HOW TO GET DRESSED: OSCAR SPECIAL

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Q.With the Oscars on Sunday, I fancy going all-out with a big, glamorous dress soon. Any tips on how I can look like a star?

A.Looking like a star is all about radiating confidence and inner poise – see Sandra Bullock, last year’s Best Actress winner, pictured right.

Most of us don’t have the chance to wear Oscar-worthy gowns much. The classic trap is to fall in love with a dress as an object or “work of art” rather than yourself in the outfit. If you aren't careful you can end up feeling exposed and gawky gaucheness is never glamorous.

The key is to focus on a style that best fits your body in a fabric and cut you feel comfortable in. Don’t shy away from making adjustments to your dress to ensure it looks like it was coutured for you. If dresses just aren't flattering then try exquisite separates for effortless elegance. A long sequined skirt and simple top or silk trouser suit in a beautiful colour can be more head turning than the fussiest gown.

Find one part of your body you are most happy to flaunt as a focal point. Avoid looking tacky by showing too much flesh. A thigh length split, low back or plunging neckline can be individually elegant but not when combined together. The new mood is to cover up so don’t shy away from sheer or fitted arms when going full length.

Don't hide behind accessories. If your dress is very bright, lacey or glittery then you won't need anything else. For plainer styles or separates, choose one larger statement cuff, earrings or necklace rather than dated sets of little pearls or sparkles.

There are plenty of independent designers who cut amazing gowns if you would rather not bankrupt yourself on couture. Favourites include Rachel Gilbert, Leifsdottr, Ginger & Smart and Lisa Ho to name just a few. Under-exposed creations from these up and coming talents will help you avoid the embarrassment of bumping into anyone else with the same outfit.