Strictly Come Dancing 2018: The Tess Dress Mess Saga

Another year of Strictly and possibly my favourite part of the show is the three seconds before Tess Daly walks to reveal her questionable outfit of the week – only she can ricochet from High Priestess of a Cult to Waiting In Line at Starbucks and occasionally landing in Screaming Vaginal Hellscape so I thought why not rank them – she’s the only one that keeps is interesting, Claudia would literally be like ranking the attendants at a wake.

I think we’ll start with best:

Blackpool Main Show: GOOOOOOOLD!

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Well this is more like it! I can’t believe it took us 9 weeks to get something that looks like it might be designer and not from Debenhams! I suppose everything is bigger in Blackpool, including Tess’ dress budget! I just hope it doesn’t mean the rest of the series isn’t plunged into abject poverty and she has to start wearing previous dresses inside out.

Movie Week Main Show: Pretty In Pink

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Sometimes the stars align and Tess somehow manages to cobble together an actually legitimately knock-out look and this THIS is one of those moments. The colour, the diaphanous skirt and the slit from here to yahyah. It’s very pop-art Angelina Jolie. And for once the bodice isn’t completely cockeye and has no weird darts that make it look like she’s about to poke someone’s eye out with a nipple! I do hope this isn’t a recurring trend – up to the usual fuckery next week Tess!

Halloween Week Results: Great Gatsby, She’s Got It!

tess week 6 results

OK so the the Halloweeniness didn’t extend to the results show then – I mean Claudia is wearing Slimer on her feet so someone is at least trying. I kind of wish Tess’ dress was less sheer (purely because I have an aversion to sheer fabrics) and that the cut was a little less casual, as is it looks like a very glamorous beachwear look but hey, I’m sucker for an art deco print so I’m willing to forgive.

Week 8 Results Show: Squeaky Clean

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You just know that if you buy more than 5 GOOP products at a time someone dressed like this will appear at your door the next day and tell you that you’e reached Level 2 in the GOOP Ascension Order and offer you a complimentary vaginal steaming session. But it is clean and well put together – I feel that they have to put that much more effort in during Poppy Season because one slight style misstep and the Daily Mail will literally want your head on a plate and your blood in a chalice.

Musicals Week Results: Crushed Velvet

Tess week 11 results

It’s short, it’s velvet, it’s red and it has almost certainly been put on incorrectly. I mean just look at the stretch and the weird gathering on her armpit and elbows. It absolutely wasn’t meant to be an asymmetrical dress but Tess just can’t navigate a neck-hole. Or they had to pull it much further down to allow for the mic but then you just don’t wear the dress. But it is a perfectly lovely dress and I kind of want it for my own Christmas party.

Week 10 Results: Cold Shoulders

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There is nothing Tess loves more than her shoulders and she will take a pair of scissors to any sensible dinner dress to show them off.

Week 8 Main Show: Peak Poppy Season

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It’s Remembrance Weekend and so it was always going to be a red dress and just to spite me the moment Tess doesn’t wear a jumpsuit Claudia immediately decides she will wear one. CAN WE HAVE ONE WEEKEND WITHOUT A JUMPSUIT? I’m just glad that Tess did at least to find something with a little more of a lux feel after a few weeks of questionably highstreet looking outfits. I did however send a great deal of the evening worried it was going to fall off her at any given moment because of the bizarre way the bodice is constructed. She keeps us on our toes, our Tess does.

Blackpool Results Show: Roast Gold

tess week 9 results

I will never be as big a fan of rose gold as the girl at the back of the classroom with the HD brows and an Iggy Azalea ringtone. To me it just looks like glittery salmon and who wants to look like they’re wearing the skin of David Cameron? It does always look very eye-catching on the hanger so I can’t blame for being tricked into it. Rose Gold is one Hell of a deceptive bitch.

Week 7 Main Show: Back To Black

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And so I suppose the interim between Halloween Week and Blackpool begins as Tess once again returns to pretty mundane black dresses. Although I do love the neckline – it strikes me as a highstreet interpretation of Lady Gaga’s 2016 Golden Globes dress. Which is a compliment but I do feel like for such a high profile show looking like the highstreet is… not great? And then we can’t really NOT talk about the slit because her leg really wants you to know about it – my grandmother was scandalised by it but in this day and age it’s really not vulgar at all. I do think the dress would have been elevated without it and with another 2 inches on the hem.

Musicals Week Main Show: Bow Peep

Tess week 11

I SCREAMED. This is more like it, 11 weeks and FINALLY we get our first FAHSHUN! Mess; and I’ll be kind of honest I don’t entirely hate it –  it looks like it belongs in the same collection as Paloma Faith’s chicken drumstick dress. Sure some would say she looks like a badly wrapped present or a bit of a baboon’s arse but at least it’s something! Maybe this was their tactic all along, wear an array of mundane black dresses and then WHAM! As soon as it’s the festive season we go all out camp!  I hope the closer we get to Christmas the weirder it gets. I can’t wait for her Rudolph cosplay.

Halloween Week Main Show: Tess Becomes Her

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In a week of some of the worst Strictly costumes to date (Ashley as a Magic Mushroom, Kate as Kameron Michaels’ Winter Lerk and Joe as Costume Box Remnants Vampire) that Tess’ more subtle nod to Madeline Ashton was quite the palate cleanser. Granted you have to get over the fact the skirt has been needlessly destroyed but for a night where I was expecting her to just wear black because She’s a witch, duh, it was at least mildly unexpected but still Halloweeny enough. I do kind of wish she had gone all out and worn it backwards. It’s Halloween, don’t half arse a Death Becomes Her reference.

Week 4 Main Show: Diamante Fashion Vicar

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Tess just really loves a jumpsuit, and asymmetrical necklines and applying just one thing to crack it the fuck up because WHAT IS THIS? It’s one part assassin, one part racer girl and one part vicar. PICK ONE NARRATIVE TESS. Although I now kind of want to see Villanelle assassinate the corrupt owner of the NASCAR Empire in Killing Eve because she would wear this and it would somehow make sense.

Week 10: Generic Black Jumpsuit 101

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So Blackpool really swallowed the budget and Tess is now having to turn her old jumpsuits inside out. There really isn’t much to say other than the fact it at least fits well. It’s just disappointing that in a week where Shirley came dressed in a John Lewis Bedspread that you could hide an entire brewery under Tess showed up in this. And also I can’t stop looking at her toes poking out like the forgotten sausage that falls on the floor during Christmas dinner.

Week 5 Results: Bruised Ego

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This very much comes across as a back up dress that was never really meant to be worn because it is at least 1 size too big and drifting south as the same pace as the Arctic. It’s also very much not a TV host dress – it’s very sensible secretary at work Christmas Dinner in that fancy pub your parents like. There’s no glitz, glam or razzle dazzle, but hey at least if she spills her wine it’s not TOO noticeable.

Movie Week Results: The Woman in Black

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Movie Week was seemingly overall a pretty good weekend out for Tess’ fashion sense – although this is a little bit sombre and something a table magician’s assistant might wear while she offers out hor d’oeuvres. And the hem is doing incredibly odd things – it’s a high-low situation that looks like it may have been a creative choice taken seconds before she stepped out so didn’t have time to properly assess it once the runner had taken to it with a pair of scissors.

Week 1 Main Show: Fisherman’s Jumpsuit

Tess Week 1

I have a thing about jumpsuits and that thing: NO ONE SHOULD EVER WEAR ONE. And then it looks like she has fishing flies all over top and now I’m pretty convinced that this is actually a very glamorous pair of waders and she’s going trot fishing after the show.

Week 7 Results: Supermassive Black Hole

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COME ON. This isn’t even that bad a dress it’s just that it’s so…. pedestrian. And in a week where we’ve got Darcey oscillating between Wedding Fashion Astronaut and Neon Pierrot Clown it just becomes even more glaringly obvious how average Tess’ looks are. This is Strictly, the biggest, glitziest show on British television and wearing a dress you add a feathered headband and a long cigarette holder to and call a flapper costume for your fancy dress party is not going to cut it.

Launch Week: Holographic Space Turkey

Tess Launch

It’s been 10 years since the iconic SNOWDANCE in which Brendan Cole choreographed an interpretive routine about the frustration of cooking the turkey on Christmas day and so why would Tess not wear a dress that celebrates that… marvel? I mean it did look pretty poorly constructed – so many visible seams and when she walked you could literally hear it moving a la the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz but for Tess, this is pretty good. Also shout out to Shirley Ballas’ Jellyfish Ghost poncho.

Week 12 Results: Tarred and Feathered

Tess Week 12 results

I just find every aspect of this outfit to be questionable: it starts out on a bad foot for being a jumpsuit, then it commits the crime of being uniformly black AND THEN they bedeck the bust in a thin smattering of wispy ostrich feathers – it’s like she’s wearing Hitler’s moustache – it’s just a square of what ends up looking like hair and no one wants hairy tits.

Week 4 Results: In It To Bin It

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Essentially it’s the Week 2 main show dress but recrafted using binbags and I think it kind of works as a perfect visual representation of the morbid sheen that the Week 4 show was with the Sean(n) and Katya saga having blown up and everyone being a little strained because of the fear that something they say or a look they might give may be interpreted as being snide or giving an opinion. It  gets a higher spot than the week  2 dress because Tess’ hair was just SO BOUNCY!

Week 2 Main Show: Laundry Day

Tess Week 2

There’s not really a lot you can say other than the fact it looks very casting call for pre-cycle 6 ANTM – it’s a black dress with spaghetti straps and far too much rouching and the girl wearing it inevitably finishes 7th.

Week 12 Main Show: LIE-lac

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At least it’s a colour. Unfortunate is also almost definitely a re-purposed edgy-teen’s bedsheet from Hot Topic that came with a matching Nightmare Before Christmas duvet cover. And it’s as lumpy and ill-fitting as you would expect it to be.

Week 5 Main Show: Pampers Couture

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Have you ever wondered what a full-body nappy would look like? Well wonder no more because Tess has you covered! I am entirely convinced that the egregiously puffy crotch is caused by the mid-show snacks she’s smuggled down there because they run her around the studio so much and with Bruno away this week and not slipping her his desk “snacks” </gin> during performances she had to have them somewhere!

Week 2 Results Show: White Out

Tess Week 2 results

Well I guess I need to eat my words because if Claudia showed up to a funeral looking like a malfunctioning hologram message in Star Wars she would probably get a few iffy looks from the family of the deceased. I’ll give her another week and if she goes all maverick on us again I might start a list of her own.

But Tess. When you compare what the judges get to wear to Tess and Claudia you seriously begin to think why the wardrobe department hates them so much? Shirley and Darcey constantly have great outfits (Shirley’s jellyfish ghost poncho aside) and you only see their outfits for about 15 seconds and then they’re behind a desk and we have to stare at Tess’ outfit that appears to have been constructed entirely out of materials you find at a beach volleyball court FOR AN ENTIRE SHOW.

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