OH MY, MERYL. Is there any role you can’t play? A Nazi concentration camp survivor, an imperious fashion editor, an opera singer with a terrible voice. Most recently, the actor crushes the part of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, who risks her family business to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Streep’s wardrobe tends to be as varied as her roles. We discuss the good and not so good choices and what’s to be learned.
JANET: I admire Streep for what I’m guessing is an attempt to go beyond her comfort zone in this Prada feathered coat and pants. But the feathers grab all the attention, unflatteringly. On the runway, the coat was shown with a belt, which controlled the fussiness. Showing a little more leg would make the look less bottom-heavy. I would sub the pants for dress or skirt. Love the sequin clutch (also from Prada).
KATHY: I’m a bit baffled really by where her comfort zone actually falls, having seen photos of Streep in so many truly odd and, in some cases, ill-fitting outfits. There’s no denying her pure, unconventional beauty, so why, I suppose, shouldn’t her wardrobe be unconventional as well? However, this ensemble makes me think Ms. Prada had a few leftover feathers and decided to tack them onto a random coat rather than let them go to waste.
NANCY: I’m afraid I was rather unkind toward this outfit when I first saw it, telling the other LittleBirds there had been a tragic accident when a wrinkled raincoat collided with an ostrich. While so many Hollywood actresses seem to concentrate on showing as much skin as possible, Streep lives in Manhattan, among all those fashionistas. I give her credit for being (in addition to incredibly talented) more daring than most in her fashion choices, though she truly is all over the lot—cropped harem pants sticking out from under a circus tent of a dress one day, short-sleeved coat with blouse sleeves sticking out on another, an oversize geometric Issey Miyake coat that wears her instead of the other way around. Makes me hold my breath worrying what she’ll wear next.
NANCY: I’m sure Streep doesn’t want to dress like this all the time but . . . why the heck not? She is the embodiment of glamour and sophistication. And the juxtaposition of dark and light showcases the long expanse of her biggest assets, that translucent skin and glorious chest.
KATHY: I love, love, love this look! So sophisticated in its simplicity. And sexy in a slinky, understated way. It’s businesslike, yet elegant and very feminine. It’s a style that would suit almost any figure. There’s not a line nor a hair out of place.
JANET: Streep nails old-fashioned glam in a tuxedo jacket and long skirt by Lanvin. The V-neck blouse shows off her famous glowing skin. Big earrings provide the bling. And I get that’s the reason she’s wearing her hair up, and I know it’s a formal occasion, but I would prefer her hair in a less severe do. Some loose wisps of hair, maybe.
NANCY: Easy does it: That’s what I imagine Streep was thinking when she went for this MaxMara ensemble. It’s a better iteration of her blouse habit (see below), and the shimmer of the satin gives it some presence, but on the whole . . . actually, it looks like an outfit that might work for a lot of us. It combines a hint of dressiness but would let us fall back on the idea that it’s just a shirt and pants, right? As for the Marni earrings? Pass.
JANET: A billowy blouse and trim pants in teal look elegantly relaxed and comfortable, an outfit you can rely on not to have a wardrobe malfunction. The earrings are fun and quirky but clunky, and they are not nearly dressy enough for the occasion. The pink clutch is cute but why not choose a black sequin bag or a silver or gold one that would complement what she’s wearing.
KATHY: Funny earrings. I want to like this blouse, but it just isn’t happening. For one thing, there’s that odd bit of material attached at the neckline. Then there’s the neckline itself. Seems a bit too uptight. Too prim. Too meh. The color is lovely, but it strikes me as an odd choice to wear to a movie premiere in Rome. No glam factor at all.
JANET: Streep hits it out of the park here in a dress with black bodice and black-and-white pleated skirt from Valentino. Although mismatched clothing is a trend, I gotta say I like it when pieces are coordinated—shoes, the clutch, even the earrings (although I’m not crazy about hoops with this dress). Harmony is underrated.
KATHY: Totally, completely, absolutely agree with Janet. I especially like the high waistline here. Seems like that could camouflage a multitude of sins. Not that Meryl has any.
NANCY: I’m the odd man out here. I think it’s too matchy-matchy (I mean, high-concept shoes too?), and I don’t think the line is flattering at all. It just seems bottom-heavy. Oh well, agree to disagree.
KATHY: No excitement here. I’m all for simplicity, but this royal blue number may have gone too far. Plus it appears to be too long and I fear she may trip.
NANCY: Kathy, I always watch the awards shows, heart in mouth, waiting for someone to trip! Streep does have a gorgeous décolletage, which this gown emphasizes, but I don’t think plain shiny fabric is a friend to most women. Even Streep looks a little lumpy.
JANET: Streep likes to be covered up except for showing off her beautiful neckline. This Lanvin does the job.
JANET: The pattern on Streep’s blouse on this Hollywood Reporter cover makes me dizzy, but the style is one she favors with that little bit of a feminine bow of a collar, which playfully hides that pretty porcelain skin. I don’t understand why her blouse appears to be half in and half out. Anyone?
NANCY: Streep certainly likes extra little bits of business, whether it’s ostrich fluff (see the Prada above) or shirts with fabric cascading down the front (the teal MaxMara, also above) or blouses with pussy-cat bows at the neck. The problem with the bows, and those untethered necklines, is that they’re both hard to control, the bow sometimes unreeling in one direction, pulling the neckline out of position. But it’s a look Streep returns to time and again. Maybe most people stare only at that glorious face of hers, but I still think garments with fewer bits to choreograph make it easier to get through the day (or the photoshoot).
In addition, this blouse-over-pants thing doesn’t really seem casual but almost suburban. (No, I don’t know what I mean by that, exactly.) I’d love to know the intention behind it, especially in this recent videoed interview with the editor of Vogue, Anna Wintour, possibly the least casual person on the planet. True, la Streep can wear whatever la Streep wants to wear. But I don’t think I would look regal if I copied her, just dumpy and even old-fashioned in a John Molloy 1977 Dress for Success kind of way.