Unfug It Up: Madonna


You guys, I’m having a moment. Remember that time — it was probably not that long ago — when you woke up and looked at Us Weekly or whatever and were like, “Oh my GOD. GEORGE CLOONEY IS OLD.” And it wasn’t because he looked hideous, or anything, but rather that he’d just suddenly stepped over that line of agelessness where suddenly it was impossible not to see him and be reminded that Dr. Doug Ross suddenly is, in the words of Molly Shannon, FIFTY. FIFTY YEARS OLD.

I am having that same thing with Madonna now. It’s not a bad thing; it’s really more that I always thought Madonna would be this ageless, timeless creature who always looked about 42 and dressed like she was 24. And let’s be frank: It’s way less to do with her than it is with my own advancing mortality, since I am old enough to remember what it was like when my birthday twin Madge was ACTUALLY 24. And then yesterday I saw this photo and I was like, “No, dammit, Madonna is FIFTY THREE. FIFTY THREE YEARS OLD.”

Please understand, I’m not trying to say Madonna looks like an old crone. Rather, that she has crossed that age line where she finally seems to look the age she’s meant to look, as opposed to the age she wants to pretend she is. It’s all good. It’s fine. I just need to get used to it. In thirty years I’ll be having the same denial blackout about Gaga ,and I’ll run around telling my grandchildren all about how she never wore pants, and they’ll be like, “Grandma, YOU never wear pants either, although it’s because you are a senile old coot,” and I’ll be like, “HERE’S YOUR PANTS,” and chase after them with a pair of pleated-front slacks from Talbots.

Anyway, none of that has to do with Madonna’s outfit. Let’s turn the discussion to that, shall we?

I think… Look, to be honest, at first I thought that was some party tinsel strewn across her body. But in close-up it looked sort of pretty, and in fact, I think there is definitely something workable and ladylike-yet-saucy here. The problem is largely below the waist. I get that maybe Madonna also woke up one morning and was like, “Hot damn, Esther, you are not twenty-four anymore,” and decided only to wear Queen Elizabeth-length skirts with chunky monarchical hooves. But I think a fifty-three year old Madonna still ought to put those hard-earned legs to good use and show off a little more of them — say, slice this to the knee and put on a sexier pair of shoes. THEN we’d be cooking with gas. How would you heat this up, without exploding your house in some kind of petroleum accident? Comment the hell out of it, Fug Nation.

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[Photo: WENN]

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Comments (91):

  1. Hfree

    Although she is tiny and toned, she should go up a size, her organs and breasts look like they can’t breathe. And it should be knee length. I really like the beading on the dress though, very pretty.

    P.S. I always thought Clooney looked his age since his a doppleganger for my dad. Put the man in a polo shirt and some pleat front khakis and it resemblance would be uncanny.

    P.P.S. I am apparently slow because I just got the title to this movie. Oh Well. (W=Wallis, E=Edward, put them together and you get WE).

    • Stefanie

      You and I are on the same page about the dress.

      More importantly, is your dad single? I need the details! haha j/k (sorta)

      • Fuh Ugh

        I’m with you both on the dress – knee length and a size 4 maybe instead of a 2. But WHAT IS UP with that schoolgirl hair?!? Her hair would look great – on someone else. She could keep it long and put it up or something, but that twee hairclip or twist or whatever makes her look ridiculous.

  2. Emma

    For some reason I’m getting a poll about Jenny McCarthy that I apparently already voted on?

    I think this dress is lovely, and I heartily encourage you Fug girls to embrace longer skirts and dresses, especially when they have a sleek retro silhouette. A longer hem in a tailored dress looks expensive.

    I don’t love the embroidered detail – at a glance it looked like a Chines dragon or something, which made me think she bought it on Ebay for $13.99 from a shop that imports polyester kimonos and cotton shoes.

    • Heather

      I don’t mind longer skirts in some situations, I’m just not sure if it’s THIS situation. I think it’s aging her. Or at least in combo with the shoes, it’s aging her ankles.

    • Breda

      I also think that while they’re often lovely in person, they’re horribly stumpifying in photos. Many red carpet photos (including this one) appear to be taken ever-so-slightly from above, which isn’t a great angle for the legs anyway, and that length has a tendency to make it look like a person misplaced a chunk of her shins.

    • Meredith

      It reminds me of one of those “Chinese”-style dresses, too, but I like those. Therefore I’d like to see Madonna’s dress a bit longer, with a side-slit up to the thigh. And maybe strappier shoes.

  3. Emma

    Not Jenny McCarthy, Kathleen Robertson.

  4. Dani

    dress is a tad too long for her, combined with the chunk heels and fishnets, quite unflattering. I love black, but on her, it’s beginning to look very severe, like silician widow severe.

  5. AndersonicTK421

    1. lose the stockings
    2. maybe up a size
    3. re-think the seppuku-reminiscent embroidery

    I like the length, and without the stockings the shoes are less abhorrent.

  6. Dazie

    I think the fishnets throw it off. Either be fishnet sexy, or go with plain hose or none. You can’t be pseudo-matronly and fishnetty at the same time- she’s brought the girls out for a discreet playdate, she doesn’t need to dress up her legs like we’d forgotten she had them. I’d like to see the shoes from the side to see how they look, but I think without the distraction of the netting, they might work.

  7. AndersonicTK421

    oh but still?

  8. quichepup

    The only change I’d suggest would be cuter shoes, otherwise it’s fine with me. I’m really gonna date myself here and say this looks like something she would have worn in Shanghai Surprise.

  9. wordphreak

    Fifty-three. I think she’s taking on a Bette Davis vibe.

  10. Emily

    Although I do not love the look — it really is the shoes, I think — she looks fantastic at 53 and healthier and more beautiful than she has for a while. So I’m pleased with it. I mean, look at Helen Mirren or Susan Sarandon. THose are slightly older ladies and still knockouts. No reason we have to hang it up at 30.

  11. Aaron

    Gotta say that I’m so impressed that she’s pulled herself out of what seemed to be a decade-long fashion tailspin that I can’t even fault this simple “Mom” dress.

  12. Lauren

    Yes, she may be 53 but man on man has she been fighting that tooth and nail!! She doesn’t ever look her age cause she messes with her face so much! I honestly never know what is up with her face…she seems to do these cheek raising lifts of something that are just really bad. I feel the material girl really is all about the material and will not be shaking her (amazing for this age) bod gracefully into old age. So many in hollywood look so DAMN GOOD for their age without having work done…I wonder how good she could look if she just left it alone…

    • Laura V

      Totally. Madge, your original face was fine! Honey! You’re going a little Jocelyn Wildenstein about the eyes and cheeks!

      • Sando

        That was my first thought when I saw this shot elsewhere! Still better than the Oscar nightmare! Maybe Lourdes convinced her to wear some clothing.

    • glee

      The dress is blah. But since we are talking about her face, there is not an ounce of the young M in the newer but older M. Her face was really lovely before she started to look like a chipmunk. I am just happy to see some wrinkles back on her face.

  13. Lauren
  14. courtney

    She’s starting to look a bit like Hillary Clinton in the face — and I mean that in the best way possible. Way to look your own age!

  15. MoreShoes

    I don’t mind that much about the dress, although a sexy cut till the knee would have helped. What I really don’t like is the hair. Mental note to myself: after fifty, no long hair. It looks desperate.

    • ChristopherD

      Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! (The hair down is also fighting AGAINST whatever crap she did to her face, sweeping the hair back or up will help with jowls, and eyes…

  16. Caroleena Stantonova

    I think you hit the nail on the head. The unflattering length and fall of that dress combined with boring black amorphous shoes is not a good idea.

  17. Caroleena Stantonova

    Lauren: I wish I had not clicked on the link you provided.

    And a shorter hair style with a bit of floof would most likely help.

  18. rebecca

    Madonna is too vertically challenged for the lovely dress. Sigourney Weaver could rock it…

  19. islandgirl1

    Although I’m normally not a fan of this length dress, I actually think it works well for this particular dress. It is the shoes that frumpify it for me–a sexier cut pump, maybe a d’orsay style, would have really changed the look.

    I also feel ambivalent about the hair; I don’t agree that everyone over 50 needs to chop their hair, but I can’t deny that a chin length do would work better for her. Or it could just be the girly waves and barrette that bother me. I know she is working the 40′s retro glam, but the dress should do it on its own.

  20. OH

    She does have a Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane vibe going on. It’s all too much. If she wants to look youthful and natural, she needs a more relaxed looking face, sleeker hair and a shorter hemline.

  21. SaraK

    According to my poll, Madonna used to be Clare Arnold. Also, I can’t vote on it (I actually DO think she looked better in the second season).

    Oh, the dress? Add me to the “it should be a bit shorter/better shoes/less girly hair” camp, please. I don’t think it’s the length of the hair so much as the style. I used to wear my hair like that in seventh grade.

  22. Bevvie Hedstrom

    The girlie-hair and cleavage are at war with everything else.

  23. Sandra

    It’s not Bette Davis she’s after looking like; it’s a young Betty Grable http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=409). I have no problem with mature women looking hot a la MIRREN (if SWINTON rates all-caps, so does Dame Helen) but trying to look 3 decades younger is just kind of sad and silly.

  24. TaraMisu

    The shoes are indeed hooves…. but other than that I think she looks fine. Not spectacular, just fine. Maybe shorten the dress a little?

  25. deee

    “pleated-front slacks from Talbots”. LOL.

  26. GFY Heather

    Ugh, I just saw the poll burp — let me fux. Sorry about that!

  27. deee

    Forgot to add, how does her neck look so great? Is there some new fangled injectible for old lady neck?

  28. AP

    Speaking of which, when is Ann Curry going to step over that age barrier? Even for an Asian, she looks commendable.

  29. Chasmosaur

    Honestly? I think she saw pictures of herself with Lourdes where she looked like she was trying too hard and realized that she is an awesomely fit, incredibly wealthy 53 year old. And that Lady Gaga has sort of dominated the pop-starlet pantsless space she created.

    Yes, this should go up a size and she can afford cooler shoes. But maybe she’s finally realized she’s 53 and she just doesn’t want to work as hard anymore.

  30. Kim

    Fug girls – you’ve been livilng in LA too long if you think her face looks like she’s 53. Her forehead, her neck, her jaw line (especially). She’s not only botoxed out, she’s had major plastic surgery – at least one lift anyway. She looks great though – a lot more natural than other woman on TV and movies who get a lot of work done trying to stay young-looking.

    I’m 49. When you’re 40, you think you’re looking old, but man, what a difference a decade makes. George Clooney being a perfect example. No denying he still looks great (and real, unlike Madonna). But even 5 years ago, he looked A LOT younger.
    Hard to see yourself though. I realize how old I must look because of all the actors from my 20′s I see in movies now that are in their 50′s. But, since even movies stars can’t stay young looking, why worry about it.

  31. Joey
  32. Sarah with an h

    I think that teeth whitening should be her next cosmetic procedure. They’re looking a little… ecru.

  33. melanie

    She looks great. I wouldn’t change anything.

  34. gryt

    I just really, really, reeeally wish she’d lay off those fillers. Her face is looking too full/round. It’s weird. (And I LOVE her.)

  35. Jenn

    The funny thing I find with surgery to the face is that it makes the user look older. Yes, they aren’t saggy, yes the lines and wrinkles are gone. But it is so different and such a unique look, that I associate it with much older people, and so therefore the user with that look must be older. Even, whats-her-name — the one with the zillion procedures…. Heidi right? She looked 20 years older after her surgery just because that “fixed face” look is aging in and of itself.

    Oh as for the dress. knee length, fishnets and cool shoes and I think it’s kind of a good look for Madonna.

  36. juliet

    Agreed about the dress length and the shoes, which age her. But on the flip side, the hair is too girlish. The fluffy, long curls pulled back in a barrette is a look most of us gave up when we graduated from elementary school.

  37. Anne B

    “Bette Davis, we love you.” Yep.

    Other thoughts:
    1) I’d make the dress knee length. If those legs are half as toned as those toss-a-truck arms, I don’t know why she’s covering them up
    2) Also on the dress: reverse the colors. White girls, you’ll learn this as you get older: much as I love black, in a sartorial sense it doesn’t always love me back. Much as I loathe pink, it’s increasingly good to me.
    3) I don’t know what all the hair is about, but I’d be doing something else with it. This is too, too … head-cheerleader-in-the-’80′s?
    4) OTHER SHOES. For the love of God.

    You mention Intern George. He said this thing to AARP (of which he’s now a member, I guess): he suggested their magazine do a cover story on “the sexiest man still alive”.

    That’s funny. And a graceful way to say, Yeah: I’m getting older. Much as I want to see this kind of grace in Madonna, I don’t. Maybe it’s the hair, but I really don’t.

  38. debbie

    As someone who crossed that line a few years ago… welcome to the other side of the great divide!! Now I’m waiting for a certain Ms. Lopez to come on over as well!!

  39. Mano

    One thing to say: Pillow face! OMG, she looks sooo puffy. I wish she dared to age with pride…

  40. amys

    I enjoy the embroidered detail, but it looks tacked on. I mean, I’m sure it’s not, but it doesn’t quite “go” with the rest of the dress. Her lipstick seems too red maybe? Either way, her lip and dress are in disagreement, imo. I’d love to be able to rock the fishnets at 53, but those shoes have got to go. Madge is the last person who I would think would go stodgy. I agree with Hfree who mentioned organs being smooshed. She is so tiny, but I’m afraid that one little bend to stomp on a fan’s thrown hydrangea and the whole dress is going to rip to hell. Whatever she’s doing to her neck—I need me some of that, and I’m more than a decade younger. Sigh.

  41. Elise

    Desperation is not a pretty color on anyone.

    Accept that you’re 53, Madge! Own it and love it!

  42. vandalfan

    Shorter, no fishnets or hooves, no girlie hair, and in addition, maybe sleeves, or a sweater. Her arms make me think of a very tough chicken dinner.

    Madonna, Prince, Jacko, Tanya Tucker, and good ol’ Vandalfan were all born in the same one-year span. Weird Al was just a month behind.

  43. jenelope

    I think her hair actually looks really great, just not at all natural with her face and body. She is a great looking 53 year old woman who’s had some awesome work done, but she could aim for looking ten years younger instead of twenty years younger and make it work much better. There’s no shame in looking like you’re in the same zip code as your age, if not the same neighborhood.

    As great as her legs are, I’d lose to see this slightly above knee length and paired with a boot. It would be a great blend of feminine and tough.

    Madonna and Prince are the same age as Simon Le Bon, whose 27th birthday I celebrated by baking a cake and having a party. My co-worker is also 53 and just welcomed his second grandchild. *fretting over my own mortality*

  44. ccm800

    Man – she needs to back away from the filler – she is getting pillow face. the dress is Betty White’s and she wants it back.

  45. Jen S 2.0

    I actually think the dress is okay. A little shorter maybe, but overall it’s fine.

    However, I do have to comment most positively on her improved face. If she gained 5 lbs or something, she REEEEEEEALLY needed them, because ever since she did … something … to her cheeks, she was looking bonkers. She’s looking less scary and more human, for which I think we can all cheer.

  46. amys

    Has she always been so boobalicious or is it the dress? I don’t recall M. being so cleavagefull.

  47. Lina

    1. She needs to go up a size, although I can understand intentionally going down a size for the red carpet. I mean, people want to see how she’s aging, and there’s nothing like a tight dress to make that abundantly apparent.

    2. Robert DeNiro is my birthday twin (the day after you & Madonna), and I had the same moment of realization. Also, that The Godfather & Taxi Driver were a lonnng time ago now.

  48. Ladyblahblah

    This reminded me of a great article from a few years ago about the New New Face:

    “There’s a new face in town—and it’s a baby’s.”

  49. debra

    I agree shorten the dress but other than that she finally looks good, clean and healthy for a change…stay with it Madge no one will mind at all that you stopped dressing like your 15 year old daughter!

  50. CJ

    Ladyblahblah, I remember that article, and it looks like Madonna has an even newer face since that article.

    First impression was that she looks like she is nursing. You need to go up a size if your boobs are looking that inflated in your dress. Like the hair and don’t mind the length. It is the barrette that seems silly after 50 to me. Yeah, a knee length hem would have been great, but we know she has great legs and there is nothing wrong with a modest hem once in a while. I would have ditched the cheap fishnets in favor of sheer black hose and can someone just flip a switch and make all hoof shoes disappear…please?

    • Marlena

      Amen to that!

      I fell in love with platform shoes as a child watching 40′s movies on tv and even had a terrific pair of black suede platform ankle strap high heels in their 1970′s disco resurgence. They were fabulous!

      I’ve never heard the current (going on TOO long) platform trend called “hoof shoes” before. I guess I crossed over that fashion line sometime back. But, it’s a perfect way to describe these incredibly ugly platforms that make all us retro loving platform lovers want to weep.

  51. gabby

    Its so funny that you described her skirt as “Queen Elizabeth Length” because dear Liz is actuall here in Australia with us right now and as soon as I opened that Madonna post I thought “Gee Madonna DOES look old. She’s even standing like Queen Elizabeth”… and she IS!! Shes stolen the royal posture!! Heavens above!

  52. Celeste

    The hair is ridonkulous–totally age and era inappropriate.

  53. Noddy

    Her bajingoes look trapped

  54. Claire L

    Up a size and shorten to the knee. Also, if she insists on wearing something on her legs, nude fishnets would work….they make legs look long and tone and hide flaws so beautifully. I’m not a fan of her shoes, but I think with other changes they’d be OK..not great, but OK.

  55. anny

    Yeah, y’all all are like, “make it shorter”, but be careful what you wish for … <== link

  56. Jane Caro

    She’s 53, I am 54. She looks way better than I do, but….she’s 53. Don’t mind the dress, the length or the shoes, but she needs to cut her hair. Over 50, no sleeveless and no long hair. Them’s the rules, for anyone.
    Notice Helen Mirren – icon of the aging? Short hair, people, well cut and stylish. She occasionally goes sleeveless, but rarely – and only in a ball gown. Tilda Swinton? Short hair and always with at least one sleeve.
    Long hair is for young (ish, at least) girls. Not for women. If you must keep it long, put it up.

    • Matilda

      I can’t see Madonna with short her, but a bob would suit her much better than this length.

  57. ChristieLea

    *Sticks fingers in ears*


    …..and also: Chop that dress to the knee and add hot pink stilettoes. MAGIC.

  58. Psyche

    What? She doesn’t look 53 at all. Actually, I think she looks under 40 in this photo. She looks like she’s been tweaked and botoxed and waited long enough for it to settle in so she doesn’t have the bat brow, but still, no wrinkles on the forehead. Her skin looks almost dewy. Hair is blonde, bouncy, and not a hint of gray. I thought you were commenting on the fact she looks incredibly young, not that she actually looks appropriately her age.

  59. fritanga

    I know Madge doesn’t agree, but she is not as awesome as Helen Mirren, and neither are her arms. She has to cover them up. Short puff sleeves are not her friend. They age her more than all the work she’s had done to her face (which is fast veering toward “Katherine Helmond In Brazil” territory). They also look ridiculous on anyone over 45.

    • heather

      I would love to see this dress with elbow length sleeves, and hemmed to the knee.

  60. Scanderoon

    I truly love your ramblings, Heather. The pleated-pants-chasing was the icing on the cake of this entry. :)

    As for the dress, I’d take it to just above the knee, maybe give it cap sleeves as I find those a bit heavy, and use a somewhat-less-solid shoe. Not too strappy, but with a bit less heft. I actually quite like the pink detailing.

  61. Sando

    I’m really scared about the Super Bowl now!

  62. kess

    She’s always had hideous ‘taste’.
    Italian Mummas have better black dresses.

    She got stuck somewhere around Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, and keeps wearing horrible versions of 303/40s hair and dresses.

  63. BeeDreams

    I love it, I love her. Could be shorter, could change the shoes. Madonna will always bring back a memory of my mum & I washing the walls *yes, washing the walls* with sugar soap dancing to the “Like a Virgin” album. So so many memories of her music, starting when I was a 6ish year old, to now, 34. Pretty fecking cool!

  64. Blanche

    Go Fug Yourself posted some link last Friday to the hotness of John Cho wherein Laineygossip reveals that East Asian people have the skin of teenagers until they are 60, at which point they suddenly and without provocation turn 85 years old in appearance. We learn today that rich white people are swept into the aging process much more promptly, in their 50s.

    I suspect very strongly that Madonna has settled on looking like Evita Peron because Madonna actually believes conservative populism is the highest form of politics. Regrettable on many levels, the least of which is Cristina Kirchner has a better look.

  65. Mooshki

    I’m just glad she loaded up on the fillers so she looks less ghoulish!

  66. NYCGirl

    It could be shorter, and the shoes could be better, but it’s the fishnets that really are fug.

  67. Betty M

    No way can I agree with “she’s crossed that age line where she finally seems to look the age she’s meant to look”. She’s crossed a line all right, Straight into weird looking . 53 year olds are not meant to look like that.

  68. Sajorina

    I agree with you , Heather! I would cut the skirt at the knee, get rid of the fishnet stalkings and put her on sleek, stappy black or magenta heels! I would also tell her to cool it with the weight lifting! But, MADONNA IS AWESOME and she can kick and streeeech and kick! She looks GREAT!!!

    Really, Heather, you’re going to be a senile old coot at 64 years old? Puh-leeze! I’m your same age, be considerate of my feelings…

  69. ChaChaHeels

    I like the length but I agree it would look more flattering with a slit to just above the knee. I get that it’s a nostalgic look, too. But what I don’t understand is how Madonna would let anyone take a photo of her with the camera up above her head. Hard to believe, but the photo angle makes even Madonna look fat. Those famous scrawny arms look like Popeye’s, too.

  70. Laucie

    If you meant to say “eternal youths”, she’s done that. The last two boyfriends are in their 20′s.
    Unfortunately, the ensemble includes the ghosts of her Christmas past (the hair), present (unflattering but current hooves), and future (a dress that would be ageing to a 70-something).

  71. Kathryn Barratt

    All I have to say is that my husband saw her up close at the Berlin film festival back in february and he said she looked 25, and gorgeous. Before seeing her in real life he had never even found her attractive!
    I think the dress is fine, I would just take off the pattern, shorten it to just below the knee and maybe make it a brighter colour.

  72. christine

    aw, madge is your birthday twin? me too!

  73. Chloe

    I had that George Clooney moment too!! It was only recently, when I realised he had more “salt” than “pepper” in his hair and is the same age as my dad. Sad.

  74. Jennifer

    She actually looks sperminated to me.
    Impossible you say? Impossible … yes. Unless you’re MADONNA!

  75. Sara Coy

    I like longer skirts, especially in a retro style. This, however, is just a bad length for her. “Stumpifying” is the perfect description. Pretty dress, though.

    She should lose the stockings and go with a more delicate shoe. Something with a 40′s shape would be gorgeous, maybe with a strap.

    I like her makeup, but the hair is too “schoolgirl” for her. Either all the way up or all the way down, please.