Ruth Negga Will Make You Rethink Red-Carpet Style

No snoozes in sight


It’s tempting to say that Ruth Negga is having “a moment,” but she deserves better than a phrase ascribed to so many women in Hollywood it’s starting to sound trite and maybe even a little sexist.

Instead, I will say that Ruth Negga is not only an Academy Award-nominated actress, but also has red-carpet style that sticks to you like double-sided tape and makes you see your wardrobe in a whole new light. This is exciting for a host of reasons, one of them being rarity. Red-carpet style is usually the opposite of sticky. It’s the same thing over and over and over again, flitting by without grabbing your attention because it’s so completely, utterly expected.

Not Ruth’s. Her style is a razor that slices against the grain. She doesn’t just wear dresses; she wears outfits. Everything she puts on is a piece of her outfit puzzle, from the top of her head to the tips of her shoes. Just looking at her makes you want to take notes, gather instructions, make plans. So I wrote down a to-do list:

1. Cut hair short A.S.A.P. For reference, please see Beyoncé in the music video for “Haunted,” with a dash of Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap.

2. Treat entire head like a canvas and paint with loud brushstrokes: headbands, winged blue eyeliner, lemon-y velvet chokers, earrings so glistening and green they look like tropical frogs.

3. Make shoulders the centerpiece via wings of the water, angel or Morticia Addams variety.

4. Channel disco-ball vixen, Titania the fairy queen, Billie Holiday and Lucille Ball in equal measure.

5. Let accessories moonlight as a megaphone for important causes.

6. Wear hot-pink pumps with black tights immediately.

7. Invest in skirts that go past the knee and hit right at the mid-shin arena.

8. Stop shaving above the mid-shin arena. (Ed note: Personal to-do. Not Ruth-sanctioned.)

9. Bring back the clutch.

10. Entertain the notion of a short-sleeved cardigan, but only if reminiscent of daffodils in hue.

11. Find a fur stole worthy of Rita Hayworth and crochet a pair of red carnations onto the ends.

12. Make a case for tuxedos one day and princess gowns the next.

13. Reject the ingenue mermaid dress + mermaid hair prototype and erode it with titrations of wacky texture or clashing color.

14. Dislodge a previously unearthed kernel of sensuality in the world of Peter Pan collars.

15. Favor fun over “flattering,” no matter what Ryan Seacrest says.

All photos via Getty Images. 

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  • Teresa

    Thought about the word moment a lot (and how/why someone would see it as sexist) and then the word won’t even sound like English to you anymore and you’ll find yourself googling the definition because you forgot if you ever even knew it!

    • Teresa

      This comment is nonsense.

  • Amelia Diamond


  • Andrea Raymer

    There is something about her that reminds me of Carey Mulligan in that they both made me want to chop all my hair off and wear nothing but Peter Pan collars for the rest of my life. I’ve been through this phase before. Please remind me that my hair doesn’t grow that quickly.

    • Harling Ross

      oh yes this is so true

  • Haley Nahman

    Omg she’s such a dream…

  • Jill

    She is SUCH a breath of fresh air! Loved her as Raina on SHIELD, in all those lovely dresses and so wickedly evil.. Every photo shows such warmth and charm. And she’s clearly having FUN! As it should be.

  • Natty

    something about her whole presence just pulls me in. combine that with her unique and perfectly executed sense of style, and i’m done for. *bows down*

  • A. Carnevale

    Ugh! Love her and all these looks!

  • I follow the idea of the face being a “canvas” and painting with loud brush strokes! Thanks for putting it into words.

  • horusfitzfancy

    Ugh yes! She was basically the only person that I was excited to see at the Oscars and she did not disappoint (I am in love with that dress).
    Also I am reading Swing Time right now and she was immediately in my internal fan cast as the narrator. Googled to see if anyone else had the same idea and found this.

    The point is: I’m right!

  • Hellbetty666