Frugal Fashion: Dress like Oscar nominee Viola Davis

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Best actress nominee Viola Davis has been among the best-dressed on red carpets everywhere in the swirl of awards ceremonies and festivities that culminates in Sunday’s Academy Awards. There was the one-shoulder, wine-colored Emilio Pucci at the Golden Globes; the bright pink dress by Juan Carlos Obando at the Academy Awards nominees luncheon; the black and white halter neck at the Writers Guild Awards this past weekend.

Perhaps the most elegant, the dreamy Marchesa gown she wore to the Screen Actors Guild Awards at the end of January (above) would be our pick as an inspiration for any formal event. I’m thinking especially of prom -- but note to all teens: no, you cannot get away with a bodice cut as low as Davis’. Don’t even think about it!

Instead we found a few more maidenly choices that employ the white and gold color scheme in the Alex Evenings dress with beaded bodice from Macy’s (above left, $219); the Sequin Hearts one-shoulder dress, also from Macy’s (above right, $119); and the Vivianne-Ivory vintage dress from Windsor ($189.90).

Accessories shouldn’t fight with the gold detailing in these gowns, so go with only a few things. Opt, as Davis did, for drop earrings (like the twisted gold chain drop earrings from Claires for $6.50), a statement piece on your wrist (like the studded rhinestone bracelet from Forever 21 for $12.80) and a jeweled clutch (like the sequined Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock bag at Kohl’s, which normally sells for $42 but was on sale for $29.40 when we looked).


For your feet, your heart will want stilettos, but listen to your brain and you’ll be able to dance the night away in ballet slippers. In a gown like this, who’s going to look at your feet, anyway?


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-- Susan Denley

Top photo: Viola Davis, wearing a Marchesa gown at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

Center photos: Alex Evenings dress, left, and Sequin Heart dress, right (Macy’s); middle, Vivianne-Ivory dress (Windsor).

Bottom photos, from left: twisted gold chain earrings (Claire’s); studded rhinestone bracelet (Forever 21); Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock (Kohl’s).