Put a Bow on It Like Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington and More

A dainty bow may be the epitome of girlishness, but that doesn’t mean that wearing one has to make you look like Hello Kitty. Bow details are adding sweet touches everywhere from the Christopher Kane and Lanvin Spring 2013 runways to the feet of celebrities. Whether incorporating a stylish ribbon to cinch the waist or as a feminine accent on an accessory, bows are sure to make you look pretty as a present.

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Celebs have gotten all wrapped up in the bow trend, displaying on the red carpet how a well-placed bow can be the icing on the cake of a perfectly feminine look. At the Oscars, the bejeweled bodice of Kerry Washington’s sherbet-colored Miu Miu gown had a lot of pizzazz on its own, but the delicate bow at the waist brought the whole thing together. Petra Nemcova’s Ralph and Russo dress at the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Oscars viewing party made the belt-bow into a show-stopping statement. The petrol blue and white Christian Dior gown that Marion Cotillard wore to the SAG Awards was given another layer of fanciness with its long-tailed bow at the waist, evoking the elegance of a Japanese obi sash. Washington used a bow headband to add a touch of whimsy to her checkered Louis Vuitton dress at the Django Unchained Berlin photocall.

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Alesha Dixon channeled some schoolgirl charm at the Glasgow auditions of Britain’s Got Talent, wearing a black silk bow tie with her green minidress and tartan blazer. Jaime King’s look at the Rembrandt Hollywood Party-Prep event was on-point—the metallic Louboutins with black bow details gave some perk to her basic powder blue bustier top and tweed pencil skirt. At the Les Victoires de la Musique awards, Lou Doillon showed off how a bow can lend some softness to a masculine look in a Saint Laurent suit with an oversized bow-tie-inspired tie at the neck. Pixie Lott tamed racier details like the slit on her figure-hugging minidress and her platform sandals with a sweet bow tucked into her updo for a look that was vintage inspired but of-the-moment enough to promote the Blackberry 10.

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Natalie Portman looked lovely at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in her Christian Dior gown—the black silk ribbon imparted an extra sumptuousness to her white empire-waist gown, elevating the otherwise simple look. Go ahead, be a girl and embrace this season’s bow trend. Start with one of these pretty—and not too saccharine—pieces:

1. J. Crew Collection Contessa Snakeskin Bow Pumps – $2782. Red Valentino Leather Hair Band with Bow – $1083. Iris & Ink Detachable Pussy-Bow Silk-Crepe Blouse – $1254. BCBGMaxazria Drape Front One Shoulder Satin Dress – $2485. J.C. Penny Striped Bow Belt Dress – $506. J. Crew Collection Cece Bow Ballet Flats – $1987. Kate Spade Bow Belt – $688. Roland Mouret Pitt Asymmetric-Shoulder Dress – $3819. Betsey Johnson Fower Bow Stretch Ring – $55