Tracee Ellis Ross' Best Fashion Moments

If you've caught an awards show or red carpet sometime in the last decade or so, you probably caught a glimpse of the joyful and glamorous Tracee Ellis Ross. The "Black-ish" star and founder of Pattern Beauty is a true multihyphenate — actress, singer, host, producer, director, and activist. And she approaches fashion with the same joie de vivre. "I think fashion has evolved for me personally into a form of creative expression," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2021. "My aim, first and foremost, is to wear things that make my heart sing, and that I adore." She added that, when choosing fashion, she always tries "to be as inclusive as possible" while also respecting the environment of the event.

When that environment calls for the ultimate in glam, Ross is always game and has served up look after fabulous lewk over the years. From the runway to the red carpet, we've rounded up Tracee Ellis Ross' best fashion moments.

She shined at the 2017 Emmys in sparkly couture

Nominated for her lead role in "Black-ish," Tracee Ellis Ross wore a Chanel dress to the 2017 Emmy Awards that featured silvery sequined embroidery with a matching silver belt and white feathered trim at the bottom. While the loose sleeves were a nod to Ross' taste in the billowy, the rest of the outfit was form-fitting and accentuated by long, sleek dangly earrings. "Tracee is so fashion, and so is Chanel, so it worked out," Karla Welch, Ross' stylist, told The Hollywood Reporter about her star client's aesthetic for the event.

"Black-ish," the groundbreaking ABC comedy about a modern Black family, debuted in 2014 and quickly became a critical — and ratings — success. For Ross, leaving behind her character, Bow, after eight seasons in 2022 when the show ended was an opportunity for a "beautiful goodbye." "I fell in love with the script [initially]," Ross told Entertainment Weekly in early 2022. "We got to see a Black family that was thriving and not just surviving. And I was drawn to this loving relationship between a couple. I had rarely seen that on sitcoms." Ross added that she loved how her character was multi-dimensional, not the stereotypical wife and mother. "Rainbow was a woman who was more than just one thing: She was not just a wife. She was not just a mother. She was also a doctor. She had a real point of view," she explained.

Tracee Ellis Ross was the 'picture' of high fashion at the 2019 Met Gala

The Met Gala in New York City is fashion's biggest night out. Benefiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, the annual event is by exclusive invite only, and the red carpet is so major that E! devotes a night of live coverage to it every year.

To meet the moment in 2019, Tracee Ellis Ross made sure she was the picture of perfection — literally. Ross' black Moschino draped dress was accented by an elaborate gold picture frame, well, framing her face. The look was a spin on the event's theme that year: camp, which is "an aesthetic 'sensibility' that is plain to see but hard for most of us to explain: an intentional over-the-top-ness, a slightly (or extremely) 'off' quality," as The New York Times put it at the time.

Karla Welch, Ross' stylist, told InStyle after the event that the look's on-the-nose nature was intentional, describing it as "a piece of art." "It's how we make ourselves art," she said. "For me, camp is a vessel for art, and we took that into consideration. Also, a woman is a piece of art, so there's something there as well."

The actress proved in 2019 that dressing can be 'directional'

When you're racking up award after award and nomination after nomination, getting glammed up for yet another red carpet might be a source of sartorial fatigue for some. Not Tracee Ellis Ross. When she won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series at the NAACP Image Awards in 2019, she accepted her trophy in a dress that merited its own award.

Ross' black-and-white, polka-dotted Marc Jacobs dress featured a feathered effect that can best be described as fantastically fabulous or poofy-chic. Vogue put it more elegantly after the event, crowning Ross "the most directional [i.e., ahead of the curve] dresser on the red carpet." The magazine also reported that Jacobs shared his love for Ross on her Instagram page, commenting, "You are so extra, and I love it!"

No matter what she's dressing for, Ross' ethos remains the same. "I mean, I came out of the womb like this. I literally think I was like, 'Woo-hoo! I'm here. What have you got? Let's go!'" she joked to Harper's Bazaar in 2021.

In a simple message tee, Tracee Ellis Ross made a strong statement

For her second run as host of the American Music Awards in October 2018, Tracee Ellis Ross wanted to make a statement — in more ways than one. Her 12 — yep, 12! — outfits were all created by Black designers, according to Harper's Bazaar. From a red-and-blue, mermaid-scalloped gown to a head-to-toe leopard jumpsuit, Ross delivered memorable look after show-stopping look on one of music's biggest nights.

But the simplest of those 12 outfits made it clear to viewers that Ross wasn't just thinking about fashion that night. Paired with a red ball gown skirt by designer Shanel Campbell, Ross wore a white sleeveless tee with the words "I am a voter" printed across the front. The tee was part of a collaboration between Ross' stylist, Karla Welch, and the When We All Vote nonpartisan initiative.

Two years later, Ross upped her political involvement when she served as moderator for one evening of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. It was a natural next step for Ross, as she told "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah." "I felt my responsibility was to facilitate a conversation around engagement and participation," she said. "I took the leap. I felt like it is, and was, a natural, sort of, progression of the way I use my voice. I'm very civically-engaged and socially active."

The star was geometrically colorful in a sheer-paneled tunic in 2018

At the 2018 Accessories Council ACE Awards in New York City, Tracee Ellis Ross displayed her love of hoop earrings. "I love a hoop earring," Ross told The Hollywood Reporter. "Big, fat, small, round, drooping, oversized, hugging, encrusted — I love a hoop! And we have a nice orange lip, so it all ties together beautifully."

Ross was referring to her unique ensemble for the evening. Along with her strategically-selected accessories and bright makeup, she wore a shimmery, sheer-paneled tunic overlay featuring artistically-placed, colorful shapes over black high-waisted pants by designer Kevin Germanier. And, in keeping with her vibrant makeup, she wore orange heels by Christian Louboutin.

At the event, the star of "The High Note" was named ACE's 2018 Style Ambassador, and she showed off another piece of fashion wisdom she's gained over the years: body positivity. "I'm never a big necklace girl, because I actually really love my clavicle," Ross said.

At the 2018 Met Gala, she channeled her mom, Diana Ross

For the annual Met Gala in New York, if you don't go big, you might as well not even bother to show up. At the 2018 event, themed "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination," Tracee Ellis Ross took that "bring it" mindset and found inspiration close to home: her mom, legendary Motown singer Diana Ross, whose son, Evan Ross, is married to Ashlee Simpson, making Ashlee Tracee's sister-in-law.

Tracee stood out in a hot pink, belted, form-fitting gown by the Michael Kors Collection. An equally hot pink, long billowy jacket topped off the look. With her bouffant-esque hairstyle, Ross channeled some of her mom's classic retro style.

With so many big names (and outfits) vying for good spots on the Met Gala's red carpet, occupational hazards do exist, as Tracee explained the week after on "Conan." "[SZA and I] took a selfie together, and I don't know if you can tell, but that beautiful headpiece she has on was so sharp on the ends," Ross said. "In our selfie, she caught on to a tuft of my hair. I was like, 'Oh, God!'"

For the COVID-sidelined 2020 Emmys, she brought the gold glam

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic impacted Hollywood in many different ways. This included upending television's big night, the Emmy Awards. In the end, the event was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with only a select group of celebrity presenters and attendees. Most everything else, including acceptance speeches, happened virtually. Befitting such a topsy-turvy ceremony, the Emmys invited all the year's guests and nominees to dress up or down, according to Harper's Bazaar.

Tracee Ellis Ross, who was both nominated for her lead role in ABC's "Black-ish" and a presenter, opted to add a big flash of glamour to the festivities. Though her hair was pulled back in a simple bun, the rest of Ross' look was full glam: a bright gold, metallic ruffled gown by Alexandre Vauthier, along with a matching face mask. She paired the dress with vintage Tiffany & Co. jewels and Jimmy Choo pumps, per Harper's Bazaar.

For Ross, the 2020 Emmys were a welcome moment to revel in some fashion fun. On Instagram, she shared, "How fun to get dressed up! Can't say I miss the frenetic energy of the red carpet or wearing high heels, but boy do I miss a pretty dress!!"

Tracee Ellis Ross elevated the tiered gown in 2018

The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Awards may not be as big of a Hollywood event as, say, the Met Gala or the Oscars, but when you're coming together to celebrate the best in design, you've got to dress the part. According to E! News, guests are "handpicked by the elite council" to attend the annual ceremony. When Tracee Ellis Ross was invited to the CFDAs in 2018, she definitely understood the assignment.

In a strapless, tiered Carolina Herrera dress, Ross looked every bit the part of a fashion-forward star. The contrast between the black tie-back top and pink tiers gave the outfit a modern feel and kept it from coming off as dated. To keep the focus on her dress, Ross pulled her hair back and kept her makeup minimal, with just a warm pink lipstick. Simple drop earrings, a black clutch, and black heels completed her elegant ensemble.

In a slinky and sparkly gown at the 2021 Emmys, the actress shined

For Tracee Ellis Ross, a minimalist outfit can still include some sparkle. Case in point: her red gown at the 2021 Emmy Awards. The one-shouldered dress, as reported by Harper's Bazaar, was by Valentino. The combination of the sequins and draping style lent the look a Grecian goddess-meets-glam-California-girl vibe.

Ross, who was nominated for her lead role in "Black-ish," often talks jubilantly about the role of dressing up in her life. "Tracee, do you take fashion to be your lawfully wedded wife? I do, I do!" Ross joked in 2020 when accepting the Fashion Icon Award at the People's Choice Awards. "I cannot thank you enough for validating my shopping habit." She also included a sweet shoutout to her mom, Diana Ross: "Not only for her great parenting ... but also her example, her sense of style, her epic closet, and her glamour that introduced me to the power of fashion."

She stood out in all-black at the 2018 Golden Globes

The 2018 Golden Globe Awards had an unusual-looking red carpet from previous years. Instead of gowns in all kinds of wild colors and sparkly patterns, the year's guests and nominees opted to wear black in solidarity with the Time's Up movement against sexual harassment and related workplace retaliation. Tracee Ellis Ross, a co-founder of the initiative, according to Vogue, was surprised by the response to their call the day after the event. "I don't think that we had any idea what to expect," Ross said in an email, as reported by Vogue. "The sisterhood was palpable, and the energy was encouraging, but most importantly, the work and the message were amplified."

In the sea of black ensembles, Ross' satin halter dress by Marc Jacobs stood out thanks to her matching turban. She added dangly earrings in the shape of half-circles to give her outfit an extra touch of something unique. For the after-party, Ross changed into a black vintage suit, also by Marc Jacobs.

The actress glowed at Paris Fashion Week in a designer caftan

It was only a 10-minute show, but Valentino's 2018 presentation at Paris Fashion Week moved Tracee Ellis Ross to tears. "It was one of the most breathtaking things I've seen in my lifetime," she told The Hollywood Reporter after the show. "This is pure enjoyment. It's the first opportunity to enjoy the clothes that [my stylist, Karla Welch, and I] revel in on a regular basis."

The runway show featured models in a vibrantly colorful array of oversized couture gowns, elaborate floral headpieces, and wildly-patterned separates. Ross opted for a white, low-cut caftan gown that gave off major comfy-chic vibes. She paired her dress with gold statement earrings, black boots, and a black-and-white clutch.

Ross also told The Hollywood Reporter that she was keeping her eyes out for a possible dress to wear to that year's Emmys, which we've got for you next.

Tracee Ellis Ross has made big, billowy gowns a signature look

The phrase "more is more" is way more when it comes to one of Tracee Ellis Ross' favorite styles. For the 2018 Emmy Awards, where she was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Ross wore a voluminous, hot pink, off-shoulder gown by Valentino. To keep the emphasis on the incredible gown, Ross wore her hair in a simple bun but added another pop of color with her vibrant red eyeshadow. After the event, Ross spoke with Vogue about her Cinderella moment: "I felt like I was floating in fashion heaven. Pierpaolo Piccioli [Valentino's creative director] is an artist of the highest caliber. I cried when I saw this collection at couture week in Paris, and it was truly an honor to wear this gown."

Ross, who works with stylist Karla Welch, is often drawn to larger-than-life fashion elements and has worn multiple versions of "big" dresses over the years. Her sartorial taste is on track with her life philosophy, which she shared with Harper's Bazaar in 2021: "I don't live my life for other people. I just totally live it for me."

She made history and sparkled like a true star at the 2017 Golden Globes

At the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards in 2017, "Black-ish" star Tracee Ellis Ross took the red carpet by storm and then made history during the ceremony. In a silver beaded bodice dress by Zuhair Murad, Ross sparkled on the press line while showing off her bling (rings on every finger!). During the show, Ross, who was nominated for her lead role in the ABC comedy as Rainbow Johnson, made history when she became the first Black actor to win in her category since 1983, as reported by Vox.

In her acceptance speech, the burgeoning icon that she is kept her focus on the bigger picture: "This is for all the women, women of color, and colorful people whose stories, ideas, thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important. But I want you to know that I see you. We see you."

And, in those outfits, we definitely see Ross — and her fabulous sense of style — as well.