Fashion Whip: What to Wear To The White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Fashion Whip is a political style column in the Huffington Post by Lauren A. Rothman, inspired by Lauren’s experience as the founder of, a style and fashion consulting firm.

WASHINGTON — Saturday night brings us the annual star-studded White House Correspondents’ Dinner at the legendary Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. This year, Washington’s best red carpet event is getting even better: the red carpet, filled with politicos, media mavens, journalists and Hollywood celebs, is getting the glamorous fashion coverage it deserves by none other than E! Entertainment. The channel plans to live stream fashion and style coverage straight from the event.

So those of us without tickets will be watching E! from the comfort of our couches. But if you did score an invite, what should you wear?

Several popular fashion trends from last year are likely to make a comeback this weekend. The District’s cool springtime temperatures should encourage a few long-sleeved looks — follow in the footsteps of Kate Hudson (in Jenny Packham) or Kerry Washington (in Calvin Klein) and you may win best-dressed. Floral, whimsical looks are always in style during cherry blossom season — First Lady Michelle Obama dazzled the crowd last year in a strapless, watercolor gown by Naeem Khan, as did Leslie Mann in a one-shoulder dress by the same designer.

Your best bet would be to stay on-trend and pop on the red carpet — opt for bright colors to celebrate the season, rather than subdued hues, and play with peek-a-boo styles, one-shoulder cuts and a tasteful slit on the leg.

Whether you plan to pose for the paparazzi or simply stroll the red carpet, greeting fans staked out at the hotel, here are 3 tips to enjoy a stylish evening:

Wear a floor-length gown: The WHCD is truly an old-school, black-tie event. Celebs wearing short dresses stick out every year (Alicia Keys, Martha Stewart, Sofia Vergara, Eva Longoria). Only the perpetual party-goers attending pre- and post-event soirées risk a shorter shift. This is Washington’s most formal “Pollywood” event after the inaugural balls. Follow someone famous, basking in their afterglow as you enter the Hilton — people will applaud, so be sure you dress to impress.

Leave the cleavage at home: There may be fabulous fashion on the red carpet, but take a cue from the Grammys and keep it just this side of appropriate. Celebs not to copy: Rosario Dawson, who really “opened up” to the country’s political royalty in 2012, and Lindsay Lohan, who revealed some seriously unattractive “sideboob.”

Have a car waiting or wear comfortable (yet stylish) shoes: Security screening and long lines can make transportation a challenge — you may have to walk a long way in heels to catch a cab. Some are experts at walking in 6-inch heels; but if you’re not, recall Lena Dunham at the Golden Globes and steer clear. (You don’t want to be remembered forever for your inability to strut the hall in high heels.) Follow the example of D.C. veterans: journalists and party-goers in-the-know always have a pair of ballet flats rolled up in their bag for those long, post-event walks on Embassy Row.

Host Conan O’Brian, dressed in a dapper tuxedo, is sure to make everyone laugh, but all eyes will be on Michelle Obama’s ensemble. Will she be loyal to longtime favorites Jason Wu (worn to inaugural ball), Prabal Gurung, Michael Kors or Naeem Khan (worn at the 2012 Correspondents’ Dinner and to this year’s Oscars) or surprise us with a gown from someone new? Whichever designer she chooses to wear, she is sure to be the center of attention!

Which means you can stop stressing about what you’re wearing and realize the focus is on the celebs. As for the rest of us, we’ll be watching on the live-stream… in sweatpants.