Dresses with scales are usually reserved for couture and super fancy Oscar gowns. Marion Cottilard wore a scaled, mermaid dress by Jean Paul Gaultier to the Academy Awards in 2008 and I still think about it every time the broadcast rolls around. English lash Kate Beckinsale stunned in an LBD with scales, but it wasn't for a major red carpet event.
Still, Beckinsale's Burberry dress was the perfect execution of the "glamsual" look. In essence, the actress revealed all the secrets of pulling off, uh, fish fashion.
In theory, the idea of a dress with scales is a bit head-scratching. Fish don't exactly have a pleasant odor and scales are rough to the touch. Plus, no one wants scaly skin, so we moisturize. Already, the negative connotations regarding "scales" are in place.
But the fashion world has managed to incorporate scales into clothes and it almost always works. Maybe it's because mermaids have scales and they are pretty beloved, so when you associate the dresses with the notion of mermaids, perception changes? At least, it does for me.
Cottillard's gown, which was one of the first times I "got" the notion of a scaly dress, was unforgettable because she looked like a mermaid IRL.
Yes, that dress was everything for a minute!
Meanwhile, Beckinsale's black dress boasted a squared off top and a shiny texture that looked like leather. The length was also midi, hitting at the calf. All of those elements combined took the entire presentation up several notches.
If you like the scale look, which should continue to trickle down to the mass market, where most of us shop, Beckinsale pretty much schooled us all in how to do fish fashion IRL.
Yes, it helps that she has an amazing figure that this luxe label dress liked to cling to. But other elements made this work. If you wanna try something similar, follow these basic tenets.
1. Keep Accessories Simple And To A Minimum
Since scaled dresses are so intricate and detailed. Don't pile on accessories, which will create too much fashion traffic and competitive elements. Simple pumps and a clutch worked here since they didn't fight with the sparkle and texture of the dress. So keep that in mind when dressing up something similar.
2. Go For Something Unique
Scales on a short dress might feel a little fringe-y and flapper-like. Beckinsale's dress was such a winner because she went with a longer length and it was still sexy, since the dress almost looked wet. So length is something to consider, as well. Plus, if you are going to be daring enough to wear scales, why not go all out?
3. Makeup Minimalism
When you are wearing something so detailed, you don't want your makeup to be too loud or out there. A minimal, almost bare look, complete with a slicked back 'do, were the right pairing for this ensemble. If you go with an outfit that's got such strength when it comes to the construction, you will want to go with a light makeup touch.
There! All things to consider if you try to wear a scale dress to a wedding, a prom, or whatever.
Images: Getty (4)