Wondering what the devil Meryl will wear to Oscars?
Although Streep can wear anything she likes, fashion experts want her to change her style this year.
NEW YORK -- On Feb. 25, Meryl Streep will again walk the red carpet at the Academy Awards as a nominee for best actress.
This time will be different from the other 13 times she's been nominated for an Oscar: She's representing "The Devil Wears Prada," a film full of style, glamour and super-chic clothes.
But Streep's own style is usually somewhat lower key than that of imperious fashion editor Miranda Priestley, whom Streep portrayed in the film.
"Meryl is the total opposite of the role she played. She was really acting. Meryl is more earthy," said Christine Schwab, author of "Style for Grown-Up Girls" (HarperCollins). "I wish she'd incorporate a little more of Miranda's style on the red carpet."
So what is a red-carpet outfit worthy of Miranda, editor of the fictional Vogue-like magazine Runway?
Her favorite things
Over the years, Streep has favored off-the-shoulder necklines, jackets with collars, full skirts or beaded ensembles, Tom Julian, the fashion expert on Oscar.com, said. He'd like to see her break from those outfits.
"It might be time to turn to a woman who knows red carpet glam and American sensibility -- Vera Wang," Julian said.
There also were some shimmering gowns at Giorgio Armani's recent couture show that would work for Streep, he said. The sculpted black velvet gown by Valentino that Miranda wore in the black-tie gala scene would be "an ideal starting place for Streep's Oscar thinking."
Streep was very active in choosing Miranda's wardrobe, working closely with costume designer Patricia Field, said Robert Verdi, of Style Network's "Fashion Police." Verdi had a cameo in "The Devil Wears Prada" as a red-carpet interviewer.
"I like the way she cultivated the style for the character she played. ... Meryl really takes on the role of the character and had an opinion of what the character should wear," he said.
If Streep really were the most powerful woman in fashion, she'd wear a one-of-a-kind dress, not even couture but something made especially for her, says Mary Alice Stephenson, a celebrity stylist who put Drew Barrymore in Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors for the cover story of February's Harper's Bazaar.
"There's a very short list of who you'd have to wear," Stephenson said, ticking off the names Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci, Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga or newcomer Rodarte by sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy. "Cate Blanchett recently wore Rodarte. They're probably the most couturelike of the young designers," she noted.
Real-life Vogue editor Anna Wintour might indeed choose Prada because she has a long-standing relationship with Miuccia Prada, in the way that Catherine Deneuve always turned to Yves Saint Laurent for a big event, or Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy.
The other option, according to Stephenson, also a TV style commentator, would be a vintage gown, one from a designer's personal archives or a museum-worthy piece. "If it has that kind of heritage, you'll know it's historically important," she suggested.
And, Stephenson adds, there would only be two stores to shop for such vintage style masterpieces: Lily et Cie in Los Angeles or New York Vintage in Manhattan.
Stephenson hopes Streep developed a taste for high fashion making "Devil," and that designers also are more aware of Streep as a red-carpet beauty. "She is having a moment," she said. "It's a coup for designers to dress these older women now. ... Maybe Meryl will wear Doo.ri or Rodarte."
At the Golden Globes last month, Streep wore a blush seersucker chiffon gown by Herrera.
"She doesn't really care what anyone says about her fashion," said Ryan Patterson, supervising producer of "Access Hollywood." "She's Meryl Streep. Just by name alone, she gets a 'free pass' card and she can wear whatever she wants. ... She's not going to J.Lo with a dress slit down to her belly button."
"You can't say anything bad about Meryl," he said. She is, after all, the actor with the most Oscar nominations to her name.
"She can stand on her laurels of acting, not on her laurels of dressing. That already sets her apart," Verdi said.