In Honor of Oprah's Final Episode: A Look Back at Her Signature Red Carpet Style

In the days leading up to Oprah's final episode, which airs today at 4 p.m. EST, much has been made of her style over the 25 years she hosted her epic, game changing talk show. Oprah's style evolved out of the '80s and fluctuated with her weight. But if Oprah established a signature style over the last quarter century on the air, it was on the red carpet, not on the boob tube. Oprah found a silhouette that worked for her on the red carpet--a wide dramatic plunging neckline (often with a stiff collar), a nipped-in waist, and a full ball gown skirt--and stuck to it. A look back at Oprah's signature red carpet look over the years.
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Leah Chernikoff
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In the days leading up to Oprah's final episode, which airs today at 4 p.m. EST, much has been made of her style over the 25 years she hosted her epic, game changing talk show. Oprah's style evolved out of the '80s and fluctuated with her weight. But if Oprah established a signature style over the last quarter century on the air, it was on the red carpet, not on the boob tube. Oprah found a silhouette that worked for her on the red carpet--a wide dramatic plunging neckline (often with a stiff collar), a nipped-in waist, and a full ball gown skirt--and stuck to it. A look back at Oprah's signature red carpet look over the years.
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In the days leading up to Oprah's final episode, which airs today at 4 p.m. EST, much has been made of her style over the 25 years she hosted her epic, game changing talk show. Oprah's style evolved out of the '80s and fluctuated with her weight. But if Oprah established a signature style over the last quarter century on the air, it was on the red carpet, not on the boob tube. Oprah found a silhouette that worked for her on the red carpet--a wide dramatic plunging neckline (often with a stiff collar), a nipped-in waist, and a full ball gown skirt--and stuck to it.

A look back at Oprah's signature red carpet look over the years.

At the People\'s Choice Awards with Stedman in LA in 1998 in a brown pants suit. Pre-signature red carpet ball gown steez.

At the People\'s Choice Awards with Stedman in LA in 1998 in a brown pants suit. Pre-signature red carpet ball gown steez.

At the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2002. Off the shoulder? Check. The full skirt is still to come...

At the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2002. Off the shoulder? Check. The full skirt is still to come...

At the 2002 Emmy\'s. Décolletage-exposing neckline, full ball skirt--this is Oprah\'s jam.

At the 2002 Emmy\'s. Décolletage-exposing neckline, full ball skirt--this is Oprah\'s jam.

At the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2002. Off the shoulder? Check. The full skirt is still to come...

At the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2002. Off the shoulder? Check. The full skirt is still to come...

At the Oscars in 2004. Nailed it.

At the Oscars in 2004. Nailed it.

Back to the pantsuit but this time it\'s crisp and white. Sharp. A suitable standin for the ball gown.

Back to the pantsuit but this time it\'s crisp and white. Sharp. A suitable standin for the ball gown.

At the Legends Ball in 2005. Red\'s a good color for O.

At the Legends Ball in 2005. Red\'s a good color for O.

White hot at the 2005 at the US Dream Academy gala.

White hot at the 2005 at the US Dream Academy gala.

Silk and ruffles at the Broadway opening of \

Silk and ruffles at the Broadway opening of \

At the Kennedy Center Honors in 2005.

At the Kennedy Center Honors in 2005.

Dress shirt and ball skirt, in black and white at the Legends Ball in 2006. The white collared shirt is another Oprah hallmark.

Dress shirt and ball skirt, in black and white at the Legends Ball in 2006. The white collared shirt is another Oprah hallmark.

Gotta love a statement collar at the Tony\'s in 2006.

Gotta love a statement collar at the Tony\'s in 2006.

This look, at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2005, is less structured but it still shows off those assets.

This look, at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2005, is less structured but it still shows off those assets.

For the CFDAs in 2007, Oprah turns goes with her never-fail ball gown in white.

For the CFDAs in 2007, Oprah turns goes with her never-fail ball gown in white.

I think the skirt is leather? Not the best version of Oprah\'s red carpet silhouette, on the red carpet for a movie premiere in 2007.

I think the skirt is leather? Not the best version of Oprah\'s red carpet silhouette, on the red carpet for a movie premiere in 2007.

White blouse, black full skirt, once again at a dinner for Nelson Mandela in 2008. Though the crisp button down look is better than this pirate one.

White blouse, black full skirt, once again at a dinner for Nelson Mandela in 2008. Though the crisp button down look is better than this pirate one.

One of my favorites, in rust at the 50th anniversary party for Alvin Ailey in 2008.

One of my favorites, in rust at the 50th anniversary party for Alvin Ailey in 2008.

In 2008, she looses the ball gown for a clingy drapey number.

In 2008, she looses the ball gown for a clingy drapey number.

Looking regal in blue at the Oscars in 2010.

Looking regal in blue at the Oscars in 2010.

With Oscar de la Renta (and wearing ODLR) in 2010 at the Met ball.

With Oscar de la Renta (and wearing ODLR) in 2010 at the Met ball.

Putting the girls on display (or making a shelf out of them) at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010.

Putting the girls on display (or making a shelf out of them) at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010.

Keeping it cash in 2011 at a party for her OWN network.

Keeping it cash in 2011 at a party for her OWN network.

Off the shoulder and fade from black at the Oscars in 2011.

Off the shoulder and fade from black at the Oscars in 2011.