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Ten years ago, the budding actress showed a streak for fashion forwardness with red leather pants.
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Washington’s customized, crystal-studded tee expresses love for New York — and for fashion statements.
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Worn in 2001, this mohair-trimmed turtleneck may seem like a fashion failure now, but it points toward Washington’s willingness to take stylish risks.
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Still in 2004, Washington continues to up the ante on her style, showing polish and personality with this look.
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Just three years later, Washington is still taking fashion risks in a bright green feminine frock.
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In 2005, it’s clear Washington is beginning to step up her style. We’re still swooning over this Chanel jacket.
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In 2006, Washington tries to keep it cute. Flaunting this — almost — conservative look at an event.
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Fast forward to fabulous! Washington is looking flawless in a recent red carpet look.
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A nude lip and soft pink nail polish are Washington’s most consistent red carpet accessories, allowing her to wear colorful gowns without clashing.
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Her penchant for dramatic pieces hasn’t gone away since her early days. She slowly starts to channel it into stylish stunners like this.
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A key component in Washington’s style? Poise. She’s always graceful whether in a long gown or a chic mini like this.
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Calvin Klein has emerged as one of the actress's favorite labels — and no wonder. She consistently looks amazing in the collection.
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Washington balances bold embellishments with a simple base, like this champagne silk sheath.
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Bold colors and shapes are a recurring theme in Washington’s red carpet style — all the more to show off her amazing figure.
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Washington floats effortlessly between sexy minis and angelic gowns like this on the red carpet.
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The full-fledged fashionista now pairs different patterns and materials in an outfit without overwhelming the eye.
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Note Kerry’s classic pose for the cameras — a key milestone in the evolution of this fashionista.
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Once again a nude lip and barely there nail color accentuate a stunning gown on Washington.
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An absolute stunning look by Thakoon for Gap. Why? Kerry shows an expert eye for what cuts and colors look best on her body.
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Warm pinks and lilacs have proven a winning favorite for Washington, who continuously selects them for the red carpet.
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In this red carpet look, Washington comes full circle: vibrant prints she’s always loved transitioned tastefully and paired with her signature low-key make up and minimal accessories.
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The year 2011 presented more bold color moments for Washington. At the Calvin Klein Fall 2011 show at Mercedez Benz Fashion Week, she works a blue sheath dress from the designer.
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Washington steps away from her traditional soft palettes and opts for a chic shimmer in a high-collared Ralph Lauren gown at “An Evening with Ralph Lauren hosted by Oprah Winfrey” at Lincoln Center in NYC.
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Washington goes electric in a day-glo Micheal Kors halter gown paired with Louboutins at the 2011 BET Awards.
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Washington’s jewel-toned plunging Gucci mini, clutch and heels at the 2nd Annual Mary J. Blige Honors Concert was an ultra sexy and colorful moment.
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At the 63rd Annual Emmy Awards this red hot Zuhair Murad sexy see-through gown was a stunner on Washington.
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At the 2011 CFDA Fashion Awards Washington’s snow white Calvin Klein dress was pure perfection.
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At the “TCA Winter Press Tour” Kerry’s most recent look dazzled us. In sequined Jenny Packham she sets the tone for more fabulousness in 2013.
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Washington graced the March 2012 ESSENCE cover in a Rafael Cennamo feathered dress and Tony Duquette Fine Jewelry. The look captures just how glam she’s become.
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The 2012 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood honoree showed up in a leather Cushnie et Ochs peplum dress and Kate Spade clutch — one of the best looks of the night.
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For Extra, Washington promoted her new show Scandal in effortless fashion.
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Washington makes a simple Altuzarra LBD look anything but simple with contrast colored Reed Krakoff pumps.
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Washington makes another stop to promote Scandal at Good Morning America, wearing a conservative yet stylish grey midi dress.
34 of 46 Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Kerry Washington closes out 2012 in sweet style by Carven: a tea-length dress with cut-out decolletage and cherry red accessories.
35 of 46 Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Sony Pictures
Washington started off 2013 strong. The actress kicked off global promotions for the movie Django Unchained in a series of gorgeous looks, this one — a floral-printed, cropped gown by J. Mendel and clutch, and earrings by Jill Milan — was one of many.
36 of 46 Ian Gavan/Getty Images
At the UK premiere of Django, the actress wore a voluminous ball-gown style by Giles that made for one of her best-dressed moments this year.
37 of 46 Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images & Ernesto Ruscio/WireImage
In Rome, Italy Kerry Washington hit the mark at the Cinema Adriano premiere in a cut-out Prada dress — a trend that's hot right now!
38 of 46 Foc Kan/FilmMagic
Kerry's fabulous red carpet style was endless at the Django Unchained premiere. A stop in Paris found the starlet appropriately decked in romantic florals sprawled over a strapless silhouette.
39 of 46 TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images
At another Django photocall in Rome, Kerry steps out on a limb in a risky pattern mixed style with mini cut-outs by designer Peter Pilotto. ESSENCE approved!
40 of 46 Steve Granitz/WireImage
At the 2013 Golden Globe Awards the actress wow'd the world by not wearing the typical red carpet gown, instead she donned a chic, sheer midi dress by Miu Miu with sparkling embellishments and Prada accessories.
41 of 46 Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for BET
At the 19th Annual SAG Awards Kerry made her way to the top of everyone's best-dressed list in this soft and structured corset style by Rodarte.
42 of 46 Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
Her most recent style stunner gave new life to the LBD –– a seductive lace Marchesa style and pop pink clutch with Louis Vuitton pumps for the 24th Annual Producers Guild Awards Washington
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There's nothing better than when Washington opts for a wild card on the red carpet. This marigold Michael Kors high-low gown is eye-catching whether you love it or not.
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At The White House Correspondents Dinner, Kerry Washington keeps it stylishly black tie appropriate in a Wes Gordon gown with a clean ebony bodice and lace motif skirt.
45 of 46 Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Kerry Washington killed the competition at this year's MET gala, wearing a silk purple Vera Wang gown with a tulle train. The leather gloves were perfectly punk –– appropriate for the night's theme.
46 of 46 Getty Images
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