The name Olsen is synonymous with "famous actress". When you think Olsen, you think either of the twins, or of their younger sister, the Scarlet Witch—or, rather, Elizabeth Olsen. While we all adore Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, even if her accent sometimes slips (come on! It’s adorable!), this article is not about our new favorite android-loving witch-mutant.
No, this is about the sweet twins—Ashley and Mary-Kate. Many of us grew up watching the twins, seeing them age along with us. There is a sense of camaraderie that many of us may share with the duo. They experienced what we did, at relatively the same time—or, even if we are younger, we can see that progression documented still on television, countless Disney movies, and many (many, many, many) specials.
The two have always been known for their fashion as well as their acting skills, but, as adults, they have largely led very private lives. While we should all respect their desire for privacy, it makes it all the more exciting when they do venture forth and wander out into the public sphere. While their looks have changed, evolved, and have become something very, very different from when they were children, they are still pushing boundaries and creating "lewks" today.
Take a walk with me, dear reader, down memory lane as we enjoy some of their more daring, but always beautiful and classy, looks that both Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have given us through the years.
20 Glamazon Goddesses
Let us begin with a bit of glam, shall we? Don’t the ladies look amazing here? The makeup is absolutely amazing, from their full red and pink lips to their heavy lashes. The wildness of the hair contrasts with the otherwise very well put together look so well, wouldn’t you say?
It gives them just the right amount of edge to keep the twins from looking too put together.
Their dresses are sleek, shimmery and gorgeous. Can’t you imagine going to some red carpet event with them, dolled up as they are? Maybe they’re meeting someone in one of their manors, and they stop, give a little twirl and check out what they look like in their premiere looks. If this were today, what even do you think they would be attending? A movie for their sister? Maybe some new launch for one of their fashion lines?
19 Insta-Ashley Olsen
Here we have Ashley Olsen taking a cue from classic modelling looks, eyeing the camera coyly. I love it. Again, everything about this picture is fashion-forward. She has the pseudo-natural look (I mean, look at those lips) paired with a dramatic smoky eye.
That tousled blonde hair and those smoky eyes look like more fun romps are on the horizon.
Plus that gown? And that feather? I don’t even care why she is surrounded by feathers and wearing a bracelet that very well might be a shackle. I am here for all of it. This adds drama to an already dramatic portrait, and, again, that blue makes her eyes pop as grey. I feel alive.
18 Mardi Gras Mystique
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this set of images. These were taken by the famous portrait photographer Rankin. Rankin has photographed so many famous figures, from Beyoncé to Kim Kardashian. All of his work is evocative and enigmatic, and his portraits of Mary-Kate Olsen are no exception.
There is much to love about these portraits.
The beautiful almost-Mardi-Gras mask, the playful yellow top, and the layered green gown that drapes languidly on Mary-Kate, coupled with that big, faux-punk bracelet all make for some enchanting imagery.
She seems otherworldly, and I am here for it! I can picture walking the streets of New Orleans late at night, and running into what must be some sort of faerie creature, only—no, it’s Mary-Kate Olsen, and she is just as magical as any of the fair folk. Well, almost.
17 Let Them Eat Cake
Yet another glamour shot, and probably from the same photo shoot as that first picture we looked at. The twins truly are timeless in their beauty, which is especially apparent in this image.
They could exist three hundred years ago at some French noble’s court and would have fit in, based on their looks here.
The elevated hair coupled with pouty lips and kohl-lined eyes? This is a look for the ages. The bangles add the perfect complement to the lace dress. They are simple, in a color that stands out yet also goes with Mary-Kate’s hair as well as the accents in the room. Ashley is goth-chic, which I feel is almost a prototype for their future looks. More on that later, as we shall see together, dear reader!
16 Silver Star Olsen
Here we have Ashley Olsen, looking just like a young Hollywood starlet during Hollywood’s golden years, specifically the twenties or thirties. The dress is classic silver, elegant with just a hint of peeking. It really makes her eyes stand out as a mysterious grey, rather than a pale blue. Her red lips are a throwback classic themselves, coupled nicely with a smoky eye. The loose blonde curls could be from any decade, honestly.
She and her sister have always had that timeless quality to them, and this photo really brings that out.
She exudes class and sophistication, and photos like this really make me miss the duo in acting roles! While it is a shame they are so out of the spotlight, it’s nice to know that they are happy doing something they love.
15 Classic Portraiture
What do you think has been discussed in this seemingly candid shot of a mid-afternoon gossip? Mary-Kate seems a mixture of amused and surprised, whatever she’s been told. I love the ambiguity of this candid shot, it makes you feel like you're really part of the moment.
Both twins know how to create an ambiance that makes you feel like you are part of the exchange, no matter what it may be.
These twins have become more enigmatic over the years, but, even though their whispers here are a mystery, there’s always something very charismatic about them. Mary-Kate here opts for a natural look, as well, which further complements the warmth of this picture. We love the soft informality of the shot.
14 Olsen Fashionistas
Don’t the Olsen Twins just look fierce here? Those oversized shades, those full lips, their perfectly sleeked-back hair. Not to mention that flawless sense of fashion. They really exude glamor here. The Olsens really know how to bring attention to their signature features. This could be at any runway show in the world. Milan, Paris, London, or New York.
You know the Olsen twins could just show up anywhere and effortlessly steal the limelight.
Is it me, or do they look like they’ve been on a nice vacation, too? They have a dreamy bronze tan going on, and it makes me want to head straight for the beach. Who doesn’t need some beach in their life, huh? A tropical beverage, turquoise waters, golden sand. Excuse me...I’ll be right back.
13 Olsens In Black And White
The Olsen twins always know how to frame a shot and visually entrance the onlooker. It's like they know we're looking! Both girls are captured in a sweet, rather endearing embrace. It's no wonder they're sisters, they seem to exude that closeness you only get from making about a million films together (and stealing each other's clothes).
It is the eyes, right? So big and innocent, you might just fall under their spell.
This seems to be a very candid shot from an event, and both twins look just a little mischievous. We wonder what they've just been whispering to each other. Was it about us? We'll never know, but we're free to imagine. (We did, and they are).
12 Affable Olsen Twins
I like this picture, and not just because I can finally tell them apart again (thank you so much for dying your hair a darker shade of blonde, Ashley!). It is an intimate portrait of the two of them, one that demonstrates their closeness and comfort with each other.
If only every sibling could have such a bond!
Alas, I got stuck with a brother who would hide my toys growing up, and make my life a general mess. The two here look like they have been caught gossiping, but don’t worry—it wasn’t anything bad. I don’t know what it is, but these two have always seemed so fun-loving to me.
Could just be the eyes and sneaky smiles! Who can say?
11 Fashion-Focused Olsens
This is a more recent, but just as powerful portrait. The twins have obviously become more reclusive over the years, focusing more on their personal lives and their growing fashion. They are more somber here, casual, but no less intimate.
They still look like close sisters, and their sense of humor and good nature still comes across. I need that grey “I’m Almost Not Crazy” t-shirt in at least six different colors, please and thank you. I love those cutoff shorts, too.
They look like they were actual, full-length jeans that got snipped or ripped to their new, summery length. Authentic jean cutoffs, if you will. The photo makes you feel like you’re there at the scene, especially with how the camera and camera man are visible off to the side.
10 Bored Olsen Twins
Here again we have something from the 2006-2007 era where Ashley had dark blonde hair, bordering on brown, while Mary-Kate kept her locks a shimmery gold. I can only imagine why Ashley opted for the darker shade.
Maybe Ashley was sick of being mistaken for her twin? I mean, who wouldn’t be?
Ah, do you remember the mid-2000’s? Everyone was wearing skater tank tops, and pairing them with tulle and lace like the Olsens are doing here. The pearls are a nice touch, and I’m pretty sure I would have agreed to double or triple my chores if it meant I could have that shag pink carpet in my house. They look bored here, especially Ashley. I wonder what could be going through their minds?
9 Grown-Up Olsen
This is probably my favorite picture of Ashley Olsen. Gone are the childish outfits, and she doesn't look like she's trying to advance fashion with every breath. The corset is feminine, casual and also matches her hair perfectly.
No more matching overalls and wacky-colored running shoes for this Olsen twin!
Ashley is grown up, decisive and ready to take on the world! Her jade green eyes and super soft smile remind us that she is still the sweet girl we remember, but her no-nonsense stance and clear look suggest a bright, steady future. This is one Billboard girl we can't wait to welcome back into the spotlight, with or without her equally accomplished sister Mary-Kate.
8 Mirrored Olsen Twins
This is from a well-loved photoshoot, and the juxtaposition of the two in this portrait is just fabulous. The symmetry highlights their differences so well. The hair is an obvious difference, but Ashley seems just a touch paler than Mary-Kate, and her face seems a bit fuller, though they appear to be the same weight.
They are both equally beautiful, but in slightly different ways, despite their similarities.
Mary-Kate seems to be doing duckface before it was known as duckface. Ashley seems contemplative, maybe wondering how many more shots they have to take before they are done for the day. Pure speculation based on my experience at 20. I could barely sit still and focus for more than thirty minutes. Then again, I didn’t have an acting legacy to uphold and years of work already under my belt.
7 What Are Cars Even For?
This awesome shot is from a 2007 Marie Claire photoshoot by photographer Ruven Afanador. We love the vintage car and the mini-break vibe this picture is putting out. Ashely looks really too comfortable on that car, and we can totally see why!
Maybe this is right before taking off on a weekend together, and Ashley decides a quick nap on the car might be nice.
We definitely don't see enough fun and adventurous photoshoots of the Olsen twins on the internet, so it might be a thing to consider. Ashley looks like she's really enjoying herself here, and we certainly can't argue! More fancy cars and wedding dresses, please!
6 Grecian Ashley Olsen
Here we have Ashley totally owning a white ruffle dress that, frankly, she looks amazing in. She is a bit younger, and her hair looks less brown and more blonde again. This looks like a really fun photoshoot to have done, Ashley is surrounded by flowers.
Belt out that song, Ashley!
She looks completely Grecian here, like Aphrodite pausing a song to smile benevolently at an admirer, or like Artemis, caught in an off-hand moment, in the middle of gathering flowers for a ritual. The wayward curls coming down from her up-do make this look. But what I really want to know is—where can I get those shoes? I need them in my life.
5 Ashley Olsen Meets World
Speaking of green eyes, again Ashley’s gaze looks almost emerald. It could be the jade in her earrings, or the spring green leaves on her dress bringing out the green in the grey. You know what else is interesting about this picture?
She looks like Topanga from Boy Meets World, Danielle Fishel. You’re seeing it now, aren’t you?
The big, expressive green-ish eyes, the slight smile and curve of her cheek? She is totally rocking the Topanga vibes here. Add to that the dirty-blonde hair with golden highlights that Topanga had in Boy Meets World. So many similarities! Ashley is the embodiment of summer. The peachy tone to her lips coupled with the sun dress makes this the perfect look for a day at the beach.
4 Chilling On An Afternoon
So you might be wondering why I chose this photo, as it's rather artistic in nature. Let me tell you. Mary-Kate looks very interesting here, and she is very calmly and quietly sitting on a simple stool, despite the slightly awkward pose.
If you have noticed, in recent years, portraits and rare photos of the twins have looked, well, a little harsh.
They don’t seem to smile often, and are rarely without large sunglasses. In this, we geta look of Mary-Kate with a soft, warm expression. She is not quite smiling, but she looks calm, content. And she looks different. Their hair may be the same color (for all we know. This is a black and white photo, after all), but you can see marked differences in a sweet, calm portrait with a great hat.
3 Fashion Police Olsen Twins
I adore this, and not just because one of the twins is using a vest as a shirt, which, by the way, is one of my all-time favorite fashion choices. I love the geometric silhouettes the clothes cut, but also that one of them is wearing a shako.
Dear reader, I must confess to having spent an inordinate amount of time looking at various countries’ shakos—and I don’t just mean military. I looked at police shakos, as that is what this one seems to be, based on color alone. Their eyes both look nearly neon in this light, or maybe next to so much bright blue. They have their typical smoky eye down pat, and what I have come to think of as the Olsen-center-part in their hair.
2 Goth Dream Olsen Girls
I don’t know if you guys know, but there was an article circulating recently that claimed the Olsens had launched a minimalist Wiccan line. You can see why the article took off. Not only that, but looking at this particular photo shoot, can you say that you’re entirely surprised?
They ooze goth dream girl glam. The portrait itself is very artful, from the casual poses to the tousled locks of blonde hair.
The lack of color makes the smudged liner around their eyes stand out even more, softening their features. Is that Mary-Kate on the right? Whomever it may be, you can definitely see the resemblance to Elizabeth, their younger sister. The small nose, large eyes and high cheek bones all speak of the Olsen family. I think? I’ve never seen any other Olsen, but I’m assuming they share those features.
1 Sweet Olsen Girl
First off, I need to congratulate Mary-Kate on her fierce heels. They look tall, uncomfortable, but darn if they don’t look amazing and make her legs seem even longer.
Here we have Mary-Kate, lounging in the sun as she sports the lovely hair light during this period (this was taken from a 2007 press conference, according to olsensobsessive.com, which seems trustworthy when it comes to all things Olsen).
Secondly, let us applaud how fashion-forward this look is. The soft, unguarded look really complements the high-fashion air that this pose conveys. This is why we chose it for our last one, as we do want to remind our readers that, despite the fact that we grew up with the wonderful Olsen twins, they have indeed grown up.
And we are very, very thankful.