The Cheapest – & Most Expensive – Celeb Red Carpet Looks That Are Truly Surprising to Us

Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton Wearing Dresses With Very Different Price Tags

Life as a celebrity means lots of dressing up. It might be for movie premieres, product launches, fancy dinners, or fashion events. But, celebrities don’t all have the same approach when it comes to getting ready for the red carpet. As we’ll see on this list, some go all out and spend a fortune on their look, while others save their hard-earned cash. Join us as we take a look at some of the cheapest, and most expensive, celebrity red carpet looks.

Drew Barrymore’s Vintage Dress

Let’s kick things off with the wonderful Drew Barrymore. The actress has been working since she was a small child, and has embraced lots of different styles over the years. In 2010, the star wore this stunning vintage dress to a magazine party. Apparently, Drew snapped up this Janine bargain in a Texas thrift store.

People // People Staff

This gorgeous beaded dress looks much more expensive than it actually is. Drew Barrymore paired it with balayage hair, boho jewelry and muted makeup. We love it!

Lady Gaga’s VMAs Meat Dress

Who could forget this iconic outfit? At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, pop star Lady Gaga stepped out in a dress actually made from meat. No really! This isn’t a dress that looks like meat – it’s a dress literally made from stitched together meat. The meat itself was fine cuts of beef provided by the Old Homestead Steakhouse.

Pinterest // @topito_com

This dress was designed by Franc Fernandez and styled by Nicola Formichetti. Amusingly, it was preserved by taxidermists who made it into a kind of jerky.

Hailey Bieber’s Fashion Week Dress

Up next we have model Hailey Bieber wearing one of her beloved Meshki dresses. The star loves this Australian online fast fashion brand and regularly wears their clothes to red carpet events. The brand was founded by Australian-Persian businesswomen Natalie Khoei and Shadi Kord.

Pinterest // @viannapaulaa

On this occasion, Hailey was attending a New York Fashion Week party hosted by British makeup artist Pat McGrath. The model accessorized this white, satin number with a tight updo and minimal jewelry. She looks fabulous.

Kate Winslet’s Valentino Green Gown

Now we’re getting into some Academy Awards fashion. When British actress Kate Winslet won the Best Actress award in 2007, she was draped in pale green Valentino. Initially, this color was considered a gamble, but Kate looks like a stunning English rose in the unusual hue.

reddit // u/whatthefrockk

Kate Winslet carried a vintage Bulgari clutch and Chopard jewelry with this gorgeous gown. Apparently, her daughter Mia helped to choose the draped affair. Kate even remarked, “One day maybe she’ll borrow this and play dress-up in it.” Lucky!

Stella Maxwell’s Fast Fashion Foray

Next up is Northern Irish and New Zealand model Stella Maxwell wearing a delightful dress from Pretty Little Thing. This fast-fashion brand appears quite a lot on our list, especially because they work with lots of celebs. This particular pink ruffled number was the perfect choice for a PLT perfume launch decorated with loads of pink roses.

Pinterest // @ohFashionRU

Former Victoria’s Secret angel Stella looks angelic in this sweet mini. The high neck and embroidery are offset by the short hem and flirty skirt.

Beyoncé’s Pearl Met Gala Gown

Now, on a list that includes very expensive outfits, of course we’re going to cover the Met Gala. The star-studded affair is held every year in New York City and is considered the world’s most celebrated fashion event. Guests are expected to wear haute couture and to match their look to the yearly theme.

X // @AGsSpotify

For the 2016 Met Gala, Beyoncé went all out for the theme, ‘Fashion in an Age of Technology.’ Her custom Givenchy gown was made from organic latex and covered in pearls.

Gabrielle Union’s Premiere Playsuit

We’re back with the bargain hunters for our next entry. Of course, lots of celebrities that wear high street fashion are paid to do so by the brands themselves. In this case, actress Gabrielle Union was a spokesmodel for American retailer New York & Company. During this time, the star released her own fashion collection with the company. // Prince Williams

However, Gabrielle wasn’t just wearing these clothes for the paycheck. Here she’s seen wearing a one-shouldered black playsuit for a movie premiere.

Jada Pinkett Smith’s Headpiece

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith were the buzz of the Academy Awards in 2022. But, they also attended other events. For the Critics Choice Awards, Jada wore this striking gold headpiece. The unusual item was designed by LA-based jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche, and included 53 diamonds. That’s bound to be expensive!

Page Six // Margaret Abrams

Much has been said about Jada’s alopecia, but she chose to center her shaved head by adorning it with this gorgeous headwear. It perfectly matches her stunning, structured gown.

Janel Parrish’s Ruffled Romper

It’s time for yet another item from Pretty Little Thing! The UK-based retailer was founded in 2012 and has expanded to multiple countries around the world. It’s loved by celebrities, though it has been criticized by activists who say it creates large amounts of waste.

X // @HotMiniSkirts

American actress and singer Janel Parrish wore a romper from the brand for a Paleyfest panel in 2017. The star looks stunning in the blush-toned ruffled romper. Who says celebrities need to spend a fortune to look great?

Cate Blanchett’s Amazing Armani Privé

We’re back at the Academy Awards next, with Cate Blanchett’s stunning 2007 look. The actress was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at this ceremony and she was certainly dressed like a winner. In fact, some would say this is one of the best looks to ever grace the Oscars red carpet. It’s definitely one of the most expensive!

Maria Claire // Star Style

Australian actress Cate opted for a gunmetal haute couture Armani Privé gown, emblazoned with Swarovski crystals. Her dark jewelry matched the gown’s gorgeous epaulets.

Winona Ryder’s Thrifted LBD

When it comes to fashion, American actress Winona has always been an inspiration. She does her own thing, including wearing a thrifted little black dress to a movie premiere. The star has stated that most of her wardrobe is vintage, and that she re-wears items. Imagine!

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Winona also wore this unusual black dress to a gala for Haiti hosted by Sean Penn in 2014. We love a fashionista who repurposes her outfits. After all, isn’t that what clothes are for?

Rooney Mara’s Givenchy Gown

On the other hand, it’s hard to believe that actress Rooney Mara had the chance to re-wear her 2016 Oscars look. Though it would certainly be cost-effective if she had! The American actress wore this striking Givenchy haute couture gown on the Academy Awards red carpet.

X // @givenchy

Unsurprisingly, this dress was custom-made for Rooney Mara. She styled it with sci-fi slicked back hair, strong brows, and a deep red lipstick. It’s giving updated Audrey Hepburn, and personally, we think it’s fabulous.

Angelina Jolie’s Wasteland Vintage

Since she first appeared on our screens, actress Angelina Jolie has been a pleasure to look at. We could easily list some of our favorite Angie looks, from simple denim to the famous leg split dress. But the A-list actress isn’t just about high fashion. As shown here, she’s also a fan of vintage items.

Bright Side // People

For a movie premiere in 2007, Angelina wore a black vintage dress that she picked up from Wasteland on Melrose Avenue. The crushed velvet gown looks much more expensive than it is.

Lana Del Rey’s Grammys Dress

Speaking of gowns that look much more expensive than they are, check out Lana Del Rey’s 2020 Grammys dress. At the ceremony, the American singer-songwriter was nominated for Album and Song of the Year. We’re seriously impressed with this silver beaded gown that looks like it’s right out of a speakeasy.

Pinterest // @people

Interestingly, Lana had a different outfit planned for this star-studded event. However, when she spotted this dress in the mall she snapped it up instead. Good decision!

Priyanka Chopra’s Expensive Ensemble

Our next awards show look is on the other end of the financial spectrum. Indian actress, model, and singer Priyanka Chopra was dripping with jewels at the 2017 Academy Awards. She wore this beautiful structured Ralph & Russo couture gown with Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. Just check out those bedazzled cuffs!

X // @priyankachopra

American jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz is beloved by celebrities. She’s also made items for Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Angelina Jolie. In fact, Bey even name-checks her in the song, “Upgrade U”.

Avril Lavigne’s Abbey Dawn Dress

When celebrities have their own fashion line, chances are they’ll wear some pieces out and about. That’s what Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne did with this black, tulle mini. The punk-pop queen founded clothing line Abbey Dawn back in 2008.

Pinterest // @justjared

Apparently, Avril actually designs her own garments, rather than just lending her name. Avril Lavigne wore this punky dress at an after-party in Las Vegas in 2011. However, she’s continued to wear items from her brand on the red carpet ever since.

Nicole Richie’s H&M Dress

She may come from a showbiz family, but that doesn’t mean Nicole Richie is always dressed in high fashion. In fact, she’s been spotted several times wearing high street items, even on red carpets. In 2014, the TV personality and designer wore this gorgeous, white H&M number to an event.

Facebook // we

Of course, the fashion pro matched her white turtleneck midi dress with a floor-length Tadashi Shoji cape and white Christian Louboutin pumps. After all, she is Nicole Richie!

Paris Hilton’s Sparkly Swarovski Dress

Nicole’s former BFF and reality TV co-star Paris Hilton isn’t exactly one for H&M. On the contrary, Paris wore this silver gown, known as the Million Dollar Dress to the 2017 Hollywood Beauty Awards. The stunning item was designed by American designer August Getty, and is covered in 500,000 Swarovski crystals.

Instagram // @skvortsova_crystal

Now, that sounds like Paris Hilton! The socialite and heiress looked like a doll in this incredible gown. Naturally, it took five people eight months to make this dress.

Aisha Tyler’s Zara Mini

For our more frugal fashionistas, we now turn to American actress and TV host Aisha Tyler. Here, the Emmy award winner is rocking high street fashion on the red carpet at a 2017 movie premiere. This cute jacquard floral mini is from Spanish brand Zara, but it definitely doesn’t look like it.

BuzzFeed // Kristen Harris

While this dress is on the more affordable side, its embellished collar and details make it fit for a celebrity. Aisha wore simple jewelry and see-through heels with the floral mini.

Rihanna’s Iconic Met Gala Gown

Rihanna’s astonishing 2015 Met Gala look is truly one for the books. The yellow embroidered creation is surely one of the most memorable fashion moments in recent history. All hail the much meme-d yellow gown!

Instagram // @rihannas_updates

As a true fashionista, Rihanna always understands the assignment when it comes to the Met Gala. In 2015 the theme was China: Through the Looking Glass, and RiRi did not disappoint. Chinese designer Guo Pei designed this canary yellow floor-length gown, which came with a stunning circular train. Incredibly, it weighed 55 pounds!

Lupita Nyong’o’s Calvin Klein Gown

Our next dress is so expensive that someone actually stole it from the London West Hollywood hotel where actress Lupita Nyong’o was staying. Thankfully, it was later found stuffed underneath the bathroom counter in the same hotel. Phew!

Yahoo!news // Bang Showbiz NZ

The Kenyan Mexican actress wore this striking gown to the 2015 Academy Awards. The white Calvin Klein Collection dress featured 6000 Akoya pearls on a halter neck, scooped back silhouette. Lupita added stunning Chopard diamond earrings and rings. That’s one expensive look!

Zendaya’s Kid’s Choice Awards Dress

Actress Zendaya has always been a fashionista, as proven by this thrifty look. The actress is known for her bold, experimental style and has been pulling off red carpet triumphs since the beginning.

Refinery29 // ANA COLON

Here, the actress wears an orange Daya slip for the 2017 Kids Choice Awards. Of course, we should mention that Daya is designed by the star herself. Speaking about her approach to style, Zendaya has said that she doesn’t believe in trends or “what’s hot now.”

Jessica Biel’s Chic Chanel

When it comes to memorable red carpet looks, this outfit by Jessica Biel is definitely up there. For the 2014 Academy Awards, the actress wore this incredible Chanel gown. Sure, it looks fairly simple in silhouette, but it’s teaming with chic details.

Pinterest // @harpersbazaar

This dress is from the Chanel Spring 2014 Couture collection and is perfect for red carpet glamour. It featured a long row of buttons at the back, and fit Jessica’s body perfectly. The actress accessorized with Tiffany Blue Book Collection jewelry.

Charlize Theron’s Harry Winston Jewelry

Asides from the Met Gala, the Academy Awards are where the fashionistas really come to play. After all, it’s where the who’s who of Hollywood congregate to celebrate their glitzy achievements. Where better place to don a glamorous gown and a host of jewels?


For the 2013 Oscars, South African actress Charlize Theron wore this white, structured Christian Dior gown with peplum detailing. However, the outfit’s value rocketed with the addition of Harry Winston diamond cuffs and earrings. That’s one pricey look!

Amy Adam’s Golden Globes Glam

It’s always a good strategy to wear a dress that matches the red carpet. That way, you’re bound to look extra regal. That’s what American actress Amy Adams opted for during the 2014 Golden Globes. The star dazzled in this red Valentino Haute Couture gown from the brand’s Shanghai collection.

Facebook // Nykaa

Combined with her jewelry, this Amy Adam’s fashion moment is one of the most expensive to ever grace a red carpet. The dress was worn with a 30 karat diamond pendant and 10 karat diamond earrings.

Julianne Hough’s Judges Panel Look

American dancer Julianne Hough started out as a professional dancer helping stars to shine. After several years, and several wins, she took a spot on the judging panel. However, that didn’t mean that she lost sense of her roots.

Pinterest // @people

While walking the pre-show red carpet during 2017, Julianne wore this affordable black dress. The one-shouldered, cut-out flirty frock would also be very well-suited for the dance floor. We love that Julianne styled this look with a perky high ponytail.

Jennifer Lopez’s Met Gala Sparkles

Here comes another Met Gala stunner. And another big spender! While she claims she’s still Jenny from the block, superstar Jennifer Lopez certainly likes to indulge. However, with this sort of beauty comes pain. J.Lo has admitted to crying during the fitting for this look.

Instagram // @theofficialgala

This flashy outfit was made by Versace (who else?) for the 2019 Met Gala. The theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion” and we think J.Lo hit the spot! That year, she and then-boyfriend Alex Rodriguez were on the official committee.

Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior Couture

While this dress is stunning – and pricey – it’s remembered more for what happened when actress Jennifer Lawrence wore it. You see, at the 2013 Academy Awards when J-Law was heading to the stage, she tripped and fell over.

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As all eyes were on the Best Actress winner, she was tumbling forward in a tangle of Dior Couture. According to Jennifer Lawrence, she wasn’t thinking about how to walk. That may sound reasonable, but the star’s stylist had told her to kick before taking a step. Oops!

Natalie Portman’s Topshop Maternity Dress

It must be tough to dress for red carpet events when you’re pregnant. It’s not like high fashion is designed for anyone other than catwalk models. So, instead of bothering with sourcing a fancy option, actress Natalie Portman opted for high street instead. For the 2017 Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon, the star wore a maternity dress from Topshop. Bravo!

Vogue // Maria Ward

The Israeli-American star looked simple and chic in the draped black dress. Her styling is also simplistically elegant, with natural hair and makeup.

Kelly Osbourne’s Animal Print Dress

Listen, this outfit mightn’t look great right now, but this snap was taken in 2010. Back then, leopard print was all the rage, especially for punk princesses like Kelly Osbourne. The star wore this H&M dress on the red carpet at a magazine party.

Diva Hair //Gabriela David

For further evidence that this picture was taken in 2010, please see Kelly’s leather gilet and oversized clutch. It’s giving us flashbacks! At this time, Kelly was working as a fashion expert on E!, so we trust that she knew what she was doing.

Heidi Klum’s Golden Globes Jewelry

To be honest, we’re also a little unsure about our next item, even though it’s way more expensive than Kelly’s leopard dress. German-American model Heidi Klum wore this ensemble to the 2014 Golden Globes, along with rather 1970s style bangs.

Celeb Mafia // Don Braun

Heidi’s floral gown is from Marchesa’s 2014 Spring Collection, but it’s the jewelry that pushes the price point up. She wears black diamond earrings, a ring, and a 200-karat necklace. The thing is, we don’t think it looks all that good.

Connie Britton’s ASOS LBD

It’s always satisfying when a celebrity wears something that the rest of us can buy. It’s almost like we’re celebrities too… almost. American actress and singer Connie Britton opted for an ASOS little black dress to attend a 2013 movie premiere.

BuzzFeed // Kristen Harris

The bodycon, capped sleeve dress had leather paneling at the side, giving it a glamorous edge. Connie paired her affordable outfit with black nails, black cut-out shoes, and her iconic strawberry curls. Clearly, there’s no need to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks.

Emily Ratajkowski’s Red Bodycon

Likewise, American actress and model Emily Ratajkowski proves you can look expensive without spending huge amounts of cash. For a magazine party in 2019, the star wore this gorgeous red bodycon dress from Zara. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine Emily looking bad in anything.

The Sun // Adam Nutburn

Emily Ratajkowski is certainly a fashion fan. She’s spoken about being inspired by the late Princess Diana’s casualwear and has topped multiple best-dressed lists. The star founded her own swimwear line, Inamorata, in 2017.

Julia Roberts’ Best Actress Dress

When Julia Roberts won the Best Actress Academy Award in 2001, the world was watching. The star had tried on multiple dresses before opting for this Valentino vintage number from the designer’s archives. Inspired by classic Hollywood, the floor-length dress featured a Y-shape bust and a fanned black tulle train.

Pinterest // @wmag

Valentino himself said that watching the A-lister receive her Oscar in his dress was the high point of his fashion career. Apparently, Julia plans to gift the dress to her daughter.

Octavia Spencer’s Two-Piece Gown

Frankly, we love a fashion risk-taker, and that’s exactly what we have here. For the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in 2017, actress Octavia Spencer wore this mock two-piece gown.

Instyle // Olivia Bahou

Comprising a three-quarter length white shirt top and ballgown skirt, the star was certainly the center of attention. This quirky outfit is by Eliza J, but it looks like high fashion. Octavia wore her hair slicked back into a low bun with smokey eyes and hoop earrings.

Anne Hathaway’s Red Ruffles

When you’re the host of the Academy Awards, the pressure is on to look tiptop on the red carpet — and we think Anne Hathaway succeeded. For the 2011 Oscars, the actress wore this incredible red Valentino dress made from silk faille.

People // People Staff

We know she is one, but she really looks like a movie star here. Breathtaking! On top of her designer dress, Anne wore very expensive Tiffany jewelry. Alas her fashion choices were more celebrated than her hosting skills.

Miranda Kerr’s High Street Look

Perhaps it should be no surprise that models tend to be spotted in high street fashion. After all, they’re bound to look gorgeous in just about anything. Indeed, Miranda Kerr has been seen wearing H&M outfits several times.

Pinterest // @celebmafia

In this picture, the Australian model is rocking a red lace H&M dress while at a promotional event in 2017. As always, she looks like a bombshell. She paired the dress with red suede pumps and a pop of red lipstick.

Helen Mirren’s Regal Gems

She’s played the Queen in a movie, won an Oscar for it, and we can definitely see why. English actress Helen Mirren always looks fabulous on a red carpet. Perhaps it’s because she glows from the inside out. This woman is comfortable with herself and it shows!

X // @MFRemillard

On this occasion, Helen Mirren was attending the 2018 Academy Awards. She opted for a gorgeous custom Reem Acra gown, and some truly impressive jewelry. The star wore sapphire and diamond Harry Winston earrings and a necklace. Wow!

Carrie Underwood’s Grammys Necklace

But not to be outdone, Carrie Underwood may have one of the most expensive pieces of jewelry on this list. The country star attended the 2013 Grammy Awards wearing this striking black Robert Cavalli dress. More importantly, though, she donned a 380-karat diamond necklace to really make herself shine.

Pinterest // @usweekly

At this ceremony, the country singer took home the award for Best Country Solo Performance. In total, Carrie has an amazing eight Grammys, as well as a host of other trophies and accolades.

Bryce Dallas Howard’s Critics Choice Outfit

Enough of all those diamonds, though — let’s get back to our frugal celebs. We’ve already seen some Topshop items on this list, and now we have another. American actress Bryce Dallas Howard chose to wear the British brand at the 2016 Critics Choice Awards. And we have to say, it looks fabulous.

reddit // u/CelebEvents

Bryce picked up this olive-toned empire line maxi dress while shopping in department store Nordstrom. Absurdly, Bryce likes to buy her own gowns because she struggles to find designers to dress her.

Kylie Jenner’s Orange Mini

We’re back to Pretty Little Thing with our next item — Kylie Jenner’s orange mini. Despite being an extremely wealthy celebrity, Kylie wore this affordable and bold dress at a launch party for the brand. She certainly did them some favors as the item sold out pretty much immediately.

Pinterest // @elle

As always, Ky looked stunning in this asymmetrical tangerine dress. She wore her ever-changing hair long and dark, in OG Kar-Jenner style. A gold choker, bangles, and strappy sandals accessorized the look.

Nicole Kidman’s Embroidered Dior

It’s time for another iconic Academy Awards dress, this time from the ’90s. Australian actress Nicole Kidman attended the 1997 Oscars ceremony with then-husband Tom Cruise. But really, all eyes were on her chartreuse, chinoiserie embroidered Dior gown. Who else could pull off that color?

Pinterest // @instyle

This incredible ’90s dress was designed by British designer John Galliano, and made quite the splash. At the time, it was considered the most expensive dress ever worn to the industry’s top awards show.

Kerry Washington’s Sundance Outfit

In the opposite direction, Kerry Washington’s 2010 Sundance Film Festival outfit was certainly not the most expensive. The celebrated actress took the unusual decision to go fully casual for her walk on the red carpet. Yes, she’s actually wearing jeans!

BuzzFeed // Terry Carter Jr.

This annual independent film festival takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah in January each year. That means it’s bound to be pretty cold. Kerry’s fair-aisle, turtleneck sweater certainly makes more sense in that context. Give it up for a comfortable queen!


X // @PopBase

_title]Kim Kardashian’s Marilyn Monroe Dress[/post_page_title]

Well, well, well, this next dress has definitely caused quite the controversy. For the 2022 Met Gala, reality star and lawyer in training Kim Kardashian wore an iconic item. The star wore a dress originally for Marilyn Monroe, who sang her famous rendition of “Happy Birthday” while wearing it.

Who What Wear // ELINOR BLOCK

Kim borrowed this dress from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum, and wasn’t allowed to have it altered. Some felt that KiKi shouldn’t have worn the historical and pricey item, but alas, she did.

Kate Middleton’s Cream Lace Dress

We close our list with a royal who has a bit of a thing for high street fashion. Kate Middleton is a fan of British, high-end, high street brands — like Whistles, Jigsaw, and Reiss. In this snap, she’s wearing a white silk and lace gown by Self-Portrait.

Who What Wear // ELINOR BLOCK

The London-based brand was founded in 2013 by designer Han Chong. This sophisticated dress has a long, sweeping train but also a risky leg slit. Kate paired the gown with a red suede clutch and matching stilettos.