Pop culture's 15 most iconic yellow dresses
Way back in 2003, Kate Hudson taught us all How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days — and how to pull off a seriously incredible yellow dress while we’re at it. Yellow is hard to wear, people say. It washes you out, it’s only for summertime, they say. But to use the movie’s favorite phrase: Bulls---. In celebration of the classic rom-com’s 15th anniversary we’ve picked out the 15 best, boldest, and brightest yellow dresses in pop culture history. Get your dose of sartorial sunshine ahead.
Andie in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Good luck losing anybody in this stunner of a yellow dress. For How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ climactic soirée, Andie (Kate Hudson) wears a strappy, slinky dress that’s as bold — and as blonde — as she is. It’s no wonder she’s Composure magazine’s resident how-to girl; we’d trust the advice of anyone who knows how to rock this daring cut and vibrant color so effortlessly.
Beyoncé in the "Hold Up" music video
Beyoncé made mustard the color of the moment when she wore this ruffled fantasy of a dress (by Roberto Cavalli) in Lemonade’s now-legendary “Hold Up” music video. Yellow, they don’t wear you like Bey wears you.
Belle in Beauty and the Beast
It isn't just the tale that’s timeless. Belle’s enchanting yellow ball gown, made all the more magical by its perfect coordination with the gilded ballroom and the Beast’s blue coat, has gone down in Disney history as one of the most iconic fairy-tale dresses worn by any of its pantheon of animated princesses — and was painstakingly recreated for the 2017 live-action remake.
Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala
Nobody does the Met Gala like RiRi. The theme for 2015’s first Monday in May was “China: Through the Looking Glass,” and as always, the pop star did her fashion research and hit the Met’s carpet in a bold, gorgeous, on-theme look. This show-stopping yellow gown, trailed by a magnificent fur-trimmed cape, was made by Chinese couturier Guo Pei, some of whose designs were included in the Costume Institute’s exhibit being celebrated at that year’s Met Ball.
Jeffrey Sebelia’s couture challenge design on Project Runway
Is it a coincidence that the French words for “young” (jeune) and “yellow” (jaune) are only a letter apart? As the third season of Project Runway drew to a close, the contestants flew to Paris to try their hand at haute couture. The season’s eventual winner Jeffrey Sebelia won the challenge with this joyous, youthful garment, a slit-to-there, wildly beribboned, multi-plaid yellow dress that guest judge Catherine Malandrino called “magnifique.” We have to agree.
Elizabeth Taylor at her 1964 wedding to Richard Burton
Elizabeth Taylor’s passion for extravagant and often unconventional wedding jewelry is the most widely noted aspect of her matrimonial style, but the eight-times-married Hollywood icon’s nuptial fashion is equally remarkable. For her 1964 wedding to Richard Burton (her first marriage to him, fifth overall), she wore this canary-colored babydoll dress designed by Cleopatra costumer Irene Sharaff, flowers and ribbons woven into her elaborate updo. Liz and Dick may not have lasted, but sunshine glamour never dies.
Cher in Clueless
As if we could leave Cher off the list! Alicia Silverstone’s ultimate Valley Girl (who, make no mistake, doesn’t actually live in the Valley) and mall savant may have an enormous automated wardrobe full of sheer blouses, feathered jackets, and Alaïa minidresses, but this flawlessly coordinated yellow plaid ensemble is the piece of ‘90s fashion perfection that truly makes her a style icon for the ages — anything but an ensembly-challenged fashion victim.
Mia in La La Land
“What a waste of a lovely night,” Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) sing as they tap-dance on a hill overlooking a beautiful view, insisting that they aren’t falling in love. Throughout their sparkling Hollywood romance, Mia’s Technicolor wardrobe fills their world with vivid color, and the first twirl of this dynamic lemon skirt marks their love story’s point of no return. If it hadn’t been, though, what a waste of a lovely dress!
Renée Zellweger at the 2001 Oscars
Just one year before her first nomination (for Bridget Jones’s Diary), Renée Zellweger hit the 2001 Academy Awards red carpet in this exquisite vintage Jean Dessès column dress. Zellweger would take home one of the coveted statuettes in 2004, for her performance in Cold Mountain, but this canary-yellow ‘50s fashion moment was her first true Oscars victory.
Claire on Outlander
The historical fashion on Outlander has always been just as much of a fantasy as all the passionate time-traveling romance, and this season 2 look is no exception. More is more in 18th-century France, and for all of Claire’s sumptuous Parisian finery — starting with this gorgeous gold-and-floral gown (and its matching hooded cape) — you’d never know she traveled there from 1946 with a stop in the Scottish Highlands.
Latika in Slumdog Millionaire
Throughout Slumdog Millionaire, the dream of Latika (Freida Pinto) is the light that guides Jamal (Dev Patel) to victory on the game show for which his life has uniquely prepared him. How appropriate, then, that this beacon of hope always appears in bright, promising yellow — from their first meeting as children, when even the filth of their slum can’t dim the cheerful sunshine of Latika’s girlish frock, to their adulthood, when she smiles up from a train platform in this yellow tunic and finally dances with Jamal with a gilded yellow scarf draped around her neck.
Serena on Gossip Girl
Blair Waldorf can keep her headbands. The real Gossip Girl fashion queen was Blake Lively’s Serena van der Woodsen, and she made her status as such known when her mother Lily (Kelly Rutherford) got married in the season 1 finale, “Much ‘I Do’ About Nothing.” Lily was lovely in a Vera Wang wedding gown, but her daughter stole the show in this high-necked, ruffled, floral yellow dress by Ralph Lauren — accessorized (just like it was on the runway, naturally) with little black gloves.
Jennifer Lopez at the 2016 Golden Globes
Step aside, jungle-print dress: J.Lo’s served up more than one awards show classic. Sixteen years after she burned the Grammys to the ground with that legendary plunging Versace, she brought yellow caped sophistication to the Golden Globes, accessorizing this slit-to-the-thigh Giambattista Valli dress with 200 carats worth of Harry Winston diamonds.
Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Bow down to this yellow that’s fit for royalty. Cate Blanchett wore the crown of Queen Elizabeth I for the second time when she starred in Elizabeth sequel The Golden Age, and proved once again how much she belonged on the throne with this lavish golden-yellow Elizabethan gown, covered in elaborate beading and topped with a high lace collar and feathered hairpiece. Long live the Queen (and her utterly majestic style).
Mariah Carey in the "#Beautiful" music video
“I like when you run red lights,” Mariah sings on her 2013 track “#Beautiful,” the lead single off Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse. But she’s signaling full yellow in the music video, wearing this sultry little dress as she dances around a barn lit by a whole ceiling full of crystal chandeliers. “Ooh, you make me feel undressable,” she sings as she plays with the flippy skirt. It was nice knowing you, little yellow dress.