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We Tried On Oscar Dresses, And This Is What Happened

We were definitely both fierce and fiercely scared.

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With the Oscars upon us, a few ladies of BuzzFeed decided to explore the world of red carpet fashion.

What does it feel like to wear something fit for the red carpet? What would it be like for us — normal, non-famous humans — to try on Oscarworthy gowns? Would they fit? Would we look ridiculous?

We turned to Hollywood stylist Anita Patrickson — who styles amazing women like Emma Watson, Julianne Hough, and Rachel Bilson — for guidance and insight.

Which ended up being pretty inspirational. If you're in the L.A. area and interested in learning more about how to become a stylist, Anita's hosting a seminar with the International Style Institute on Feb. 27.


Here's what it's like getting a red carpet look from a professional stylist!

Candace: I mean, I LOVE dressing up, but I have a feeling I'll be going up 1-2 sizes because of my rib cage and chest. IDK, that's a weird thing for me. But I'm super excited to feel like a celeb for a moment.

Kirsten: I'm excited but a little nervous that I'll need to go up a few sizes to fit into high-end, designer dresses. I'm really excited to get to essentially play dress-up for the day, although I'm not sure I'll be able to rock it.

Leo: I'll probably be a larger size in evening wear. I imagine feeling delicate, like I won't want to break the dress. Or something bad might happen to me in it. OK, scared now.

Alex: Excited to try on beautiful clothes, but nervous that I'll look like a little kid playing dress-up.

Kristin: I'm super nervous that I won't fit into anything. Whenever I hear something about how a bigger actress can't get someone to dress her, I get a little sad — if it's that bad for them, it's got to be impossible for me! Also, I'm normally anti-Spanx, because it's basically just jail for your stomach.


The experience: It was a freaking whirlwind. Anita and her assistants were working so fast, talking to each other about accessories in a stylist language I did not understand. I was trying on dresses like there was no tomorrow, and they finally gasped (in a good way) when I put on this dress. They made me feel BEAUTIFUL. I was SOCKED UP in that puppy, and I was pretty shocked my best look was a beaded dress with freakin' sleeves, but I felt pretty good.

Seeing my picture: I definitely looked smaller than I felt! I never thought I'd look good in a tight, beaded dress, but I felt a lot better once I saw myself in it. I look like a Downton Abbey badass. Get me some tea, peasants...not really.

What I learned about my body: I saw flaws in places where people saw beauty, and that was interesting. I'm not a fan of my stomach and chest, so I usually try to show off my butt and legs more, but by pushing me out of my comfort zone in a tight dress, it made me see my body differently.

Anita, on Candace's look: Having that empire look is really gorgeous. She's got that lovely upper body and I wanted to show that off. I wanted something that felt very Downton Abbey with her gorgeous dark hair and playing off the dark and sexy with something really sweet and pretty.

The experience: I definitely felt beautiful once I was in the dress, but getting to that point was a little scary. There was a moment where I was like, "Yup, my butt is going to rip this dress." (It didn't, thankfully.) I think if I was on the red carpet I would be the girl walking around with her shoes off, or rocking a pair of shorts like Pharrell.

Seeing my picture: After seeing my picture I thought, OK, I get it. It made me realize a lot of my insecurities were more in my head than based in reality. That was a nice feeling for sure.

What I learned about my body: I think it's easy to feel more comfortable in baggy clothes, but it felt pretty empowering to be put in a tight, curve-hugging dress and still feel beautiful. Although to be honest I did think about how the hell I would comfortably be able to eat a piece of pizza in that dress — that's important.

Anita, on Kirsten's look: I wanted something sleek and modern and edgy for her. It worked really well with her body shape, and just keeping the accessories really clean and just having that bright pop of color, she carries the color really well.


The experience: The dress itself was spectacular. It's always funny how you can look at something on the rack and think, Hmm, I dunno, but once it's on, you can really appreciate how it's crafted to make a woman's body look like the best version of itself.

Seeing my picture: I feel like I only ever tend to focus on certain parts of myself, so seeing all of me in one go felt like looking at a stranger! I wish I knew how to pose not like a middle schooler on picture day, but some things are just never going to happen.

What I learned about my body: I like that I can wear a plunging neckline without having to worry about, like, lassoing parts in. A lot of women are socialized to worry about or apologize for parts of their bodies instead of working to appreciate and accentuate the things that make us unique. I'm glad I've gotten better at that.

Anita, on Alex's look: It just felt very old Hollywood, and she arrived with her darker lip, and it just kind of all came together really beautifully. I wanted to emphasize her height, and the neckline — she can carry off that deep plunging neckline.

The experience: When I saw my dress on the hanger, I was like, "Nope. Nope. Nope." But when I saw myself in the mirror, it was kind of awesome, although it was like looking at a picture of someone else. I was also downright shocked when Anita told me the dress was a size 2. Like, that couldn't be right. It just goes to show you how crazy-different sizing is across the board, like WTF.

Seeing my picture: I just wondered: Does this look really silly? Or does it look really good? I felt like such an impostor posing for those photos, but I could also see how much fun I had. Weird quandary.

What I learned about my body: Candace and Kristin both told me, "I had no idea your body looked like that." I guess I try to deny having curves. It made me realize that I often have this weird rule in my head that I'm not allowed to dress "sexy," which is clearly a really dumb rule. So fuck that from now on.

Anita, on Leo's look: The blond hair with the red lips was such a classic Marilyn Monroe combination, you can't go wrong. And the neckline was great, and she's got these gorgeous curves and it just hugged her in all the right places. It was a match made in heaven.


The experience: I FIT INTO THE FIRST DRESS I TRIED ON. Truth talk, I got a very serious Italian funeral vibe the first time I saw my dress. But then I put it on and I was like, oh, right, professionals are dressing me, maybe I should just chill out and try new things. Plus, I went first, and everyone was so excited when I walked up the stairs — even if I was feeling self-conscious, it was basically impossible to feel bad with that kind of reaction.

Seeing my picture: Damn, my body looks good. I actually don't regret putting on Spanx for this — I don't feel like I'm trying to fool anyone, I just look like a superhero version of myself. Still not wearing Spanx every day, though.

What I learned about my body: I HAVE LEGGGGGGGGS!

Anita, on Kristin's look: I wanted something really sleek and sexy. She's got such gorgeous long hair, and we really wanted to embrace that. And something that just sort of showed off the shape and gave her some waist with the ruching in the middle. Black is always just so sleek, you cannot go wrong.

Leo: It was actually way more special than I thought it'd be! Like, if you are a celebrity and complain about being a celebrity, you need to shut up because getting dressed professionally is AWESOME. It does make me wonder to what extent celebs feel like characters versus their real selves on the red carpet, because I certainly felt like a real-life alien. A cute one, maybe.

Kirsten: It actually went a lot better than I anticipated. The whole day I was a little nervous — I imagined myself ripping a dress or getting thrown in something that really wasn't my style. However, I think the stylist knew how to dress all of our bodies. I've never had a team swarming around me for the mere purpose of making me look good — but yeah, that was something I could get used to.

Alex: It was better than I expected. I wish it could have lasted longer and we could have played around with different styles a bit more. I also wish champagne was involved.

Candace: It was crazy, the pressure I felt on myself, as a simpleton, when preparing for this. I was drinking green tea and eating foods that would settle well just for ONE PICTURE. I just loved the fact that I felt safe and confident with a stylist who knew what she was doing.

Kristin: I learned two things. 1) I shouldn't be so mean to clothes before I try them on, and 2) bigger or curvier actresses really shouldn't have a tough time finding people to style them for awards shows. If a stylist has talent, they can make anybody look like a million bucks.