This has been a fantastic year for gear in WWE! We have divas all over the place evolving, inventing and really pushing the envelope with their gear. It's been an amazing ride. The only downside is that we now, somehow, have to pick the top three - ugh. I mean, it's a good problem to have though :). How did we finally resolve said problem? Read on to find out!
Back when the Big Dub took their Summer Skin seriously and didn't just dash off a crumb to the anniversary with a mere four photoshoots *ahem*, they gave just about every diva on the roster their own day of swim snaps. I remember how freakin' amazing that summer was, waiting to see who was going to be next and what they had chosen for swimwear and the locations and just...ogh...so much fantasticness! That - and I can hardly believe this because it seems like this blog's been my baby forevevs - was back in the days before I was fashion writer. So, although I got to savor and be inspired by each 'shoot, I didn't get to review them. Remedying that as we speak :)...or rather as we share thoughts electronically via various networks. It's so funny to think back to those moments - I had a different car, different laptop to race to wwe.com on, different hair color, same love of wrestling in general and divas in particular (thank Maria and Michelle for that; they hooked me). The continual and unprecedented 'shoot releases kept the whole summer lit...not that lit was in common usage then :). It made a huge impression on me because it coincided with the first summer I was a huge diva fan. I don't remember what order the snaps came out in, but I do remember raving over Maria's, Maryse's (some things never change ;)) ...
Maria's set was as diverse as her fashion is, ranging through some girl-next-door blue denim-esque and skull-accented, rocker chick piece before getting to the heart and soul of her fashion: glam. This mint-and-gold set had me drooling with it's shining beauty. Maria went heavy with gold statement jewelry, adding plenty of va-voom to an already attention-getting look. She pushed her poses to the dramatic limits - sometimes blowing right over them, but whatever :) - now that's how you work some bamboo! And thennnnn, she busted out the bikini I can't forget. Well, ok, maybe I can forget those metallic boy shorts, but that triangle top covered in massive silver paillettes? Never. Oh, and there was a star charm dangling off the center. I still want that piece. Her roll-front side-pony was about as glam as glamour gets. And there were also stud bracelets. Not sure my heart ever left that shoot. So maje.
Then again, Maryse didn't go easy on the heartstrings with her looks. She included sequined sets in magenta and red, a pure white bikini shot in the spray, a glittering blue bikini and then these two: a black triangle set covered with crystals and the curveball of the line-up: a floral-printed french top paired with white bottoms which boasted super-long side ties. It was basically a "You'll need oxygen for this" set of snaps from stem to stern, but these two stood out particularly for the backgrounds and poses. The black bikini was shot with Maryse perched on an outcropping of rocks. It looked challenging, but that brought out the best in her, as she draped herself over the rocks for a stunning series of shots. The floral bikini was shot primarily on the beach, with Maryse half-in/half-out of the water. Her poses, all the way from laying in the sand to kneeling in the foam evoke quintessential summer.
If anyone had sold me on the jumpsuit lately, it's Natalya! How completely AMAZING does she look in this black halter-neck piece?! Ogh..I'm wild over this look! It's so simple, but so impactful! The wide, flowing legs create the feel of easy luxury, while the keyhole is super-sexy! The halter style highlights her shoulders, creates her curves and looks incredibly fierce! She accessorizes it perfectly with an understated gold bracelet. I love even more that she wore her hair in a smooth, polished ponytail. It accentuated the simple sophistication flawlessly!
The chic was strongly in evidence in her next outfit, as well. She paired a basic black tee with black pants and then topped it with a magnificent ruffle and zipper accented leather jacket from Alexander McQueen. We've seen her wear this piece in a similar way before - as the exclamation point on a simple outfit - and it's a perfect application for this fabulous piece. It would also lend itself to more complex stylings, which is why a wonderful piece like this is a great investment. As with any truly great design, this one will be chic and current for decades. She adds additional iinterest and sophistication with a Louis Vuitton scarf in a vibrant navy. I love the deep blue and black combination; it's a beautiful, mature and intricate twist on black monochrome. Big sunnies add the perfect final touch.
Natalya has always loved green and I have never seen her do it in such glorious fashion as she did here, in what looks to be a BTS from a photoshoot (do we ever get to see the whole thing? Pretty please! I can always use more slayage in my life! First, this gown is fantastic! It's simple, but dramatic, with a high leg slit and bold side cutouts, filled with excellently-done illusion panels. It reprises the halter-style that has worked so successfully for her in the past. This stunning kelly green is the most apropos shade I've ever seen her take a turn in. She added a gorgeous does of glam with a crystal statement necklace. I also love her choice to pop the look with a bright pink lip - it balances the rich color of the dress better than a receding nude shade and adds a lovely pop. The conservatory that this snap was done in is a magnificent backdrop for this dress. The greenery and furniture don't distract from the dress, but the luxe fabrics and delicate greenery add texture and contrast. The coup de grace is Nattie's glamorous pose. I love everything about this!
First, I apologize for the extreme tardiness of this review...and I take back every griping thing I ever said about Joey Styles. Then again, he gets paid to get the pics up and I don't earn zip from this labor of love I fit in around life, animals and a real job. So, actually, I don't take back anything I said about him after all :). Second, I'm laughing at myself as I'm posting this review. You would never believe how many times I've re-done the collages because my placements keep changing as I analyze and weight the looks. This is HARD, babes! Every year, so many ladies come out here and slay and somehow I have to distill it all into some kind of order. It's cray! And it's also fun. And I'm usually hella proud of the list when I finally get done, probably because I fight so hard to make it accurate and justify each placing. As always, I feel the need to mention that I madly adore each of these divas and root for all of them to rock the ravishing red lane of fame. I love it every time they do! That being said...
WWE has put together a gallery showcasing every lady champion that ever was, including all the various iterations of the belt(s). It's a fun look back to the past, highlighting some of the division's pioneers - The Fabulous Moolah, Alundra Blayze - as well as more recent ladies who paved the way for today's champions. From a fashion perspective, the gallery comes off like a style retrospective of ring gear through the years. The romper/unitards topped by jackets worn by Moolah and Mae Young gave way to the more athletic stylings of Alundra Blayze and her famous mock-neck top and leggings combo. Jacqueline's ring fashion took that sporty vibe as a starting point, but metamorphosized into a much sexier iteration, a concept that Sable pushed to new heights. Check out her latex catsuit with its thigh-high and beyond lace-up detail: it's spot on-trend for today! And just as smoking hot as it was then. Of course, it's hard to imagine an outfit that wouldn't be smoking with Sable in it ;).
Lita eschewed the traditional bombshell aesthetic in her gear, which was composed of straight-up street fashion: cargos, cropped tops, slogan tees. It was hot as h**l, but in a down-to-earth way that made it both appealing and accessible to WWE fashion fans of the era. In addition to her tremendous wrestling ability, Lita made fashion important to wrestling, while appearing to not especially care about it. Trish Stratus' looks had a similar point of inspiration, but incorporated a girl-next-door vibe that separated her from Lita's disaffected street urchin toughness. Molly Holly's looks were even more demure, focusing primarily on the athletic requirements of her pieces, spiced up with a bit of shine and an occasional foray into pretty, feminine colors: sherbet pinks and bright turquoises. There was a sweetness to her style which set her apart from many of the other ladies of the era.
Complexity entered ring gear with the advent of Mickie James' and Melina's reigns. Unique designs, gorgeous colors and bespoke details - the full palette of fashion seemed to collide with the concept of wrestling-wear. Mickie's crop top+pants combo became an instantaneous trademark, along with the luscious colors she gravitated to. Melina's looks were more dramatic - think one-person Cirque du Soleil :). Thigh cutouts, sheer insets,knee-high fur boots, patterns and metallics all caromed together to create her memorable looks. Beth Phoenix's superhero-esque metallic jumpsuits also arrived on the scene. Each of the ladies developed distinctive silhouettes or styles that set them apart. Michelle McCool used her various changes to mark separate eras in her character, not unlike the Undertaker has. The sweet and simple early pieces of her personal-trainer/schoolteacher gimmicks evolved into the cross-embellished halter top+lace-up leggings combination of her Faithful face era. I didn't appreciate at the time just how spectacular this particular gear is with the all-over crystals! I find the camo a bit busy (maybe that's why I missed the crystals ;)), but the jewel-work is spectacular. This snap was not widely released at the time, but it was used in promotions and, back in the day, Michelle cited it as one of her favorites so it's awesome to have a high quality version of it out and about! She exhcanged this style for the dark glamour of her heel turn, which included mostly dark fabrics embellished with crystal and studs. And that was succeeded by the Flawless Era which attained Fame-era Gaga-esque heights of fierceness. Layla came along for that ride and it brought her already-competent looks into truly amazing territory, something she maintained even after Michelle's departure. A few other ladies, including Natalya and Beth, took on the concept of metamorphosis-concurrent-with-persona - which led to the era which matched LayCool in fierceness: the maven-vixen Divas of Destruction, who ruled the ring in leather and spikes, softened with pin-up girl details like lace and bows. Barbie (Kelly) chose to stay with her hallmark push-up bra top and kabooty shorts from its inception until her retirement. And no surprise - it's hard to imagine it being improved on. This yellow-topped one was always one of my faves! (I'm sure you're shocked). Eve also carried the same chevron-waisted silhouette forward throughout her career, along she varied the sweetheart neckline extensively. Her gear was known for the myriad of stunning colors she employed: emerald green, bright melon, pale lilac, all embellished with hints of crystal, studs or sheers. Ditto Maryse, who explored variant after variant her keyhole-top+shorts combo with the most delicious, intriguing, luxurious combinations of color, embellishment, fabric and pattern. Nikki and Brie Bella were always closely in touch with the fashion world and they brought its influence even more closely into gear, breaking free of the idea of waiting for a persona change to update their ring-wear and using it as a way to freshen and reinvigorate their characters. Their looks run an unprecedented gamut from flamenco-inspired ruffled pieces to plunge-front catsuits to Britney Spears-influenced banded top+shorts combos that paired glam with a pop influence to the grunge-plaid era to today's sporty looks - which in a spine-tingling synchronatic way, brings ring gear full circle - back to its athletic beginnings.
I can't believe I'm still in catch-up mode. Sigh.
I'm so sorry that Naomi's injury was serious enough to force her to have to drop the title. How insanely frustrating after all her hard work to achieve it! She managed to go out in style though, pairing a cute cap-sleeve cropped tee with her Feel The Glow leggings and black sneakers with blue and lime embellishments. This combo is casual and sporty and, once again, plays on that fab combo of teal and neon citrus that works so incredibly well. Her bright hair acts as that one extra pop of color that gives the outfit zing.
Mickie put together a classically Americana pairing of a gorgeous lace cropped top with pale denim. Naturally, she finished it with Western boots ;) One of the benefits of an unrefined, study boot like this is that it allows an outfit to be styled with super-feminine pieces, like Mickie's top, without having the look come off at all too girly. The boots provide a strong counter-balance - something to keep in mind if you adore frills, but don't want to over-do the femme vibe. If Western boots aren't your jazz, a chunky-heeled punk-tinged boot, or a classic riding silhouette will work similarly.
Lana has been doing a good bit with this double-breasted dress style lately. The double row of buttons has a haberdasher-esque quality that brings strength and assertiveness to this simple dress. I can love this design when done as a blazer; I'm a bit more hesitant about the dress version. I don't dislike it, but it probably wouldn't be the first thing I'd reach for. Lana's variation is done is a fiery red satin, which makes it even more of a statement piece. Her slim crystal choker is a perfect way to accessorize a look like this - with subtlety. Her low bun is polished but not too prim - another winning choice!
Maryse got in on some actual nearly in-ring action in preparation for the build-up to Miz & her Wrestlemania match against John & Nikki. As usual, her selections are stellar: a cropped sequin bomber cardigan (leave it to Maryse to make a cardi look fierce! #HowItsDone101) tops leather leggings. She finished the look with plain suede OTK boots - and flat boots, no less! It's rare, but Maryse in flats does indeed happen ;), and she slays in them just as well as in heels. As if we expected anything different. #Homage
Natalya's exploration of combinations of patent leather, sheer, strapped cutouts and crystal continues with this gear. She's moved to pink for her crystals - a mouth-watering decision that I hope she gives us a few more variations of! The strapped cutout aspects of her gear remain as fabulous as ever - and she's earning serious points from me for her designs that show enough to be tantalizing as heck, without showing too much. It's a fine line to walk and Nattie is handling it perfectly. This is how a classy lady does sexy! Note-taking is encouraged ;).
The Royal Rumble set a high fashion standard, but the gals maintained it at the Elimination Chamber.
First, there was Becky’s continuing foray into gear with a hint of a femme twist. This set offers an iconic color story of black and beige, with a simple tank topping her frayed denim shorts. What brings distinction to the look is the broad band of gorgeous black lace that drapes across her torso. It’s so delicate that, at first glance, it almost seemed ragged to me, as if it was echoing the hem of her shorts. Even though it’s not, the similarity in texture unites the look, while still providing a beautiful and delicate contrast to the rugged grommetted leather at her knees. There’s a kind of broken-in, ragged romanticism to this look that I’m really enjoying: it’s stunning yet unforgiving, gorgeous, yet grounded. What a unique and intriguing statement from Becky and a wonderful show of growth and experimentation!
Both Summer and Sasha worked with blue and orange as a combo in the past and I loved it. Equally well do I love the pairing of purple and orange, as worn by Nikki. The bright cantaloupe shade is warm and inviting and nearly glows with intensity. It looks amazing against her skin! The deep grape adds a flush of cool solidity to all that vibrancy and the effect is gorgeous! While I love her red, black and white variations, seeing her break into some new color combinations – especially such unique and yummy ones as this! – is incredibly fun!
Alexa went for the classic color combo of red and blue with her gear. She added a nice little twist, though, by accenting the pairing with gold, which adds warmth and luxuriousness. I’ve been a fan of this design of her gear pretty much since it debuted and I’m still totally on board. The only thing I could do wthout is the cartoon appliquee at the front. Come on, girl – you’re not Bayley. There’s a way to bring in this kind of accent, but, set against a mature, fierce ring outfit like this, it just looks silly.
It takes a really special vision and execution to use a lot of pattern and color and have it be cohesive. Naomi absolutely smashes the concept here! For starters, her romper silhouette is bang on trend. For seconders, her scrolled, mod print has the complex beauty of a Pucci piece, but done in light-up-the-world neons that give it a youthful energy and vitality that looks super hot! Lime, turquoise, lavender and cerulean make for a current and stunning color story, while the matching leg covers carry the look all the way to her feet, creating unity and impact. The layered chevrons are a flawless addition, creating a slight, but solid diversion from the print and working fabulously with her body shape to create a curvy hourglass. I love everything about this – as complex as it is, it’s put together perfectly, so it’s not busy or overwhelming, just powerful, mesmerizing and straight up AMZAZING!
Mickie’s gear has been a wonderful mingling of ‘new and then’ :), pairing a halter top accented with a suitably Southwest-esque symbol and her always-favored flared-leg pants. Touches of colored stones accent the edges of both top and bottom. She’s done several color stories with this design, but I especially like the icy simplicity of this metallic silver, spiked with hints of emerald.
The last of this batch of Kim's hard drive excavations is a look back at one of my favorite recent photoshoots: WWE's homage to the Little Black Dress! A trip of divas posed for us in their favorite noire frock and gave us some insight as to why it inspired so much love. The snippet quotes made these snaps especially memorable and engaging because the ladies were able to communicate their thoughts via the printed word, as well as through their photos. As a devotee of classical fashion, a focus on the LBD naturally gave me great joy :). And the feeling just intensified while scrolling through the stars' choices. One over-arching standout theme for me was how authentically each dress represented each diva's sense of style. Rosa's bodycon selection was a blend of modernity, sparkle and seduction, combining a form-fitting silhouette with sheer insets and touches of crystal embellishment. The piece looked amazing on her and it was easy to tell from her sultry poses that Rosa was feeling its effect She nailed a variety of them - sitting, standing, glancing sideways, a cheeky smile, playing with her hair -all flirty, fun and hot! There's just something about putting on that perfect outfit that makes you feel like you rock the world, am I right? She finished the look with a fab pair of black leather Rockstud pumps, a favorite shoe of Rosa's...and mine! ;) There's no need to add much in the way of accessories due to the multiple fabrics and crystals in the dress and Rosa wisely left well enough alone.
Layla's fashion definitely hit high gear during her time in LayCool, and it retained that aura of fierce glamour after the duo's break-up. She showcased that theme with her favorite dress, a stud-accented sheath which mixed stud sizes and metals with impunity, creating flash and shimmer befitting a Flawless One. One of my favorite things about this dress is the to-the-knee length; it's brings polish and maturity to the look. LayCool was fond of shorter hems, which paired better with their trademark OTKs, so this longer style was a nice evolution. She accessorized with statement earrings, which could have been a bit much with all the metallic going on below, but they're rescued by her loose hair; it partially obscures them, allowing just hints of shine to show through, which works perfectly. Gold metallic pumps complete her outfit. The massive platforms were spot on for that moment in fashion; I might go with suede ankle booties or black leather pointy toe heels right now :). As with Rosa, the dress inspired Lay to take some extra risks with her poses, resulting in a bunch of unique and intriguing snaps.
Natalya has a host of killer black dresses, but she chose this as her favorite and it's not hard to see why! Its cut flawlessly, kissing every curve, without ever showing too much - an especially praise-worthy feat for a piece done in a satin fabric like this, which can be terribly unforgiving if cut wrong. The sheen of the satin elevates this dress and gives it more refinement than, say, a wool or knit cotton fabric. Along with the dramatic scoop-neck, this elegant cloth creates just the right distinctive flair. I'm a huge fan of this piece because the simplicity of it will allow it to hold up well over time - even though this 'shoot was several years ago, she could pull this out today and wear it and it would look as current as it did then. The same will be true five, ten and fifteen years from now. Nattie described it as "timeless" and I heartily concur! Because it's so simple, she added slim but bold earrings and several touches of delicate jewelry which enhance the look just enough. Nude pointy-toe pumps were a perfect finish, adding a touch of edge and extending her leg line - a smart fashion choice with a longer mid-length silhouette. I also adore her hairstyle - it's a more dramatic version of the poofed half-do I was loving at this year's Rumble, so no surprises there :). Equally unsurprising is Nattie's slayage of her poses - she's competent and confident in front of the camera and with an LBD as additional inspiration, there was no stopping her!
And there were still more great looks from the Rumble!
Bayley gets serious props for the main shade of her gear, a fabulous mint green that we don't see very often in WWE. With the bubblegum pink and lemon yellow graphic print additions, it's like an ice cream shop you can wear! :) Sometimes Bay's gear can get a little too busy for my taste, but she shows just enough restraint here to make this gear appealing. The front lace-up detail is one of my favorite features. I'm also loving her on-trend and so-right-for-her sparkly bomber - super cute! I could probably survive without the colorful fringe, but it does bring even mooooore color to her look :) and, more importantly, some really fun movement!
Charlotte's cape had the Black Swan vibe going on again, this time with a halo-like hood framing her face. The patterned lining coordinated with her gear flawlessly. Her outerwear is simply incredible! And her ringwear follows suit; this variation was done in an entrancing ice blue, set off with quantities of glistening crystals set in an almost floral-like pattern. The icy shimmer received a bit of grounding from the black piping - a perfect touch which gave a nice edge to the look, as well as coordinating with her magnificent cape.
Oh my holy goalness Maryse! The serial slayage continues. If that phraseology seemed equivocal to you, let me spell it out: I LOVE this look. I could totally wear this. Turtleneck sweater, pencil skirt, cropped statement jacket. BOOM. Chic. Gorgeous. Maryse can pull off the most daring, glamorous, dramatic styles, but seeing her cross over to her sophisticated side definitely set my lil' heart a flutter in a special way. Happy Valentines Day, right? :) The elegant buttons and gathered shoulders on her military-inspired jacket give it panache and modernity, with timeless appeal. That is how you do a statement jacket, lovelies! And Maryse finishes the look with a stunning exclamation point: her crimson velvet OTKs. We can just take a moment here and soak up the flawlessness.
And the flawlessness does not stop with Maryse! I've been loving this latest era in Natalya's gear so much! It's just amazing. She blends leather and latex and sheer insets and crystal patterns in such incredible and beautiful ways! My favorites are unquestionably the black and crystal ones: the simple color scheme creates a ton of impact and glamour! In this particular variation, I'm drawn to the delicacy of the crystal placement. Placed at the edges of the silver sequin piping like this, it creates the lovely, feminine effect of a picot ribbon - just way sparklier ;)...and I love me some sparkle! With the clean geometric shapes of the leather panels, this gear has a modern, architectural feel, so the dainty texture makes a fabulous contrast, creating a harmony of strength and intricacy, toughness and glamour that's just divine. Ogh, so fab!
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.