STYLE & BEAUTY
01/31/2017 11:07 am ET Updated Jan 31, 2017

Kerry Washington's Style Evolution Is Full Of Red Carpet Risks

From "Save the Last Dance" to "Scandal" to everything in between.

Kerry Washington is a style icon, though she claims it wasn’t always the case. She wears fresh-off-the-runway looks with ease, completely blows everyone else’s maternity style out of the water, and then does it again and again.

The “Scandal” star uses her fashion in other ways, too. She’s spread awareness of financial abuse through purse design, co-designed a clothing line based on her hit television show and, as proven as recently as the 2017 SAG Awards, uses her platform to make political statements about troubling new policies.

A look back at the way Washington’s style has evolved since those beloved “Save the Last Dance” days shows she’s always had a flair for fashion, if not quite as high fashion as she wears today. Her gowns have gotten a chic upgrade, but the boldness and willingness to have fun through fashion is definitely unchanged.

In honor of Washington’s 40th birthday, we revisit those earlier days, and celebrate some of our favorite recent moments, too. 

  • 2004
    At the 15th Annual Glamour "Women of the Year" Awards on Nov. 8
    Evan Agostini via Getty Images
    At the 15th Annual Glamour "Women of the Year" Awards on Nov. 8
  • 2004
    At Movieline's Hollywood Life 2004 Breakthrough Awards on Dec. 12
    Michael Buckner via Getty Images
    At Movieline's Hollywood Life 2004 Breakthrough Awards on Dec. 12
  • 2005
    At the 57th Annual DGA Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 29
    Michael Buckner via Getty Images
    At the 57th Annual DGA Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 29
  • 2005
    At the National Board of Review Annual Gala 2005 on Jan. 11
    Evan Agostini via Getty Images
    At the National Board of Review Annual Gala 2005 on Jan. 11
  • 2006
    At the "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" premiere during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival on May 18
    Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images
    At the "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" premiere during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival on May 18
  • 2006
    At the Premiere Lounge after party for "The Dead Girl" during AFI Fest 2006 on  Nov. 7
    Frazer Harrison via Getty Images
    At the Premiere Lounge after party for "The Dead Girl" during AFI Fest 2006 on  Nov. 7
  • 2007
    At the premiere for the film "Ocean's Thirteen" at the Palais des Festivals during the 60th International Cannes Film Fe
    Peter Kramer via Getty Images
    At the premiere for the film "Ocean's Thirteen" at the Palais des Festivals during the 60th International Cannes Film Festival on May 24
  • 2007
    At the 7th Annual Breakthrough of the Year Awards on Dec. 9
    Amy Graves via Getty Images
    At the 7th Annual Breakthrough of the Year Awards on Dec. 9
  • 2008
    At the L'Oreal Legends Gala to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund on Nov. 10
    Jemal Countess via Getty Images
    At the L'Oreal Legends Gala to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund on Nov. 10
  • 2008
    At the Palme d'Or Closing Ceremony at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival on May 25
    Venturelli via Getty Images
    At the Palme d'Or Closing Ceremony at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival on May 25
  • 2009
    At the Young Patrons Of Lincoln Center Fall Masquerade Gala on Oct. 29
    NBC NewsWire via Getty Images
    At the Young Patrons Of Lincoln Center Fall Masquerade Gala on Oct. 29
  • 2009
    At the "Face" Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 23
    George Pimentel via Getty Images
    At the "Face" Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 23
  • 2010
    At opening night at The Metropolitan Opera House on Sept. 27
    STAN HONDA via Getty Images
    At opening night at The Metropolitan Opera House on Sept. 27
  • 2010
    At the "Mother And Child" Los Angeles Premiere at the Egyptian Theatre on April 19
    Jeffrey Mayer via Getty Images
    At the "Mother And Child" Los Angeles Premiere at the Egyptian Theatre on April 19
  • 2011
    At the 2011 BET Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on June 26
    Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
    At the 2011 BET Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on June 26
  • 2011
    At the 2010 New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Jan. 10
    Stephen Lovekin via Getty Images
    At the 2010 New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Jan. 10
  • 2012
    At the Emmy Awards on Sept. 23
    Getty
    At the Emmy Awards on Sept. 23
  • 2012
    At "The Details" premiere on Oct. 29
    Getty
    At "The Details" premiere on Oct. 29
  • 2013
    At the Golden Globe awards on Jan. 13 
    Getty
    At the Golden Globe awards on Jan. 13 
  • 2013
    At the NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 1
    Getty
    At the NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 1
  • 2013
    At the MTV Movie Awards on April 14
    Getty
    At the MTV Movie Awards on April 14
  • 2014
    At the 66th annual Directors Guild of America Awards on Jan. 25
    Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
    At the 66th annual Directors Guild of America Awards on Jan. 25
  • 2014
    At the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25
    Jeffrey Mayer via Getty Images
    At the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25
  • 2014
    At the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 18
    Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images
    At the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 18
  • 2015
    At the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 20
    Jeffrey Mayer via Getty Images
    At the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 20
  • 2015
    At the 2015 Baby2Baby Gala at 3LABS on Nov. 14
    Lester Cohen via Getty Images
    At the 2015 Baby2Baby Gala at 3LABS on Nov. 14
  • 2015
    At The Paley Center for Media Presents "An Evening with The Cast of 'Scandal'" on May 14
    Desiree Navarro via Getty Images
    At The Paley Center for Media Presents "An Evening with The Cast of 'Scandal'" on May 14
  • 2016
    At the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 30
    Larry Busacca via Getty Images
    At the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 30
  • 2016
    At the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 18
    Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images
    At the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 18
  • 2017
    At the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 8
    George Pimentel via Getty Images
    At the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 8
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