A perfect 10—well, most of the time!
Over the past 10 years, there have been 20 seasons of Dancing With the Stars, which means that ABC has produced a whole lot of episodes of their hit competition. But even more impressive, judge Carrie Ann Inaba has had to have a fresh look for each and every one!
Us Weekly sat down with the former professional ballroom dancer, 47, to ask her about her best—and most cringeworthy!—judging styles of all time, including her absolute favorite on-screen outfit: a sexy, scarlet gown from just last month, season 20. “I just love strapless peplum dresses, because I have hips and booty!” Inaba dished. “I feel like the peplum accentuates it and makes you show off [your curves] as opposed to trying to hide them.”
Not to mention, every time the brunette beauty wears red, everyone knows it’s about to get real! “Red is a color that I love to wear on the show, but every time I do, there’s usually a fight! I’m feistier or maybe everyone gets feistier because they’re seeing red? I don’t know, but every time I wear red, there’s a… let’s call it a ‘heated discussion,'” she said, laughing.
Scroll down to see nine more of Inaba’s most memorable looks, as chosen by the star herself!
Light Blue Throwback (Way Back!) (Season 1)
“Back in the day, I really kind of wore whatever I could because I didn’t have a stylist,” Inaba told Us. “I went out on a big shopping spree one day, and this was the most sparkly dress I could find. In retrospect, I think I look like a big handkerchief, but I remember loving it in the moment! I look at that dress and think, ‘Oh, I’ve learned a lot.'”
Mesh Masterpiece (Season 1)
Favorite thing about this early ensemble? “It was comfortable!” Inaba dished to Us. “I loved that the whole thing was kind of modern—I could see myself wearing it today.”
Vintage Grace (Season 7)
“I loved this dress!” the judge gushed. “It was so soft. I felt like a Disney princess in that one.” Inaba explained that after she has an “intense” week, she likes to follow it up with something softer—to send some gentle vibes out to the competitors. “This is a nice, calm, ‘we’re not going to start any fires,’ kind of dress,” she said.
A Look That Purred (Season 13)
Inaba’s true-life confession: “If I could be a cat, I would!” The judge told Us that in addition to the cat ears, which were a Halloween treat, this episode marked the first time she wore gloves on the show. “We didn’t tell the producers we were going to dress up for the holiday, we just did. Actually, I was the only one who did it!” she admitted. “And then Len [Goodman] put on that halo. Bruno [Toniolo] was just being Bruno for Halloween.”
She’s Got Us in Chains (Season 14)
This strawberry-hued dress, which she accessorized with a chain vest for rock ‘n’ roll flair, was just one of many fun and fierce looks she had in her season 14 closet. “I get one big closet for the whole season. I do a big fitting and choose about 30 dresses, and then I just have them in ‘the closet,'” Inaba explained. “Depending on the week’s theme—or my mood—I’ll narrow my choices down to a few for each episode, and then choose the one I want to wear that morning.”
Calling All Bond Girls! (Season 15)
Inaba called this metallic Ines Di Santo mini her “Bond Girl wannabe look.” “What I really loved about this dress was the inside corset—it hugged me in all the right places,” Inaba said appreciatively. “I felt so confident that night. As a judge, it’s important to feel confident because’s it’s a little scary out there sometimes. You’re putting yourself out there.”
Emerald Elegance—With a Whoops! (Season 15)
Inaba fell in love with the hunter green hue of this dress, saying that it made her feel “strong, centered, and grounded”—until there was a little mishap. “That was the night I fell off my chair! And part of the reason was definitely that dress,” she confessed. “I remember Gilles Marini danced an incredible dance that night, and I stood up to say something crazy like, ‘God, that was so hot, everyone in America is going to be having sex tonight!’ And I went to step out, but the dress was so tight that I couldn’t, so I fell over! Here I was thinking I looked so elegant, and I just toppled over. [I’m lucky] I have such a sense of humor about myself.”
Smurf-ing Out (Season 18)
“This one’s not one of my favorites, but it is a moment!” Inaba quipped. “That night, we had Red Foo as a judge, so I had to have a little fun with Red Foo there. He came out with his big afro and his glasses, and I still thought, ‘He can’t have better hair than me!’ We threw in lots of blue extensions—we had fun with it.”
Pretty in Hot Pink (Season 19)
Inaba’s final choice—from just last season—was inspired by the guest judge that night. “Pitbull was coming on the show, and I felt like I needed to be super sassy,” the pro-turned-judge said about her BCBG dress. Plus, she added, “Pink is my favorite color—whenever I wear it, it makes me really happy. I felt really energized that night. I used to think pink was too girly-girl for me, but this is a hot pink.”
Tune in to DWTS on Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. And tell Us: Which of Inaba’s looks is your favorite? Tweet with @UsWeekly using the hashtag #stylebyUs!
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