This is not Christina Aguilera.

This is an albino genie in a bottle. This might be what a girl wants to look like, but not what any real human being needs to look like. This is not beautiful, no matter what you say.

And if this image was meant to distort what Xtina looks like, the article itself was meant to make you remember what an awful year she’s had: She tripped at the Grammy’s, flubbed the national anthem, etc., etc.

Sure, she’s kind of a hot mess lately (and a coworker of mine who interviewed her once says she was a brat and likely hungover) but can’t we show her a little love, W? As in not stretching her petite frame out to supermodel heights or painting her powder white? The girl has mad talent after all, and a pretty face – if we could actually see it.

–By Tara Cavanaugh

Fashion Fail at the CFDA Fashion Awards

Gaga, current first lady of dance pop, might’ve been named a fashion icon at the CFDA awards and that green wig might’ve added some nice Andy Warhol-ish pop, but c’mon. If you want to show your boobs, girlfriend, just commit. Don’t practically fall out of your dress. Also, who besides people who get paid in singles wear detachable skirts anymore? And that looks like what could possibly be the wedgie from hell.

Not to be out done, Marcia Cross looks desperate for disco. She’s either auditioning to be a member of Abba, or she will be forced to accept an Abba substitute and join a Mamma Mia production. And now I have “Dancing Queen” stuck on repeat in my head.

What could have made such a pretty dress turned into a disco disaster.

–By Lindsay Ray

Style icon: The Myth of Marilyn

“I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let people fool themselves. They didn’t bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn’t.”   ~Marilyn Monroe

The Woman

Marilyn Monroe was the original dumb blonde. She perfected the dumb blonde cum sexy siren routine long before Jessica Simpson confused tuna for chicken and Madonna donned her first cone bra. We’ve all seen those iconic images of Monroe standing over the subway grate in that white halter dress.

But tied up in the story of Marilyn is not only the tragedy involving the Kennedys and pills but also an ambitious girl named Norma Jean. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the woman from the myth or the actress from the role.

So why do I find Marilyn so fascinating? Why is she a legendary icon? It’s more than just her story, which is fascinating in and of itself. And while I occasionally enjoy watching one of her flicks, they’re not my favorites. I think it’s because she’s a curvy girl who knew how to work it to her advantage. (There’s some speculation that she would be considered fat by today’s standards, but no one can seem to arrive at a consensus.) Maybe it’s because, like Dolly Parton, I think she’s more than blond hair and boobs. Because she’s actually a smart girl who attracted the likes of both Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. Because she managed to maintain her mystery and become a star that never fades. Because she’s eternally beautiful and in some ways she can be whoever you want her to be. Because she created and embodied a character so thoroughly, maybe even better than Lady Gaga’s dedication to her performance art. Because she’s both Marilyn and Norma Jean, vulnerability and strength. Because she embraced her raw sexuality and harnessed it as a power at a time when it was unacceptable for women to do so.

“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”

The Style

Marilyn’s platinum coif and pouty red lips are so iconic that many have imitated but never duplicated. (Hear that, Madonna? Gwen?).

Pulling off Marilyn’s golden blonde tresses works best if you have shoulder length hair, but you can fake shorter hair with appropriate tucking and curling. Setting your hair with medium hot rollers is the best bet to achieving Marilyn curls. If you flip your hair forward and comb through a bit, you’ll achieve more volume and a more perfectly tousled look.

For makeup, you’ll want to balance the dramatic red lip with lighter eyes. Monroe’s eyes involved off-white on the lid with a light brown in the crease and on the outer lid for shaping and contouring. Personally, I like a little sparkle on my eyes, so I use a sheer gold instead an off-white. I recommend the Little Black Dress Palette from Lorac. You’ll also want to put on either two coats of black mascara or some false eyelashes.

For red lips, you want to try and stay away from orangey reds. I like glominerals gloLipstick in Vixen (appropriate, no?) for a good matte color, but you’ll want something that goes with your skin tone.

Although her pink dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes became one of her signature looks, Marilyn stuck to neutrals in real life, such as white, beige and black (except for the occasional red). Pencil skirts with matching sweaters and feminine details (polka dots, bows) were a Marilyn essential. Also, strapless dresses and sweetheart necklines.

So where would you find some fab Marilyn-esque clothes? features some figure-flattering dresses, even if they are a bit pricey. (a fave of mine) also stocks up on retro clothing and often features good sales.

Want a great modern example of how to effortlessly pull off Marilyn style and spunk without looking like you’re trying too hard? Rachel McAdams pulls off a stunningly slinky dress with minimal jewelry but plenty of sultry looks.

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

Words of Wisdom from Lady Monroe

“I’m very definitely a woman and I enjoy it. ”

“I don’t mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. Beauty and femininity are ageless and can’t be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won’t like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it’s based on femininity.”

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.”

“All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they aren’t.”

“I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it.”

“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”

“If you’re gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.”

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

More Marilyn

Other ideas on how to copy her style

Photos spanning her career

The debate on Marilyn’s shape

–By Lindsay Ray

Savage, sinister, and celebratory beauty: My trip to the Alexander McQueen exhibit

From the collection: "The Horn of Plenty"

Shoes almost too dangerous to walk in, headdresses the wearer may or may not be able to see out of, and dresses impossible to move in. Yes, the Alexander McQueen exhibit, “Savage Beauty” at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art was everything you would expect. And all presented in a thrilling and eerie way.

Oh and it’s not an exhibit; it’s an event.

The lights were dim. There was sinister music. Many of the mannequins were slowly rotating. There’s looped video from this theatrical runway shows. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a raven had flown over my head at any point during my visit.

It seemed that the goal of this exhibit was for visitors to experience these pieces as close to their presentation in the runway shows as possible, in attempt to preserve each collection’s story and statement. This was perhaps most clear in the recreation the runway show from McQueen’s spring/summer 2001 collection entitled “VOSS” which involved a video from the controversial show, a trick of two-way mirrors and very, very low lighting.

Of course there was the added somber tone to the exhibition considering McQueen’s 2010 suicide. Yet I left the exhibit feeling

A leg carved for Aimee Mullins, a model without legs

somewhat uplifted – because while fashion doesn’t always lead us to places that empower women, I started to see how McQueen wanted to celebrate women as a whole, not just the stick thin model types that might be able to buy and wear his clothes. Visitors could see his commentaries on race, class, and body image. These statements were made through his clothes and quotes of his next to particularly salient ensembles. This quote was next to a dress with clear Asian influences: “I want to be honest about the world that we live in, and sometimes my political persuasions come through in my work. Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes.”

Visitors could also see his choices to rejoice in different women with the display of the legs carved for a runway show in which he used Aimee Mullins, a model without legs, and through dresses that forced voluptuous shapes onto the wearer by adding wider hips and defined, large busts. High fashion is never going to be a place the fully embraces women of all sizes, we know this, but it really seemed that McQueen was trying to get to a place that was more accepting.

With videos, provocative pieces, controversial pieces, and bits of Alexander McQueen’s philosophies throughout the winding hallways the exhibition was no doubt engaging and thorough, but perhaps the best part of it wasn’t the drama of the clothing, but understanding more about the philosophies of the man behind the controversial clothing and the stories he was telling.

For information on the exhibit check out the Met’s blog.

–By Samantha Howard

Welcome, Kate! We love England’s preppy princess-to-be

You may remember a while ago I wrote about the annoying fascination with the fashion of women in power. I grumbled: Shouldn’t these powerful women be judged for their actions and hard work, not their suit choices?

And now, Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married. Which means tongues are a-wagging all over the place about Kate’s style.

I suppose I should say it doesn’t matter, that Kate should take the opportunity to use her marriage to do good in the world, to do charity work, etc. But I can’t help myself. My brain is half feminist, half fashionista wannabe, and the fashionista wins on this one: I adore Kate’s style and thus am stupidly excited about the engagement of the two famous folks.

Why? Because Kate has my dream wardrobe. I kid you not. She has perfect taste in formal wear, casual wear, night-on the town wear, work wear. I don’t even want to think about what crimes I would commit to have that girl’s closet.

Kate used to work in the fashion industry, so one might expect her to be more daring, and thus more susceptible to making serious fashion blunders in the name of being trendy. But not Kate! Nooooo. As if she’s known all along that she would soon be royalty, she’s established a kind of uniform that keeps her always looking sharp: Wrap dresses, tall boots, dark jeans, well-tailored coats, classic-cut gowns with a touch of trend, and that always-perfect hair. I even love the strange fluffy side hats. How does she pull those off?

Word is on the street that William gave Kate his mother’s engagement ring (cue the whole world: “AWWWWW”). We all remember how the beloved Diana became an instant fashion icon, and how gads of designers threw evening gowns, sporting wear, and jewels her way in hopes of being associated with a classic beauty. It appears that Kate will have no problem becoming a style icon for our generation.

So Kate, welcome to the royal family. I hear the pressure is hell, but girl, I know you’re going to look GREAT.

–By Tara Cavanaugh

Obligatory Emmys Fashion Post

So a little thing just happened called the Emmys. But forget about the show and let’s talk about what’s really important: the dresses!

I like watching awards shows (and pre-awards shows) for that parade of gowns. It’s kind of fun to see people dressed up and looking snazzy. Plus, it’s also fun to make snide comments about those who crashed and burned fashion-wise from the safety of my living room. So without further ado, my hits and misses this year:

Popular colors on the red carpet: Navy, deep red, white, and as always, black.

Best dressed: Lea Michele, who wore a gorgeous navy Oscar de la Renta gown. It’s got just enough frills for flamenco dancing, or you know, sitting at an awards show and hob-knobbing with TV stars.

Runner-up: Claire Danes. I’m like a squirrel; I love shiny things. Claire’s dress was just the right mix of sparkly and formfitting for me. Plus, I loved her on My So-Called Life, so bonus points for being such a cool teen in the 90s.

Also rocking an awesome frock: Emily Deschanel and Kerri Russell—both dresses were a beautiful color….

Jennifer Carpenter (gotta love the sparkly!)…..

….and as much as it pains me to say it, Kim Kardashian (I liked the unique neckline on her dress).

Worst dressed: January Jones. As much as I like Mad Men (but hate Betty Draper), I just couldn’t like January’s dress. Pretty color, terrible concept. It’s like the dress wanted to be both long and short and met in some disastrous middle. And P.S. hoop skirts and cone bras are out.

Just say no to the dress: Wasn’t a big fan of Anna Paquin’s Alexander McQueen and dramatic hair…

….or Kristen Wiig’s shoulder poofs.

Of course, this is just my humble opinion, as Angela Chase would say (yeah, I can’t stop making My So-Called life references once I start, so what?). If you want a complete fashion run down, check out the girls at Gofugyourself, who are sure to provide you with the best fashion commentary mixed with the most biting and hilarious wit.

–By Lindsay Ray

What Would Angela Say? Claire Danes’ latest gig: a prescription commercial.

I wonder if Claire Danes has spent most of her career trying not to be Angela Chase.

Because every time I’ve seen her since then, my heart skips a beat, and I think, Angela! But it’s not Angela, because her life and her show died suddenly and inconclusively. It’s just Claire Danes, the person who gave Angela Chase so much life.

Not that Claire Danes is disappointing in herself. And since MSCL (that’s My So Called Life for you non-believers) she’s gone to Yale, earned “critical acclaim” for some decent movies, played big and small roles in forgettable rom/coms, and done some Broadway. It’s just that she’s not Angela, and every time I see her, it reminds me that the show tanked for no good reason.

But not this time. Claire Danes is in a commercial for a prescription that promotes eyelash growth. When I saw it, I didn’t think of Angela Chase. I was just watching another commercial for an innocuous magical prescription that featured an innocuous blonde. The commercial wasn’t as batty or fantastical as most of them (no old couples winking in kitchens-turned-jungles here), and I was hardly paying attention until the very end, when a close up of the blonde’s face filled the screen and I squinted in horror: Is THAT Claire Danes?!

It is.

Which just makes the whole situation even more depressing. Because fine, I accept that Jamie Curtis will promote yogurt that makes you poo, and that Sally Field will make me giggle every time she says “Boniva,” but Claire Danes has had a ho-hum career, not fantastic and not terrible, and will probably always be remembered as Angela Chase.  I’m no agent, but it seems to me that promoting laxatives or pointless prescriptions or taking on other embarrassing acting jobs is usually only suggested for actors and actresses at the end of accomplished careers. Kind of like being a greeter at Wal-Mart: Something to do, and it can’t hurt anything.

Who knows? Maybe she just needed the cash. But I offer my sincere apologies to Claire, because being the standout star who brought Angela Chase to life seems to have given her Angela’s curse: she was easily, and perpetually, unnoticed.

At least she’ll always have that delightful Gap commercial.

–by Tara Cavanaugh