Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Fashion Review: The CMA Awards

What started out as a mind-numbing exercise of ‘seeing what’s on telly’ last night turned into a great deal of work, thought, and snarky comments. I’m talking about the CMA’s, celebrating the alleged best and brightest of country music. I’ve been a fan of country music since I was a little girl, and although not much of it today could actually be considered ‘country’, there are a few current artists I enjoy. Of course, me being me, I paid particularly close attention to the fashion, and offer you my thoughts -and a few lessons- we can take away from it all. (The focus is primarily what we saw on stage, not the red carpet, by the way).

Keep it simple – while our hostess, Carrie Underwood, looked smashing on the red carpet, her constant outfit changes and over-the-top styling absolutely exhausted me. I realize I’ll take some heat here, but I found each of her looks too fussy. Too much makeup, too much hair, and overall contrived, stiff wardrobe choices. The key to true style is that it should appear effortless, and Ms. Underwood looked anything but. I imagined her backstage with a team of twenty people, all of whom spent the commercial breaks powdering, combing, embellishing, and stapling her into outfits.

Fit is vital – Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert looked fine in her purple dress, but she needed to pay attention to the fit. She spent most of her acceptance speech tugging at the top of the dress in order to keep from coming out of it.

Black is slimming….sometimes – Sara Evans’ all-black ensemble was a snooze fest and could have certainly done with some bling. Ms. Evans needs to remember that when wearing form fitting pants, even in darker shades, Spanx will work wonders in smoothing the silhouette. Television can be terribly unforgiving, and that’s a lesson Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum needs to remember. Ms. Scott is not a size 2, and that’s okay, but she would have looked much slimmer and more put together had she worn a top with some sort of sleeve and gone up a size in her trousers.

Dress for the Occasion – Because I work a great deal with young girls, I keep a very close eye on Taylor Swift, one of the current darlings amongst the younger set. She looked very pretty and appropriate on the red carpet, but her choice of a simple sweater and blue jeans during her performance left me baffled. You’re on television, Sweetie, and considered a style icon – take it up a notch!

Pretty much every male who took the stage could have done the same. It’s an awards’ ceremony, and must be treated with a sense of occasion. Blue jeans, ball caps, and sunglasses just don’t cut it, as far as I’m concerned, so I have no choice but to give my ‘Snappy Gent’ award to Vince Gill, who was the only gentleman to perform in a suit.

I’m Not Sure What it Is, but I Like It– I’ve taken a shine to The Band Perry, the family act that took home The Best New Artist Award. Front-woman Kimberly Perry looked lovely in what appeared to be a vintage dress straight out of the 1940s, while her brothers, Neil and Reid, look like throwbacks to the 1970s. Their look truly seems authentic, not something thrown together by marketing ‘geniuses’. I dig it!

Of course, I wouldn’t be me unless I included some thoughts on certain behaviors throughout the evening:

Classy – Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and Vince Gill performed a beautiful tribute to legend Glen Campbell, who has embarked on his farewell tour following his recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. All three gentlemen not only looked great, they performed with an incredible amount of sincerity – and sincerity, in all that we do, is really what it’s all about. Mr. Paisley gets an extra nod for respectfully removing his hat when Glen Campbell took the stage.

Not Classy – I had no idea who Luke Bryan was until last night’s award show, but his performance entitled, ‘Shake it for Me’, along with a bevy of scantily –clad dancers had me absolutely reeling. It wasn’t country, it wasn’t classy, and I pray to God I never see anything like that again.

So today’s moral, boys and girls, is this: country can be sophisticated, and simplicity and sincerity in our words, actions, and manner of dress, shall always win out in the end.

For pics from last night’s show, visit

Beth Newman
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

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