With the cyclone of changes and growing pains that TNA has been going through recently, it's been a tad tricky to keep up with and evaluate the gear goings-on. A handful of ladies have still managed to impress us, though, despite the upheavals, which gives us the opportunity to present our 2017 edition of the Knockouts' Ring Gear Awards!
Who are we placing where and why did they wow us? Well...
This look from Brandi is a flawless example of tempering the sweetness of a look without making it dark. The warm, light neutral counteracts the sugary vibe of the pastel pink flawlessly.( As an aside, you could use a light gray here to do something similar, with a slightly cooler color story. To recreate the look, start with your favorite cardi. Brandi used a round/jewel neck, which has a very polished, classic feel, but a v-neck will work nicely as well. Any sweet hue will work: sky blue, mint, pale banana, lilac - so pick your passion! If you wouldn't be caught anywhere, any time, for any reason in pastels, consider doing this outfit with ivory. The second element is a coordinating skirt. Matchy-matchy is 100% allowed here (really :)), but you can use a solid, similar hue (slightly lighter/slightly darker) of the same shade, a soft print or a simple pattern (polka dots, stripes) as well. Since Brandi wore this look in early spring, she topped it with a textured faux fur jacket, which looks amazing..but might be a tad toasty for 90 degree days. To make it warm-weather friendly, consider a trench coat, laidback blazer (think collarless or band collared silhouettes), or a twill jacket. Don't fear pieces with statement details like asymmetrical panels, ruffles or hardware details that add interest and drama . Alternatively, a classic suiting blazer in a slightly cropped length will give a chic, schoolgirl vibe to the styling. While Brandi went with a colored topper, a neutral shade is practical, accessible and conveys the theme equally well. I love the femme-tough vibe of Brandi's boots, but this styling also lends itself to culminations involving pointy pumps and flats.
More catch-ups, more stellar Brandi style, babes!
We're starting with two looks I totally adore! The first one I can 100% see myself wearing to work. Brandi throws a twist into the classic black and white pairing by going with steel gray pants. These look to be a textured fabric, like a corduroy, but it would work just as well with gray denim, or gray ponte. Brandi layers a black turtleneck on top and then tops it with a boxy ivory blazer, which she leaves open for an easy, unstudied vibe. The strong blazer nods at the 80's-tinged suiting trend, while the laidback polish of the combo feels very 'right now'. Tall black boots complete this casually fabulous ensemble.
From grayscale to full color: Brandi's next look is a head-to-toe ice pink ensemble that gives me modern-day Audrey feels. She buttons up a pink cardi over her pencil skirt and then adds massive textural contrast with a faux fur jacket tossed over her shoulders. She adds additional texture and grounds the sweetness with soft tan suede ankle boots. I love the choice of a boot here, as it tempers the girly vibe. A coordinating classic tote rounds the look off. I love everything about this. And PS for those of you who absolutely refuse to do pink under any circumstances: any pastel can swapped in here: sky blue, mint, lilac, butter yellow. No matching fur jacket? Go with a soft neutral: ivory, beige, khaki, nude, soft tan.
The next snap is from a photoshoot on which Brandi comments that she's had a concept for an editorial snap like this for a long while. It's a super-fun one, too! (And it makes me wonder: what if Impact gave Brandi the visual image/art direction position that Christy Hemme used to have? Hmmm :)) She ties a white blouse over high-waisted nude/blush shorts. Of course, you know my favorite part of this snap: those aaaaaaaaahmazing yellow pointy pumps! :) The kitchen-y background with it's dusty colors and curlers in her hair give this something of a modern-housewife vibe, which is quirky and cool. I mean, who wouldn't love finding Brandi in their kitchen?! Minus the curlers, this look makes a great casually refined summer look, with the pointy pumps elevating the laidback clothing.
Brandi also resolved the mystery of the snake on her gears and, as it's something that's been on my need-to-know list, I'm sharing! The snake was a Garden-of-Eden/temptation reference to her WWE ring name, Eden. Once she explains it, it seems so simple right? Brandi has gone on the make the snake her own - as she says "improved [the gear] over time". I admit, I had trouble, at first, connecting Brandi to the image of the snake, but the tempting aspect definitely fits. When I researched the symbolism, though, I found the Chinese interpretations and it all came together. The Chinese zodiac views the snake personality as intelligent, fond of the finer things, savvy, confident, hard-working and possessing an intense heart under a collected exterior. Yep, that sounds a lot like the Brandi we love :)
If you're pretty sure you've seen this dress before, I don't blame you. There has been so much use of the sheer-meets-something effect by stars in recent years, it's easy to get blasé about the look. The lighting makes this piece from Barbie (for the Star Magazine red carpet) appear to be sequined, but it's actually laced used in a similar way to sequin-covering-sheer dresses that were ubiquitous from 2012-2014. As a fan of freshness, I applaud the update of the lace and, while I'm a little over the sheer trend as done this way, this whole look is flawlessly put-together. The nude sandals, the polished-but-not-exceptionally-fancy low bun: it's all seamlessly stellar. She went with white again for her Easter style and I love everything about this dress...until we get to the loose, crinkled mock-neck. Like, what the? If only the dress had stopped 3 inches lower! Her high bun would have been dangerously refined, but workable with a different neckline. With this one, well, I'll give it a pass because the neckline really can't be redeemed, at least from what I can see at this angle. As with her previous dress, I'm on board for the nude sandal pairing - it's a lovely look. It's safe, but safe is what you want to be for a traditional holiday like Easter. That being said, I could have totally gotten behind spiking this look with bright heels - lemon, aqua, or even a subtler statement like blush or metallic gold.
Next, we get a bevy of looks from Brandi, including dipping all the way back into February for this metallic printed dress from Blackcake Clothing. She grounded this piece nicely with black pointy-toe pumps - the right choice for late winter. Chunky-heeled sandals would do nicely for summer. A wide bracelet added a solid gleam, but Brandi really gave the look some flash with her super-fun bag: a tasseled, lightning-bolt-accented piece. I love the quirky impulse behind this choice! Next up is a foray into jewel tones with an amethyst sheath dress. Instead of the expected black, she pairs it with taupe pieces - suede OTKs and a moto jacket. The softer neutral brightens this deep hue nicely and gives it a more feminine vibe then a fierce black combo. From there, she gives us a jaw-dropper: what looks to be a sneak peek at a photoshoot (oh, I hope so!). She pairs a black mockneck bodysuit with gorgeous burgundy velvet OTKs (ssly, is it possible to get a phrase that sounds more luxurious than "burgundy velvet"?). The look gets a twist that reminds me of something Maryse would do - feminine and sexy floral lace stockings. I love the way the textures of the delicate lace and plush velvet play off the smooth knit of her bodysuit. And leaning-back pose is killer! Her fun side is again in evidence with this sunshine-y orange romper. I love love love bright colors for warm weather, so I'm thrilled by this choice :). Brandi keeps the bright vibe going by finishing the look with black booties featuring an on-trend sprinkling of stars. As with her lightning-bolt purse, I love the playful vibe of this styling!
For some reason, Impact *always* decides to release a photoshoot right around Wrestlemania. It's slowly becoming one of my pet peeves with the company. They don't release anything for almost a year and then, boom, right when everything is psycho-crazy around Wrestlemania, they put out a huge 'shoot. Why, guys? Don't you know it's just going to get buried in the Wrestlemania onslaught? You're not going to top that. You're going to end up here, getting reviewed in June. That's so unfair to the ladies on your roster. Maybe a litttle diff timing next year, huh? Think about it. Ok, enough of Brie's b*******g. To fashion!
We kick it off with Brandi and a black and white version of her halter-meets-high-waisteds snake-embellished gear. This is such a solid effort from her! The gear is spot on, her poses are killer. She looks like she was born to do this. Gear 'shoots are notoriously difficult because they tend to be simple - just you and your gear out there on a blank backdrop to do your thing. It's hard to keep them interesting. Brandi works some less common poses and overcomes the drawback of the standard, blah gray background. Done like a boss and I love it!
She's back, b*****s! The BAM is back! ODB has returned, flask, attitude and all. She's looking fab in an on-point red romper, made suitably trailer-park-ish with a camo head band. Her personality comes blazing through these shots and it makes them come alive. I love the spark she brings back to the roster!
Sienna is making a serious effort to sell the whole skirt-as-gear thing and while I'm not on board yet, I give her points for tenacity. This black and burgundy combo is stunning, especially with the way the burgundy peeks through the black lace. I'm 100% in for her halter top (wish it had the same deep red metallic lining as her skort). This gear is definitely going in the right direction!
Jumpsuits and risky pants seem to have reached consensus-status among the divas this fall. Cathy, along with Barbie, gave us a pair of them and handled both excellently. Her first was a navy square-neck piece with wide straps (I LOVE those for hiding bra straps!) and a subtly sexy front notch. The matte fabric of this piece keeps it slightly to the casual side, so Cathy ramped up the look by pairing it with strappy nude sandals. If you thought that was good, her next choice was even better: a stunning forest green satin piece, chosen for the Heroes Gala. First, I’m in love with this color right now – it’s luxe, elegant and looks stunning! Second, the high cross design of this piece is dramatic and sexy, especially with the little peekaboo situation just about her waist. The side buttons add just a touch of flash, which Cathy accentuated with jeweled fan earrings that make just enough of a statement. Her bright cranberry lip brings a festive touch to this fantastic look.
Carmella hopped on board the daring-pants-plus-neutrals vehicle and, as with both other ladies who have tried it, the pairing succeeds nicely. These windowpane-printed pants could get too busy in a hurry, but matched with this deep-v top and black leather jacket (I love how she got in a touch of her trademark leopard print via the collar!), they come off funky and experimentally modern. If I could swap anything, it would be her boots. I’m giving her a bye on this one because I suspect this was a rainy day (I would probably lean toward a knee-height version myself for a bit more polish), but for non-inclement weather, ankle booties with a block heel or flat OTK’s would give this pairing a little fiercer finish.
We know Brandi for many of her more formal looks, but she also rocks casual style. This simple pairing of an ivory peplum sweater with black leggings and flat ankle boots has just the kind of laidback, confident femininity that’s perfect for fall…or the post-holiday winter chill ;). On a more familiar note is this blush dress, paired with nude platform pumps. Brandi is a master at picking chic classics with a twist and this piece is a #HowItsDone101. This iconic silhouette gets an update from the wrap effect and the crossed front detail, which has the added benefit of accentuating the waist and creating the hourglass shape. Her color story of mixed pale neutrals keeps this fresh and modern.
Maryse also explored the wrap-look option with this Want My Look piece. (Aside: the wrap dress reflects the current 70’s trend, as that was the decade in which designer Diane von Furstenberg brought it to the forefront of fashion). This low scoop-neck silhouette pushes sexy to its limits, while Maryse adds attitude by finishing it with black suede OTKs from Sam Edelman. She brings an extra touch of attitude and drama by topping it with a metallic trench, a twisted-classic piece from Femme LA, which I love her use of! The sheen adds interest and chic to a simply sexy black monochrome look and gives it a powerful flair. Her blackberry lip brings a darker vibe to the look, which, while it might be harsh for day-time wear, works well for the drama of an evening ensemble.
It's that most wonderful time of the year again, Fancies: the time when we give the gift of recognition to the very best photoshoots of the year! We pick the nominees, but to narrow it down to the sole, ultimate, number one of the year, your help is required! We need you. We can't do it without you. So, help us choose...The One.
This year presented some unprecedented challenges. First, in the Knockouts category, there were very few full photoshoots at all. We therefore had to make use of a couple that were one-shot 'shoots, which I have always preferred not to include, but this year simply have so few other options that it's the most reasonable solution. In a similar vein, many of the Divas snaps this year were part of combo 'shoots, so I've made the decision to consider each lady superstar's set as an individual 'shoot. All that being acknowledged, there were plenty of moments which wowed us, inspired us, sent us reeling into transports of delight. Who, may you ask, accomplished all this? I'm thrilled to announce this year's list of Silver Snap Awards Nominees:
It’s not every day that a new lady debuts wrestling gear that’s as well executed and stylish as Brandi’s is. Plenty of ladies do amazing gear, but often it occurs later in their evolution as wrestlers. Brandi’s precociousness is attributable to her love of, and thorough immersion in, fashion but it’s still both noteworthy and commendable. So, we’re going to take a special look at her and break it down, layer by layer.
The first thing you notice at her entrance in her fantastic duster coat. We’ve seen capes, we’ve seen trenches, but this piece is completely unique and it’s definitely something special! The cutaway silhouette at the top gives it a very clean, chic vibe, almost like a men’s Edwardian swallow-tail coat. Women have been appropriating what were once men’s fashions for ages – probably since the dawn of fashion ;) – but it’s really fun to see the way Brandi’s done it here, making a fierce, modern coat out of a vintage formal haberdashery. She does bring it right up to the present day, adding a spike of glamour via gorgeous and unusual square crystal buttons. I couldn’t resist including a close-up so you can truly appreciate the complexity and beauty of this choice.
Her gear has that quality of just-right minimalism, with enough detail to be interesting, but edited enough to be immediately accessible. The sheer inset in her top reminds me of the design Madison uses, but Brandi makes hers distinctive with a tiny strap across the top which creates a slight keyhole effect. It's a bespoke-type of detail which has the added benefit of practicality, something I'm always on board for! Shorts and matching knee pads complete her silhouette nicely and carry the color all the way through her outfit.
Perhaps the most unpredictable aspect of her gear is the snake motif that Brandi has sprinkled throughout her ensemble. -add meanings from note by laptop. I really love the glittering-eye detail on the creatures; it's beautiful and lends a magical, "come-alive" quality to the appliqué.
Lastly, Brandi's color choices have been unerringly solid. The white gear, with its steely-black accents, might be my favorite because of its eye-catching and dramatic contrast. Her amethyst-purple gear is a close runner-up though - that rich jewel tone looks stunning on her! When I see this deep, luxurious shade, I can't help thinking of her Hall Of Fame Fashion Review winning gown from 2015 and it makes me hope Brandi will grace us with a similar tourmaline green or deep teal variation of her gear sometime soon! :) I wouldn't say no to cobalt either ;). I look forward to seeing what further variations of this superb gear she has in store!
October found Barbie exploring sage green via this simple and modern coord set. While the popularity of cords over the summer left me pretty short on tolerance for more of them, I don’t mind this one. I like it’s cleansing, unembellished styling and Barbie’s soft pairing of pale beige lace-up sandals. If I could change one thing about the look, it would be to tweak her hairstyle. This flat, central part is a bit harsh; the 70’s-esque side-part that she‘s done beautifully so often would have complemented the muted vibe of this look better.
Brandi’s white pantsuit puts me strongly in mind of the Halston dress Brie wore to the ESPYs earlier this year. I’m sure it’s due to the minimalist design and the smooth sheen of the metal plate belt, echoed at the neckline. This kind of pared-down chic aesthetic always rocks my world and Brandi’s look is no exception. I wish we had gotten a glimpse at her shoes, but really you couldn’t go wrong here with pumps of any iteration.
A fun top, skinny jeans or leggings and OTK boots seem to be Becky’s look. Note the singular. I’m teasing, of course…well, half- teasing because it’s certainly a signature for her. The good thing about that is that it’s a functional trademark that works really well on her. If you’re going to wear a look a lot, you want it to tick those two boxes! This variation involves a pretty double-layered top in a standout shade of coral-orange, a color I wouldn’t have immediately thought if for her because of her orange hair, but which looks fantastic on her and makes her just glow! I can forgive a lot for that glorious color, so I’ll happily give Becky a free pass on about the third variation of a top+jeans+OTKs, but I also have my fingers crossed that she changes it up a smidge sometime. I’m not talking crazy stuff, like a dress or anything, but maybe just some ankle boots…or a chunky sweater :)
Alexa is demonstrating a knack for cute combos with an urban edge to them. Here, she pairs a “Sorry Not Sorry” graphic tee with faux leather leggings. She layered the tee over a second top (for warmth, I assume, but it also adds another dimension to the styling, lengthening the line of her tee and letting it flow smoothly into her leggings. My favorite part of her outfit is this ellipse-dot printed cropped jacket. Even though a blazer like this is usually a fairly formal piece, the print and material give this one a casual flair that still manages to elevate the rest of her super laidback look. The juxtaposition totally works! She also gets Fierce pointsfor her pigtails. I’m not usually a fan of them as they can come off very cutesy and little girl-ish, but this low placement, combined with her side-swept bangs give them more of a cool girl feel. Lastly, I have to give a shout-out to this totally AWESOME Halloween eyeliner! The thorn-like swirls make me think of a spider web and that is fantastically appropriate, as well as looking afreakinmazing.
Wow - I did not expect a look like this from Eva Marie! This billowy printed blouse paired with a sheen-y satin pencil skirt is a huge change from the sexy bodycon and lace-up styles she often gravitates to, but I really enjoy the polish and refinement of this look. It's sexy, but in a subtler, softer way. Her pensive gaze echoes the vibe of the outfit perfectly. She throws in a dash of inelegance by placing her hand so as to make the skirt almost look like shorts and it adds that little offbeat note that makes you really look deeper into the shot for the character created within it, in this case, the irrepressible badass tomboy peeking out from within her fancy ensemble. Wonderful snap on so many levels!
Nikki gives us a pair of fab looks, both utilizing skirts. The first pairs a white Adidas crop top with an Alice and Olivia side-slit midi pencil skirt. The look is simple, but modern, clean and sexy. She really takes it up a notch though with her Vince Camuto lace-up OTKs (the Felana)! These statement boots crank up the chic hard on this look by adding a textural element that just reeks of fierce. Well styled, Nik! Her second look is equally good: a boxy cropped top with a pleated flared skirt with a wonderful woven texture and a hint of metallic (this piece is by Devlin. Thx to fashionofthedivas.tumblr.com for the ID). What makes this look work is the high, wide waistband of the skirt: it creates a super-defined waist that necessary with the blocky shape of her tee. Along with the exaggerated flare, it creates the classic hourglass shape. With a smaller or waistband-less style, or one with less volume, this look could get very straight and clunky in a hurry. This is a place where paying attention to silhouettes really helps! Nikki finished the look with her CL Berlinissimo caged booties for an extra dose of fierceness, and a de riguer choker in a fun wide style.
Renee showed off her casual style chops with this movie night look. She combined a drape-y Free People sweater - worn off the shoulder for a coquettish twist - with destroyed Asos jeans. Doc Martens sneakers completed the totally chill outfit. This kind of look can be difficult to pull off - it's easy to have it look disheveled, or haphazard, but Renee gets the perfect balance of boxy and slim to make it all come together.
Welcome to the place where wrestling & fashion join hands. #BeInspired #LoveFashion Let the Fierce be with you! ;) Peace & Glitter!
Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork
Photos used for criticism and comment under US Copyright Act Section 107.