It's been a good two months since I last complained about the curious misconception the majority of women - most notably brides and sorority girls - are under that strapless is an equal-opportunity, universally flattering neckline.
For the sake of time and to avoid the sheer frustration of having to explain (again) why back fat and bean-bag upper arms aren't exactly assets to which you want to draw attention at a formal gathering, I won't take you through my analysis of why only a very small percentage of women can rock sweetheart-strapless and an even smaller percentage of that percentage can rock straight-edge-strapless.
No, instead I'll just gaze upon the strawberry satin strapless tea-length Peter Soronen dress with eye-catching asymmetric structured bustline, hue-matching cinch and pencil skirt bottom Hilary Swank wore last night to the L.A. premiere of her new thriller, The Reaping. Very similar in silhouette to Reese Witherspoon's lemon Nina Ricci frock at this year's Golden Globes, Hilary's dress fits just so in all the difficult regions, which is a feat not easily achieved when dealing with satin, especially in a lighter color.
Note how in the widest part of her tiny frame - her hips - there is neither bunching from a too-tight fit, nor unnecessary hanging from a too-loose one. The bunching you think you're seeing, as far as I can tell, is just that pesky and unavoidable wrinkle-age from the limo ride. At the neckline, the cut and thickness of the structured fabric allows the double Oscar winner's generous chest to look considerably smaller than the perfect C-cup we know is hiding under there.
When you're a lady like Hilary, you recognize that at a still-light-out event, it's much more appropriate to showcase the shoulders and back, not the ladies, ample as they may be.
As for the rest of her ensemble, I must say I'm a bit disappointed. I think her makeup is too washed out for her pale complexion; I think her hair looks sheen-depleted and the style poorly executed with errant fly-aways and not-sure-if-they're-meant-to-be-pulled-back-or-poofed-up bangs; I think her Manolo Blahnik patent leather buckled sandals ($585 at bergdorfgoodman.com) are too avant garde and too distracting for the simple, feminine cut of the dress; I think the Chopard necklace is okay but doesn't serve any real complementing purpose. It's just there - the hallmark of an unnecessary accessory.
And the belt. Not a fan of that, either. Her extremely formal, estate-sale-looking jewelry acts in contradiction to the modern casual nuance of the waist-cinch. It's confusing to the eye, and I'd have gotten rid of both. For shoes, I would have either gone a bit bronzer or stayed in the nude palette but since the dress is so simple, selected something with fewer, thinner straps and unique adornments or cut-outs like these other Manolos.
Aside from the dress itself, Hilary's sizable diamond studs and red and white mod minaudière are pretty much the only other components I'd give a positive nod.
Well, those and the unabashed admiration she shows herself in the first picture.
Money doesn't buy that kind of self-love. I should know.