The colour red can indicate that something is hot or that you should stop and it’s also synonymous with Taylor Swift‘s lips. But if this year’s red carpets – from the Oscars and the Golden Globes to the SAG Awards, BAFTAs and Grammys – are any indication, it’s also the colour du jour for ingenues and the old-Hollywood guard.
And there’s good reason for the scarlet hue getting a lot of attention, considering that it has been proven to increase sexual desire in women. It can also look wickedly fierce without the need for a ton of makeup.
But how do you wear it? Isn’t it a bit much? Actually, no.
Go easy on the accessories
A basic rule of thumb for wearing red (and we mean red, not pink or mauve or blush or rose) is to lighten up on the accessories. Basically, if you can get away with none at all, that’s perfect. But if you must, choose a small clutch and subtle jewellery. You’re wearing a bold colour so let it breathe and shine. It can do so much good on its own.
Work those curves
Once you’ve picked out the frock that works for you, get it tailored to fit. Too much flowing and excess fabric will give people the wrong idea. Red is sexy, so show off your curves; it can really make your figure pop.
Make a statement with minimal makeup
And lastly, your beauty regimen should result in a refined, minimal look. A red lip can complement your dress, but the eyes and face shouldn’t be overwhelmingly made up. Aim for a statement that says “no makeup,” even if you’re wearing it. As for tans? Red can actually pair beautifully with a slight tan, as it aids in livening up your colour.
Not sold? We can prove it. These 11 women ruled the red carpet in red, and you can, too. Here are some more tips for pulling off scarlet style, with a little help from Julianne Moore, Helen Mirren, Sofia Vergara and more:
It’s the year of the red dress. Here’s how to not mess it up
Helen MirrenThe key to a red finish is to keep the statements in the dress. Helen Mirren chose a look with embellishment around the cleavage, but she balanced the look with a subtle face and simple hair. Getty Images
Allison WilliamsHere, the makeup is slightly overdone, but Allison Williams really nailed it with this dress. The red is the focal point, with its tiers and jewel-like glimmer. Her hair, simply pulled away from her face, brings your attention to the big statement. Which is what you want if you're being bold with this siren shade.Getty Images
Alysia ReinerAlysia Reiner has the figure to pull off this exquisitely tailored, mermaid-skirt gown. And that's the key to winning in red: perfect tailoring. Getty Images
Dianna AgronDianna Agron's skirt is beautiful and gives her a waist, but there's some issue with the bunching in the bodice. Less fabric will give you more of a statement, so be sure to simplify your look.Getty Images
Heidi KlumHeidi Klum has clearly done this before. This look is immaculate. She has a just-tanned-enough skin tone to complement her red, and it's so expertly tailored that it looks as though she were the muse of this gown. Getty Images
Julianna MarguliesRed can be demure, as seen here in Julianna Margulies' red-carpet look. What's important to take note of is black being used as a neutral. When in search of neutral pairings for red, go for black or navy. They'll help ground the look beautifully. Getty Images
Julianne MooreWhat is not to love about this look on Julianne Moore? Her hair is effortless, her lip is just red enough and the dress fits like a glove. She's doing everything right. Getty Images
Janelle MonaeThink outside the dress with red. Janelle Monae went with a tailored suit at the Grammys and she played by the rules. The jacket and pants are tailored to fit, and she kept accessories small. The exception here is the hat, proving that there are exceptions to every rule (because the hat looks fantastic). Getty Images
Sofia VergaraAgain, what we see here in Sofia Vergara is an emphasis on keeping the beauty look somewhat muted. The hair, nautrally straight, helps frame her silhouette, which lets the dress do the talking. And with a dress that features a sheer window to her trim waist, you want that dress to talk. Getty Images
Taylor SchillingWhile Taylor Schilling's skirt is voluminous, it's not going to flutter. The A-line actually helps give her more shape, and because it's one layer of fabric, there's no fear of being mistaken for a flamenco dancer. Getty Images
Viola DavisViola Davis looks chic in almost everything, but there's a lot in this dress that is worth noting. She understands her body type, and uses the embellishments to create a shape that works for her. Everything else is simple, from the bangle to the bag. Getty Images