Emmy Awards Well Played: Julie Bowen


Let’s get real here: Julie Bowen looks great.

There is something about this dress that feels kind of deliciously retro in multiple ways, like the 70s and the 20s crashed into each other. And while in other categories a 70s/20s mash-up might turn out disgustingly — imagine the horrifying novelty cocktails and weird party appetizers, not to mention bizarre motor vehicles — in this instance, we’ve got a home run on our hands. Because Modern Family apparently DID have to win everything.

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Comments (71):

  1. Kristen from MA

    I like the dress on its own, but not on her. You can’t see it here, but when she walked up on stage, you could see all of the bumps of her bony sternum. That is just not a good look on anyone.

  2. Cortney

    Guys, no. Loved the dress, but I truly wanted to reach into the television and feed poor Julie a slice of my pizza last night.

  3. Mrs. Julien

    In motion, it was an, “Oh, honey no!”, but standing still she does look great.

  4. rebeccacdm

    I was just going to say everything that everyone said already, except to add, “Oh, honey, no. You were so cute on Ed. If you’re trying to compete with Sofia Vergara you need to EAT.”

  5. Truffuls

    WTH? How can you say she looks good? She needed help walking, looked high as a kite and is about 30 pounds underweight. She looks terrible. That dress would look so much better on someone at a normal body weight. She looks like a shrink-wrapped skeleton.

  6. lanae

    looks fab. am i being too picky to think its a smidge too heavy on the smoky eye and she could have done a teensy root touch up on that hair part?

  7. melanie

    I don’t understand you guys. Her hair looks greasy and in need of a root touch up, the eye make up is way too heavy and dark and makes her eyes look deep set and beady, the dress is hideous and the hem is way too long

  8. The Countess

    I just wanted to give her a cheese burger and a hug. The pic is great but it was scary skinny awful in motion.

  9. Annie E

    Loved this. I thought the ponytail was a great hairstyle; it didn’t compete with the sparkles and was a sleek and sporty contrast. Also, she seems naturally thin, and I think she looks healthy for her frame.

  10. Miss Tee

    She NEEDS to EAT!

  11. Paz (really!)

    I think this dress does photograph well.. but egads! Onstage you could see her ENTIRE ribcage. It was a bit odd and off-putting. Made me want to give her a sandwich.

  12. werth

    Because of course, the way for women to break the cycle of obsessive focusing on our bodies is to… bitch about other women’s bodies. Dear commenters: if Bowen suffers from disordered eating, your concern trolling won’t help; if she’s naturally that slim, your concern trolling… won’t help! Fancy that, a woman’s body being her own business.

  13. Amy

    Echoing what others have said – this red carpet pic has landed Bowen on a lot of best dressed lists this morning, but onstage the decolletage was not shown to its best advantage. In addition to the sternum issues, she didn’t look as supported as she might could have been. Even if they’re small, they can still droop.

    That said, in concept, love the dress. And love her and love that she won (even if I’m basing that on memories of Ed, since I don’t watch Modern Family.)

  14. Katie

    I agree with most of what everyone says – this dress did not flatter her in motion. She just looked SO bony. I said out loud to the tv, “don’t show that much of your chest when you’re that skinny! it scares me!”

  15. TonyG

    I agree with others who said this dress would work better on someone with a fuller figure. For example, when she accepted her award for the night, seeing the dress in movement, so to speak, brought out its flaws on her. It just seemed to kind of lay there. However, I loved the earrings she wore with this dress!

  16. GoddessOfCarbs

    I don’ t know; our Emmys group of two gals and two gays all agreed that her boobs were hanging a bit low for this dress, and she was showing too much sternum. We all thought that an extra 5 or 10 pounds would look LOVELY on her frame.

  17. Deborah

    Beautiful art deco design, and well done Julie for keeping everything else simple and clean…take note Gwynnie, you could have done a ponytail too. By the way, skinny girls with small boobies cannot help having boney sternums. It’s just a fact. Stop harping.

  18. becca

    hot damn. she looks incredible. i’m fighting the urge to scour the internet for a dress just like that, and to do my hair just like that. why does my brain do that? i don’t need a red carpet dress, and lord almighty why in the world would i think that i’d look as good as she does even if i did?

  19. Cecily

    In Julie’s defense, she’s a runner and is thin, but I think it’s from exercise. Having said that, I was so excited when she won, but was totally distracted during her entire walk up to the podium, by the sternum exposure. It’s a great dress and look from this angle, but the side view just showed too much skin and bone. Bless her heart, though, she is one of the funniest women on television.

  20. Amy

    I’m with the majority here: too thin! And that deep-v just accentuates it and not in a good way. Definitely not my favorite. And maybe you’ll get to her, but I would have given Claire Danes the “best beading” title that you instead bestowed upon this look last night.

  21. yeahandalso

    I like this one her, but didn’t watch the Emmy’s so don’t know how it looked in motion. I like that her arms look toned but not overly so here, sometimes she has Madonna arms and it is scary.

  22. Jenn

    I get that she’s naturally thin. She’s also got that boyish build — she says it herself. But in all fairness she’s been in the public eye a lot over the years and she is much smaller than she ever was. Which if thats’ what she chooses, fine. But that is not the dress for that build. I agree, pretty standing still, startling in motion.

  23. Jill

    I think her weird orange jumpsuit last year had the exact same 70′s plunging neckline — one that can only be pulled off by someone with virtually no boobs. She is a stunning woman — I wish she’d stop trying so hard.

  24. Aria

    I thought she looked fab. And I don’t mind her sternum — fuller figured gals can’t wear stuff like this (see Christina Hendricks and her various “plate of boobs” outfits). I think only slim, smaller chested women can get away with this. I also like the simple hair.

  25. Willow

    she looked stunning and I loved how awkward she managed to make the Zooey Deschanel interview. Hero.

  26. Joanna

    I like the dress in theory, but agree that she doesn’t have the right boobs to really pull it off. And yes, I’m nitpicking.

  27. Patti

    It’s not the thinness, per se, that bothers me. She’s toned and muscular so good for her. That dress highlights the boniness of her chest in an unflattering way. Her hair does look greasy and in need of a root touch up. She’s great on the show but that dress does her no favors. Compare her to Jennifer Carpenter who is also super thin with a boyish shape. Jennifer looks curvy and stunning.

  28. Arolem

    I think she looks gorgeous. My mom used to pull off dresses like this in the 70s, and I always wanted to wear them (but since I got the Hendricksesque chest and linebacker shoulders from my dad’s side, no chance). If I were going to pick any nits, I’d hem the bottom up a bit and add a belt–the dress’s waistline looks not quite finished and a little baggy here, in a way that doesn’t flatter.

  29. Kris

    If the V had gone about 4 inches LESS deep on her chest, I think I would like this better. I saw a LOT of deep V dresses. I do not understand their appeal. Very hard to wear, and I didn’t see anyone who really rocked it.

  30. Kit

    oh gawd – can we, for once, stop criticizing other women’s bodies!!!???!!!!!

    Saying of someone who is thin “I wanna feed her a sammie” is the same as saying of someone who is fat “I wanna take away her sammie”. Not cool either way.

    Love the dress and she looks great in it.

  31. Sarah

    All I know is, that girl needs a sandwich IMMEDIATELY. She was scary skinny on the red carpet in the harsh light of day.

  32. Marlene vest

    I like the dress, but I agree with other comments about her looking underweight. Her upper arms looked strange when she was at the podium.

  33. Jane

    I’m just surprised that she did not thank her double sided tape in her acceptance speech.

  34. melanie

    no, wanting to give someone a sammich is not the same thing as wanting to take away someone’s sammich.
    because one is giving (YAY!) and one is taking away (BOO!).

  35. AM

    Okay, it’s NOT criticizing a woman’s body or weight (which I don’t do) to question whether a certain style, color, fabric, etc. is flattering to that particular woman. And people can be too thin or heavy. That’s not saying they should hide in a closet or anything, I believe quite the contrary, but they should dress the best and most flattering way they can–not all the time–I mean I’m typing a paper in 10 year sweatpants right now–for “formal” events. All that said, I really dislike this. I think a v-neck, good. The deep V works on so few, too busty and you look porn star, too thin, it’s not flattering.

  36. Fifie

    OK, I am thin too like this (and believe me, I do eat 3 square meals a day) but I would never wear this because my boobs couldn’t carry it off and neither could hers. This looked horrible while she was moving. I thought that it would have looked better on her if it was cut straight across the chest with spaghetti straps to secure it.

  37. val.

    This looks much better here in the picture than it did “in person” (on TV). Like Goldie Hawn (who also loves dresses like this even though she looks terrible in them), she is too small to really pull this look off. Someone like Christina Hendricks couldn’t do it either, though.

    You have to be the perfect size up there for a plunging neckline like this and she (along with many other women) is just not.

  38. Audrey Jo

    In a far defense, I´d say that if it has to be a deep cleavage, then there better be a very small pair of breasts (otherwise it locks too tacky).
    This dress, however, shows the bones of her chest in a sad way. Ideed, she has a lovely face, and the color palette is beautiful – I do believe no one would be saying she´s miserably thin, but athletc, if that cleavage was a few inches higher.

  39. Jen

    I spent her whole acceptance speech worrying about a nip slip.

  40. Sarie

    I almost didn’t read this post because I knew all the comments would be bashing her body. I was right.
    Seriously some people just don’t carry that much weigh on there frames and if your a runner sometimes you don’t keep any fat.
    She may have an eating disorder she may not but all the ragging on about her weight is just as offensive a saying someone is fat.

  41. Sarah


  42. sandra

    Yeah, the neckline is too low; I don’t think much of anybody looks good with her entire sternum exposed. Otherwise, a home run. Uhh, so I guess that makes it a stand-up triple.

  43. DrM

    She needs to eat a hamburger – or ten. And that hair! Step away from the straightening iron. When she was talking to Seacrest she was straightening her ponytail and it was amazing how dead straight it is. Nice girl…not my fave look however. I think E Moss looked better…

  44. Laura

    Yikes, I’m usually right with you all, but not this time. I think Julie needs (in order of importance): (1) about 15 sandwiches, STAT, (2) an appointment at the hair colorist/stylist, (3) a dozen cookies, (4) a dress that doesn’t allow me to count the bones in her ribcage or worry that her “breasts” are going to make an escape, (5) a dress in a more flattering color, any color but this. I think she is super to watch on that show and I’m a fan but holy mother the girlfriend needs to eat. If she were my friend I’d sit her down gently and tell her that myself. With lots of love. Also? This site is about offering fashion critique, which includes personal appearance.

  45. Sasha

    I am pretty disgusted by all the body bashing going on here. She legitimately has a boyish figure and has discussed how hard it is for her to find dresses that fit. We are here to talk about her clothes, not to judge other people’s bodies. I think she looks great and I’m excited about the print.

  46. Amber

    I wanted to feed her a box of donuts, but that is neither here nor there.
    This dress is not flattering on her. Poking out bones are not attractive. It’s fine that she’s thin, whether naturally or with a lot of hard work. But I don’t want to be able to count ribs anymore than I want to be able to count someone’s fat rolls under a too tight dress. Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes, but people need to learn to dress to flatter their bodies.

  47. Laucie

    It’s not body-bashing to say this was a very unflattering choice for a very thin woman to wear. The picture you posted looks fairly attractive, and I think she is a cute woman, but that garment did nothing for her in motion, and vice-versa.

  48. Megan

    You lie. She looks like my car’s oil dipstick. The hair is completely uninventive, and for God’s sake, woman, EAT A STEAK. She looks like a frigging bobblehead doll. Her skin on her face is stretched too tight from malnutrition, and don’t even get me started on her arms. The dress only accentuates the STICKness. It’s not cute. She is much more beautiful when she is at a normal weight, i.e., like when on Ed or in the Neutrogena commericals she used to do.

  49. Megan

    p.s. the dress also looks like it’s hanging on her, which adds to the too-thin look. If THAT dress looks like it’s hanging on you, you’ve got a serious problem.

  50. vandalfan

    The garment does not flatter her figure, and I’d say that to Molly or Christina, too. It’s a fair criticism of a dress. The decollete is too deep, and the waistline too low. And dress, schmess, what shocks me is her hair, her horrid, horrid hair.

  51. schadenfreudelicious

    i am a huge fan of Julie Bowen way back from her Ed days…but that dress in motion was truly unflattering, and this is coming from someone with a small chest and boney sternum!

  52. Sajorina

    I love the dress, but I can’t say I love it on her! She is so thin that I feel like the dress would’ve looked better on someone with curves! Still, I Covet It! And, I don’t like the pony tail, the eye makeup is too heavy and would it kill her to wear some red nailpolish and lipstick?

  53. Jasmine

    I adore this dress, and think that she looks fantastic. And I am so damn tired of people saying that thin women should eat a sandwich, it’s such a stupid and tired thing to say.

  54. Jessica

    Please, PLEASE be mindful when talking about a body that isn’t your own. The Eat A Sandwich v. Maybe She’s Just Naturally Thin comments eventually devolve into just a circular discussion: if you think the dress is unflattering, that is one thing, but please don’t just tell her to eat a sandwich. Thank you — I understand the compulsion to talk about people’s bodies, because I have it too, but if we could try to keep it on the clothes, I would appreciate it.

    Thank you!

  55. Leone

    I know she got slammed for being thin, but I think she looked beautiful and I think this is a great dress. She’s said it herself it’s not easy for her to find a dress that works for her but I think she did well with this one.

  56. lucyPan

    Skinny or not, I think the neckline plunged way too low. I don’t need to see the ribs beneath your boobs.

  57. LibraryChick

    I don’t like the hem on the dress and the neckline doesn’t have to go all the way to her navel. The hair is a little too straight for my tastes, but I only noticed it after others’ comments. The dress pattern itself and the overall silhouette are kind of retro, 1970s Bob Mackie Barbie cool.

    Now to Deborah’s comment.

    “By the way, skinny girls with small boobies cannot help having boney sternums. It’s just a fact. Stop harping.”

    For me this is true. I’m not built like Julie Bowen exactly, but I have a related problem. I have been blessed with a larger than average rib cage in proportion to my frame plus a pair of small breasts. When I was at my ideal doctor’s office weight you could count my ribs pretty easily. Now I’m almost fifteen pounds over that weight (but still in healthy range), and the ribs don’t show as much. Sadly, I know I’m not quite as healthy right now in terms of cardiovascular health or strength training, yet anyone who decides to comment of my body says I look great based on how my ribs look. If people use ribs as a superficial indicator incorrectly on ordinary folk like me, surely it’s possible we are being too harsh in critiquing the ribs of those wearing more open necklines on this site.

  58. Kathryn

    too skinny… sorry dont like bones showing

  59. Jules

    The opposite of the Olvia Munn dress featured later.
    I like olivia’s better, only because I don’t think it would help if they traded dresses.

  60. julia

    Wow, I have to say, correct me if I am wrong, but I have seen the “eat a sandwich” or “I want to feed her a sanwich” thing in quite a few of fug girls´ posts.
    And it is very diffcult to draw the line between judging somebody´s clothes, how these clothes fit their body and the body itself. I am not saying we should all run loose in criticising celebrities bodies, but let´s be realistic, some type of body judging comes with the territory of writing about what celebrities wear. Again, I am pretty sure I have read on posts by the fug girls judgements about bodies, polite maybe, but judgements none the less.

  61. Daryl

    I am sure she works out, look at those great arms and I am sure she’s healthy, look at her skin but good gawd on television under those HD lights her entire rib cage was protruding making her look like an anatomy class skeleton in a pretty dress …

  62. corey50

    i totally disagree that she looks good in this dress. first off i don’t even love the dress but on her it looks awful. if you have a scary, skinny, skeletor chest why would you wear something with this much cleavage. bones are not sexy.. she is so scary skinny, either eat or cover it up. i have seen other pictures of her lately in magazines (so its posed) and she is so thin, it just makes her look old and hard. remember how she used to look on ED.

  63. corey50

    just watched her accepting the emmy again, and to all of you who said she’s looks healthy. look again. she may be naturally thin, but she is too thin. her arms look like bones and her face looks too hard with all the angles. you can see all her veins for goodness sakes. i know these actresses feel they have to be thin but its a fact that as we get older we look better with a little flesh on our bones especially our faces. by getting too thin they actually make themselves look old. ironic, isn’t it. and i’m sorry that dress just isn’t flattering on her, and isn’t that what a beautiful dress should be.
    the funny thing was her husband’s reaction when she thanked him, he looked pissed, maybe because she mentioned her tv husband first.

  64. grace

    This was not flattering on TV, and I’m sure it looked even worse in real life. She is just way too thin to be wearing something that shows off her sternum.

  65. Janice Marie

    She is skinny. She likes being skinny. She works out hard in order to be skinny. She doesn’t need anyone to feed her anything. She just needs to find dresses that show off her assets (legs, arms), and not her flaws (sternum). Problem solved.

    And no judgement here – we all have flaws.

  66. Tracy L

    I loved her hair and makeup. Dress is plunged too deeply in front for her body shape and my taste. love her on Modern Family and glad she won. She seemed genuinely surprised.

  67. Squirrel!

    Julie Bowen as an actress, yes please. Julie Bowen in that dress, no thank you.

  68. jean

    I didn’t like this dress on her when she was moving around. I kept waiting for a boob to pop out. I don’t like dresses that don’t seem secure. But in still photos I can appreciate the detailing. So mixed.

  69. deb

    Wearing clothes that complement your body shape is what is driving the comments. And if you have a bony chest, it doesn’t look great to draw attention to it. I am not judging her body, just her choice of dress. In the same way I cannot stand to see Christina Hendricks’ boobs always being the only thing you notice about her.

  70. guest72

    I have held off commenting (like anyone cares :-) because I wanted to think about this. I noticed that you have placed Bowen in one of your best dresssed categories on Vulture. Lots of people talked about Sofia Vergara’s dress and there were many comments about curves. In that vein, I honestly think that this dress is a poor choice for this particular wearer. The straight up and down of the dress is unflattering, and couple that with the deep and unrelieved v-neckline, and with the plain hair, the entire ‘look’ is architectural, vertical, and severe. I do not think this dress merits a best for the Emmys.

  71. Christina Noonan

    I mean this with every bit of serousness. That is what my sister looked like when she was a crack head! I don’t mean it as a joke, she was and that is exactly what she looked like.