Growing up in Los Angeles in a family immersed in the entertainment industry, Blake Lively got an early start in Hollywood. Her rise as a style star, however, can be directly traced back to the start of her role as Upper East Side It girl Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl. On screen, show-stopping sartorial moments from designers like Ralph Lauren and Marchesa were par for the course, and they helped to inform Lively’s style on the red carpet, as well. Famously forgoing stylists and dressing herself from the start, Lively has credited her time on Gossip Girl (and working with the show’s costume designer, Eric Daman) with her introduction to big-name designers.
Those intros would prove to be key for Lively, who has since developed longtime relationships with several of these famed fashion houses. A first-row regular at Michael Kors’ shows for over a decade (the actress previously shared that Kors was the first person to invite her to a big fashion event), Lively also regularly returns to Ralph Lauren and Marchesa. While she has a penchant for American sportswear, Lively has had her fair share of couture moments, too, including major campaigns. Lively was set on working with Chanel, and her determination came through in the end—for her first fashion campaign, Lively starred as the face of Chanel’s Mademoiselle handbag in 2011, and just a year later, she was named the face of Gucci’s Gucci Première fragrance.
Even with an impressive list of go-to designers, the actress has still kept her unique, eclectic sense of style, and often uses red carpet premieres as an opportunity to further channel her on-screen characters, as demonstrated by her three-piece suit phase during the 2018 press tour for A Simple Favor.
And then there are her Met Gala looks. Comprising some of Lively’s most talked-about fashion moments, the annual Met Gala has also provided her the opportunity to collaborate with designers on bespoke looks (perhaps most notably in 2022, when she worked with Versace to create a color-changing gown inspired by New York City architecture). Ahead, see Lively’s full style evolution, from low-rise jeans to custom Versace.
2005, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards
Just ahead of her first feature film role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Lively made her red carpet debut at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Styling herself in low-rise jeans (it was the early 2000s, after all) and a bright blue top from Forever 21, Lively accessorized with a sequined pink crop, a belt and heels.
2005, The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants Premiere
Never one to shy away from a bold color, Lively chose a bright orange satin dress for the Los Angeles premiere of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
2007, Gossip Girl Launch Party
Though still relatively unknown when Gossip Girl premiered in 2007, Lively made it clear right from the start that she wasn’t afraid to take fashion risks. While her fellow female cast members stuck to mini dresses in bright hues or sparkles, Lively chose a fitted, menswear-inspired suit (the pants were still low-rise, of course), with a white button-down dress shirt.
2007, CFDA/Vogue Gala
Just a few months after the Gossip Girl premiere, Michael Kors invited the actress to attend a benefit dinner, dressing her in a floor-length yellow gown for the occasion. A fashion friendship was born, and other designers soon came calling.
2008, Chanel Dinner Event
Lively didn’t officially work with Chanel until 2011, but she was a longtime loyal fan of the French fashion house (and then-creative director Karl Lagerfeld) from the start. In 2008, she attended a dinner event for Chanel Fine Jewelry at New York City’s Plaza Hotel, dressed in an elegant black frock from the luxury label.
2008, Gossip Girl Season Finale
Though not a red carpet event, this tiered floral print gown, which was accessorized with short black gloves, from the season one Gossip Girl finale played a pivotal role in the actress’ style trajectory. Lively has referred to the dress—which was part of Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2008 collection—as “one of the most critical fashion moments” on the show, and even credits it with securing her first Met Gala invite.
2008, Met Gala
Fittingly, Lively wore Ralph Lauren for her Met Gala debut, pairing the black strapless gown with cropped black gloves as a nod to her Gossip Girl alter ego.
2008, The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2 Premiere
Back to The Sisterhood and back to orange for Lively, who wore this breezy Gucci maxi dress to attend the premiere for the film’s sequel.
2009, Emmy Awards
Lively stepped up her fashion game at the 2009 Emmy Awards, where she served as a presenter alongside Gossip Girl co-star Leighton Meester. On the red carpet, Lively stunned in a red Versace gown, which featured a plunging neckline and sequin accents along the left side. To better show off the dress, jewelry and makeup were kept minimal, and the actress wore her long blonde hair slicked back into a braided ponytail, a style that she would turn to repeatedly over the years.
2010, Chanel Fall 2011 Haute Couture Show
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour reportedly introduced Lively to Karl Lagerfeld, when the actress was filming Gossip Girl in Paris in 2010. Later that summer, Lively sat front row for Chanel’s Haute Couture collection, wearing a summery tiered dress (Chanel, of course) in a swirl of pastel colors.
2010, The Town Premiere
Just a few months later, Lively was back in Chanel—this time a fitted red number covered in paillettes—for the premiere of The Town.
2011, Chanel Dinner In Honor Of Blake Lively
Shortly after being announced as the face of Chanel’s Mademoiselle handbag, Lively attended a dinner hosted by the design house in her honor during Paris Fashion Week. Naturally, she was dressed in Chanel for the occasion, and accessorized her silver mini dress with a Mademoiselle bag and a pair of lattice Christian Louboutin heels (another one of the actress’ favorite, go-to French designers).
2011, Time’s 100 Most Influential People Gala
A turquoise Zuhair Murad gown was the perfect complement to Lively’s newly dyed red mane (a switch-up for the film Hick), which she debuted at Time’s 100 Most Influential People gala.
2011, Green Lantern Premiere
Still in the midst of her Chanel era, Lively attended the premiere of her film Green Lantern (she met her future husband Ryan Reynolds on set, FYI) in a floor-length gown from the fashion house’s spring 2009 couture collection. The design featured a sheer skirt and floral appliqués, and Lively added her own California-cool twist by styling the look with stacks of Lorraine Schwartz bracelets and an undone boho braid.
2011, Gossip Girl 100th Episode Celebration
It was certainly fitting that Lively chose NYC-based (and one of Serena van der Woodsen’s go-to brands) Marchesa for Gossip Girl’s 100th episode celebration, but the fringe and sheer paneling design was a polarizing pick among fashion blogs.
2012, Savages Premiere
Lively returned to Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad for this strapless nude and black beaded gown, which she wore to the Los Angeles premiere of her film Savages. In keeping with the design’s Old Hollywood style, Lively wore her hair in Veronica Lake-esque waves, with a classic red lip and nails combo. Vintage Lorraine Schwartz jewelry rounded out the look, which was later made into a Barbie.
2013, Van Cleef & Arpels Event
To celebrate the redesign of Van Cleef & Arpels’ Fifth Avenue Flagship store, Lively embraced her Gossip Girl roots in a black lace and floral design from Marchesa’s spring 2014 collection. To elevate the lingerie-inspired dress, Lively added a cropped fur coat, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry and a glamorous burgundy lip.
2014, Met Gala
Lively once again turned to Old Hollywood when it came to inspiration for the 2014 Met Gala. The actress, who was named the face of Gucci Première fragrance in 2012, wore a bespoke, figure-fitting design from the Italian fashion house that featured rose gold paillettes and a chiffon train.
2014, Grace Of Monaco Premiere at Cannes Film Festival
Some of Lively’s best style moments are from her first appearance at the Cannes Film Festival, where she churned out three stunning couture looks in as many days. First up was this Gucci Première gown, which made a major statement with its Bordeaux hue and thigh-high slit. To show off the geometric neckline and open-back detailing (and those ruby Lorraine Schwartz earrings), Lively wore her hair pulled back into a high, braided ponytail.
2014, Mr. Turner Premiere at Cannes Film Festival
For her next Cannes premiere, Lively returned to an old favorite: Chanel. The actress opted for a design from the spring 2014 couture collection; the sheer dress featured iridescent sequins, a cinched-in waist and pockets.
2014, Captives Premiere at Cannes Film Festival
Lively was actually meant to wear this custom Gucci dress a few weeks earlier to the Met Gala, but she made a last-minute switch so as not to wear something too similar to any of the other guests. The classic black-and-white combo and structured silhouette, complete with dramatic train, was made even more glamorous thanks to massive diamond stud earrings and necklaces from Lorraine Schwartz, which reportedly totaled more than 180 carats.
2014, Angel Ball
Proving that her maternity style is also on point, Lively sported a fitted yellow Gucci gown with a plunging neckline while attending the Angel Ball in New York City, alongside Ryan Reynolds.
2015, The Age Of Adaline Premiere
Following the birth of her first daughter, Lively made her return to the red carpet in a red Monique Lhuillier dress, which featured a lace and leather corset and feather-trimmed skirt. Lively brought back the Old Hollywood curls for the occasion, and accessorized with diamond earrings, rings and a crystal-covered koi fish clutch by Judith Leiber.
2015, The Age Of Adaline Press Day
Among Lively’s many fashion talents is her ability to wear multiple looks in a single day. While continuing to promote The Age of Adaline, she wore 10 looks in 24 hours, including this bubblegum pink Cushnie et Ochs pant and coat set.
2016, Michael Kors Fall 2016 Show
Lively rarely misses a Michael Kors show, and for the designer’s fall 2016 collection presentation at New York Fashion Week, the actress wore a monochromatic nude look (presumably by Kors), with a timeless camel coat over a form-fitting frock.
2016, The BFG Premiere At Cannes Film Festival
Throughout the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Lively had everyone guessing whether or not she was pregnant, with a few looks that seemed to conceal her pregnancy. This dazzling blue Atelier Versace number put her baby bump on full display with its fitted silhouette, and brought on the glamour with a dramatic train.
2016, The Shallows Premiere
Back in New York City the following month, Lively went for a more bump-concealing look in this strapless Carolina Herrera dress, which included a black bustier-style top and a sheer tulle skirt, with cascading black flower petals.
2017, American Ballet Theatre Gala
For American Ballet Theatre’s spring gala, Lively chose a strapless neon yellow dress from Oscar de la Renta’s fall 2017 collection that was gathered at the side. Fully embracing the bold hue, Lively paired the dress with turquoise earrings and a bright pink jacket.
2018, Met Gala
The 2018 Met Gala theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” and Lively sported one of the evening’s best looks thanks to this custom Atelier Versace gown. The ruby red and gold design included a crystal-encrusted bustier and embroidered train that reportedly took over 600 hours to create. Lively accessorized with an equally elaborate golden halo by Lorraine Schwartz, which contained 100 carats worth of champagne diamonds.
2018, A Simple Favor Press
To promote A Simple Favor, a film where the suiting worn by Lively’s character takes center stage, the actress followed suit—no pun intended. While Lively’s on-screen alter ego Emily primarily stuck with Ralph Lauren, this lime green number from the Versace spring 2019 menswear collection was a standout.
2018, A Simple Favor Premiere
The film’s New York City premiere meant another suit for Lively, who opted for a tailored black look from the Givenchy fall 2018 couture collection. To complement the suit’s sparkling tails and shimmering black shirt, Lively turned to her friend, shoe designer Christian Louboutin, for a pair of lace and crystal embellished heels.
2018, Versace Pre-Fall 2019 Show
Lively channeled the Studio 54 disco era at Versace’s pre-fall show in New York City, dressed in a slinky silver mini with a butterfly-adorned open-back. Lively accessorized with oversized gold earrings, stacks of sparkling bracelets and voluminous curls, worn parted to the side.
2019, Pokémon Detective Pikachu Premiere
Always committed to a theme, Lively announced she and Reynolds were expecting their third child by putting her growing baby bump on full display in a Pikachu-inspired yellow sequin dress by Retrofête. Lively added a yellow bow to better show off the bump, and she accessorized with a Poké Ball Judith Leiber clutch and Pokémon nail art.
2021, Free Guy Premiere
Lively added a bit of edge to this ab-baring, pink sequined number from the Prabal Gurung 2022 resort collection by weaving a silver chain through her braided high pony.
2022, Michael Kors Fall 2022 Show
If you’re searching for a look that defines Lively’s style, this might just be it. While attending the Michael Kors fall 2022 fashion show, the actress wore a monochrome powder blue skirt suit by the designer, composed of a blazer, crop top and pencil skirt. Mixing sportswear with Old Hollywood glamour, Lively styled the look with white pointed-toe pumps (Louboutin, of course), diamond earrings and rings (from Lorraine Schwartz) and the ultimate beauty combination: polished waves and a bright red lip.
2022, The Adam Project Premiere
Lively went for a whimsical Atelier Versace silk chiffon dress for The Adam Project premiere. Citing My Little Pony as her style inspiration, Lively gave the pastel dress a bohemian edge with undone waves and stackable bracelets.
2022, Gem Awards
Lively thrives on the details, as evidenced by her styling of this black cut-out dress from Sergio Hudson’s fall 2021 collection. Look closely, and you’ll see a yellow diamond at the center of the plunging neckline, which Lively hand-sewed on her way to celebrate jeweler Lorraine Schwartz at the annual Gem Awards. Schwartz, a longtime friend and collaborator with Lively, also made the actress’ geometric diamond earrings.
2022, Met Gala
To co-chair the 2022 Met Gala, Lively wore her most ambitious look yet. This custom Atelier Versace look was actually two dresses in one; the design was influenced by New York architecture, with Lively specifically referencing the Statue of Liberty with the patina-inspired train, the Empire State Building in the gown’s crystal columns and Grand Central Station in the train’s hand-painted and embroidered recreation of the constellation ceiling. The latter also served as a nod to Gossip Girl’s opening shot of Serena van der Woodsen arriving at the landmark train station.