US Weekly, E! News and their cousins in the world of celebrity gossip and fashion often contain a segment called “Who wore it better?” where pictures celebrities and socialites in the same dresses are side by side and voted upon. I wonder where this question originated.
When Pia Toscano was voted off American Idol, a prevalent theory was same gender-envy: that women wouldn’t want a beautiful, talented woman to win. At first glance, who wore it better seems to fit conveniently within this theory. Women fear showing up somewhere wearing the same thing as someone else; however, the women in the pictures, because they’re famous, can be wearing an outfit to a different event in a different city in a different month and still be compared. They can even be compared to the invincible Victoria’s Secret Model.
I, however, have trouble buying into the envy theory. If that were true than Carrie Underwood, who won American Idol, wouldn’t have legions of loyal female fans. If a gender were to blame for this fashion competition, I’d choose men. While my husband has no interest in reading about the latest man to leave the Bachelorette, or the next girl to date George Clooney, he is more than happy to focus on the ‘who wore it best’ page where readers are asked to stare at Kim Kardashian and Erin Andrews in the same short, tight dress and pick a favorite.
Some outlets try to make answering this question more scientific. In the segment titled "Bitch Stole My Look” on Joan River’s Fashion Police, panelists comment with great care: shoes’ ankle straps height, lack of Spanx, poor choice in jewelry, wrong opacity of tights or length of leggings are all culprits of why someone did not wear it as well as someone else.
Now, I’m not trying to say that “who wore it better” shouldn’t be discussed or printed, nor am I pretending that I flip past it. I just think it’s interesting to think where this may have come about. Two famous women are in the same dress five times over and then we ask ‘who wore it better’? Not who had better shoes. Not who’s more likeable. Not who do we think came by their fame rightly. But, Who wore it better?
I think it's time to grab a latte and this week's US Weekly.