Just as its name suggets, the Film Independent Spirit Awards—an annual precursor to the Academy Awards which doles out trophies for artier, smaller-budget films—is also a night when Hollywood’s starlets feel free to do their own thing on the red carpet. In terms of fashion, it’s like the Oscars’ cool younger sister (the Skipper to Oscars' Barbie, if you will). Set in a tent on Santa Monica beach, the chill atmosphere usually makes for more interesting semi-casual attire, a departure from the ball gown parade. From rompers to cocktail dresses, here are our favorite looks.
SHAILENE WOODLEY IN LYN DEVON
Shailene Woodley at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.Photo: Getty Images
Shailene Woodley is case in point of the stark contrast between the Oscars and Indie Spirit Awards, where stars wear real clothes—or, at least, clothes most people have a better chance of wearing IRL. The Spectacular Now nominee serves as a tutorial on how to wear a crop top on the red carpet, keeping the trend strong. Her Lyn Devon outfit perfectly balanced out her bare midriff with a tasteful maxi skirt, and majorly complemented her new pixie cut. Best of all: Shailene didn’t look too precious or fussy.
LUPITA NYONG'O IN STELLA MCCARTNEY
Lupita Nyong'o at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.Photo: Getty Images
Lupita Nyong'o can do no wrong. Seriously, the budding actress has worn every color under the sun and looks flawless every time. Even when she’s in a neutral, she slays. Just look at her expertly fitted silk crocodile-printed Stella McCartney romper, which she paired with grey suede Casadei heels, a Devi Kroell clutch, and Neil Lane jewels. The champagne tone was a fitting choice seeing as she took home the Best Supporting Female award for her role in 12 Years a Slave. Cheers to that.
ZOE KRAVITZ IN BALENCIAGA
Zoe Kravitz at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.Photo: Getty Images
This sleeveless skort romper should come with a warning sticker: Do not try unless you are Zoe Kravitz. Let’s be real, this is a lot of look. We loved seeing it walk down the runway at Alexander Wang’s second show for Balenciaga, but whether or not anyone other than a model could pull it off was questionable at best. Zoe, however—not a model but still a great beauty with rock star genes and a budding career of her own in music—worked it.
KRISTEN BELL IN REEM ACRA
Kristen Bell at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.Photo: Getty Images
Kristen Bell was one of the few stars that slipped into a more traditional version of formal wear in a sapphire blue Reem Acra cocktail dress. Judging by the impeccable fit, the lace and sequined-trimmed could have been custom molded to her body. Bell was wise not to over accessorize—she kept things simple and played down the dressiness of her outfit with beach waves and open-toe Louboutins.
REESE WITHERSPOON IN GIAMBATTISTA VALLI
Reese Witherspoon at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.Photo: Getty Images
Reese Witherspoon has been killing the red carpet throughout much of her career, but she dialed up the volume for Indie Spirit with a loud, awe-inspiring Giambattista Valli top and skirt. Most stars don’t touch prints, but Reese championed the tricky choice with not one but three separate patterns and floral embellishments. The look worked because the Mud co-star—whose film won the Robert Altman Award—kept her accessories subtle and monotone with a black Christian Dior clutch and matching Christian Louboutin peeptoe heels.