Stylebook’s Oscars Faves (+ Fitness Secrets behind the Looks)

It’s no secret that the women of Stylebook love fashion. For many of us, it is, of course, our job. We track trends, know designers, and read up on the runway shows. But the Oscars red carpet requires no expertise and that’s why it’s so fun: every opinion is valid. A look either moves you…or it doesn’t. And that’s why we inevitably disagree on the best dressed of the night. Elizabeth, Amy, Gayla, and I compare notes below.

What we do agree on, though, is that it takes A LOT to look great on that carpet, and that goes beyond the magic of fashion and the power of stylists. Adrien digs a little deeper to share how each Best Actress nominees focuses on wellness, not just for their roles but also for real life.

Elizabeth says…

The red carpet at the Oscars is my own personal Super Bowl. I LOVE IT because I love fashion. It is where all the amazing dresses that walk the runway come to life. I have passed on this love to my daughter, Blair. We now have a tradition of watching the red carpet with my good friend Kathleen Jones, who hosts a mother-daughter watch party. Neither my daughter nor I have rooting interests among the movies up for awards — I have only seen Trolls and that was last weekend— but we will both be talking about our favorite dresses for months. That’s the real contest tonight in our eyes. There are few occasions left that are so steeped in tradition in which glamour still shines. There’s the Kentucky Derby, The Golden Globes, and the big one — the Oscars.


One trend stood out more than most on the Oscars carpet — metallics — and nobody pulled it off better than Jessica Biel. She was hands down my favorite. She came with the perfect balance of edge and elegance, and the best accessory, JT.

A not-so-distant second in my mind was Nicole Kidman. Once again her bearing lends itself to perfection. Statuesque in Armani Privé, she showed us the standard of Hollywood glamour.

The return of the Power Necklace

A trend I am happy to see return to the Oscars is the power necklace. Janelle Monet, Dakota Johnson, and Taraji P. Henson all accessorized with ease. Look for this trend on the shelves this spring.

Madelyn says…

I agree with Libby on how stand-out the necklaces were and would add two: Kirsten Dunst and Karlie Kloss.

Embed from Getty Images


Karlie’s dress touches on another trend of the evening: the white dress. While many white dresses were heavily accented or adorned with metallic details, the sleek simplicity of Karlie’s dress (someday I may be tired of capes…that day has not yet come) and Naomie Harris’ dress (love the sequins and the high-low with the train, and I ADORED the mismatch-y shoes) made them two of my favorites for the night.

Embed from Getty Images

As far as white dresses with metallic accents, Hailee Steinfeld’s was far and away the best. Ok, so maybe it’s a bit more platinum? Light gray? Anyway, the dress is at once ethereal and playful, fresh yet sophisticated – and completely age appropriate.


Embed from Getty Images

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s a super bold move to wear red on a red carpet – it’s pretty much a given the reds will clash — but Ruth Negga’s dress balanced edginess and romance and outshined the carpet. I’m loving the puffy sleeve (which was also the best part of Dakota Johnson’s dress). Her hairband makes me wish it were socially acceptable (and financially feasible) to wear huge gemstone crowns in everyday life.

And speaking of red…

Amy says

Best dressed

Embed from Getty Images

Viola Davis.  Some will say it’s safe, but I think it’s stunning in its simplicity.  The red and the short hair made it feel so bold.  I think she looked flawless.

Runners up

Embed from Getty Images

Ruth Negga, Michelle Williams, and Naomie Harris.  All are fashion forward, sweet, and youthful.  Michelle brought her usual hipster red carpet chic, Ruth did it again with something unexpected and interesting.  And, Naomie was sleek and ridiculously cool.  All truly stood out among the rest.


Embed from Getty Images


Charlize Theron is usually a winner for me, but she was disappointing.  Emma looked lovely and I loved the fringe, but ultimately the look was underwhelming.  Nicole Kidman redeemed herself from the Globes, but I disagree with Elizabeth: she really looked like one color from head to toe.


Dakota Johnson, she just looked droopy, and Leslie Mann. While she can wear that color, it’s my least favorite in the world.

Finally, I have to say I missed Cate Blanchett.  Can’t she just be nominated every year so we can see her on the red carpet? [Madelyn: YES. I totally agree. And Tilda Swinton.]

Gayla says…

I loved Isabelle Huppert’s dress, it was lovely and age appropriate, as well as Scarlett Johansson’s, and I agree with Elizabeth on Nicole Kidman. Always.


Adrien says…

Hollywood stars know that they are not only on view while on the screen; with paparazzi, and, now, cell phone cameras and social media, they feel the need to look their best even on the street. They have their own trainers, nutritionists, and all kinds of wellness coaches, for sure, but we found the women nominated for Best Actress work for every inch of muscle they displayed on the Red Carpet. (Well – at least most of them!)

While La La Land’s Emma Stone’s trainer has all of his top Hollywood clients do Dead lifts, Sled pushes and Hip thrusts, Nicole Kidman (Lion) prefers running and yoga as her source for fitness. Natalie Portman (Jackie) endured 6-hours-per-day ballet training for Black Swan and still seems to keep that lithe and graceful movement. Either Isabelle Huppert doesn’t seem to have a trainer or a program and simply looks amazing at 63 or she is simply French and leads the French lifestyle. My personal ah-ha was Ruth Negga who digs Krav Maga as her preferred method to staying fit. And, the queen of it all, Meryl Streep, does everything in her life, even fitness in moderation, saying “I don’t obsess about anything.”

Stone’s training for many long takes of dancing in La La Land came after hours upon hours of “gym coaching.” Moore says of Gosling and Stone, “I would start giving them exercises — some days it was tap exercises, other days it was a waltzing exercise, and other days, it would be a jazz-dancing-type exercise. And in those exercises, I was working on their coordination and their agility, and then also their ability to recognize and repeat patterns of movement to music.” Stone confessed to Ellen she is a profuse sweater, saying after one minute of exercise, or dancing with Ryan, he’d asked her if everything was ok. Stone is 28.

Stone’s trainer Jason Walsh takes a page out of the same playbook we do at Fitness on the Run, saying “Cardio is nothing if you don’t move well. Staying strong supports the skeletal system, stabilizes joints, makes your cardio safer and more effective,” he said. “If strength training is done right, you get plenty of cardio from lifting as well. Cardio comes secondary.”

Stone’s gold dress looks like a girl who’s been dancing that number of hours! And she hangs with her brother. Gotta love that!

Kidman says a lot of her fitness nowadays comes from being a mom of two young children and chasing her musician husband Keith Urban around the globe. She has said that she comes from a marathon-running family in Australia and loves running to music in the woods. She does regular 55-minute Pilates sessions and a weekly spinning class, and favors cardio workouts on a cross trainer.

Kidman says, “Over the years I’ve realized that if you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing. So that comes first. And how do you get that when you have two little kids, and a husband, and a lot of work? I work for balance now. I do yoga, and I run, and I meditate. I take really good care of myself and I eat well.” Kidman is 49.

Portman got fit for Star Wars and Jackie with her very-much regular routine of exercises for one hour, four days in a week. Her regular workouts and exercises include swimming, stretching, spinning, Pilates, and elliptical machines.

Portman, an avid vegan, believes Pilates and elliptical machines strengthen her body, spinning boosts her metabolic process, and swimming makes her legs and heart stronger, while stretching works to make her body supple and flexible. She is 35.

Ruth Negga (Loving) practices Krav Maga training, a form self-defense and taught for the Israeli Military. Negga loves the Krav Maga so much it has become her preferred mode of workout. Negga tries to visit her Krav Maga studio to hone her self-defense skills and to remain in best shape. Negga is 35.

Meryl Streep (Forest Foster Jenkins), nominated for an Oscar 20 times, keeps toned by swimming three or four times a week, sometimes even logging up to a mile a time, and says she walks wherever she can. She is 66.

And not to ignore the actors completely, Denzel Washington follows a very strict diet that mainly includes high-protein, low-carb foods, such as chicken, turkey, and fish. For his clean carbohydrate needs, he prefers brown rice and whole grains. His best fitness trick: boxing. He is a devoted boxer and believes it’s the main reason why his 63-year-old body has remained fit. He and his wife tonight looked amazing and strong — he in his cool suit and tie and she in her stunning red dress. Experienced and strong.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get your daily dose of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, and design. Locally sourced and locally styled!