Let’s be real—Charlize Theron would look good in pretty much anything she put on. But lucky for us, the 41-year-old Oscar winner (and former model) doesn’t settle for something less than spectacular.
“Charlize’s style is sexy and sophisticated,” says stylist Leslie Fremar, who has been dressing the actress since she starred in 2008’s Hancock. “She doesn’t really follow the trends but, instead, she makes choices based on her body and what she feels comfortable in. And since she doesn't go for anything too elaborate, the clothes never really take over. She wears the looks— they don’t wear her.”
Over the years, Theron has developed a fashion formula that always seems to land her on the best-dressed list. Her trademarks? Clean silhouettes, a modern neutral palette with a touch of embellishment, and lots of plunging necklines, which her stylist says is a fave. “She’s tall and lean with broad shoulders, so deep-Vs are great on her because they bring the eye down,” adds Fremar.
Also on Theron's must-wear list? Lots and lots of Dior. “She obviously has such a great relationship with the brand being the face of the J’Adore fragrance,” says Fremar. “Beyond that, it’s a beautiful, elegant brand and she is a beautiful, elegant person. It just makes sense. She also appreciates the artistry behind their creations."
French fashion houses aside, it’s the star’s confidence that takes her look to the next level. “Not everyone likes the red carpet,” says Fremar. “Some celebrities get nervous, some find it intimidating, but the cool thing about Charlize is that she really enjoys it, and for lack of a better word, plays the part.”
Check out Theron’s latest film, Kubo and the Two Strings, in theaters Friday. And keep scrolling to see her 10 best looks of all time.
1. Dior Haute Couture, 2013
“Charlize had just cut her hair, so we wanted to make sure she chose a gown that was feminine but still clean and modern like her pixie,” says Fremar of the star at the Oscars in Dior Haute Couture and 180 carats of Harry Winston jewels. “I felt like the best version of myself,” Theron later said.
2. Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, 2016
Before she stunned in a menswear look (see No. 3), the actress stepped out in this pink lace Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci dress. “We wanted to do something soft and pretty in the afternoon and then go sleek for night,” says her stylist.
3. Dior Haute Couture, 2016
“Everyone expected her to show up to the Cannes Film Festival in a huge gown, so when she wore this Dior Haute Couture suit [paired with a Cartier necklace], people took notice,” says Fremar. “She stands out, even in a sea of black tuxedos.”
4. Atelier Versace, 2008
“When I saw the elaborate sketches of this Atelier Versace gown, I didn’t know if they could pull it off,” says Fremar. “But when it arrived, Charlize was blown away by the intricate Swarovski crystal pattern.”
5. Chanel Haute Couture, 2005
At the Emmys, she channeled a ’20s flapper with her wavy blond bob and beaded Chanel Haute Couture LBD. “I love it,” said Theron, who was nominated for her role in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. “It’s so comfortable.”
6. Dior Haute Couture, 2012
“This is Charlize’s version of a princess dress,” says Fremar. “I worked with the Dior Haute Couture team for a month before the Golden Globes to find the right shade of blush.”
7. Gucci, 2013
“She saw it, she loved it, and it fit like a glove,” says Fremar of the actress in Gucci at the Cinema for Peace Gala. “It all came together really quickly. And her inner model definitely comes out when she’s into a gown.”
8. Alexander McQueen, 2016
This design from Alexander McQueen’s fall collection, which was inspired by the juxtaposition of darkness and light, features 3-D butterflies that almost appear to take flight off the lacy black bodice. “There was actually a diagram that showed us how to open up every single butterfly perfectly,” adds Fremar.
9. Gucci, 2004
“I try to keep my red-carpet look classic,” the star has said. And 12 years after she wore this Gucci gown to accept her best actress Oscar for Monster, the shimmering design still feels au courant. Chopard diamonds—all 593 of them—radiate timeless glamour.
10. Azzedine Alaïa, 2012
“Sometimes black disappears in photos, but the tiered silhouette of this Azzedine Alaïa dress pops against any background,” says Fremar.