Ironically, there is something very fresh about a Hollywood actress who has lines on her face. This is just one of the things I love about actress Naomi Watts. At 48, she looks incredible – but she looks real. There’s no “pinch perfect” nose, no boiled egg forehead or trout pout lips (what a shame Nicole Kidman succumbed to the pressure). Instead, there’s a modern haircut, beautifully applied, age-appropriate make-up and a warm smile that speaks of contentment and self-acceptance. I want to be Watts when I grow up.
And then there’s her style… her fashion choices both on and off the red carpet excite me. Recently, I’ve been mulling over whether or not I can wear denim dungarees now that I’m in my forties. Watts has convinced me that I can (see below). She transforms something that could look a little trailer trash into an urban chic outfit. Watts knows that a black blazer becomes your sartorial saviour as you get older – it puts manners on any number of utilitarian pieces – while the timeless tan leather flatforms suggest a woman who has no interest in sacrificing comfort and practicality for frivolous fashion choices. Form and function matter, and this is the sign of a truly chic woman – Watts makes great style look effortless and eternally comfortable.
She’s as at ease on the red carpet in ruffles as she is in a slinky slip dress. The metallic show-stopper she’s wearing below works on Watts because, firstly, she has the right build for it. She has a petite frame, small boobs and narrow hips, so the dress lightly skims her body, never clinging or smothering (imagine how different a Kardashian would look in this dress?). Secondly, the remainder of her look is understated. Her hair is styled in a classic Hollywood wave swept over to one side, its timeless appeal balancing the modernity of the metallic slip dress. A cocktail ring and statement earring are the only adornments, and the mother of two’s lips are just an enhanced version of her own natural lip colour. A red lip would look much too brash with such a slinky statement dress. Watts knows that a soft pink is a far more subtle option.
When she wears a revealing dress on the red carpet, she does it with class and style, and similarly, Watts understands how to pull off “granny chic” with exactly the right amount of irony. She pairs the floral-print dress below with a retro block-heel shoe, but in a modern shade of blush pink for a more contemporary feel. Sweeping her hair back also helps to keep the look fresh, modern and unfussy. Watts never lets an outfit wear her. She always looks utterly comfortable with, and in control of, her own style.
The blue sequin drape dress, below, is one of my favourite of Watts’ outfits. For me, she shines most brightly at those events that require something in between formal and casual. These are always tricky to navigate. Is full-length too grand? Are florals too girlish? Is fitted too try-hard… the pitfalls are many. Watts has opted here for a very flattering ankle-grazing, 1920s-style dress. The midnight blue shade has more personality than predictable black, and the firework-style embellishment in that gorgeous coppery colour, mirrored by her ankle-strap shoes, is softer and fresher than typical gold or silver. Again, she gets the balance of silhouette, hairstyle and make-up just right. She opts this time for a more powerful red lip, but contrasts it with a messy “undone” hairstyle to prevent the whole look from appearing too considered or overworked.
In a nod to Naomi Watts then, I’ll be buying a pair of denim overalls soon. If only I could find a replica of this midnight blue dress…