With both New York Fashion Week and the Met Gala occurring in precession of one another this month, style has been, and is still, on America’s radar. The Met Gala is undeniably the paramount fashion event of the year. Everyone who is anyone shows up and shows out dressed head to toe in exclusive designer pieces. After a year and a half hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bar was set high for what these celebrities would be sporting, as the Gala was making its universally desired return. 

The execution of this year’s theme, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” didn’t compare to past ones, such as the iconic 2018 “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” where, cosmically, everyone’s look remained cohesive with the theme, despite still expressing personal style and individuality. 

The ensembles everyone exhibited this year, however, did not demonstrate unity, even though the red, white and blue accompanied by some denim and fringe here-and-there were still present. Respectively, American fashion is also fluid. It embodies differing cultures and also reflects societal issues, explaining the variations of red carpet looks but nonetheless, there were still more misses than hits this year, and no one can stop talking about it. 

But first and foremost, let’s talk honorable mentions. For starters, some of Met Gala’s biggest names didn’t make an appearance such as Blake Lively, Ariana Grande and Beyonce. The public is speculating this could be due to the Gala requiring vaccination records. For those who did show, there were some let downs. Rihanna and A$AP Rocky being two of them as they appeared to have wrapped themselves in bed comforters. And although Justin and Hailey Bieber always slay, they could’ve stepped out of the box a little more instead of playing it safe with all black, basic fits. Of course, neither of these couples looked bad, per say, but definitely not jaw dropping either for the power each duo carries.  

Celebrities were coming in hot with statement pieces, too, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dress displaying “Tax the Rich” and Cara Delevigne’s top saying “Peg the Patriarchy” — both taking the American theme quite literally given our current state of union. And then there were influencers like Emma Chamberlain who killed the game and others like Dixie D'amelio who simply didn’t. With that being said, here are five of the best and worst looks of the 2021 Met Gala: 

The Worst 

5. Lourdes Leon 

Although we’re not entirely sure what Madonna’s daughter’s belly-dancer-like outfit was completely referring to, her pride in her armpit hair was a direct allusion to her mother herself, who was one of the makers of the trend, and an icon in American culture, undoubtedly. Leon’s look, however, was an ultimate letdown. 

4. J Balvin 

If you didn’t know who J Balvin was before the Gala (because we didn’t) you will now, due to his gaudy Moschino suit that couldn’t have gone unnoticed. The suit was a reference to his new album Coloures, and in that it exceeded, but the overall guise did not. It was tacky, flashy and everything the Met Gala isn’t. 

3. Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello 

We hate to hate on this power couple — because it’s impossible to not love them — but we can assure you it’s very much possible to not love this look. We’re getting Harry Styles wannabe vibes from Mendes and nostalgic competitive dance vibes from Cabello. Don’t worry guys, there’s always next year. 

2. Kim Kardashian 

Oh, the controversy this outfit has caused. Some love it, some hate it, and for us, we aren’t fans. The concept was there, it really was. The idea that Kim’s body is American fashion, and that without even having to see her face, everyone knows it's her, is justifiable and iconic, but the Balenciaga morph suit, dress-like outfit, not so much. The potential she had was indescribable. 

1. Kim Petras

Yes, the cliche horse girl is representative of American culture, but it doesn’t mean one should dress like it for the biggest fashion event of the year. Petras' long ponytail acted as the mane, which was clever, not going to lie, but other than that there’s not much to say about this getup, besides that it crossed the line and won first place, in our opinion, for worst fit. Sorry Kim, time to start looking toward your new friend Paris for a fashion fix. As Cosmopolitan said, “We’re going to have to give this one (forgive us) a ‘neigh.’”

The Best

5. Jennifer Lopez 

J-Lo’s Ralph Lauren fit is the epitome of Indiana Jones meets Coachella — an American allegiance to say the least. The brown, sleek, low cut, high slit dress paired with the leather belt, cuff, choker and authentic Cowboy hat was praiseworthy. J-Lo ultimately looked sexy and feminine, as she always manages to do, despite the theme or event. 

4. Karlie Kloss 

With America being the theme of the 2021 Gala, naturally, an abundance of red dresses were worn by celebrities such as Megan Fox, Addison Rae, Eiza Gonzalez and Jennifer Hudson. Nevertheless, none rocked red the way model Karlie Kloss did in a Carolina Herrera masterpiece. She channeled America’s national flower, the rose, without looking glaringly like one, but instead, incorporating accents of the flower, effortlessly. 

3. Billie Eilish 

The media has always tended to deliberate Eilish’s fashion choices and the way her body fits clothing, despite it being her decision and no one else’s topic of conversation. When Eilish was just a minor, she typically wore baggier clothing in order to protect herself from predators. Subsequently, when Eilish turned 18 she began wearing whatever it was that made her feel most comfortable, and of course the public had something to say. 

Now, Eilish is making a statement as she pays homage to the historic and significant sensuous, seductive Marilyn Monroe — America’s popular sex symbol and the first “blonde bombshell.” Eilish’s allusion to Monroe was unarguably revolutionary for her as a figure in fashion, and will hopefully aid in culminating the dispute over her clothing choices. 

Even more noteworthy is that Eilish wore the elegant Oscar de la Renta gown under one circumstance: the house of Oscar de la Renta must go forth as fur-free. Eilish genuinely made social strides the minute she stepped foot on the red carpet. 

2. Kendall Jenner

Would you expect anything less of Jenner? We wouldn’t. Kendall Jenner’s custom Givenchy was a modern take on the influential Aubrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. The sheerness and simplicity and the perfect amount of provocative cuts paired with the jewel embellishments, made for the most exquisite and stunning dress of the night. 

1. Lil Nas X 

Lil Nas X, one of society’s current favorite figures, established himself as king of the Gala on Monday night by pulling a Gaga and showing up in not one, not two, but three regal Donatella Versace customs. And get this: it was his debut Met Gala. The debutee arrived in a golden velvet cloak, which encompassed his whole existence, and draped the floor. It was even embroidered in beads and sequins. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Nas then shed his cloak to reveal golden armor, leaving him gleaming like a true knight. He resembled everything majestic and monarchical. Lastly, he stepped out in the Versace bodysuit, which shielded him with a great amount of gold crystals. Lil Nas X single-handedly made up for all of the mediocre and unsightly looks and established himself as the main attraction. He set the standard for what he best deliver in the years to come. All hail, Lil Nas X.