Mindy Kaling's Style Evolution, From Budding Writer To Showrunner

The writer and actor has a flair for glittering gowns and pops of color.

Mindy Kaling’s style tends to evoke words such as “colorful” and “joyful.” The writer and producer often posts photos of her bright outfits on Instagram, and her red carpet looks usually feature fabulous pops of color.

But she wasn’t always sporting such vibrant ensembles. In fact, Kaling’s earlier outfits circa 2005 featured a lot of neutrals, especially black.

In honor of her birthday, we’ve rounded up 78 photos that show Kaling’s style evolution, from early 2000s newcomer to New York Times bestseller and producer extraordinaire.

2005
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Kaling at the Los Angeles premiere of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" at ArcLight Theatre in Hollywood on Aug. 11, 2005.
2005
Michael Buckner via Getty Images
Kaling at the "One Night Only: A Concert for Autism Speaks" event at the Kodak Theatre on Sept. 24, 2005, in Los Angeles.
2006
David Livingston via Getty Images
Kaling arrives at the Writers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on Feb. 4, 2006, in Hollywood.
2006
John Sciulli via Getty Images
Kaling during the 58th annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Aug. 19, 2006.
2007
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
Kaling at the 13th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 28, 2007.
2007
Jason Kempin via Getty Images
Kaling at a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Charlotte Ronson event at The Box in New York City on Feb. 3, 2007.
2007
Ethan Miller/Emmys via Getty Images
Kaling at the 59th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Sept. 16, 2007.
2007
Mark Davis via Getty Images
Kaling at a premiere party for "The Office" at Boulevard3 in Hollywood on Sept. 27, 2007.
2008
Vince Bucci via Getty Images
Kaling at a celebration of Hollywood's environmental advocates on Feb. 19, 2008, in Venice, California.
2008
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images
Kaling at Entertainment Weekly's sixth annual pre-Emmy celebration at the historic Beverly Hills Post Office on Sept. 20, 2008.
2008
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
Kaling at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theater on Sept. 21, 2008, in Los Angeles.
2009
Dan MacMedan via Getty Images
Kaling at the 15th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 25, 2009.
2009
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Kaling at the eighth annual Comedy for a Cure at Boulevard3 on April 5, 2009.
2009
John Shearer via Getty Images
Kaling arrives at the "Inglourious Basterds" premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Aug. 10, 2009.
2009
Dan MacMedan via Getty Images
Kaling at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 20, 2009.
2010
Jason Merritt via Getty Images
Kaling at a Golden Globes afterparty at The Beverly Hilton hotel on Jan. 17, 2010.
2010
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
Kaling at the Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Plaza in Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2010.
2010
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Kaling at GQ's "Men of the Year" party at the Chateau Marmont on Nov. 17, 2010, in Los Angeles.
2011
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images
Kaling at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 30, 2011.
2011
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Kaling at the Los Angeles premiere of "Super" at the Egyptian Theatre on March 21, 2011, in Hollywood.
2011
Valerie Macon via Getty Images
Kaling at the Kendra Scott Jewelry of Beverly Hills grand opening on Aug. 10, 2011, in West Hollywood.
2011
Jeff Vespa via Getty Images
Kaling at a Glamour event for her book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" on Nov. 14, 2011, in Hollywood.
2012
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
Kaling at the Fox Fall Eco-Casino Party at The Bookbindery in Culver City, California, on Sept. 10, 2012.
2012
Donna Ward via Getty Images
Kaling at "The Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City on Sept. 17, 2012.
2012
Imeh Akpanudosen via Getty Images
Kaling at The Hollywood Reporter's "Power 100: Women In Entertainment" Breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Dec. 5, 2012.
2013
Jeffrey Mayer via Getty Images
Kaling at the Los Angeles premiere of "This Is The End" at Regency Village Theatre in Westwood on June 3, 2013.
2013
Jonathan Leibson via Getty Images
Kaling at a July Fourth event at Nobu Malibu on July 4, 2013.
2013
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
Kaling at the 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Sept. 22, 2013.
2014
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images
Kaling at the TCA winter press tour and FOX all-star party at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on Jan. 13, 2014, in Pasadena, California.
2014
Jeffrey Mayer via Getty Images
Kaling at the 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 22, 2014.
2014
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images
Kaling at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 2, 2014, in West Hollywood, California.
2014
JB Lacroix via Getty Images
Kaling at the Fox "Girls Night Out" Q&A and Champagne Bar Reception on June 9, 2014, at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood, California.
2014
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Kaling at the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles.
2014
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images
Kaling at Glamour's Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Nov. 10, 2014.
2014
Jason Merritt/TERM via Getty Images
Kaling at the People Magazine Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Dec. 18, 2014.
2015
Cindy Ord via Getty Images
Kaling at a press junket for "The Mindy Project'" during SCAD aTVfest on Feb. 7, 2015, in Atlanta.
2015
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
Kaling at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 22, 2015, in Beverly Hills, California.
2015
Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images
Kaling at the 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 17, 2015.
2015
Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images
Kaling at the premiere of "Inside Out" during the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2015.
2015
Jim Spellman via Getty Images
Kaling at the eighth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic at Liberty State Park on May 30, 2015, in Jersey City, New Jersey.
2015
Imeh Akpanudosen via Getty Images
Kaling at the Hulu 2015 Summer TCA Presentation at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Aug. 9, 2015.
2015
Grant Lamos IV via Getty Images
Kaling at a "Mindy Project" event during PaleyFest at the Paley Center for Media on Oct. 17, 2015, in New York City.
2015
Jason Merritt/TERM via Getty Images
Kaling at the March of Dimes Celebration of Babies Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel on Dec. 4, 2015, in Beverly Hills.
2016
Stefanie Keenan via Getty Images
Kaling at the 18th Costume Designers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 23, 2016.
2016
Ethan Miller via Getty Images
Kaling at the 88th annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland on Feb. 28, 2016.
2016
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
Kaling at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 28, 2016.
2016
Marla Aufmuth via Getty Images
Kaling at the Watermark Conference for Women 2016 Silicon Valley at the San Jose Convention Center on April 21, 2016.
2016
Jamie McCarthy via Getty Images
Kaling attends the "Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016.
2016
Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images
Kaling at the Hulu Upfront on May 4, 2016, in New York City.
2016
Michael Tullberg via Getty Images
Kaling attends a For Your Consideration panel for "The Mindy Project" at UCB Sunset Theater in Los Angeles on June 8, 2016.
2016
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Kaling at the Hulu TCA Summer 2016 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Aug. 5, 2016.
2016
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Kaling at a Hulu event at the PaleyFest 2016 fall TV preview at the Paley Center for Media on Sept. 15, 2016.
2017
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images
Kaling at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 26, 2017, in Beverly Hills.
2017
Allen Berezovsky via Getty Images
Kaling at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles' annual Accessories for Success spring scholarship luncheon on April 23, 2017, in Beverly Hills.
2017
George Pimentel via Getty Images
Kaling at the "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017, in New York City.
2017
Nicholas Hunt via Getty Images
Kaling at the Hulu Upfront Brunch at La Sirena Ristorante on May 3, 2017, in New York City.
2017
Taylor Hill via Getty Images
Kaling at the NBCUniversal Upfront at Radio City Music Hall on May 15, 2017, in New York City.
2017
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images
Kaling at the Walt Disney Studios live action presentation at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, on July 17, 2017.
2017
David Livingston via Getty Images
Kaling at the Paley Center for Media's 11th annual PaleyFest fall TV previews on Sept. 8, 2017.
2018
John Shearer via Getty Images
Kaling at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills.
2018
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images
Kaling at a special New York screening of "A Wrinkle in Time" at Walter Reade Theater on March 7, 2018.
2018
Karwai Tang via Getty Images
Kaling at the European premiere of "A Wrinkle in Time" at BFI IMAX on March 13, 2018, in London.
2018
John Shearer via Getty Images
Kaling at the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018.
2018
Taylor Hill via Getty Images
Kaling at the world premiere of "Ocean's 8" at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City on June 5, 2018.
2018
Cindy Ord via Getty Images
Kaling at day one of POPSUGAR Play/Ground on June 9, 2018, in New York City.
2018
Karwai Tang via Getty Images
Kaling at the European premiere of "Ocean's 8" at Cineworld Leicester Square on June 13, 2018, in London.
2018
Joe Scarnici via Getty Images
Kaling at Caruso's Palisades Village Opening Gala at Palisades Village on Sept. 20, 2018, in Pacific Palisades.
2019
George Pimentel via Getty Images
Kaling at the "Late Night" premiere during the Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theater in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 25, 2019.
2019
Cindy Ord via Getty Images
Kaling at the Tory Burch Fall/Winter 2019 Fashion Show at Pier 17 in New York City on Feb. 10, 2019.
2019
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images
Kaling at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 24, 2019.
2019
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images
Kaling at the Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019, in New York City.
2019
Leon Bennett via Getty Images
Kaling attends Uplift Family Services at Hollygrove's annual Norma Jean Benefit Gala in Hollywood on Oct. 19, 2019.
2019
Rodin Eckenroth via Getty Images
Kaling at the Baby2Baby Gala at 3LABS on Nov. 9, 2019, in Culver City.
2019
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images
Kaling at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast Gala at Milk Studios in Hollywood on Dec. 11, 2019.
2020
Frazer Harrison via Getty Images
Kaling at the 22nd Costume Designers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 28, 2020.
2020
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
Kaling at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Feb. 8, 2020, in Santa Monica, California.
2020
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Kaling at the 92nd annual Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020, in Hollywood.
2020
George Pimentel via Getty Images
Kaling at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills.