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By Kaitlyn Mitchell

The attendees of CBS’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards were forewarned that they would be expected to adhere to a dress code if appearing on screen at this year’s ceremony. Part of the memo e-mailed to nominees reads as follows:

“Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples. Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible “puffy” bare skin exposure. Please avoid commercial identification of actual brand name products on T-shirts. Foreign language on wardrobe will need to be cleared. OBSCENITY OR PARTIALLY SEEN OBSCENITY ON WARDROBE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR BROADCAST.”

Most of the rule breakers last night remained tasteful despite not following the regulations. The top trends appear to be sheer fabrics, dramatic cutouts, daring leg slits, and exposed midriffs.


Katy Perry was a sherbet green dream in Gucci’s twist on last spring’s mint green trend. The revealing neckline of the dress was perfectly balanced out by the long sleeves and floor length. The embellishments were just the right amount of flair to add interest. The middle part and long locks seemed a bit too casual for the gown – some stylized old Hollywood waves would’ve complimented it perfectly. Who wore it better – Katy Perry or Gucci’s model?


Ashanti took spring florals to the dark side in her majestic Tony Ward Couture gown. The appliqué florals embroidered onto the delicate fabric distinguished it from many other gowns on the red carpet, while pulled-back hair and minimal accessories allow Ashanti’s face to take center stage. One potentially tacky factor of the outfit was the extremely sheer skirt through which a bikini-cut undergarment could be glimpsed. What do you think – is it a do or a don’t?


Estelle wore a Genelle Brooks x Love Collins dress that had a trendy midriff-baring silhouette, but the busy print was distracting.


Florence Welch’s custom-made Givenchy gown is literally haute couture. Emerald green, this year’s “it” color, went perfectly with her fiery red locks. The stylized humps on the dress immediately bring to mind reptilian dinosaurs, though the statement is subdued in comparison to Lady Gaga’s past get-ups (who was notably absent from the ceremony).


Beyonce went with a sassy form-fitting pantsuit for her onstage presentation with Ellen DeGeneres. The matching bracelets on each wrist aesthetically balanced the asymmetrical color blocking.


Lisa Damato’s cirque-esque dress had good intentions, but fell far short of the fine line between ‘inspired by something’ and ‘fashionable’. The mid-calf A-Line skirt has a nice shape, but those stripes are too busy and distracting. On top of that, the puffy striped sleeves just kill the entire look. To avoid looking like a circus act, Lisa should’ve picked a voluminous silhouette on either the top or the bottom – not both.


Kelly Rowland was the talk of the town despite many other black dresses on the red carpet last night. The singer joked about her major violation of the dress code, but the risqué sheer cutouts were perfect for her figure and nicely accented by her sleek bangs and tasteful accessories.


Kimbra has been called the “Katy Perry of New Zealand”, but even her win for her collaboration with Gotye last night couldn’t rectify her mermaid-y mess of a gown choice.


Adele looked glamorous as always, but her dress choice felt redundant. While the 1950’s bell skirt is cute, she so often leans towards more conservative silhouettes at awards shows. It would be wonderful to see her embrace her figure with a more explorative neckline than the kimono-inspired one seen here.



Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, and Mario Lopez stole the show as the best-dressed males of the night. Jessica Biehl’s new husband Justin looks fly in white and black dress shoes while Katy Perry’s beau John dons a gorgeous sapphire-hued velvet blazer. Newlywed Mario’s maroon suit complements his skin tone perfectly.


During her onstage performance, Carrie Underwood’s neutral ball gown became a canvas for a dazzling light show – the first ever Grammys dress to become a projection screen. The optical illusion of the act was that the light seemed to be coming from the dress, as Carrie remained absolutely still throughout the performance. The projection transformed the dress from swirls to hearts to a fluttering frenzy of monarch butterflies.

The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Red Carpet

Last but not least, Rihanna matched the red carpet in her custom-made red Azzedine Alaia gown. She looked stunningly elegant, a nice reprieve from her zany personal style. The very sheer fabric didn’t quite obey the dress regulations. But who cares? CBS may be able to suggest a dress code, but they will encounter many problems if they so much as attempt to enforce it.

What was your favorite Grammy Awards look? Do you agree with our selections?

MODA Style Blog does not own or claim any of these photos.