BY THIS—OUR 17TH—ROUND OF ASSEMBLING PEOPLE’S annual Best & Worst Dressed issue, one thing is clear: The heights of fashion are scaled by rugged individualists. For the task of selecting our 10 best and 10 worst celebrity dressers, PEOPLE chose eight judges who gallantly sorted through 241 pictures of 27 candidates and then voted their preferences. We averaged their scores, kept the highest-and lowest-ranked, and eliminated the rest.
Like the winners and losers they picked, our panel members take unique approaches to style. Clueless costume designer Mona May, 32, born in Calcutta and reared in Germany, describes her look as “European flair with an Asiatic touch.” Ilene Beckerman, 62, author of the 1995 book Love, Loss and What I Wore, calls her wardrobe “part Jacqueline Kennedy, part what’s on sale at Marshalls.” MTV veejay Idalis DeLeon, 29, revealed to L.A. correspondent Anne-Marie Otey that her fashion arsenal includes a pair of custom-made black leather pants known as “the bomb—they work every time,” and Houston Astro Derek Bell, 27, confessed to Miami correspondent Cindy Dampier, “My whole team knows about my shoes with the nice matching belts.” Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper star Holly Robinson Peete, 31, says that she has come a long way since her 21 Jump Street days of “jeans with patches.” And Inside Edition’s Deborah Norville, 38, told this issue’s chief of reporters Veronica Burns about the skeleton in her closet: a Michael Jackson-style military jacket “which looked terribly cool in the shop when I bought it four years ago—and still has the tags on it.”
While our judges were tough, they weren’t heartless. Costume designer Penny Rose, 47 (Mission Impossible), acknowledged to London correspondent Kimberly Chrisman that it’s hard for actors to find their own style with “so many designers scrambling to dress them.” They in turn might take pity on judge Jonathan Katz, 49, of Comedy Central’s Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist. “A salesman told me, ‘You don’t have an off-the-rack body,’ ” he says, “which I guess is his way of saying, ‘You look like a pear.’ ”