Courtesy
Kim Peiffer
Feb 29, 2016 @ 2:45 pm

When I found out the news that I would be attending the 88th Academy Awards, I was thrilled—but then I suddenly started panicking. “What will you wear?” my co-workers (and my own mother) started asking with concern. As the questions continued, time was quickly slipping away and so I started my research.

I have been to many a black-tie affair but never a glitzy red carpet event of this magnitude, so I was determined to go all out. As an editor, I’m lucky to have access to some amazing designers. So my first step? Flipping through runway images of the collections' most recent seasons to see what would catch my eye and rounding up a few of my favorite looks.

I know I wanted something fitted and structured (no fluff for me), and nothing too bright. After hours of searching, I whittled the selection down to about 15 gowns from Marchesa, Ralph Lauren, and Zac Posen and had the pieces called in to my office for a little fashion show. Among them: silky pink and red numbers from Marchesa and a black velvet backless frock from Ralph Lauren. The list goes on and on—I loved them all—but I still felt like, as they say, “ I hadn’t found the one.”

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Sarah Balch for InStyle.com
Sarah Balch for InStyle.com

At this point it was a mere four days before the Oscars and two days before I left for Los Angeles. So in full last-minute panic mode, I started browsing on the shopping app Spring, which allows you to customize your choices and easily sort through hundreds of gowns. There, I found a gorgeous white column gown from Roland Mouret and it was love at first sight. I wanted it; I needed it; I had to have it. But there was one huge problem: At this point my plane was set to take off in 24 hours. How would I get this gown in my palm for Oscar Sunday?

As it turns out, it was NBD. I pressed purchase on the app, entered my info, and had it delivered directly to my hotel with the express, two-day option. When I arrived in L.A., I was admittedly a little nervous that I would have to go naked to the ceremony, because I had no backup option. But Saturday morning, like clockwork, a box arrived at my door with my dress. And it fit like a glove.

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To complete the look, I accessorized with a clutch and jewels from Marchesa and Stuart Weitzman Nudist heels. The finishing touch? Side-swept curls, dark eyes, and a red lip. Voila! I was ready for the red carpet. And although Leo didn’t ask me to marry him and I did leave the Oscars with dirt all over the train of my pristine white gown—I blame that on Lady Gaga, who physically stepped on my train as I walked out of the Governors Ball)—a testament to the fact that this was one successful night on the town.

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