The dress that drew so much traffic it practically broke tabloid news sites across the world last week? That appeared on Tracy Anderson’s biggest DVD seller of all time, the body of Gwyneth Paltrow, which went to the Iron Man 3 premiere in a dress by Antonio Berardi that was essentially a see-through bathrobe with modesty panels down the front and back. It was the rare kind of red carpet gown a celeb probably has to bikini wax to wear. Though extreme, the look was actually an example of a flattering, rising trend: sidelessness. If the best-dressed people on red carpets are telling women anything these days, it’s put away your cleavage and bust out your sides. (Ashley Tisdale would argue for both, as you can see, but I did specify “best dressed.)
Over the past year, year and half, sideless gowns — and jumpsuits, if you’re Gwen Stefani — have been among the most discussed of all red carpet looks. Even the sparkly nipple sculptures Beyoncé’s wearing on tour can’t out-OMG a good sideless dress or onesie. But unlike Beyonce’s sculpted breasts, which can be nothing but sculpted breasts and therefore not illusive at all, a lot of sideless dresses are merely illusions. Put some nude fabric under a sheer panel and there you go — Erin Wasson and Kate Moss look naked, get headlines, you think you’ve seen them sort of naked, and everybody wins.
And if you’re just a regular person looking for a fun look to wear out at night, why not show your sides instead of your, say, cleavage? Cleavage isn’t necessarily slenderizing, but the beauty of the sideless dress is it creates an illusion of a slimmer shape, just like Stella McCartney’s “miracle dress” does. And judging by Gwyneth Paltrow (who seems to prefer to go slip-free and commando with her sideless gowns, but you don’t have to) — who is a meter of fashion trends and Tracy Anderson’s method if there ever was one — side-free is the way to be.