As a refresher: The photos and links in each matchup are NOT the only outfits eligible; rather, they’re a representative sample of the body of work. Polls close after 24 hours, so if you like to research your choices — on our site, Getty Images, Google, whatever — have at it and just make sure you vote before the game ends. Enjoy.
(5) ELLE FANNING vs. (12) JANUARY JONES
This is a matchup of two people who a) look like they could be related, and b) both have a penchant for things that are Fashiony. Take January’s Emmy gown, for instance, which we disliked more than some of you did, but which regardless thought itself to be Important. As did this one:
And indeed, that dress IS important, for all predatory owls who wish they wore lampshades.
This is a really long way to go just to wear a lobster bib.
And this is a long way to go to look like you rolled out of bed five minutes ago and took the linens with you.
As for the darling Elle, her early-in-life sense of individuality is admirable, and we hope she knows that we two Internet biddies would certainly rather she went the Insane High-Fashion Shenanigans route than the Insane Hollywood Clubbing one. But there’s swinging and missing, and then there’s whiffing so hard the bat comes back around and smacks you in the head. So as much as we respect what the Fanning family hath wrought in terms of sensible upstanding kids, being young and adorable and brave aren’t good reasons to stick yourself with a lifetime photo album full of SUCH extreme WTF moments. We are excited for when Elle starts turning down the no-win situations like this:
Shoes WHAT? Ugly AND probably uncomfortable, judging by how her heel is oozing out between the straps. (The dress itself was a backless, shapeless washout, an F grade in Life 101: How To Do Anything With A Piece of Fabric.)
Am I on psychedelics, or was the designer? (The suit may have been carved off of a cryogenically frozen pimp.)
Somehow I think whittling was involved. (I actually don’t hate the dress that went with it, so let’s instead focus on the time she looked like a lost child who ran away from boarding school, or The Curious Case of This Cardigan.)
And the grand finale:
Unspeakable. (And THIS dress, which looks like an unfitted piece of drapery from afar, up close is like a needlepoint canvas somebody is still desperately trying to finish. Or desperately it will get stained enough that he/she will never have to finish.)
(4) JULIANNE HOUGH vs. (13) DEMI LOVATO
For Elle Fanning, it was the shoes that led the day (although the rest was just as crazy). For Demi Lovato, it’s going to be the hair. It had more personalities this year than Viki Lord Buchanan, and if you don’t know your One Life To Live, I can tell you the number is… a lot. For a spell, Demi went a Smurfy blue. Another time, she had pink tips, matched with an unflattering skirt and a metallic bustier. And then of course there was the day she showed up with a brioche on her head. Or the time she went full Madonna circa “Express Yourself.” Or perhaps, closer to home, full Britney from “Oops, I Did It Again.”
And the dress, replete with drama and sideboob, is basically what you’d have gotten if there was an Aztec warrior contestant on Project Runway.
And speaking of creativity, it was quite innovative to take a pack of carpet samples and turn them into a jacket. I almost wish it came all the way around the front and buttoned, so we didn’t have to see the bra top debacle. And The Bra Top Debacle is a YA book I’ve just now decided to write. I think it’s part of a series. Like, we could add The Skirting Snafu:
And things like The Adam’s Apple Affair, and The Undercleav Controversy, and The Jumpsuit Japery, and of course The Bodice Bust-Up, which would star Julianne Hough:
She’d further get to star in The Peplum Problem (note: that post was published after the Oscars but the dress was worn before them), The Crop-Top Catastrophe, The Gut-Mouth Monstrosity, and the The Hemming Hijinks, before her crowning role in The Trouser Tomfoolery:
That one would be a trilogy, under the umbrella of The Pantalunacy Chronicles.
And then we’d just give up and put this on a book called Mermaid Nightgown Hellbag and quit and move to Aruba.
(8) STELLA McCARTNEY vs. (9) EMMA STONE
This is the part where I have to ask that you NOT vote based on Stella’s designs, UNLESS they are designs she has put on her own body. Fug Madness is about crimes against the wearer, perpetrated BY the wearer — as in, the choice to wear something versus the choice to say no and pick something else.
In Stella’s case, it’s true that she should almost always say no to herself.
I don’t even remember if that’s a dress or a jumpsuit, but the fact that I can’t tell is another strike against it. That sucker is so hideous and unflattering. It’s like a child designed it. A really hateful child.
NO, GIRL. YOU’RE NOT A COUCH.
Also, this woman really loves a jumpsuit. In addition to standing next to Anna and looking like she just changed her oil, Stella also wore another satiny elastic-waist one that was equally unhemmed, and then this disco sweatsuit:
Why does she pick the worst of it, also? At least YOU should look good in your own designs. It would be like if Paul wrote a song in the key of an opera singer but insisted on singing it himself. He does not do that, because HE IS NOT INSANE, STELLA.
Ms. Emma Stone doesn’t have her own ego to stoke or deflate, so she is at liberty to accept or reject anything. And we definitely wish she’d checked Column B for a few things this year. We were indecisive about the twin runways on her shoulders here, and on the peeping tutu and hip hills here.
That might make a very nice tapesty on a monarch’s wall, but I don’t think it belongs on her body, and CERTAINLY not with those shoes. EMMA. Don’t punt on the footwear. That’s a classic Chastain blunder.
Is she prone to injury from throwing people spontaneous elbows? Is that why somebody put her in arm airbags?
Ah, a Tweehouse of Horrors. I wish they’d taken this idea and crafted something more grown up about it. She looks like a refugee from Can’t Hardly Wait.
And this is costumey in the other direction, like she told somebody she wanted to come to this premiere as Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman. Props for experimenting, but sometimes, as any scientist will tell you, reactive materials explode in your face.
(1) RIHANNA vs. (16) KIRSTEN DUNST
I am not sure I can even pretend this is going to be close. Kirsten Dunst wore some good stuff, some costumey stuff people couldn’t agree on even though I didn’t hate it, a bronzed checkerboard, and a highly suspect trench dress. And then this hot mess:
Oh, and of course, she allowed Stella McCartney to disrespect her thusly:
That alone cemented her a berth in the contest this year. But downing a No. 1 seed is formidable, and Rihanna has gone out of her way this year to make sure nobody can doubt whether she deserved the ranking.
We could applaud the time it took to match her pumps and her sunglasses to the suit, but I’d rather naysay the fact that she looks like the result of a Project Runway challenge to redesign the chain gang.
If your leather sweatshirt is too big, then by all means, try to salvage it by borrowing coordinating basketball shorts from Kobe Bryant’s Goodwill pile. And don’t forget that Rihanna also was once, twice, three times a Derelicte spokesmodel:
BRAS ARE NOT SHIRTS. And sure, you could argue she’s on the streets, going about her day, minding her own business while being papped, but… Say you’re Rihanna. YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH YOUR LIFE. You know you’re going to get followed and photographed, you know you’re being photographed right now (because there were others where she was right NEXT to the lensman, walking), and you HAVE A HOODIE AND YOU WERE WEARING IT EARLIER AND NOW YOU ARE NOT SO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Ergo, you are doing it on purpose TO be seen. Diagnosis: bananas. She also had a big year with nearly flashing her nethers — once in this formal dress, and once… well, I ASSUME there are pants up in there somewhere? As opposed to her denim, satin, and baggy McCartney jumpsuits, which are blaringly, blazingly, glaringly be-pantsed. Damn, that is a busy year, and that’s not even all of it.
No wonder she wore pajamas to the Battleship premiere. Rihanna was tired. In advance.