hudson got it totally right in a purple metallic slim Jenny Packham gown with full long sleeves. It was clingy but covered up, and she wore her hair up and proper and very little makeup. It might be the best she's ever looked. Ditto for Dakota Fanning, in a long-sleeved ice blue Prada beaded gown. Sleeves were very appropriate for this event; Charlize Theron also donned them, but her pre-fall 2012 Pucci down was open black lace layered over a nude underlay. OK, this one had more than a hint of sexiness, but it was still elegant.
Zooey Deschanel actually toned it down, a little. Her strapless Oscar de la Renta fall 2012 ballgown -- pale gray with silver polka dots -- was sweet and girlish, but not quite New Girl girlish. Reese Witherspoon was one of the best dressed in a black Monique L'hullier draped gown with shoulder detail, and she's pregnant to boot. Rashida Jones also nailed it -- in a blue green Tory Burch peplum gown with a sheer yoke. And Ginnifer Goodwin's H&M $299 ruffle gown was simply a traffic stopper, and it was absolute genius to wear that. She probably will get the most press of all. Her stylist Penny Lovell, who also dresses Rose Byrne, really gets it.
Elizabeth Banks in red Antonio Berardi was a little va-va-va-voom, but she didn't cross the line too much. Likewise for Mila Kunis in her strapless black Versace with slit up the front. Theirs were more Golden Globe Hollywood than D.C. But it was Rosario Dawson's green metallic Zac Posen that really hit one in the face: She donned so much cleavage, you would think she was in Vegas for New Year's -- or auditioning to play an exotic dancer. Not smart. Same with Claire Danes, who rarely gets it wrong: Her awkward, stiff white Vivienne Westwood gown was revealing and over the top, and paired with red lipstick and her hair down, it looked too MTV Awards. Right dress, wrong occasion? We're not even sure it's the right dress.
Getting that D.C. look down and staying fashionable -- it's not as easy as it seems. That's why Michelle Obama rules.