Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's style evolution from Our Lips Are Sealed-era to red carpet goth-glam
Over three decades years ago, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were but wee babes, making the nation coo over their adorable fluffy blonde hair and big blue eyes. They’ve since left the entertainment industry and gone on to become a couple of the most influential designers in the fashion industry. America’s most beloved twins have rarely been out of the spotlight, and it’s been absolutely fascinating to see the path they’ve travelled. Today just so happens to be Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s 32nd birthday, so what better way to celebrate these powerful, successful women than with a retrospective on their style evolution?
Like the rest of us, the Olsen twins have had some fashion misses, but for the most part they’ve become bold trendsetters with unique and strong aesthetics. They’re fresh off a win for Accessories Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards for their brand The Row, which gave us our most recent glimpse at their iconic style. Since then, we’ve been thinking about their fashion hits through the decades. They definitely haven’t been afraid to go off the beaten path, experiment, and have fun with fashion.
Let’s take a look at Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s style evolution throughout the years.
Look at these cuties! Mary-Kate and Ashley hit up the ABC Family Kickoff party in white and pink granny gowns, not entirely unlike some of their more experimental styles in the mid-aughts. The little pearl necklaces couldn’t be more adorable.
Who among us wouldn’t have killed to go to the Spice World premiere in these snazzy, shiny suits? The ’70s were back in an interesting way in 1997, but the Olsen twins put their own spin on this look. Did anyone else have this hairstyle on their vision board?
The early aughts marked the Olsen sisters’ first foray into chic dressing, and these trendy velvet and satin dresses epitomize the popular style of the time. Chokers and baby-doll dresses have made their way back into the style zeitgeist in recent years, so barring those flippy Meg Ryan-inspired haircuts, this is a look that is definitely being revisited right now.
Mary-Kate and Ashley dressed the part at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Power breakfast. Their outfits are incredibly trendy for the time, and their soft makeup and hair is age-appropriate and super pretty.
While both of the dresses these sisters wore to the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle premiere were very much on trend, we can see a glimmer of Mary Kate’s experimental, boho phase coming on. Her hair is looser, and the dress shows the beginnings of her iconic shapeless look.
By the time the Olsen twins received their Hollywood Walk of Fame, they were well on their way to evolving their style from young and innocent to edgier and more fashion-forward. Mary-Kate in particular was always a bit ahead of the game, with rumpled hair and a pretty slip dress that started to show her rock ‘n roll side.
Mary-Kate continued to lean into the boho look, with wild curls and a long, white hippie dress adorned with red beads. Ashley jumped onboard the dark eyeliner trend with her sister, but her dress is still fairly subdued in comparison. How pretty is the detailing on both of their dresses?
You can really start to see both Mary-Kate and Ashley’s shift into more gothic, experimental clothing this year. Mary-Kate really cut a path not only for Ashley but for all of us to play with shapes and styles around this time when the scenester look was going hard.
Mary-Kate’s long locks are back to blonde, and now Ashley’s gone dark. Mary-Kate’s pretty yellow dress falls in line with her boho-chic look, and as expected, Ashley’s dress is more structured – though it’s definitely a bit more rumpled than we’ve seen in the past.
The Olsen twins hit up Paris Fashion Week in what has become their signature color: black. Their goth, dramatic looks are a sharp deviation from previous years, and it’s the beginning of their oversized dark clothing years. How incredible is Mary-Kate’s hair and turban combination? We’d rock that any day.
This was also the year we were introduced to one of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s most iconic looks: the fur coat. They spent the better half of this year swathed in furs no matter the weather. It was glamorous, chic, and a little grunge. This is also the most “undone” we’ve seen Ashley’s hair yet.
In a surprising twist, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen showed up to the MOMA’s celebration of Tim Burton in their most costume-y looks yet. It’s appropriate for the occasion and a glimpse into their more experimental styles.
It’s back to black and furs for WWD’s party, and we love it.
Here we start to see the beginnings of the twins’ shift to their most current style. The shapes are more structured, and while both looks have an edge to them, it’s a less costume-like, more elevated and mature take on a daring fashion look.
This is how we love to see our girls: head-to-toe black with big sunnies. They look chic, glamorous, and elegant with a touch of drama – they couldn’t be cooler.
Now powerful designers, both twins dressed the part at the launch of their Elizabeth and James Nirvana fragrance. The oversized tops are in keeping with their preferred shapes, but the pompoms on Mary Kate’s shoes add a touch of whimsy. Both women are back to simple, natural makeup looks as well. The transition to fancy designers is complete.
We love Mary-Kate’s foray into menswear with these black pants. And while usually the sisters coordinate their looks, it’s fun to see one in pants and the other in a dress. The contrast is chic while both their looks remain completely cohesive.
We’re still swooning over the Olsen twins’ looks at this years CFDA Fashion Awards. As with last year, MK went for a more structured, tailored, androgynous look, while Ashley softened it up a bit with a slouchy top. They are as on brand as can be.
Talk about Heavenly Bodies! Both sisters looked gorgeous at this year’s Met Gala. They both managed to stay on-theme while also being true to their own styles, and we love it. It’s definitely the culmination of all their years of living and breathing fashion.
Which look is your favorite?