Fug or Fab: Jessica Chastain


For those of you who like to know the score going in, this yellow dress is Stella McCartney.

Jessica definitely got the makeup right; the red lipstick is exactly how she needs to work wearing canary. Things look a bit pinchy over on the left up there, but as Stella’s oeuvre goes, this isn’t as offensive to me. And isn’t THAT a glowing compliment… Frankly, I think, YET AGAIN, my immediate issue is the shoes. Why does Chastain always belly-flop with the footwear? They’re like that old Monty Python sketch on How Not To Be Seen, where yes, technically, you CAN’T see Mr. Nesbit of Harlow, but when there is only one bush to hide behind in a giant field, you know exactly where to put your explosives.

Then again, riddle me this: In this particular case, is it the frock color that’s making it hard? Would the shoes be easier to pair with this if the dress were not yellow? Those chilly blanks on her feet do nothing for me, but I can see why it might be tricky to find the right option — I almost think you have to go with a fun, bright, screaming contrasting shoe. But I don’t know. So even more than the dress, I really want to hash out the shoes you’d put with this. Chat it up, and post your links, if you’ve got ‘em, in the comments.

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[Photo: Getty]

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Comments (46):

  1. Jeanie

    I think she either needs a better nude shoe(not the whitish nude one she’s wearing) or a fun bright shoe, like a turquoise heel. The dress is pretty terrific though.

  2. Margaret

    I thin if a) the yellow were a stronger color (it’s doesn’t stand out enough against her skn and b) you got rid of the just plain strange neckline by making it symmetrical instead of bizarrely asymetrical, and c) a strong shoe, it would be good. It’s just somehow too pale on her, and I HATE the neckline.

  3. Kirst

    The dress is horrible, the colour is horrible, the all of it is horrible.

  4. clarke

    Yup, turquoise is what I was thinking, or a dark red or dark orangey cayenne. If she wanted to go pale a soft pink would have worked, if a bit easter egg, better than the nude.

  5. glee

    Um, yeah – so we get reminded of how gorgeous she really is – love that make-up and hair. The dress color is fine, but the shoes need to be different.

    And OMG, that dress just needs to be put away with all of its iterations – this one is least fugly of the bunch – but that’s still not good! I liked SM when she worked for Chloé because her design aesthetic was edited – when she has the run of the house, well – we’ve seen what she can do. And this is the “least fugly”.

    • Scouse Helen

      Oh JESSICA. You’re just doing this to annoy me.

      She’s so beautiful, why does she persist in choosing heinous clothes? I think that she and Christina Hendricks have weekly meetings at which they decide what clothes would look worst on them and then take bets as to who can wear the most terrible frock. They are probably doing it to make everybody who isn’t a gorgeous red headed actress feel better about themselves.

      Even Stella McCartney can’t have thought that this looked good. I’d suggest teaming it with waist-length waders to hide most of the frock.

  6. Martyn

    The dress is fine, although as you say that’s not a ringing endorsement. I just can’t stand Stella McCartney as a designer.
    So the shoe. I think this is a seasonal issue to. I think a bright pink or blue would be fun, but that’s so summery/springy. And with this shade of yellow, I’m not sure an autumnal shade (like the red or dark orange suggested above) would work– although I like that suggestion in theory. I honestly think even a sassy strappy black shoe would be better and this non-shoes/

  7. slila22

    i hate the background color for the canary lace/pattern. i also hate the necklace. i hate that it looks boxy. i hate everything about the dress EXCEPT the color. as for the shoes…in a red that coordinated with her lipstick would have worked beautifully with the yellow dress. or turquoise or orange if she had another colored accessory (handbag, bracelet, cocktail ring — adding one of those could have been nice as well).

  8. ceecee

    Stella’s clothes always look like she’s never seen actual humans, just photos of people- like her knowledge of human anatomy is only theoretical and so always slightly off.

    • blizzybee

      THIS! You’ve said exactly what my brain thinks whenever I view her (cough) “Designs”.
      (Love the Chastain’s face/hair though…blurs out most of the ick of SM…not an easy feat!)

  9. Sallie T

    Love JC — so talented, so ridiculously gorgeous and she is quite awesome in The Heiress.
    Do she & Julianne Moore have the same stylist?

  10. regina

    How about a simple purple shoe, perhaps suede, in the style of the shoe she is currently wearing? A deepish purple would be a nice contrast to the yellow.

  11. Sandra

    That dress looks like bacterial colonies growing in yellow agar. The footwear brings to mind Gertrude Stein’s opinion of Oakland

    • mary lou bethune

      That is a good one! No there there!
      And Jessica is so pretty; why can’t she just frame her face and be done with it?

  12. Joemama

    Again with the Stella McPoopypants! (See what I did there? What!? I have a 3 year old, OK?) I absolutely hate Stella’s designs probably because they are so close to being OK and then, whoops! There’s a weird cut-out at an awkward angle, or a strange hemline that doesn’t fall anywhere… I do love her makeup and the color, and I agree with the turquoise shoe, but that’s as far as I can ride this train.

  13. Bella

    I just don’t like the dress, but then, I rarely ever like anything of SMcC. Why is she even designing clothes? But, if JC must wear this, add a purple shoe.

  14. Eliza Bennett

    I vote turquoise strappy suede sandals, (the seasonal train left when she went with mesh and sleeveless) or these:http://tooklookbook.com/node/102320 oo, or these Louboutins! http://pinterest.com/pin/92323861080785607/

  15. Fifie

    I am not good at figuring out shoes these days because I am from an old “matchy matchcy” generation, but even I thought of a purple shoe to go with this old tablecloth. Honestly, Stella McCartney designs the fugliest things.

  16. Sajorina

    I love Chastain and I love that she embraces her paleness… Pale People Unite! The dress is not bad for a StellaMcC and I think the yellow is nice, but those shoes have to go! Either do high-heeled gold sandals or take a hint from your lipstick and go for bold red stilettos! Damn, her skin, hair & makeup are GORGEOUS!

  17. sarah

    yes, i think with better shoes the issues with the dress would be much less (i’m rhyming! :)
    at first i was thinking turquoise as well, but then i started imagining them with a deep red shoe and think that would be gorgeous. not something too matchy with her lipstick, but a red to sort of tie it all together. maybe something like this: http://blog.dark-warriors.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/redshoes.jpg

  18. soitgoes

    Emerald green shoes.

  19. vandalfan

    Hell to the No. Flippin’ lace overlay on a nude lining. Tarzan inspired single strap. Backy hose! The invisible shoes are the least of her problems. Only her (for once decent) makeup
    and hairstyle save this.

    Keep the basic sleeveless sheath design, but use non-sheer material in any color, even the buttery yellow of the lace. Add bright pumps of purple or turquoise, or houndstooth check.

  20. Ellelake

    Bronze or copper shoes.

  21. MegoPachego

    I want the material backing the dress’s embroidery to be like a royal blue to bring out the pattern more. Plus, a rich blue would look so much nicer with her skin tone. She also is in dire need of a coloured shoe. As a fellow pasty girl, I can attest to the power of colour against the skin … even if I have a love on for black.

  22. Rowynn

    The most disheartening thing about this outfit is that, yet again, a well-known celebrity has bought a dress designed by SMcC, which gives her validation (and publicity) that she doesn’t deserve, and only encourages her to keep designing more fugly clothes.

    • KB

      I had no idea so many people shared my thoughts that Stella Mc is thoroughly overrated. Vindication!

      In other news, I think Chastain looks pretty amazing here, despite some weird cuts and such. Just needs to get a pair of deep, bold colored heels!

  23. Bottle Ginger

    I would like the dress if it weren’t built on a foundation of sickly flesh colored fabric. If it were a solid color, the asymtrical neckline and paisley textures would be rather nifty.

    As for what color shoe she should have worn: Take it from another pasty redhead, she needed something in the red/orange family. Yellow is an awkward color for pale redheads, it goes with the hair but is not flattering to the complexion. A reddish shoe would have brought out her hair and lips, given her an overall vibrancy. I’m afraid the nude shoe is adding to the “yellow does nothing for your skin, dear” effect, and so is the flesh-toned base fabric of the dress.

  24. blah
  25. Donna

    Red shoes.

  26. Nancy

    My biggest issue with this photo is how unflattering this dress is on her to me. It makes her look a bit more thick and shapeless than I think she actually is.

    Yes, the shoes are a snore. Something in a color, but with a slingback or something as opposed to a straight pump? Blue-ish maybe?

    Good make up at least! And pretty hair!

  27. Tamara J

    Why does she hate her breast/1 Sorry,

  28. Jeanette

    The shoes are dull, but the real problem is the sickly looking colour masking Jessica’s gorgeousness and making her look vaguely queasy… Pale yellow is a difficult hue to wear successfully.

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  30. Vi

    A red shoe, matching her lip color would work, me thinks.
    And, I have decided I am sick to death of illusion netting. Stella must have gotten a huge shipment of the awful stuff at a huge discount, because she uses A LOT of it!!!!….and it looks that cheap!
    On the other hand, JC is so gorgeous, she is just about pulling this off, even with the tired, bridal shoe.

  31. TonyG

    Love this dress on her. You wouldn’t think she could pull off this color with her very fair skin, but (presuming that is not her actually skin seen through the lace) I think that it was why to shoes and underlay garment that perfectly matched her skin. It breaks up the yellow so it is not overwhelming.

    Here’s a forest green shoe that I would like with this:


  32. foo

    I like her and think she is a great actress, but I hate the dress and shoes. (Hair and makeup are great)

    The dress looks like a 70s non-skid stick on pad for a tub and the shoes look like 1980s bone Payless pumps. (And I’m sure they weren’t cheap)

    If the dress was a basic shift shape- that fit better- w/the same color (or a little darker saffron) as the underlay, it would improve it.

    I would put a gorgeous plum shoe, maybe an open-toed suede. (Always loved the yellow dress with plum belt that Cate Blanchette wore to the Oscars. Unusual color combo and striking)

  33. joobs

    Oh my heck, I just remembered this AWESOME short story called “The Yellow Wallpaper”, which is about this woman going all crazazy in a room with this yellow wallpaper of a swirly pattern, and she thinks another woman is living in it and trying to get out, and when the loony lady finally looses all her marbles, she is peeling it off the wall a piece at a time and crawling around the room.

  34. Tessa

    That dress – it’s not really a flattering shape or color for her. The thing I’m most bothered about is the weird cutout on her right shoulder – it looks like she’s wearing an unfinished dress. And the drab beige shoes are horrible. I do love her hair and makeup though.

  35. Lily1214

    Aha! Stella has a hit here.