In Memoriam: Celebs Treating the Red Carpet Like a Regular Friday Night

In Memoriam: Celebs Treating the Red Carpet Like a Regular Friday Night

I'm happy the red carpet has evolved—but I miss the days when flare denim and going-out tops were good enough for an awards show or premiere.

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The 2023 awards season kicked off Tuesday with the 80th Golden Globes Awards and, as is the standard, celebrities walked the red carpet outfitted in thousands of dollars worth of sequins, silk, and poof. They shined. They sparkled. They looked like stars! They did not look comfortable or casual.

I love a good midnight blue Armani Privé gown covered in crystals as much as anyone, but when everyone’s wearing a special dress, then no one’s wearing a special dress. And that’s a bummer. My point is: Before social media, before the boom of the celebrity stylists and Lady Gaga’s insistence on wearing anything but fabric to award shows, red carpets were much more...~chill~.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, especially, red carpet style was less red hot and more “running an errand.” Celebs wore, just, pants, rather than one-of-a-kind Givenchy pants embroidered with rubies and 1,000-year-old silk. Just regular pants that they had from the Gap, or something. They’d pair it with a shirt, and that was that! Of course, there were still plenty of icon-making moments, but this is not a slideshow of the most iconic red carpet looks ever.

I appreciate and respect what the red carpet has become. I’m happy it’s evolved. I love gowns, I love designers, and I love hot people wearing hot things. But I also really love reminiscing about the days when a celeb could wear denim bell bottoms and a “going out” top and still be considered a star.

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Whitney Houston at the MTV Movie Awards in 1999

Whitney Houston at the MTV Movie Awards in 1999

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This screams, “I’m on my eighth world tour, but sure, I’ll try and stop by.”

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Reese Witherspoon at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2000

Reese Witherspoon at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2000

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This looks like something Vivian Kensington would have worn while she bullied Elle Woods. Comfy, though!

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Alyssa Milano at the 1994 MTV Movie Awards

Alyssa Milano at the 1994 MTV Movie Awards

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Insane to think that Alyssa Milano wore this laidback Hollister-looking beach girl getup to the same awards show where Lady Gaga wore a meat dress, and Lil’ Kim scandalized the world with a single nipple pastie. What a time to be alive.

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Mandy Moore at the People’s Choice Awards in 2001

Mandy Moore at the People’s Choice Awards in 2001

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This was a year before A Walk To Remember premiered, so Moore probably wanted to make sure all her walks leading up to it were very forgettable.

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Destiny’s Child at the Teen Choice Awards in 2001

Destiny’s Child at the Teen Choice Awards in 2001

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Thank god they all survived this moment and went on to better things.

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Sheryl Crow at the Grammys in 2001

Sheryl Crow at the Grammys in 2001

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This look really says, “It’s laundry day.” I don’t know what’s going on with the boots, and I don’t care to discuss.

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Drew Barrymore at the premiere of Guilty By Suspicion in 1991

Drew Barrymore at the premiere of Guilty By Suspicion in 1991

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All respect to ‘90s grunge. Would honestly love to see someone wear this on a 2022 red carpet. You’d be SO comfortable.

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Sharon Stone at the Oscars in 1998

Sharon Stone at the Oscars in 1998

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She’s literally wearing a shirt from the Gap.

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Rachel McAdams at the MTV Movie Awards in 2005

Rachel McAdams at the MTV Movie Awards in 2005

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This is the year Rachel McAdams won all the awards for The Notebook—including the one for Best Kiss, which she reenacted on stage with Ryan Gosling. (Which would have been more difficult if she had been wearing something less casual, like a dress!) Oddly enough, no matter how many pairs of weird denim flares I wore in high school, I could never get any Ryan Gosling lookalikes to kiss me like that, so good for her.

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Sarah Jessica Parker at the Golden Globes in 2003

Sarah Jessica Parker at the Golden Globes in 2003

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This may be an elevated casual, but it’s still casual nonetheless. Carrie Bradshaw would probably consider this the perfect outfit to run the pharmacy in. (I can’t stop staring at the brooch.)

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Eliza Dushku at the MTV Movie Awards in 1999

Eliza Dushku at the MTV Movie Awards in 1999

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Eliza Dushku really just wrapped a couple pieces of random fabric around herself, and everyone loved it.

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Norah Jones at the VH1 Big In 2002 Awards

Norah Jones at the VH1 Big In 2002 Awards

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In 2002, Norah Jones’s debut album won six Grammys and sold over 27 million copies worldwide. This is what she wore to win a bunch more awards at VH1's Big In 2002 Awards. A casual, humble queen.

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