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Emmys: Mayim Bialik, Julie Bowen, and more TV stars on finding the perfect dress

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Image Credit: JB Lacroix/WireImage; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images; Michael Tran/FilmMagic

The Emmys are still days away, but many actresses — and their stylists — have been searching for the perfect gown for weeks. If you don’t win there’s always next year, but if you land on the worst dressed list you might never live it down.

At Audi and Altuzarra’s Emmy Awards week kick-off party, Cat Deeley, Julie Bowen, Sarah Hyland, and The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik practiced their over-the-shoulder poses, talked about getting red carpet ready, and revealed what goes into choosing a dress for Sunday’s big event.

Read on to find out who follows her religious beliefs instead of the latest fashion trends, who is making her own dress, and who is still on the hunt for a gown that’s bathroom-accessible. Plus, why Jesse Tyler Ferguson stole a tux from his 14-year-old co-star.

What has So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley learned since walking her first Emmys red carpet in 2006? “A lot of my choices are based on comfort, coolness, as in [temperature], and also bathroom accessibility, because I made that fatal error last year,” Deeley said. “I couldn’t actually go to the bathroom in my dress. I went into the stall, came back out, and had to ask the Downton Abbey girls to unzip me. They gave me a Werther’s Original to put into my handbag, so it was worth it.” Though Deeley had the opportunity to take a practice run at the Creative Arts Emmys — where she wore an ivory one-shoulder Badgley Mischka gown —  she still hasn’t decided what she’ll wear this Sunday night. “I love the idea of wearing a British designer, so maybe someone like… Julien MacDonald, maybe. There’s also [French designer] Roland Mouret, who I love. I think he does great things. Also, Armani Privé is amazing. [I'm] making choices right now.”

Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen admitted that there’s some style gossip involved in the process. “[There's] a lot of, ‘Did you hear what so-in-so is wearing?’ I’m not good at any of that. I’m really not,” she confessed. With the help of stylist Tara Swennen, Bowen has managed to narrow down the field of gowns to two finalists and will make a her decision on Thursday. “You ultimately want to wear something you feel good in. If it’s long enough, you can swap out the uncomfortable shoes for comfortable shoes later.” At last year’s Emmys, Bowen won praise for her chartreuse Monique Lhuillier dress, but that doesn’t mean she’ll take a fashion risk this year. “My comfort zone is sweats,” she joked.

Bowen’s co-star Sarah Hyland is taking matters into her own hands by co-designing the gown she’ll wear to this year’s ceremony. “I can’t say who [I'm collaborating with] yet, but I’m very, very excited about it,” teased the actress, who has a second fitting with the mystery designer today. How exactly does co-designing work? “I sent them sketches that I had drawn, then they sent back a couple sketches [that incorporated] my ideas. They made two dresses for me and I [decided on] one and what I wanted to change about it.” The a ultra-feminine Grecian gown Hyland wore last year was the a co-collaboration with Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman. The actress won’t reveal whether she’s re-teamed with the same label this year, but she did divulge that she’s taking extreme measures to ensure that whatever she wears will fit perfectly. “I’m starting a juice cleanse tomorrow. My first time ever, I don’t know why. I’ve decided to try to do something in preparation because everyone always asks me, ‘What did you do to prepare?’ I’m like, ‘Ah! Not really anything!’ So this year I’m trying to decide to do something,” she laughed. “A lot of my friends have been doing it. I thought I’d do the typical Hollywood thing.”

One nominee who isn’t doing the typical Hollywood thing is The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik, who says that choosing the right gown is especially tricky given her lifestyle. “I always dress modestly,” said the actress, who forgoes fashion trends and follows her religious beliefs instead. “I usually cover to the elbow, definitely to the knee. I don’t do strapless, so that’s a huge limitation believe it or not.” This year Bialik is working with designer Oliver Tolentino to design “something kind of classic, Old Hollywood. I think we’ve getting pretty close.” Another challenge is working dress fittings into her hectic schedule. “It’s also a Jewish holiday this week, a religious holiday, so it’s [a matter of] trying to get everything done before Wednesday night so that everything is in place for the rest of the weekend. It’s a crazy week!”

And it isn’t much easier for the men, though some enjoy the experience more than others. “I always like the process,” said Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson. “It’s hard to make a tuxedo unique and special, [but] it’s a fun challenge.” Surprisingly, Ferguson said the competition can be just as fierce for the men as it is for the women. “I have something fun picked out that Nolan Gould, who plays Luke on our show, was eyeing for the SAG Awards,” he said. “I took it away from him. I feel really bad. He just emailed me and was like, ‘That was what I was going to wear.’ I was like, ‘Sorry.’ I did that to a 14-year-old!”

We’re sure both guys will look dapper. Can’t wait to see what everyone settles on this Sunday.

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