Best-Dressed Women of 2008 picks the best-dressed ladies of the year
ESSENCE.COM Dec, 04, 2008

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Budding star Lauren London get points for her style smarts as proved to be one to watch this year. This black silk and organza off-the-shoulder dress she wore to the “Cadillac Records” premiere is a stunner.

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Emerging fashionista Keri Hilson worked the red carpet in 2008, opting for sophistication and classic cuts. The singer-songwriter has described her style as “a mixture of masculine, straight-line with feminine. I enjoy when the woman has a tailored look. I like to mix both extremes.”

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Jurnee Smollett wowed us with her style in 2008. The 21-year-old actress picked several red-carpet winners including this cream silk charmeuse cocktail dress. “The Great Debaters” star proves having sex appeal does not mean you have to bare it all.

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Always looking fun and flirty, our favorite “Girlfriend” Jill Marie Jones knows exactly what garments play up her best features. Her killer legs continually make a red-carpet appearance. The star keeps her sex appeal in proportion, opting to show skin on either the top or lower half of her body, but never both, which is a style rule for the wise.

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The youngest “Idol” winner, Jordin Sparks, 19, has been making major moves since her victory. Not only are people taking notice of her vocal skills, but her smart fashion sense has caught the attention of many young curvy women looking to mimic her style. Check out her new line, Sparks, sold at Wet Seal, and get her look at an affordable price.

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One of our favorite glam girls Thandie Newton knocked ’em dead at the “W” screening during the London Film Festival. Never going wrong in Chanel, she worked this white lace form-fitting dress. Feminine sophistication suits her well.

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Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks always goes for knockout gowns and dresses. Showing her more demur side, Selita looks regal in this draped chiffon floor-length gown.

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Brit beauty Mel B. was a major fashion player in 2008. The former Spice Girl launched a new line of clothing, Catty Couture, which consists of flirty tops, jackets and skirts for the fun-loving girl about town. The singer/actress/model also worked it at Fashion Week New York Spring 2009 as the face of lingerie brand Ultimo.

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It’s no surprise Halle Berry tops our best-dressed list. The fashion-forward star does it like no one else. And having added a new role to her repertoire—mommy—the Oscar winner only gets better with time.

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Although Alicia Keys maintains she “really likes to live her life in a low-key fashion,” the superstar went for bold beauty at the 2008 American Music Awards. Wearing a traditional Indian hair accessory called tikka, she took a style risk that we loved it.

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Jada Pinkett Smith arrived at the “The Women” premiere in this gorgeous strapless Zac Posen gown. We’ve seen her style transform over the years, and in 2008, Mrs. Smith was a radiant red-carpet regular.

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We bow down to the Queen of style. Her Curvation line redifined what it means to be curvy, and she chooses cuts and shapes that minimize her size and maximize her gorgeous features.

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Actress Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon is still working to get that major movie role she deserves, but the notable actress is surely a leading lady on the Los Angeles fashion scene. This fabulous tangerine gown she rocked a recent event says it all.

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Oh, Joy! Ms. Bryant makes us shout. Going for runway glam, the model-actress is one of our fave head-turners.

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Just call her gorgeous Gabby. The “Cadillac Records” star was driving in the fast lane of high-fashion in 2008. The former model still maintains her cover-girl image and believes that “Hollywood needs to recognize all shades of African-American beauty.”

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This year, we fell in love with Kerry Washington’s luxe look. The Bronx beauty goes for European powerhouses like Oscar de la Renta and Chanel for her one-of-kind red-carpet gowns. The actress looked like a golden goddess at L’Oreal Legends Gala to Benefit The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

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“I finally realized that being grateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself,” shared Oprah, who embodies what a millionaire mogul should look like on the inside and out.

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Women over 40 now have a fashion muse and it is soon-to-be First Lady Michelle Obama. From choosing classic jewelry pieces such as pearls and brooches to sporting bright-shade dresses in purple, pinks and turquoise, this mother of two is a trendsetter with a look that’s attainable for the average woman.

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Grammy winner Beyoncé Knowles is a head-to-toe style star. A true chameleon, Queen B keeps her fans guessing with her ever-changing locks and looks. She has become a fashion icon by not following fashion rules and we salute her.

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Winning the world over in this Dolce & Gabbana emerald green satin gown at the World Music Awards, Rihanna takes our vote for best-dressed woman of the year. The stylish star rocked out in 2008 with a mix of street and chic. “I’ve always hated being like everybody else. As a teenager, I started to find myself and play with fashion. I like being edgy and a little to the left,” she dished to ESSENCE in our September 2008 issue.


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