Heidi Klum, 2014
While some models err on the scary-skinny side, Heidi Klum exists in a magical space where she’s both svelte and seriouslymuscular. No wonder her stems are reportedly insured for a whopping $2 million.
Kate Middleton, 2014
Kate Middleton may be a princess, but she was an athlete first—as evidenced by her toned calves. (And by the fact that she can still play field hockey… in heels.) While the Queen is apparently not a fan of the Duchess’s shorter hemlines, we think she’s just doing her duty as a beautiful royal role model. It’s for the good of the people, Queen E!
Jennifer Lopez, 2014
Every time I see a picture of Jennifer Lopez, I repeat like a mantra: “She’s 45. She’s 45.” She might be better known for her backside, but it’s time we direct our attention to her chiseled, dancer’s legs. She’s a beacon of hope for us all (if, you know, we had her genes and her work ethic).
Amal Clooney, 2014
Between being an internationally acclaimed barrister, newly-anointed style goddess, and now wife of George Clooney, does Amal Clooney even have room on her résumé to add “leg role model?” Well, fortunately for us, she doesn’t have a choice. Mrs. Clooney’s pipes look equally divine in short skirts and high-waisted trousers, and would probably even look chic in those pants cranberry boggers wear.
Gisele Bündchen, 2013
Is this Anthony Vaccarello dress slit up to Gisele’s abdomen, or do her legs continue up half her torso? Honestly, we’d believe either.
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Blake Lively, 2012
If there’s anyone who seems like she was born just so other humans could admire her wearing exquisite dresses, it’s Blake Lively. I try to find a flaw in her appearance almost every day, and I think it’s time to give up. If I were a designer, I would send her infinite miniskirts and heels.
Jennifer Aniston, 2010
Our favorite Friend credits her strong, lean, and always perfectly tanned legs to running and yoga—two modes of exercise that we hate to admit we actually coulddo anywhere. For free. But also, she apparently cheats on her dietwith KALE CHIPS. So I guess if kale chips are your equivalent to other people’s fistfulls of Nutella, that probably helps with all that perfect body/glowing skin stuff, too.
Obviously Ri’s legs are still inspiring stem-envy in 2014, but it was in her 2007 “Umbrella” video that they really strutted onto the scene. When a pair of legs can upstage the supposed star of the song (all those umbrellas, duh) so easily, you know they’ll “stick it out ’til the end.”
Jessica Simpson in Dukes of Hazzard, 2005
When Jessica Simpson was cast as Daisy Duke in the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard reboot, she was (arguably) at the peak of her fame. Not yet divorced from Nick Lachey, the blonder of America’s favorite newlyweds underwent a killer workout regime to look good wearing her character’s namesake shorts. The results speak for themselves.
Mariah Carey, 2002
If divas are known by one (well, two) body parts aside from their vocal chords, it’s probably their legs—which take a starring role in short, shiny dresses. Mariah Carey’s stems are no exception: They even take the attention off of her Harley-Davidson crop top in the photo above, which is fortunate. Diva legs: Saving their owners from fashion faux pas since 1920.
Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, 1992
In that famous scene from Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone flashed a peek at her womanly goods. But let’s not neglect those legs!
Somalian model Iman is fluent in five languages, has been happily married to David Bowie for 21 years, and has excellent legs. If she isn’t on one of your inspirational Pinterest boards yet, you haven’t been paying attention.
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Jane Fonda, 1985
More legwarmers! Jane Fonda famously did what we wish every lady on this list would consider doing: She’s released over 20 self-branded workout videos so devotees can attempt to achieve her toned physique. Of course, if you try to watch them now, you might find them a bit grainy—but the poor quality just makes it easier to picture yourself in one of those vibrant leotards (and…with Jane Fonda’s legs).
Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, 1983
Sometimes I like to dream of a fairytale I call “The Enchanted Legwarmers.” In this tale, a normal, klutzy girl finds a pair of enchanted legwarmers in a trunk of old ’80s dance gear. When she puts them on, not only does she become an incredible dancer, but her legs also turn into Jennifer Beals’s legs from Flashdance, and stay like that forever. Killer thigh muscles, calves to-die-for, and the strength to weld all day and dance all night? Please let me know if you find a trunk full of ’80s stuff.
Cher is still out and about so often nowadays (and looking great), it’s easy to forget what a mega-ultra-super-babe she was back in Sonny and Cher’s heyday. Those mile-long legs paired with Bob Mackie’s theatrical outfits—don’t be surprised if you let out an audible, wistful sigh while gazing at old photos of the gal.
Tina Turner, 1972
You don’t think “great legs” without thinking of Tina Turner. The star told Oprah that she was young, because her legs were so long, she used to think, “Why do I look like a little pony?” Those pony legs were later insured for $3.2 million.
Anne Bancroft in The Graduate, 1967
Anne Bancroft’s leg is the star of one of the most recognizable movie posters of the last century. That stocking-covered calf came to symbolize her character: the original MILF, Mrs. Robinson. Those legs are so enticing that even her daughter Elaine (weirdly) forgives Dustin Hoffman’s indiscretion.
Brigitte Bardot, 1959
French actress Brigitte Bardot has inspired thousands (millions?) of women to tease their hair or try out winged eyeliner over the past few decades. Similarly, her gorgeous legs have inspired hundreds (thousands?) of photographers to recreate that iconic photo in which she wears black tights and, er, strategically crosses her legs.
Dorothy Dandridge, 1954
Dorothy Dandridge was the first black actress nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award, for her performance as the titular character in the 1954 film Carmen Jones (pictured above). We’ll remember her both for that achievement and her stunning stems.
Josephine Baker, 1925
We have neither the time nor space here to discuss American-born French actress, dancer, and singer Josephine Baker’s monumental place in history. (The short version: She was the first African-American woman to star in a major motion picture, and she refused to perform for segregated audiences!) We will, however, address her killer legs, and the fact that she was a muse to Pablo Picasso, Christian Dior, Langston Hughes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway.