Her Snooki-esque poofed hair and simple black dress lacked sophistication at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on Jan. 7. Her updo and crystal embellished gown screamed "too matronly" at the National Board of Review Awards gala on Jan. 10. But fashion critics said she hit her stride at the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 15 with a red Valentino dress and gently tousled hair. It was just right.
To keep things moving in the right direction for the Academy Awards this Sunday, some local fashion experts suggested Keibler find a hairstyle that meshes well with a colorful gown. It makes sense. Keibler excelled when she wore her red Valentino gown; the color was regal and eye-catching. The fit showed off her body, which is her definite strength. Her slightly messy updo was elegant and contemporary. It was the perfect match.
But Keibler, who was born and raised in Baltimore, is in the unenviable position of trying to strike the proper balance of being arm candy without outshining her date, George Clooney.
"I think she's done a really good job of complimenting Clooney's red-carpet star power without outshining it," said Zoey Washington, head of LITTLEbird Style, a company geared toward teens. "She should continue her old Hollywood glamour streak and wear something classic, old and simple. It should always be form-fitting. I think that's what she does best."
Washington predicts that Keibler will wear a pink, nude or red dress at the Oscars.
"I think it is something that won't be a bold, bright color," she said. "I don't think she'll want to stand out more than Clooney."
She also recommends that Keibler wear an updo with relaxed finger waves that are reminiscent of the old Hollywood. A loosely pinned look could also work. "I think that she ends up doing something a bit more sculpted and sophisticated than her past looks," Washington said. "The Oscars is the big leagues."
Rebecca "Byrd" Lowry, a hairstylist at Trenditions in Parkville, thinks Keibler should wear a royal blue or sapphire gown.
"It should be form-fitting at the top and flow-y at the bottom," she said. "A one-shoulder or off-the-shoulder dress would be lovely. I would like her in something a little more demure."
Keibler should opt for bold earrings and an elegant ring, according to Lowry, who thinks Keibler's hair should be pulled back on the sides to reveal a clean, fresh face. Her eye makeup should be bold and clean.
"Avoid the smoky eye," Lowry said. "It should be about the dress."
Felicia Peele, head of Fashionably Young, a nonprofit fashion consultant company in Baltimore, thinks that Keibler would shine in a gold gown. The softer color, she said, would accentuate Keibler's femininity.
"To me, she looks a little hard in some of the gowns," Peele explained. "Because of her skin tone, she needs lighter colors to soften her face. She already has a sports body. Her body is great. She needs something that will soften her up."
As for the designer, Peele thinks that Keibler should choose Carolina Herrera, Marchesa or Versace. "Those gowns will fit her very well," she said.
Peele thinks Keibler's hair is most in need of attention.
"She needs a new hairstylist," said Peele. "Her hair always looks like she's in need of a serious deep-moisture treatment."
And the dress Keibler wore to the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards?
Washington gushed: "Stacy Keibler continues her red-carpet streak, marveling in black lace Marchesa at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I think it was her best look. I think she's good at nailing the 'more than arm candy look' and the 'I'm a star in my own right' look. I think it showed that she has both style and substance."
Peele also liked the look.
"The Marchesa gown does her body well," Peele said. "She should stick with this designer. I would have loved a splash of color to offset the black. But overall, she looked elegant."
Overall, the local experts say, Keibler has done fairly well with her wardrobe selections this awards season.
"She hasn't done a bad job," Peele said. "She can just do better. She needs color, but softer colors. If she threw in a pop of color to break up the hardness, she would do very well. She's a very pretty woman."
And she's on the arm of an attractive A-list movie star. "Keibler has won us over as Best Supporting Girlfriend of a Hollywood Icon," Washington said.
Hairstylist Lowry is proud of hometown girl Keibler's efforts.
"The fact that she's a small-town girl on the red carpet … is awesome," Lowry said. "If she can hold her own with George Clooney, she's doing pretty good."