The 2020 Oscars celebrated film industry successes, but the red carpet celebrated three trends: pinks, black and white embellishments, and capes. Pinks are continuing their run of popularity from last year, when Angela Bassett and Melissa McCarthy stunned us in hot pink and blush with black, respectively. Unfortunately, the suited trend from last year seems to have died out for now, but in its place come sleek capes and hoods! Check out our rundown of 2020 formal wear trends and the best looks of the night below, as well as suggestions for how to get the looks at home—in everyday fashion as well as formal wear.
Shades of pink, sometimes with black
Laura Dern thanked her parents and called them her heroes on stage in a color-blocked dress with a blush, satiny skirt and intricately beaded bodice. This two-tone style looks great on most body types, and it’s one you can also recreate by wearing a nice blouse (beaded or not) over a gown or maxi dress. (Pin up the blouse so that it hits you at the smallest part of your waist.)
Oscar-winner Regina King presented the Best Supporting Actor award in a blush, asymmetrical sheath gown and large overskirt. The bodice was embroidered with diagonal beads, and she matched her makeup to the color of the dress. This blush is close to a millennial pink, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find items in a similar color. Look for understated embellishments and an A-line skirt. (The overskirt on this gown creates an A-line silhouette.)
Gal Godot also paired black with light pink in a two-tone lace and layered dress. The black lace illusion bodice featured long sleeves, a high neck, and a black waistband. Her full pink lace skirt fell in layers beneath that. Try this look by pairing a lace blouse with a contrasting pleated or ruffled maxi skirt.
Kristin Wiig surprised in a fun red sheath dress that combined drama and simplicity. The bodice was plain, and she wore a simple, slicked-down pixie, but then there was the cape, the huge ruffles on the skirt, and the contrasting black gloves. She added statement earrings and wore a nude lip and natural makeup. You can create a similar look by adding contrasting gloves to your outfit: think black gloves with a red dress, or white gloves with a black dress.
White and black
Broadcast journalist Tamron Hall dazzled in a black-and-white dress that was business on the bottom and a party on the top. The slim black sheath fit her perfectly, and above the bodice the dress featured a wide beaded collar with a high neck and cap sleeves. This gorgeous gown drew the eye up to Hall’s face, which was perfectly framed with the white beading.
Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who won an Oscar for Best Original Score, wore a similar style simple black dress with an ornate, beaded V-neck collar that looked like a modern take on Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s gown. To recreate both this and Hall’s look, keep the focus on your face by pairing a monochromatic outfit with a statement necklace or large silk scarf tied around your neck.
Power couple Adam Driver and Joanne Tucker, who have been married since 2013, both dazzled in classic black-and-white looks. Tucker’s gown featured a plain strapless bodice but was paired with a flowy white skirt with a sprig of flowers near the bottom. (Props to her for bringing a floral pattern to the Oscars, which mostly features solid-color gowns!) If you’re tired of your winter wardrobe at the moment, try adding in some spring pieces. A floral skirt paired with a neutral blouse or sweater could create a contrasting effect similar to Tucker’s.
Futuristic hoods or capes
Janelle Monae sparkled in a silver, hooded, bejeweled dress. It featured an A-line skirt, long sleeves, a cowl neck, a back cut-out, and a hood that framed her face. The Ralph Lauren gown was covered in Swarovski crystals and the hood seemed like a futuristic version of the hooded dresses popular in the 1930s and 1940s.
During the ceremony, Best Actress nominee Cynthia Erivo performed “Stand Up,” which was also nominated for Best Original Song. She entered in a gold, columnar gown with a V-neck and a rounded stand-up collar. This majestic gown made Erivo look like a modern angel, or a Star Wars general, in a good way!
Natalie Portman’s cape was less futuristic, but still modern. The cape had wide lapels that covered her shoulders but still showed the beautiful black and gold illusion dress underneath. She had a cape printed down the edges with names of women directors who had created critically-acclaimed films but were not nominated in the Best Director category this year.
Capes and hoods are tricky to recreate for formal gowns, but again, you can play with silk scarves to make your own look. Silk scarves will elevate an outfit more than a knitted winter scarf, and they are easy to find in thrift stores, consignment shops, antique shops, and on Ebay and Etsy. Get some safety pins, and play with wearing a scarf tied around your head á la the fab 1960s look, or pin the corners of the scarf to the shoulders of your dress to create your own cape.
Another method to try is wearing a blazer slung over your shoulders as if it were a cape. Blazers with a solid, structured shoulder work better for this than do softer sweater-blazers. To ensure it stays on, you can also safety-pin it to the shoulders of your blouse, or get some vintage sweater clips to hold it on in the front.
Fashion props also go to those who did their own thing regardless of trends: Florence Pugh wore a classic, ruffled Kelly green gown; Mindy Kaling was radiant in a mustard yellow one-shoulder gown; and Rebel Wilson looked fabulous with the classic Hollywood look of soft waves, red lipstick, and a gold dress. We might not all get the chance to attend the Oscars, but stars like these can remind us to always embrace our own personal style!