Kim Kardashian’s style evolution through the years

Kim Kardashian may be a modern-day fashion icon, but she wasn’t always so respected within the industry.

Before she began launching billion-dollar clothing businesses and scooping up style-related honors from the CFDA and People’s Choice Awards, Kardashian was just a reality star from Calabasas with a thing for body-con and big logos.

“I love my worst moments now. I look back and have to laugh; it was so much fun. It was who I was, what I could afford and what I knew at the time,” Kardashian told Vogue Arabia in 2018.

In the years since, the star has overhauled her image multiple times and proved she’s always ahead of the trends — even if some looks take longer to catch on than others (tiny sunglasses and bike shorts, anyone?)

Below, a comprehensive overview of Kim Kardashian’s ever-evolving style — from the days before she was famous to her rise on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” her marriage to Kanye West and her sexy looks as a single mom.

Trendy teen (1990s – 2000)

Kim with mom Kris Jenner and sisters Kourtney and Khloé. Instagram/@kimkardashian
The star once experimented with a chin-length bob. Instagram/@kimkardashian
She tried out an edgy look with ripped jeans, dark lipstick and a choker. Instagram/@kimkardashian

Even before she became a household name, Kardashian had an eye for trends.

Growing up in star-studded Los Angeles, the reality-star-to-be ran in the same circles as the Hiltons, the Jacksons and the Richies — and always dressed to impress.

Kardashian has posted plenty of throwback photos that show off her ’90s skinny brows, baggy jeans and dark lipstick, even once revealing that dad Robert Kardashian paid for her to take makeup lessons so she wouldn’t “look like a clown.”

Paris Hilton’s pal (2000 – 2007)

Hilton and Kardashian flash their matching metallic Louis Vuitton purses in 2006. Getty Images
Kardashian in 2006. FilmMagic for Us Weekly Magazine
Kardashian and then-boyfriend Ray J in 2006. WireImage

As she began gaining notoriety for her relationship with rapper Ray J, Kardashian started hitting red carpets in the plunging necklines and skintight looks that would soon become her signature.

While hustling to make a name for herself in the industry, she put her love of fashion to work by organizing the closets of celebrities including Cindy Crawford, Serena Williams and BFF Paris Hilton, learning more about labels in the process.

She and Hilton were a constant presence on the party scene, often stepping out in coordinating designer looks, oversized sunglasses and plenty of lip gloss.

Other style staples of the star’s at this time included babydoll dresses, wide belts and knee-high boots.

Body-con bombshell (2007 – 2009)

Khloé, Kourtney, Kim and Rob at the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” premiere party in 2007. WireImage
Kardashian wears Hervé Léger in 2007. Getty Images for IMG
Modeling a mermaid gown in 2008. WireImage

In 2007, Kardashian’s sex tape with ex-boyfriend Ray J leaked — and she landed a reality show on E! with her six siblings, mom Kris Jenner and stepdad Caitlyn Jenner.

“Keeping Up With the Kardashians” made the family overnight superstars, with viewers hooked by their hilarious dynamic, Valley Girl voices and eye-catching outfits.

“Oh my God, OK, this is so embarrassing,” Kardashian told Vogue in 2019, looking back at her outfit for the series’ premiere. “I probably borrowed this dress at [family store] Dash, kept the tag on or just re-tagged it, and then returned it afterwards.”

Kim — then dating football player Reggie Bush — emerged as the star of the show, and leaned into her glam onscreen persona by dressing almost exclusively in clingy, curve-hugging party looks.

Hollywood star (2009 – 2012)

Kardashian at the 2009 Grammys. FilmMagic
Debuting honey blond hair at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards. WireImage
In Vera Wang at her wedding to Kris Humphries in 2011. StarTraks

As she became a household name, Kardashian’s look got sleeker and more stylish. She started experimenting with bangs, polished updos and, in 2009, made her first major hair change with a memorable honey blond dye job.

When she began dating basketball star Kris Humphries in 2010, Kardashian started embracing smoky eye makeup, neon colors, pavé diamond jewelry and all things glitzy.

At the couple’s 2011 wedding, Kardashian went full princess with a dramatic Vera Wang ballgown, even wearing a blinged-out bridal headpiece down the aisle.

Though their marriage famously lasted just 72 days, her love of heavy contouring and dramatic silhouettes would continue.

Kanye West’s muse (2012 – 2014)

It was West who forged Kim’s relationship with Riccardo Tisci, then the creative director of Givenchy. WireImage
Her 2013 Met Gala look was roundly mocked on social media. Getty Images
After giving birth to North West, Kardashian went back to blond. FilmMagic

In 2012, Kardashian began dating famed fashion obsessive Kanye West, whom she would go on to marry. He infamously overhauled her entire wardrobe, eliminating anything not up to his standards — including hundreds of pairs of shoes.

While Kardashian has admitted the closet clean-out made her cry, her makeover wasn’t all painful. The rapper also introduced her to the fashion world’s top designers, dressing her in labels like Lanvin and Balmain — and giving Kardashian her first real taste of couture, as many designers previously had no interest in working with the curvy star.

It was West who linked Kardashian up with Riccardo Tisci (then the creative director of Givenchy), laying the foundation for a friendship that shaped a large part of Kardashian’s fashion timeline. Tisci would go on to outfit Kardashian for her first Met Gala in 2013, making her a controversial floral gown that sparked countless of memes and made the then-pregnant star weep on the way home.

As she and West geared up for their 2014 wedding after welcoming first child North in 2013, Kardashian went back to blond and began incorporating more neutral, understated looks into her closet.

Yeezy model (2014 – 2016)

Kardashian at the very first Adidas x Yeezy fashion show in 2015. Getty Images for adidas
The couple sported monochromatic looks at the Yeezy Season 2 show in 2015. Kevin Mazur
The entire family dressed up in over-the-top furs and glittering fringe for the 2016 Yeezy Season 3 fashion show at Madison Square Garden. Kevin Mazur

In marrying West, Kardashian took on the role of not just wife and mother, but also model.

The entire Kardashian family was on hand when the Grammy winner launched his Yeezy label in 2015, and the new Mrs. West began mixing her husband’s designs into her monochromatic everyday looks.

Her edgiest transformation came in 2015, when Kardashian bleached her hair platinum blond for a trip to Paris Fashion Week.

“I would let them just dress me up like a doll, I didn’t even care,” Kardashian told Vogue of her mane makeover. “I knew between Riccardo, Carine [Roitfeld] and Kanye, they would make me look like the chicest person ever, and they did. Look at this look. I loved it.”

Sexy mogul (2016 – 2019)

In 2016, Kardashian bared it (almost) all on the streets of NYC in a sheer slip dress and metallic boots. GC Images
She wore sexy looks in Paris in 2016 before being robbed at gunpoint. WireImage
Wearing a vintage John Galliano dress with West at the 2016 VMAs. Getty Images

After welcoming second child Saint West — and in years leading up to the launch of her shapewear brand, Skims, in 2019 — Kardashian leaned further into skin-baring styles. It became a running joke during this time period that she couldn’t keep her clothes on, with Kardashian even sarcastically accepting a CFDA Fashion Award in 2018 saying she was “shocked” to be honored considering she’s “naked most of the time.”

Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint while in Paris for fashion week in 2016, and briefly swore off expensive and flashy jewelry after her 20-carat engagement ring was stolen, among other gems.

But she soon returned to her glamorous ways, showing off daring looks like a sheer slip dress teaming with thigh-high silver boots and a see-through vintage John Galliano LBD.

She continued to credit her husband with her ever-sexier styles. “My best looks are always the ones he puts together,” Kardashian told Vogue during her “73 Questions” interview in 2019.

Designer darling (2019 – 2021)

West may have thought Kardashian’s 2019 Met Gala look was too sexy, but that didn’t stop it from landing on every best-dressed list. Getty Images for THR
In barely-there vintage Thierry Mugler in 2019. GC Images
Wearing archival Versace at the 2019 People’s Choice Awards. Getty Images

Kardashian made her biggest splash yet — style-wise, at least — at the 2019 Met Gala, where she showed up wearing a wet-look Thierry Mugler dress that marked the designer’s first creation in 20 years. Underneath the design? A waist-crunching corset that required her to take breathing lessons before the big night and remain upright throughout the ball. Talk about suffering for fashion!

But it would seem the major style moment signaled the beginning of the end for Kimye; in an episode of “KUWTK,” West argued the dress was “too sexy” for the red carpet. Kardashian stood her ground, giving fans a rare glimpse at the cracks forming in the couple’s bond.

Mugler, meanwhile, was clearly impressed; following the Met, Kardashian stepped out in a series of archival styles from his label, and sourced other rare vintage looks from Versace, Alexander McQueen and Alaïa.

Futuristic alien Barbie (2021 – present)

Following her divorce, Kim is dressing herself and going bold. GC images
She celebrated her family’s new Hulu show in Thierry Mugler latex in 2022. Getty Images for ABA
She’s described her new look as “futuristic alien Barbie.” GC Images

After a decade of turning to West for fashion advice, Kardashian had to rediscover her look post-divorce — and was open about her struggle to find her own style identity.

“I’m having panic attacks, like, ‘What do I wear?”” she told sister Kourtney on an episode of Hulu’s “The Kardashians,” adding, “How do I wear something that hasn’t been pre-vetted first?”

It didn’t help that West made his disdain for some of her choices very clear, comparing one of her self-styled looks to Marge Simpson and saying another made him “so mad.” At one point, he even offered to “quit everything” to be her stylist again.

Kardashian declined, declaring in 2022 that her new era would be defined by a “futuristic alien Barbie” aesthetic — think sporty sunglasses, shiny skintight catsuits and plenty of hot pink.

After leaning on Balenciaga for many of these looks, she was tapped as a runway model and campaign star for the label, but briefly paused her partnership later that year amid the house’s ad scandal involving children posing with BDSM-style teddy bears.

In late 2022, Kardashian teamed up with Dolce & Gabbana on a vintage-inspired capsule collection dubbed “Ciao, Kim” — sparking a feud with Kourtney, who had recently worked with the brand on her wedding wardrobe.

Time will tell what look Kardashian tries next, but one thing’s for sure: her style won’t stay the same forever.

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