Pop culture's 20 most famous pink dresses
On Feb. 28, 1986, the world first saw Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) go to the prom, wearing a pink hand-me-down hybrid of a dress she made herself, to let the rich popular kids know that they didn’t break her. No matter where you stand on the Blane/Duckie debate, Pretty in Pink deserves to be ranked among the best high school movies of all time — and Andie’s last-minute act of fashion defiance among the greatest pink dresses the world has ever seen. In celebration of the classic teen movie, we’ve compiled a list of 20 blush, magenta, rose, peach, fuchsia, watermelon, and bubblegum dresses that are worthy of the label Pretty in Pink.
This gallery was originally published Feb. 28, 2016, and most recently updated June 3, 2019.
Andie in Pretty in Pink
The best way to let them know that they didn't break you? Show up to the prom looking like this. Okay, so the style is far from classic (give her a break; it was 1986), but the confidence with which Andie carries herself when she walks into the dance, on the arm of her best friend and wearing a dress of her own creation, is timeless.
Lady Gaga at the 2019 Met Gala
The 2019 Met Gala was dedicated to the theme "Camp: Notes on Fashion," and pink was unquestionably the color of the night — and not just due to the flamingo shade of the carpet. Nobody nailed the hue (or brought the camp) more memorably than event co-chair Lady Gaga, who arrived in this fuchsia Brandon Maxwell cape to deliver a full-blown fashion performance involving three elaborately choreographed wardrobe changes.
Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but this strapless pink satin sheath dress is, truly, a girl’s best friend. Costumer William Travilla, who famously dressed Monroe in some of her most glamorous movies, put the blonde bombshell in a bright bubblegum pink dress (with a just-visible black lining) for her iconic performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in Howard Hawks’ 1953 classic, in which Monroe starred as the gold-digging, ice-wearing showgirl Lorelei Lee. Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but blondes, it would appear, prefer pink.
Aurora in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty
While her fairy godmothers Flora and Merryweather spent the whole movie fighting over whether Aurora’s dress should be blue or pink, the choice is clear to everyone watching. (Maybe the reason it was blue for the duration of her enchanted slumber is because the boring color put the poor princess to sleep?) As Aurora sang to her animal friends: If I know pink, it’s sweet as I think, and I’d wear this at once, the way I did once upon a dream... Or something like that, anyway.
Gwyneth Paltrow at the 1999 Academy Awards
We have Paltrow to thank for bringing pink back in 1999, when she channeled Grace Kelly in this taffeta Ralph Lauren at the Academy Awards. She took home her own Oscar for Best Actress that year, for her performance in Shakespeare in Love — a movie as romantic as the fairytale-sweet dress she was wearing when she won.
Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
In the 2001 blonde-powered comedy’s inspiring finale, Reese Witherspoon’s SoCal sorority girl-turned-serious law student Elle Woods breaks out her signature color to defend one of her Delta Nu sisters, on trial for murder, in court. Elle emerges victorious, naturally, and her success is due as much to her Cosmo girl hair care smarts as it is to the confidence a girl gets from rocking hot pink in a court of law.
Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz
When Dorothy steps out of her fallen house and The Wizard of Oz switches from gloomy sepia tones to brilliant Technicolor, one of the first strange and beautiful things Dorothy sees is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), wearing this frothy, puffy-sleeved sparkle-fest of a dress as she floats into Munchkinland inside a bubble. The pale pink tulle gown ranks with the ruby slippers, yellow brick road, and green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West as one of the film’s gorgeous Technicolor icons.
Jacqueline Kennedy's Pink Chanel Suit
The photo may be black and white, but trust us: The outfit was pink. Of all the lovely garments on this list, Jacqueline Kennedy’s pink suit, a line-for-line reproduction of a Chanel design, is perhaps the most iconic — and certainly the most heartbreakingly significant. The beloved former First Lady wore the cotton candy pink wool bouclé ensemble to Dallas with President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, the day of his assassination, and refused to change into something else, though the suit was stained with her husband’s blood, for the emergency swearing-in of Lyndon B. Johnson hours later.
Hermione at the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
For the Triwizard Tournament’s Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hermione (Emma Watson) swapped out her usual school robes for this utterly magical pink ruffled dress. Having also used copious amounts of Sleekeazy’s hair potion to tame her mane, she looked positively radiant on the arm of Durmstrang champion (and Bulgarian quidditch star) Viktor Krum.
The Rockford Peaches in A League of Their Own
There’s no crying in baseball, because it would be a terrible shame to ruin this look with a splotchy, tear-stained face. The Rockford Peaches’ uniforms in this girl-powered historical sports movie were, appropriately, a pale peachy pink with red accents. (Their rivals the Racine Belles wore a tacky yellow.) Dirt in the skirt, ladies!
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady
Audrey Hepburn’s movie style was always impeccable (especially when she was dressed by her friend Hubert de Givenchy), and Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady — two of her most iconic films — are best known for a chic little black dress and an extravagant white one, respectively. But lest we forget, Holly Golightly and Eliza Doolittle both wore pink with great distinction, too. Holly wears it for a night on the town with her rare non-rat boyfriend, José, while Eliza is elegant and dignified when she leaves Henry Higgins’ house, insulted.
Carrie in Carrie
Like Pretty in Pink’s Andie, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) wore pale pink to the prom in Carrie, though unfortunately it, uh, didn’t quite work out so well for her. Before being drenched in pig’s blood, Carrie looked lovely in this sweet pink slip dress. Alas, the dress was ruined, mere seconds after Carrie felt the joy of being named prom queen, by her classmates’ cruel prank — but that was the last mistake they ever made.
Rihanna at the 2015 Grammy Awards
Ri-Ri made waves (and inspired a meme) when she breezed into the Grammys in this almost inconceivably voluminous Giambattista Valli creation last year. Nobody else has matched its impact since.
Baby in Dirty Dancing
Nobody puts baby pink in a corner. On her last night at Kellerman’s resort, Baby (Jennifer Grey) thought Johnny (Patrick Swayze) was gone forever — but he always does the last dance of the season. He came back unexpectedly to perform one last time with Baby, so it’s a lucky thing she was wearing this pink chiffon dress, dance-ready with its enviably swishy skirt, for when he brought her onstage. They do their “dirty” mambo routine once more (absolutely nailing the lift!) and have the time of their lives.
Princess Peach from Super Mario Bros.
The realm of video games may not seem like a great place to track down pretty pink dresses, but the Mario series’ Princess Peach wears the feminine color proudly in a man’s (virtual) world. Though she is often cast as the damsel in distress, Peach is a playable character in many games, so don’t let that full skirt and frilly bodice fool you: She could knock you out without so much as making the tiniest tear in her petticoat or bloodying those pristine white gloves.
Vicky in The Red Shoes
What would this list be without a ballerina? While Vicky (Moira Shearer)’s scarlet pointe shoes give Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s classic film its title, her prima look wouldn’t be complete without this dreamy pink ballet costume, set off by her glorious red hair.
Bianca in 10 Things I Hate About You
This silhouette is coming back, so everyone pay attention! In a classic ‘90s two-piece prom look, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) paired a full, layered tulle skirt with a vivid pink crop top. The girly ensemble easily outshone Bianca’s sister Kat (Julia Stiles)’s navy slip dress with weird updo, and the sartorial effect was even more covetable than having Joseph Gordon-Levitt (playing the sweet, devoted Cameron) as her prom date, which is saying a lot.
Nicole Kidman at the 2002 Academy Awards
Kidman was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Moulin Rouge! when she wore this airy pale pink Chanel dress to the 2002 Academy Awards, accessorized with an old Hollywood hairstyle and multi-strand Bulgari diamond necklace. Though she wore a black frock by Jean Paul Gaultier when she took home her first Oscar (for The Hours) the following year, this is the dress that ranks with the chartreuse embroidered Dior from 1997 and the gold lamé Dior she wore in 2000 that made her a red carpet style icon.
The plastic princess of pink is so strongly associated with the color, there’s a shade of it named after her. Whether she’s a doctor, a cheerleader, a scientist, an artist, a ballerina, a firefighter, a teacher, a model, a veterinarian, or in any other position on any other career path she’s conquered, Barbie always knows how to wear some rosy clothes. And while the most famous doll in the world recently got a makeover to more accurately resemble real women, one thing is sure to stay the same: No matter what her shape or size, Barbie will always look great in pink.