On Monday, the worlds of fashion and film will collide as we see the biggest global runway in the world happen in Los Angeles. Hellooooo Oscars!
Yes, aside from a bumper year of some seriously extraordinary films, the other thing that will be just as scrutinised will be the red carpet fashion.

While that horrendous question ‘what are you wearing?’ – has (fortunately) lost its momentum & reverence over the last few years – let’s face it, it is still something that many, many people want to know.

I’ve been thinking a lot, particularly in light of every sexual atrocity and assault we’re hearing about everyday in the entertainment biz, and all the pro-female movements happening all over the world – thanks to #metoo and #timesup.

So, is ‘commenting’ on what public people and figures wear to a high profile awards night a goer anymore? Is it objectifying women or is it just all of us professing our own armchair opinion about a turntable of pop culture – fashion.

You know what, I think it is exactly that.
While that opinion may not go down well in all quarters, one of the great things about observing celebrities and stars and the dresses they wear and the make up they have on and their hair-dos and the jewellery they don often takes us away from what is normally a mundane Monday.
It takes us to fantasyland. It takes us into a world that most of us will never experience. It will be our water cooler conversation on Monday and probably well onto the next day.

Just wait until the Oscars and the first thing SO many onlookers, viewers and readers will look at and want to look at are the frocks – the grand gowns that none of us will ever be able to afford, but at least we know we can look at them and have an opinion about them.

But ‘having an opinion’ is where the line often gets blurred. Saying whether you ‘like’ the shape or color of a dress is not being judgemental. It is just being truthful. It’s not being judgey-judgey nor is it ‘bullying’.

We really need to look at fashion commentary just like we do at any other kind of pop culture commentary. Whether sport, the theatre, seeing a band or watching a movie – they either played well or they didn’t or we either liked a performance or we didn’t. And we all have a right to say it.
Because someone might say they don’t like a particular dress, that opinion is not a reflection, at all, on the person who is WEARING the dress. It is purely a personal opinion about a particular fashion aesthetic.

Of course there are going to be best and worst dressed lists. They happen at every awards night whether here or globally. While the words ‘best’ and ‘worst’ can be polarising, the reality is people turn to those stories because of their use in headlines.

As someone who, for many years, is called on to comment about red carpet fashion, I have wrestled with the words ‘worst’ or ‘bad’ and have to admit I feel a little uncomfortable using them myself. Sure, I have an opinion. I love having an opinion. And it is one that is supported by years of observing and writing about fashion and popular culture.

You have an opinion too. And not always will all of our opinions see eye to eye. But I really don’t think we should start getting so politically correct that we can’t express a feeling or opinion about a dress for goodness sake. Being downright bitchy, rude, a bully and personally attacking someone is totally not on. Comedian Joan Rivers was about the only person who could get away with it and even then there were times when her fans would cringe, but she delivered her comments in a way that only she could.

When we go into a shop we go through the racks and say yes, no, yes, no. Don’t like that. Yes, I do like that.
So when that huge slew of celebrities wander down the huge ruby rug on Monday, of course there are going to be divisive opinions. But that is what life is about. Expressing yourself – just as all of those on the red carpet at the Oscars will be doing. And if we want to be armchair critics, we can. We just need to draw the line at any kind of personal attack.

The one thing that good and informed commentary is about is being able to do it with a sense of knowledge and just remember to park the bitchy caravan a long way away.

By Melissa Hoyer