Let Me Dress You For The Game Awards 2023

Let Me Dress You For The Game Awards 2023

Hey, remember me? I’m the girl who, right before the 2022 Game Awards, said Xbox head Phil Spencer dresses like my dad when he goes on a Sunday morning bagel run. (We squashed the beef at Summer Game Fest, don’t worry.) Though I was being playful and pointed with my fashion critiques, I wasn’t just speaking to the style (or lack thereof) on display at gaming’s biggest night, but how it’s indicative of a larger identity crisis within the industry. On nights like The Game Awards, this multi-billion-dollar industry tries its hardest to ape Hollywood, with a glitzy production, A-list actors, and, bizarrely, men in sweatshirts.

It begs the question: Who are we? Are we all wealthy industry leaders wearing denim jackets in an attempt to look more approachable, more pedestrian? Or are we wannabe fashionistas from Long Island leaning too hard into living in Brooklyn? Or schleppy gamers who throw on whatever is on top of their clothes chair in the morning? The answer is simple: We’re all of it. This is an increasingly diverse industry (despite its inability to name women), and the more that diversity is reflected in the people who attend these events, the better the fashion will be by default—because we’ll get more variety, more personality, and more cultural backgrounds on display.

This year, I’ll be attending The Game Awards (no, you can’t see my outfit yet). Since I was so passionate about fashion last year, and now I’ll be there in person, I feel it is my civic duty to provide unsolicited advice on how to look good for gaming’s Oscars.

Let me be clear: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look good. There are tons of ways to ball out on a budget, from renting the runway, to borrowing from friends or family, to combing through thrift stores for long-lost treasures (which is how we found my fiance a 1970s-era Yves Saint Laurent military trench for $US150 in Italy). Whether you’re attending The Game Awards or you just have a semi-formal event in your future, here are some tips to ensure you don’t draw the gaze of my fashionable Eye of Sauron.

Also, I’m offering personalized fashion advice, so reach out in the comments, via e-mail, or my DMs.

Personality over everything

Image: LightField Studios (Shutterstock)

Far too many people (often men, often rich) dismiss fashion as a trivial, shallow endeavor. I’d argue exactly the opposite: Fashion is an external expression of your internal self, the iridescent feathers on a ribbon-tailed Astrapia. It is the “armor to survive everyday life,” as the late, great fashion photographer Bill Cunningham once said. What you wear is a fantastic way to show who you are, and more Game Awards attendees should embrace this ideology.

Burn your graphic tees

Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images)

I already shudder at the thought of seeing the jeans + graphic tee + blazer look anywhere in public, and it has absolutely no business being anywhere near an awards show—at least not one where the femme-presenting attendees wear dresses and the host wears a tux and Al Pacino might show up. If I see a t-shirt on the Game Awards stage this year I may very well go full Mommy Dearest in the audience.

There are ways you can elevate this tired-ass fit, but it’s not easy. First, you’d need to get a really cool t-shirt, preferably one that’s something no one has seen before (not just a screen print of a video game logo slapped on your chest). Think Mobshity’s Sharpie-art tees, or ARK/8’s Elden Ring boss door shirt, or Moschino’s The Sims capsule collection. Then, think about the blazer itself (which, by the way, is not a suit jacket), as the fit is essential here—something too small and fitted that falls at your waistline is visually yucky. If you absolutely must do this look, it’s ruined by a pair of true blue denim that looks cheap or worn or is, god forbid, both acid-washed and ripped. Maybe try a dress pant, instead. Then, lastly, please don’t wear a white sneaker. I’d prefer no sneakers (guess what looks cool with this look: boots), but if you must, avoid white. It’s too grandpa-y.

Then, and only then, can you pull off the blazer/graphic tee look—but it still doesn’t belong at The Game Awards.

The fit can’t quit

Photo: Pressmaster (Shutterstock)

One of the easiest ways to ensure whatever you’re wearing looks good—no matter what it is—is that it fits you. This seems simple, but modern clothes sizing is so varied and inconsistent that you’ll never find something off the rack that fits you like the jeans in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. That’s where tailoring comes in. Don’t be afraid to buy something that’s a little big and take it to a tailor for adjustments. As a very short woman, I often have to take my pants for hemming lest they drag around the New York City subway everytime I wear them (*shudders*).

Though tailoring will add to the cost of an outfit, you can easily find something for cheap that’s nearly there in a thrift shop, and spend a little more to make it absolutely perfect—and often, the cost of both the original outfit and its adjustments will be less than shelling out for something new.

Tailoring for suits is even more essential, as there’s nothing worse than an ill-fitting suit. Remedy’s Sam Lake always looks so good because he gets his suits tailored, guys. And once you get a suit tailored for your body, you’ll forever have a reliable piece of formal attire waiting in your closet for future occasions. If you’re considering a suit for The Game Awards, I’d highly recommend you follow Derek Guy on social media—he’ll steer you right.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

Image: goir (Shutterstock)

Let’s say you own a really nice, really simple dress, and you’re worried that it’s not snazzy enough for The Game Awards. If your look is very simple and understated, get creative with jewelry, bags, pins, ties, ascots—you name it. Hell, tinted sunglasses can take you from geek to chic in two seconds. Maybe your budget is super limited, and that’s okay—your accessories can make anything look dressier or more expensive. Wearing all black? Add some different textures with a sequined or patent leather handbag, or bold, colorful earrings.

You can find some great, reasonably priced accessories on Etsy, but if you’re worried about getting them in time, I’d check out markets near you or, again, thrift shops. The jewelry I get the most compliments on are the pieces I bought from local artisans like Myth Jewelry and Martine Ali. Remember, accessories add texture, layer, and character to any outfit—but accessorize too much, and you run the risk of looking like a kid at Claire’s.

Get steamy

Image: New Africa (Shutterstock)

Yes, I called the hotel I’ll be staying at in Los Angeles to ensure that they have a steamer. Why? Because I refuse to look like a wrinkled, crumply bitch—and you should, too. No matter how nice your outfit is, it’s ruined if it looks like it came straight from the aforementioned clothes chair. Every hotel will have an iron and ironing board available, but if you, like me, have something silk that you want to wear and are terrified you’ll burn it, you’ll need a steamer. There are great portable ones on Amazon (see here), but you can also see if wherever you’re staying has one available to loan.

Shoe game strong

Image: New Africa (Shutterstock)

Nothing will betray an outfit like a bad shoe. And there are few things people in this industry love more than slapping on a sneaker with a formal look. In the case of Al Pacino, who wore all-black Hokas with his suit at The Game Awards last year, this can work. But in most other cases, sneakers can cheapen a look or make the wearer seem like they’re grasping too hard at youthfulness. If you absolutely have to wear a sneaker, make sure it looks new (even if it’s not, you can easily clean sneakers to a point where they appear to be just out of the box), and avoid anything too loud unless you have the swag to back it up. There’s nothing more cringe than an older white guy wearing a “drippy” sneaker.

If you’re not planning on wearing a shoe that will allow you to run away from any Gamer Discourse that night, think about the silhouette you’re hoping to achieve. If you’re wearing really skinny pants (please don’t, that’s very 2010s, it’s done), then a big, heavy boot or dress shoe will make you look like Goofy. If your outfit is rather loud (like mine is) then keep your shoe simple to avoid looking busy. You can find reasonably priced, sustainably made shoes at Alohas, or find deals on luxury shoes at SSENSE.

A shoe, like accessories, can elevate any look. Try on your outfit with some shoe options, take a few pictures, walk around in it—you’ll soon see how quickly what’s on your feet can take something from basic to baddie.

Style the outfit, don’t just wear it

This piece of advice is one I’ve just learned more about myself (mostly thanks to fashion TikTok): There’s a massive chasm of difference between wearing an outfit and styling it. Throwing on an outfit is easy, but deciding whether to tuck in a shirt, crop a top, or button a blazer is the hard part.

If you have hair that can be styled, think about how it will add to your look—if your outfit has strong shoulders or your torso is mostly covered, you may want to sweep your hair up or back to allow the emphasis to remain on the outfit. If you’re wearing something that’s rather exposed up top, then cascading hair can romanticize it, or provide a little cover where needed.

Make-up is another great way to bring the entire outfit together. Think about the overall vibe you want to achieve: Do you want something vampy and sexy? Consider darker eye makeup with punky smudges. Do you want something easy? Focus on your skincare, make your skin look flawless. Do you want to zhuzh up a simple outfit? There’s color, glitter, and more to play with.

Styling your outfit is the final step in the fashion trials, and it’s arguably the hardest thing to do. I still struggle with it.

Is there any fashion advice you’d want to add? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, I’ve offered my services to style you for this event, so reach out to me here, via email, or on Twitter (X) if you’d like my personalized advice.

See you at the show!

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