IN HOLLYWOOD parlance, she’s a Triple Crown winner: Two Tonys (playwright August Wilson’s King Hedley II and Fences), an Emmy (How to Get Away With Murder) and an Oscar (the 2017 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the movie version of Fences). And let’s not forget her Oscar-nominated performances in The Help and Doubt, standing up to a powerful Meryl Streep in the latter.
Personally, I’ll always remember watching her at a fashion show several years ago where she tried mightily to strike up a conversation with Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, who apparently wasn’t in the mood to chat. But lets’s talk about her closet. The 51-year-old, 5-foot-5-inch actor rarely makes a misstep. She has a well-toned, muscular body and wears clothing that pays tribute to good genes or lots of hard workouts, or both.
JANET: I really like this dress—the color, the fabric, the flared skirt. And the pointed black shoes with the ankle straps are graceful. Two quibbles. Am I being too picky here? The bodice looks as if it’s a little tight; it’s not forgiving for those who are not rail thin or who are strongly muscled like Davis. And I would prefer a sleeve that didn’t cut off her upper arms the way this one does. What do you guys think?
NANCY: I’m cool with the sleeves, but now that you point out the bodice, I think you have a point: She looks a bit shoehorned in, bosom crushed to hold the smooth line. Aside from that, there’s a genius in the simplicity of the outfit—nothing extraneous, the only moving parts being her long locks and those delicate ankle ties.
KATHY: I think the dress is lovely, as is she. The cap sleeves and longer hemline are so feminine and demur. I’m not usually a fan of ankle straps and rarely find them the least bit attractive. However, these are the exception. The little tie straps are so delicate they seem to accentuate her slim ankles rather than make her feet look brutish as so many heavier ankle straps might. To me it looks like she’s ready to take tea with the Queen.
NANCY: There’s something winning about Davis’s demeanor here. It’s as if she’s sharing with us the joy of wearing such a happily outrageous embroidered and sequined skirt! (It’s “Ella,” $795 from Alice and Olivia.) Davis also shows herself to be a good editor: The A + O site shows the skirt with a red peekaboo lace blouse with long sleeves dripping with tons more lace, whereas Davis allows the skirt to shine with the easy “Kenia” top, also from A + O. True, the short sleeves are ruffled, but they’re delicate and anchor the skirt rather than taking it over the edge.
KATHY: Wow! She has a great smile. No more embellishment needed really. I can’t imagine this skirt with the red lace blouse Nancy describes. That sounds truly awful! Especially after seeing how Davis scores with her ruffled, black choice. She looks so sleek and shiny.
JANET: Women over 50 who feel bad about their upper arms, check out this fluttering sleeve. Ideal way to camouflage that area. Even though I really dislike florals, I like this mid-length, shimmery sequined skirt with its slimming black waistband. I complained about the stunting effect of the ankle-wrap sandals we saw on Holly Hunter, but the silver sandals Davis is wearing here are more foot-flattering. Also, Davis is taller. Did I mention I love this bob haircut?
JANET: Davis looks like any of us who want to be comfortable when subjected to the trials of travel. Not a lot of Hollywood glamour here. Except for those shiny platform shoes (they’re Stella McCartney’s “platform creepers“) and embellished sunglasses.
KATHY: I like those shoes! Not on me, but I admire most anyone who goes all out for dramatic footwear. The rest of her is so understated. And then, there are those shoes! Actually, I’m good with the entire ensemble. Can you look tailored and relaxed at the same time? She seems to.
NANCY: Those shoes will never be seen on my feet and, honestly, I think they might look like a desperate bid for youthfulness on a lot of women. (If you think you can pull it off, do it—the shoes certainly look comfortable.) The coat has a great slouch to it, though I think most of us can be improved by a crisper cut at the shoulder. Underneath the cozy outerwear seems to be a monochromatic length of purple, a simply cut top and nicely tailored trousers, cropped to show her shoes—hey, maybe in that big leather bag, she has another pair to change into!
NANCY: Another monochromatic look from Davis, with never a misstep. She is just crisp and well tailored. I’m not a fan of silver or gold shoes, but I suspect I’m in the minority (and I don’t know what color one would wear with all this orange—black? too Halloween, maybe). I also have a limited appreciation for loose locks, so I too love the short cut and the easy way Davis wears it.
KATHY: Yay! Orange. My only complaint about this outfit is the blouse. For a change I’d like to see more skin. Maybe a camisole, cut straight across the top, that would bare more of her beautiful skin. The suit is swell, but the blouse makes it look dowdy.
JANET: Head-to-toe orange is too strong for some, but Davis is smashing, brightening up the scene at this recent lunch celebrating the power of women.
JANET: After her red-carpet appearance in an Armani Privé red silk gown with halter neckline and off-the-shoulder sleeves, Davis parties in a flowing pantsuit and inches up her pant leg to show a little shoe and have some fun.
NANCY: Aren’t these the same Stella McCartney shoes we saw her wearing on the street? They really must be comfortable! Overall, I’m struck by how little Davis wears in the way of accessories. I read a quote from her saying she wanted to “celebrate [her] skin tone”; maybe a swath of color as backdrop is all she needs. This white trouser suit is pretty simple, though a bit boob-y (her “boob-age” being something else Davis said she’d like to celebrate) for most of us. And, without the high-octane Davis facial features, I think most of us would do well to accessorize, just a bit.
KATHY: Party on, Viola.