Fame10 Fashion Evolution: Elizabeth Banks

Photo by Richard Young/Rex features

Elizabeth Banks has established herself as one of Hollywood’s best dressed celebrates. Nowadays, when she is on the red carpet, she consistently delivers. She is really adventurous with her style and she rarely does the same thing twice. When she was first starting out, however, she didn’t have this kind of success with her style. There were definitely some hits and a lot of misses. She didn’t quite know how to accessorize and some of the shoes she chose did not complement what she was wearing. Because she is so gifted with fashion now, we decided to take a look at her fashion evolution!

Premiere of Seabiscuit – 2003

Elizabeth Banks attended the premiere of “Seabiscuit” in this pale pink slip-like dress, accessorizing with a pink clutch and white heels. The dress looks really pretty. The sparkly details on it make it more formal. The shoes, however, leave something to be desired. They look a bit clunky, but that was the style at the time. We would have preferred something dainty since the dress is so delicate. Elizabeth ditched her signature blonde locks for the role but returned to the light side while promoting the film.

In addition to looking lovely at the premiere “Seabiscuit,” Banks also received favorable reviews for her performance. One reviewer from The New York Times commented that she has the grace and charm of an actress from Old Hollywood, which we can totally see. There is something about that hair and face that are just so classically beautiful. Unfortunately, while this should have been her breakout role, “Seabiscuit” didn’t catapult her into mainstream recognition. It would take a couple more years and several more roles for this theatre arts graduate to really break out and it would take many more years before she would become a household name.

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Independent Spirit Awards – 2004

This Screen Actors Guild-nominated actress wasn’t always the fashionista that she is today; however, it is obvious that she always tried to be stylish. At the Independent Spirit Awards, Elizabeth Banks wore a black tank top with a red patterned skirt. She accessorized with black heels, a really chunky-looking necklace and a purse with a picture on it. We don’t mind the tank top, the skirt and the heels – they all look good together. We personally would have skipped the necklace and gone with a different purse. Neither of those accessories really add anything to the ensemble – they only distract.

Banks was still not a recognized actress in 2004. She had a number of small, supporting roles, but it wasn’t easy putting her face to her name. She had roles in films like “Spider-Man,” “Catching Me If You Can” and “Spider-Man 2,” all of which were really popular. Maybe if she had kept her hair brown like she had in “Seabiscuit,” she would have become more recognizable. There are so many blond actresses in Hollywood. If she keeps working on this fashion thing, she could definitely set herself apart though!

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Women in Film 2005 Crystal + Lucy Awards

Elizabeth channeled old Hollywood glam for the Women in Film 2005 Crystal + Lucy Award and she really delivered. She rocked this gorgeous pale yellow knee-length dress with silver heels and a silver clutch. We love her in yellow. It really warms up her skin. Not many people can pull off this color, but she is definitely one of the few who can. She still seems to be developing her style at this point, learning about what works on her and what doesn’t. To get where she is today, there were obviously going to be some mistakes!

2005 was a good year for Banks. After landing numerous roles in Hollywood films, she finally landed one that gained her more widespread recognition – Beth, the sex freak, in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” This film was Judd Apatow’s directorial debut. Steve Carrell – the star of the film – also wrote the script. It was met with positive reviews by critics and was a box office success. While “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” did open Banks up to a wider audience, it failed to really catapult her to superstardom. It would take more roles on both television and film to make this blond bombshell a household name.

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Lucky Magazine LA Shopping Guide Party – 2006

This Emmy-nominated actress showed up at the Lucky Magazine LA Shopping Party in this black patterned dress with a black shrug, black heels and a white clutch. We’re not sure how we feel about the dress. It’s hard to get a good sense of what the top part of it looks like because it is hidden by the shrug, which doesn’t complement the outfit at all. If the event was that cold, she could have worn a dress with sleeves. Also, her hair doesn’t look like it has been styled at all. She could have put a little more effort into appearance for this event.

Things were starting to get better for Banks’ career at this point. She had a role in the American football drama, “Invincible.” She played Mark Wahlberg’s love interest in the film. It received mostly positive reviews from critics and, at the MTV Movie Awards, Banks and Wahlberg were nominated for Best Kiss, which can only mean one thing – these two had a lot of chemistry together on-screen. Later that same year, she landed a starring role in the comedy-horror movie, “Slither.” Critics gave it positive reviews and it has also become a cult film – not bad for her first starring role!

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6th Annual Awards Season Diamond Fashion Show Preview – 2007

Elizabeth Banks looked lovely at the 6th Annual Awards Season Diamond Fashion Show Preview. She wore this navy blue dress with what looks like burgundy heels and a white clutch. The dress itself looks great on her, but there is something off about those shoes. With the white clutch, it probably would have been better to have worn white shoes. Sigh – she’s still learning. It will take mainstream success for her to begin putting on a better show on the red carpet – and the “Hunger Games” franchise is still a long way off. For now, we can only admire bits and pieces of her outfits.

In 2007, Banks’ career was still in the process of taking off. She had a leading role in “Meet Bill,” alongside Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba and a smaller role in “Fred Clause” with Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti. Critics were not impressed with either of these films. Both received a score of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews. Banks is obviously talented, but she seemed to be choosing the wrong roles. Even “Spider-Man 3,” the last installment of Saim Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, was met with mixed reviews. Banks needs something else to jumpstart her career, preferably something that will do well with critics and the box office.

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Premiere of Definitely Maybe – 2008

The up and coming actress wore this amazing grey, knee-length dress to the premiere of “Definitely Maybe.” The details on this dress are exquisite. While we like the green and grey shoes she chose to accessorize with, we don’t like them with this dress. They’re way too bold to look good with this gorgeous dress. Elizabeth’s fashion has definitely evolved at this point, but not as much as we would have wanted. The mistake she made with those shoes is pretty big, but at least we know that she will learn from it.

Professionally, 2008 was a much better year for Banks. She had a role in “Definitely Maybe,” which was positively received by critics and didn’t do too badly at the box office. She also had a starring role in “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” This flick received mostly positive reviews; however, it was a total flop at the box office. What Banks needs is really big hit to put her on the map. None of her films thus far have really set her apart. We all know that she is stunningly beautiful, but we really need to start seeing more of her talent.

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Premiere of I Love You, Man – 2009

Banks looked much more stylish at the premiere of “I Love You, Man.” She donned this white Roberto Cavalli Spring 2009 embroidered dress, which featured black detailing around the neck, with a pair of black pumps. We really like this ensemble because it seems to indicate a new chapter in the actress’ style. She has done what we thought might be impossible – she finally matched her dress with her shoes and the results are pretty good! Given how amazing her figure is, we are now hoping that she can wear something that will show off her curves.

Banks wasn’t in the movie “I Love You, Man,” but it looks like she showed up to support her friend Paul Rudd. These two have worked together on several different films including “Wet Hot American Summer,” “The Baxter,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Role Models” and “Our Idiot Brother.” 2009 wasn’t an especially busy year for her career. She had a starring role in the American remake of the 2003 South Korean K-Horror film “A Tale of Two Sisters,” “The Uninvited,” which wasn’t well received by critics and she was an executive producer of the action film “Surrogates.” At this point, Elizabeth was desperate to land a breakthrough role!

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82nd Annual Academy Awards – 2010

The “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” star looked all kinds of beautiful in this grey Atelier Versace Spring 2009 gown at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. We love this dress and how it is so fitted around the bust and hips, but cascades in ruffles around the skirt. She accessorized with Fred Leighton jewels, a matching grey clutch and grey suede cage front Sergio Rossi heels, which were embellished with crystals. She was only a presenter at the event but, with a dress like this, one would think that she was actually nominated for an award.

In 2010, Elizabeth Banks landed one of her more noteworthy jobs – as the love interest of Jack Donaghy on the sitcom “30 Rock.” She was only supposed to appear in four episodes during season four; however, she went on to become a recurring character, appearing in 15 episodes by the end of the fifth season. She did so well in the series that, during the fifth season, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. She didn’t win, but this was the beginning of bigger and better things for Banks.

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Teen Choice Awards – 2011

Elizabeth was on her way to establishing herself as a fashionista when she showed up at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards in this red, leather J.Mendel Resort 2012 mini dress. This is one of our favorite looks on the actress. Because this dress is so fitted, it really shows off her figure and, even though there isn’t a lot going on with it in terms of designs, the asymmetrical drape gives it a little bit of a kick. She accessorized with nude accessorizes, which included nude platform peep toe heels and an Edie Parker Nude Lara clutch, which we totally approve of.

The biggest role that Banks took on during 2011 was in the comedy “Our Idiot Brother,” which starred Paul Rudd, Zoey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. She really seems to gravitate towards comedies. The film received mostly positive reviews with many critics praising Rudd’s performance. The only problem critics had was with the film’s uneven script, which was hardly Banks’ fault. We have a feeling that 2012 will be a much better year for her. She will get supporting roles in much bigger films and will finally become a bona fide star. She is definitely long overdue for this necessary transition!

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Vanity Fair Oscar Party – 2012

The budding style star attended the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in this green Chadwick Bell Fall 2012 dress, which featured navy polka-dotted long-sleeves with a navy feathered skirt and velvet waistband. She accessorized with a Jimmy Choo ‘Cameo’ clutch and Bulgari jewels. This was by far one of the more interesting looks of the evening. Banks finally knows how to get everyone’s attention on the red carpet. She is now almost always on the best dressed lists. We’re not entirely sure if she is just doing this herself or if she has teamed up with a highly skilled stylish. Either way we’re impressed!

Career-wise, 2012 was a great year for Banks. She landed the part of Effie Trinket in “The Hunger Games” franchise, which finally gave her an opportunity to show everyone just how talented she is as an actress. The film did considerably well. It received mostly positive reviews from critics and it ruled at the box office. This was the career break that we think Banks needed and deserved. As a result of her involvement in the films, she has become a household name and many more opportunities have come her way.

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Premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 2013

Elizabeth Banks looked amazing at the Los Angeles premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” She wore this gorgeous orange strapless Versace gown with linear metallic-gold detailing on the left side of the bodice. The gown itself was very form fitting, which is great because it showed off her killer figure. She completed the look with a copper Rauwolf clutch, gold-and-copper Jimmy Choo strappy ‘Maury’ sandals, and jewels courtesy of Melinda Maria and Jennifer Fisher. We personally can’t believe how much her fashion has evolved since she was first starting out. This look is a definite winner in our eyes.

Banks’ career continued to take off in 2013. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the much anticipated second installment of the “The Hunger Games” franchise, finally came out and it was just as well received as the first installment. It received more positive reviews from critics and did exceptionally well at the box office. Banks portrayal of Effie Trinkett was also well received, with one critic commenting that she “behaves with the right mix of vanity and vacuousness.” She only had one other role in 2013 in “Movie 43.” It may not have been a big hit, but “Catching Fire” certainly was.

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Premiere of The Lego Movie – 2014

The established actress switched things up for the premiere of “The Lego Movie.” She looked super chic in this black strapless jumpsuit by Osman, which featured an embellished bodice and a hot pink waistband. She accessorized with a simple black Edie Parker clutch and black patent leather Jimmy Choo ‘Addison’ pumps. One the cutest parts of this entire outfit was that she matched her lipstick with the hot pink waistband on her jumpsuit. As far as we are concerned, her fashion evolution is pretty much complete. We don’t expect to see her at events with shoes that don’t complement her dress anymore. Now, she will rock the red carpet like it nobody’s business!

Like her fashion sense, Banks’ career is now in a really great place. Thanks to “The Hunger Games” franchise she is now known worldwide for her talents as an actress. This has led to more opportunities for her in other films. This year alone, she has been in six films, including “Little Accidents,” “The Lego Movie,” “Walk of Shame,” “Every Secret Thing, “Love and Mercy” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.” We expect to see her in a lot more films, working with ensemble casts and taking on leading roles.

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Premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – 2014

Elizabeth totally stole the show with this breathtaking Elie Saab Fall 2014 Couture gown that she wore to the London premiere of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.” This floral-print frock featured a stormy-print skirt, delicate embellishments, a cape and a belt around the waist. All of it made for a truly great ensemble. We don’t want promotion for this film to ever end. Banks is a total fashion star these days and more promotion means more excellent red carpet fashion!

Although Banks’ character Effie Trinkett barely appears in the novel, “Mockjay,” fans can expect to see her in the films. “In the book, Fulvia basically replaces her. But how can anybody replace Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket in these movies? When Suzanne Collins saw Catching Fire, she called and one of the first things she said was, ‘There’s no way Effie Trinket cannot be in the Mockingjay films,’” the Director Francis Lawrence told Vulture. “Effie brings such warmth and fun and levity to these dark stories. She’s the fish out of water in this one and fans will love how she has adapted to the world of District 13.” We couldn’t agree more!

Photo by Richard Young/Rex features


Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.