From 'Mean Girls' to 'Masters of Sex,' Lizzy Caplan Joins the Emmys Red Carpet A-List

·Senior Editor, Special Projects

Lizzy Caplan has forever branded our hearts for making Mean Girls a Gen X classic as spiky-haired, sharp-tongued Janis Ian, but her stunning Emmys appearance may have shot her into the A-list of fashionistas.

Caplan didn't get the lead-actress win for her role as Virginia Johnson on Showtime's Masters of Sex, but the 32-year-old may have won the red carpet. Standing out among a lovely array of red and white dresses, she showed splendid form in a black-and-white Donna Karan Atelier. It's not just a nice change from the purple tuxedo she wore in the 2004 comedy, but also all those nude scenes she's had as sex researcher Johnson.

[Photos: 2014 Emmys Red Carpet Report Card]

While we've always been fans of Caplan's work, she's not exactly a household name when it comes to style. After all, this is Sara from Freaks and Geeks, Marjee Sorelli from Related, and Amy Burley from True Blood. Then again, as an Emmy nominee on a riveting show, Caplan has joined a new league. (By the way, speaking of Freaks and Geeks, she has reunited with co-star Seth Rogen, who directed her as the female lead alongside him and James Franco in the spy caper The Interview, which comes out on Christmas Day.)

MEAN GIRLS, Lizzy Caplan, 2004, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection
MEAN GIRLS, Lizzy Caplan, 2004, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

As for how Caplan decided on that Donna Karan gown with that wondrous train, as luck would have it, her stylist, Ilaria Urbinati, told Elle that the first dress Caplan tried on fit the bill. The ensemble also included Neil Lane jewels, Brian Atwood shoes, and a Judith Leiber clutch."

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Because Caplan isn't the usual must-see red carpet actress, the surprise might've added to her appeal. "I think because she's kind of a tomboy that she can pull off a more romantic gown without it looking too saccharine," Urbinata pointed out. "Plus she's nude on the show a lot so we didn't feel the need to be overtly sexy, which eliminated quite a few gowns."

But we sort of do miss the purple tuxedo.