Why Pants Under Dresses Is a Good Thing

How Hermione Granger reminded me that fashion is magic

When Emma Watson appeared on the Golden Globes red carpet last week wearing pants under a formal apron (there’s an oxymoron for you), I suspected it would cause a frenzy. And if you believe in Twitter as a social barometer, it did.

What I didn’t expect was the snowballing appreciation of her pantsdress that developed afterward: a supportive trend feature on Style.com, praise from E! to Vanity Fair, and even a how-to on FabSugar. Yet I wondered to what degree the acceptance of her outre turn was helped by her movie star bone structure and professional hair and makeup. Or were those outside the fashion industry swayed because her outfit appeared de rigueur from the front, those inside compelled by the pantsdress ensembles they remembered from spring Fashion Week? Maybe I’d just traveled back to 2003.

And then I realized that I was giving it too much thought. The look was a slam dunk because she wore it like one. And that’s the point: Do not fear the fashion misstep.

It’s fine to play it safe. You can look perfect and polished, and everyone will nod approval and then nod off to sleep. But wear an outfit that has the potential to raise eyebrows, and the world is a more interesting place for all of us — especially those of us who forgot to buckle our plaid overalls this morning.

Trends act as a gateway, but the decidedly untrendy, offbeat pieces and the risks taken to wear them remind us that fashion is fantasy — and that every so often we should drop the serious act, you know, have a little more fun.

And not be afraid to raise a commotion.

Photo: George Pimentel / Getty Images