Reese Witherspoon Has Always Been the Girl Next Door on the Red Carpet

Following her role as the unstoppable and irresistible Elle Woods in the Legally Blonde films, Reese Witherspoon, who had previously starred as slightly more sinister characters in Election and Pleasantville, was quickly appointed as America’s newest sweetheart. Since then, Witherspoon has come even more into her own, showing unprecedented ambition through a diversity of roles, which includes her pinnacle, Oscar-winning work as June Carter in Walk the Line, the self-destructive Cheryl Strayed in Wild, and, most recently, the stubborn, but hardworking reporter on The Morning Show. Off-screen, Witherspoon has garnered even more attention for her powerhouse-producing streak and recent venture, Hello Sunshine, which aims to project female-driven stories across multiple digital platforms. That’s all to say she’s a multi-faceted woman, and of course, she has a wardrobe to match. For over three decades, Witherspoon has taken on the red carpet, and honestly, her aesthetic hasn’t altered too much in that time. Sparkly, form-fitting, and feminine is Witherspoon’s MO, and brands like Celine, Versace, Elie Saab, and Michael Kors Collection have helped her achieve the desired effect at some of the biggest events of the year. Now, to celebrate the actress’ 48th birthday, we’re looking back at her long history of looks, from her days promoting Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde to now.

2024: Screen Actors Guild Awards

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Witherspoon wore a red hot Elie Saab spring 2024 couture dress with a structured bodice and slit to the SAG awards in 2024.

2024: Critics Choice Awards

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The addition of the voluminous bow on the hip of Witherspoon’s Celine dress added a bit of whimsy to an otherwise classic look.

2024: Golden Globe Awards

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Witherspoon loves a classic, form-fitting dress, and this Monique Lhuillier, mid-length number with a light pink, off-the-shoulder detail, fit into her aesthetic perfectly.

2023: Your Place Or Mine Premiere

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The actress made the case for the return of the peplum with the help of this turqoiuse dress from Valentino fall 2022 couture.


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Witherspoon embraced the mermaidcore aesthetic in a sequin-covered Armani Privé fall 2022 dress at the 2022 Emmys.


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Considering Witherspoon was a producer of Surface, as opposed to a star of the Apple TV+ show, she likely didn’t want to ellicit too much attention at the premiere. Still, the actress look great in an ivory, knee-length Schiaparelli dress with gold embroidery.

2022: Screen Actors Guild Awards

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The horn-like neckline of this Schiaparelli dress added some edge to an otherwise classic look.

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Witherspoon smartly wore this adorable, pink and red checkered mini dress from Carolina Herrera spring 2022 to the premiere of her animated film, Sing 2.

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The belt on Witherspoon’s Dior fall 2021 dress added a bit of casual flair to the overall look.

2020: Vanity Fair Oscar Party

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Witherspoon sparkled at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in a knee-length Dolce & Gabbana dress.

2020: Screen Actors Guild Awards

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This shimmering Celine gown was the perfect choice for Witherspoon, who has never been afraid of a little sparkle on the red carpet.

2020: Golden Globe Awards

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For the 2020 Golden Globes, Witherspoon toned things down a bit, attending the awards ceremony in a white Roland Mouret gown with a gathered bodice and large ruffle detail.

2019: Country Music Association Awards

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Witherspoon attended the CMA Awards in a sequin-covered, one-shoulder mini dress from Atelier Versace.

2019: The Morning Show Premiere

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The actress turned to her go-to designer, Celine, to dress her for the premiere of the first season of The Morning Show.

2019: Big Little Lies Season 2 Premiere

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Witherspoon wore a strapless Elie Saab pre-fall 2019 dress with an abstract pattern to the season two premiere of Big Little Lies.

2018: A Wrinkle in Time Premiere

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The actress looked gorgeous in a sparkling, deep red one-shoulder dress by Michael Kors Collection at the premiere of A Wrinkle in Time in 2018.

2018: Screen Actors Guild Awards

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This deep green, chevron dress is proof that Zac Posen needs to return to designing for the red carpet.

2018: Critics Choice Awards


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Witherspoon went slightly more casual for the Critics Choice awards in 2018, opting to wear an embellished Prada dress to the event.

2018: Golden Globe Awards

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The 2019 Golden Globes featured Witherspoon in another gorgeous Zac Posen dress.

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Witherspoon isn’t afraid to show some leg on the red carpet, and in 2017, she did just that, wearing a teal Stella McCartney satin suit dress to the Emmys.

2017: Vanity Fair Oscar Party

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Once again, Witherspoon opted for a mini dress on the red carpet, attending the Vanity Fair Oscar party in a black, embellished long-sleeved Michael Kors number.

2017: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons:Art of the In-Between” Met Gala

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The actress mixed things up designer-wise for the 2017 Met Gala and opted to wear Mugler to fashion’s biggest night.

2017: Big Little Lies Premiere

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Once again, Witherspoon gravitated toward an embellished mini dress for a red carpet appearance. This one was courtesy of Elie Saab pre-fall 2017.

2017: Golden Globe Awards

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While this Versace dress is fairly simple, it’s all about the gorgeous, buttercup yellow color.


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Witherspoon’s propensity for embellished mini dresses works perfectly when she has to attend the premiere of an animated film. This a-line Elie Saab number was a great choice for the Sing premiere in 2016.

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The purple Nina Ricci dress Witherspoon wore to the 2016 Oscars is another example of a great color taking a simple silhouette to the next level.

2015: “China: Through The Looking Glass” Met Gala


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Witherspoon kept her look simple for the 2015 Met Gala, attending in a bright red Jason Wu gown.

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One of Witherspoon’s best looks to date has to be the black and white, off-the shoulder Tom Ford dress she wore to the Oscars in 2015.

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Clearly, Witherspoon was having a lot of fun with color in the mid-2010s. This purple Stella McCartney gown is another example of a great hue elevating a look.

2015: Screen Actors Guild Awards

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But a gorgeous white gown is always a good idea, as made evident by this Giorgio Armani dress.

2015: Golden Globe Awards

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Witherspoon channeled old-Hollywood glamour in a strapless, sparkling Calvin Klein gown.

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The cut-out overlay on this classic white Zac Posen spring 2015 added a perfect note of romanticism.

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Witherspoon wore a printed, short-sleeved floral dress by Dior to the premiere of her film, The Good Lie.

2014: “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” Met Gala

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Thirteen years after the release of Legally Blonde, Witherspoon embraced the Elle Woods look on the Met Gala red carpet in a dress by Stella McCartney.

2014: Vanity Fair Oscar Party

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Witherspoon mixed things up a bit for the 2014 Oscar after party and wore a plunging Hugo Boss fall 2014 dress with a paillette-embroidered skirt.

2014: Golden Globe Awards

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The actress kept the styling of her teal Calvin Klein Collection simple, pairing it with a blunt, shoulder-length cut and Harry Winston jewels.

2013: Toronto International Film Festival, The Devil’s Knot Premiere

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The actress added some color to her patterned Jason Wu resort 2014 dress with a pair of green, suede pumps.

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Witherspoon wore a blue and black colorblocked Louis Vuitton dress to the Oscars in 2013.

2012: Cannes Film Festival, Mud Premiere


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The actress’ silk chiffon Versace gown swathed her growing baby bump in Swarovski crystals.

2012: Golden Globe Awards

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The actress wowed viewers in Zac Posen’s pre-fall 2012 peony taffeta bustier gown at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in 2012.

2011: LACMA Art & Film Gala

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Witherspoon attended the first-ever LACMA gala in a Cushnie et Ochs black knee-length dress with a keyhole cutout on the bodice.

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The cheetah print mini dress Witherspoon wore to the MTV Movie Awards in 2011 was a far cry from the other Zac Posen dresses she has worn on the red carpet.

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Witherspoon has mastered the art of simple elegance, and this Armani Privé dress from the 2011 Oscars is a perfect example.

2010: How Do You Know Premiere

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The actress wore an adorable Zac Posen mini dress with trompe l’oeil bow details to the premiere of her romcom, How Do You Know.

2009: Monster vs. Aliens Premiere

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This futuristic silver and green Rodarte mini was the perfect choice for the premiere of Witherspoon’s animated film, Monsters vs. Aliens.

2009: Vanity Fair Oscar Party

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The actress wore a blue and black, draped Rodarte dress with an embellished bodice to the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2009.

2008: Four Christmases Premiere

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The actress paired her form-fitting Nina Ricci dress with some old Hollywood-inspired curls at the premiere of her comedy, Four Christmases.

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Witherspoon took the stage at the 2007 Oscars in an eggplant Nina Ricci dress with ombré layers that got lighter as the skirt hit the floor.

2007: Screen Actors Guild Awards

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Clearly, Witherspoon was on a Nina Ricci kick around 2007, because she wore another dress by the designer to the SAG Awards that year.

2007: Golden Globe Awards

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She also donned the designer at the Golden Globes, opting for a yellow, knee-length number, which she paired with contrasting red heels.

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The actress looked like a winner in her gorgeous, embellished Christian Dior gown at the 2006 Oscars, which is fitting considering she took home the trophy that night for her performance in Walk the Line.

2006: Golden Globe Awards


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2005: Walk the Line Premiere

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The actress opted for a bright red Caroline Herrera frock with an oversized black bow belt for the NYC premiere of Walk the Line in November 2005.

2005: Just Like Heaven Premiere

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In 2005, Witherspoon wore a tea-length Monique Lhuillier dress for the Just Like Heaven premiere in Los Angeles.

2004: Venice Film Festival, Vanity Fair Premiere

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A brunette Witherspoon opted for a pale blue Carolina Herrera number for the Venice Film Festival’s Vanity Fair premiere in 2004.

2003: Legally Blonde 2 Premiere

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Witherspoon wore a simple white dress to the premiere of Legally Blonde 2 in 2003. The piece featured a red velvet ribbon wrapped around the empire waist, which showed off her growing baby bump.

2002: Sweet Home Alabama Premiere

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The actress toughened up a feathery, grey number with a velvet belt at the world premiere of Sweet Home Alabama in New York City.

2002: The Importance of Being Earnest Premiere

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Witherspoon stunned in a strapless, navy dress with gold accents at The Importance of Being Honest premiere in 2002.

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The actress transported us back to the ’20s in this gorgeous, black embellished Valentino gown at the 2002 Oscars.

2002: Golden Globe Awards

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Clearly, the actress was going through a roarin’ ’20s phase in 2003, because her purple lace slip dress from the Golden Globes that year also fits into the early-20th century aesthetic.

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Witherspoon was in Elle Woods mode in 2001 when she wore this hot pink dress to the TCAs.

2001: Legally Blonde Premiere

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Over two decades before the “theme dressing” trend took over the red carpet, Witherspoon was wearing this Elle Woods-approved dress to the premiere of Legally Blonde.

2001: Golden Globe Awards

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The black dress Witherspoon wore to the Golden Globes in 2001 was all about the accessories.

2000: Golden Globe Awards

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Witherspoon wore a simple, strapless black dress to the Golden Globes in 2000, which she attended with her then-husband, Ryan Phillippe.

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The actress went simple at the premiere of Election, opting to wear a black, cap sleeve dress to the event.

1999: Vanity Fair Oscar Party

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Witherspoon likes to wear empire waist dresses when pregnant to show off her baby bump, just as she did at the Vanity Fair party in 1999.

1999: Cruel Intentions Premiere

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Witherspoon tied together a pink maxi skirt and white top with a gold belt for a Renaissance fair-inspired look at the premiere of her cult classic film.

1998: Pleasantville Premiere

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The actress looked gorgeous in a simple black strapless dress with gathered details.

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Witherspoon opted for a sheer, silver ensemble for her 1998 film premiere with a complimenting bag and peep-toe pumps.

1997: Vanity Fair Oscar Party

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The actress paired a sheer top with a velvet maxi skirt and black cardigan for the Oscar after party in 1997.

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Witherspoon celebrated her movie premiere in an all-black look featuring leather boots and a sleeveless turtleneck top.

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The actress wore a red dress, embellished cardigan, and boots to the premiere of her film, Fear, in 1996.

1991: The Man in the Moon Premiere

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Witherspoon attended the 1991 premiere of her debut movie, The Man In The Moon, in an adorable daisy top, black skirt, and cowboy boots.

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