The Wildest and Worst Golden Globes Dresses

We love a big swing, but...

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The Golden Globes red carpet is often a fun sartorial space, with big gowns and huge trains as common as avant-garde pieces. We love the hits and misses in equal measure—the best Golden Globes gowns are, of course, a joy to fawn over, but the misses are often more interesting: we can see the effort that went in, the trends that went wrong, or the tweaks that could have been.

Some of the guests on this list freely admitted after the fact that they misread the dress code; others knew their Golden Globes red carpet outfit was all wrong for the occasion, but went for it anyway, knowing that their outfits would go down in history. Either way, their magnificent swings will remain iconic.

Rooney Mara

golden globes Rooney Mara

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It is perhaps unfair to single out one "nude" (i.e., beige) dress, since it was a popular trend and there are many to choose from. But Rooney Mara's gets special consideration because it's beige, semi-sheer in places, has random cutouts, and then ends in haphazard lace chunks.

Janelle Monae

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Lots of what Janelle Monae wears can be classified as "wild," so my quibble with this one is that it's not actually wacky enough for my taste. The gold hat is always a treat, of course, but to my eye it just looks like she's wearing two dresses on top of each other.

Portia De Rossi

golden globes Portia de Rossi

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In the '90s, the princess dress had never been more popular. (We also really liked tulle, in case it wasn't obvious.) I think if this dress on Portia De Rossi had either been all pink or all blue, I would have liked it better, but the pop of pink makes it look like she's Sleeping Beauty's dress mid-transformation.

Sienna Miller

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There's piece-y in a fun way, and then there's piece-y in a...haphazard way. I just want something in this dress to match with something else so my eye is confused, and that black cord up top feels like it was a last-minute choice. Love you always, though, Sienna.

Jennifer Lopez

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Jennifer Lopez can make just about anything work. I'm torn here, because without the roses the pink dress might feel too plain, but with them it feels like too much. Maybe if it was a sleeve of roses instead of an off-the-shoulder wrap?

Fran Drescher

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Fran Drescher's choice to put a bouquet of flowers on her head was divisive at the time and remains so to this day. When she wore it, she drew comparison to the Chiquita Banana logo, but we also appreciate that literally no one can take their eyes off her.

Zoe Saldaña

golden globes Zoe Saldaña

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I actually really love this dress on Zoe Saldaña until we get to about hip level. Then it sorta turns into another dress that might want to be sheer? Or striped. Or beaded! Or all three, it's hard to tell. I say cut off the bottom half and make the whole thing a mini.

Julia Roberts

golden globes Julia roberts

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Much has been discussed about the dress over pants trend that comes in and out of fashion (and was explored, often hilariously, in the '00s). But this shirt, pants, and half-dress/half-train situation is its lesser known but still confused sibling.

Sarah Jessica Parker

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With some tweaks, I would have absolutely loved this dress. I think I might have removed the bubble "tier" at waist level and then given the tie-dye pattern a little more uniformity. Fewer white splotches, more artful blue patches. (Regardless: a very cool idea.)

Halle Berry

golden globes Halle Berry

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As with other dresses on this list, this just might be trying to accomplish too many things at once. There are so many ideas at play: patterns. Different patterns! Overlay. Words! A thigh high slit. Cutouts? Corset-esque top. And one shoulder to boot!

Emma Stone

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I'm cheating here a little bit, because it doesn't look like Emma Stone walked the red carpet in this top and skirt. But it is still a Golden Globes dress, and therefore I justify its inclusion. The two pieces are going to different parties—the top to a fun dinner, the bottom to a work event.


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This all-white number on our queen Oprah looks fairly unimpeachable in an '80s way. But I will direct your attention to the sparkly faux animal heads (fox? mink?) on the stole around her shoulder. I can't make heads or tails of it. Pun intended, sorry.

Paula Abdul

golden globes Paula Abdul

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This looks like it might have been hard for Paula Abdul to breathe here. The fact that she matches the background (which is not her fault) is not helping my brain parse what's happening here, but I do know she looks like she's about to do ice skating.

Renee Zellweger

golden globes Renee Zellweger

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Sheers! They have their time and place, certainly. But I'm not sure that place is just someone's entire top. I think it's supposed to be a trick of the eye? But also we know there's an underlayer there? And the bare shoulders don't make sense to me.

Juliette Lewis

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Just having a glittery headpiece for funsies feels quite youthful, and this makes sense since Juliette Lewis wasn't even 20 here. But I would have really leaned in with jewelry, sparkly shoes, a sparkly dress—like, really go for it, you know?

Gwyneth Paltrow

golden globes Gwyneth Paltrow

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Gwyneth Paltrow has been giving us enviable fashion for decades, so it makes sense they're not all going to be hits. This just feels a little casual for the event (she looks like she's going to dinner with the girls, am I right?) and the necklace feels...random!

Sarah Jessica Parker

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Style icon SJP will occasionally break out an outfit that makes you say, "Huh?" Such is the case with this black number. I'm with you, sort of, until we get to the broach at the hip and random sheer ribbon clustered on her right side. Just remove it, I think?

Sharon Stone

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Wacky is an important, successful part of Sharon Stone's style. But this might skew a bit wacky-messy, what with the verrrrry high slit, silk top knotted at the front (and obscuring the dress), and the button detailing at the side. Maybe take off the shirt?

Whoopi Goldberg

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I love Whoopi Goldberg, and part of that love is an appreciation of how she dresses in a way that suits her regardless of the event. I will admit, though, that yellow leggings and leg warmers are just a touch informal for the Globes—especially when you win.

Lara Flynn Boyle

golden globes Lara Flynn Boyle

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There's ballet-core, and then there's just dressing like a ballerina. You might not believe me, but I think with some tweaks this could totally work. The tulle needs to be longer (like Carrie's memorable dress in Sex and the City) and the shoes need to be another color. I think.

Melanie Griffith

golden globes Melanie Griffith

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This dress actually makes it to best of AND worst of Golden Globe dress lists, meaning that at least it's a conversation-starter (and thus probably a successful piece). I love rainbows, and I love the idea here, but the limp, drooping pattern might be the challenge, for me.

Goldie Hawn

golden globes Goldie hawn

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Oh, Goldie! We love you! I feel like this might have a Western vibe to it, what with the lace-up and button and snap details, but if it had about 20 percent less busy-ness (and maybe if it were tied shut a bit more?) I think it would feel more cohesive.

Geena Davis

golden globes Geena Davis

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A black sheer lace bodysuit wouldn't necessarily look out of place today (with the right coverage, obviously—the Globes isn't really the place for full-sheer), but the blue fabric on top feels like she saw herself, freaked out, and wrapped herself in a tablecloth.

Kathy Bates

golden globes Kathy Bates

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Kate Bates! You national treasure! I'm sorry to say it, but you're dressed as the '80s here. (Technically this is from 1991, and she would win for Misery.) You could make the argument that the gold detailing matches the statue she won, but I would argue back that maybe the tasseled jacket was a bridge too far.

Helen Mirren

golden globes Helen Mirren

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Leaving aside the very lol-worthy posing (i.e., taking a bite out of her Golden Globe), Helen Mirren has a lot happening here. The skirt suit itself is perfectly inoffensive, but the knee-high boots run a bit casual, and then the black hat headpiece thing is a mystery.

Cameron Diaz

golden globes Cameron Diaz

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When you're wearing an item of clothing that's meant to look like it's falling off you, you have to check to make sure it's held in place somewhere. This looks like Cameron Diaz is in the middle of a silent panic attack and trying to unobtrusively hoist her dress back up onto her shoulders.

Calista Flockhart

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Calista isn't the only one to fall victim to this particular style, so let's just say we were all dressing like this at formal events in the '90s (can't forget the matching shoes!). The random tendrils of fabric and even randomer sparkles are not my fave.

Diane Kruger

golden globes Diane Kruger

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Even Diane Kruger admitted later that this gown (or is it shorts??) was wrong for the occasion, since everyone else was in floor-length dresses. She laughed over the fact that everyone could see her bellybutton—and frankly, I love that she can have a sense of humor about it.

Helena Bonham Carter

golden globes Helena bonham Carter

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Wild and over-the-top styles are Helena Bonham Carter's bread and butter, so we shouldn't be too surprised to see her in this. But the random boomerang-looking fabric at the top of the gown, plus the intermittent tulle, plus the non-matching shoes—it's a lot.

Nicole Kidman

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Oh heavens. Dressing as a flapper? Fine, sure! Dressing as a flapper with sort of nude paneling and a sparkle pattern that I can only describe as "baffling"? If anyone could pull it off, it's Nicole Kidman, so I'm sad to say that no one can pull this off.


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Cher has never met a dress code she couldn't laugh at, and such is the case with this blazer and skirt outfit. I actually wouldn't even bat an eye at this, except for the random cutout at the skirt, which feels like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.

Courtney Love

golden globes Courtney love

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And here we have...high fashion trash bags! Courtney Love later admitted that even she thought the dress was "crazy-looking," but it did match with her grunge-chic aesthetic at the time. She also admits she made some alterations to the dress, and had to glue herself into it.

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.