February 26th, 2012
05:22 PM ET
Oscar Sunday is here, and both the stars and the folks who cover them are busy getting ready for the swanky ceremony.
I’ve covered eight years of red carpets now, noting countless fashion hits and misses in the process, but this year I'm joining the well-dressed fray thanks to a ticket to attend the Academy Awards and the Governor’s Ball.
I felt like Charlie with the golden ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but there was a problem: The wrinkle for me lay in the dress.
Not only am I layperson without a celebrity stylist to outfit me in the latest red carpet wear, but I also happen to be a self-professed hoodie-wearing sneaker pimp. Anytime someone sees me in a dress, there’s an audible gasp and questions like, “who passed?,” or, “are you on a job interview?” come up.
So I did what many people do when presented with a distasteful task: I procrastinated.
Fast forward to Friday night, just two days before the ceremony, and I still hadn't found an outfit. I said as much when out with a particular group of guys - one that included musicians, screenwriters, producers and filmmakers - who asked if I was ready for Sunday.
“I still don’t have a dress, I should be shopping right now,” I replied, adding, “I just really hate dresses and can’t bring myself to shop for one.”
My friend Robin looked at me and picked up the phone. Little did I know, he was calling in a professional. I clearly needed an intervention.
Enter Mikel Padilla, a wardrobe stylist who popped over that night to see what he had been tasked with. To be clear, I am not a “sample size" (which means I'm bigger than a size 6).
Mikel envisioned me in navy blue - “much better than black” he assured me - and then asked my shoe size. I discovered then that at least one part of my body is the same size as many models: We all apparently have size 10 feet. I feel so much better.
We agree to rendezvous Saturday morning at Nordstroms in the dress section, and before I'm supposed to meet him, I can feel the hives starting.
Mikel banishes me to the dressing room where there are already dresses waiting. Navy blue items, mauve empire waist gowns and electric blue bandage dresses. I start the process, happy to be sequestered away in the dressing rooms and not subject to roaming the floor in a daze. Dresses are discarded, especially the bandage dress which makes me feel like a stuffed sausage.
There is one dress though that I immediately feel at home in, a navy blue A-line cocktail dress. It hugs in all the right places, and Mikel agrees.
Meanwhile, I can’t believe he’s managed to find a dress and a wrap in less than 30 minutes! After finding shoes, Mikel Padilla accomplishes in one hour and 15 minutes what I could not do in two weeks.
The lesson? Celebs have stylists for a reason - and sometimes it takes a posse of strong men to dress a reluctant woman. (And yes, I paid the stylist myself.)
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