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Karen Elson’s Dress at Glamour’s Woman of the Year Awards Was Certainly Not Frumpy, Says Karen Elson

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Glamour‘s Woman of the Year Awards went down last night and the stars came out in the best looks they could muster. As with any red carpet, there were hits and misses and the Internet was only too happy to weigh in.

Feminist web destination Jezebel does a “Good, Bad and Ugly” roundup for its red carpet coverage, showcasing all the looks and offering opinions on everyone’s outfits. It’s a pretty standard post formula, and the comments are usually funny, sometimes innocuous, sometimes shady, but always to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, it’s just clothes. But for Karen Elson, it’s a lot more than that. It’s a feminist issue.

Jezebel writer Julianne Escobedo Shepherd was clearly not feeling Elson’s getup last night, and wrote a critical review of her look: “Karen Elson’s McQueen gown is beautiful, but the drape is not working, and giving her a frumpiness that is impossible and shocking. Karen Elson and frumpy should not be in the same sentence, but here we are.”

It’s not a glowing review, but it’s also not terrible. After all, they said the dress was beautiful – it just wasn’t their favorite look for Karen. This seemingly harmless critique set the model off, and she promptly took to Instagram to respond to Jezebel’s assessment of her look.


A photo posted by Karen Elson (@misskarenelson) on

“Dear @Jezebel I thought my dress was beautiful last night,” she wrote. “Realize when you call me frumpy you are sending a negative message to the young girls who idolize your website. Last night was an evening to celebrate inspiring women not to judge their bodies and wardrobe choice. Apparently frumpy and now grumpy.”

Tell ’em why you’re mad, Karen! The model aired out some additional thoughts in the comments section. “It’s Jezebel the website…casual throw away remark about me looking frumpy but please… [sic] i’m sick of the shaming women have to endure, too fat, too old, too thin, ugly, frumpy, and so on. At 35 with 2 kids that I’m not a size 0 anymore, I’m a [sic] women. Venting…”

While Karen does have a point about the scrutiny women, especially women over 25, have to deal with in the media, we’re not sure if this is a case of shaming women’s clothing choices. As a model, Elson is well aware that a style that looks good on her might not work for someone else. In Jezebel’s opinion, the look didn’t work. That’s fashion. Sometimes things don’t look as good on as they do on the rack. 

At the end of the day, Karen Elson is a beautiful woman who can wear just about anything and it’s her right to be offended by anyone’s opinion, especially when they’re dissing her style choices. Still, we’re not sure if calling a look “frumpy” is sending some sort of antifeminist message. 

But at any rate, Karen is right. She is 35 with two kids and isn’t a size 0 anymore. And guess what? She looks fabulous.

[h/t @misskarenelson]