The Big Bang Theory has been going on since 2006. For some of us out there it appeared right on the cusp of us being old enough to watch sitcoms (other than Boy Meets World, Fresh Prince, and other teen-oriented shows). This makes it pretty seminal in a lot of our lives. We personally love the fact that it looked outside the realms of typical sitcoms.
Rather than focusing on the same old family stuff, we met a group of intelligent young adults and their mishaps and follies. How to communicate, grow and (of course) dealing with girls are all features of the show. One of those central themes revolved around Penny, the hilarious next door neighbor and trying-to-be actor. Her character went from pretty girl to well-spoken woman very quickly, and that transformation totally comes through throughout the seasons.
20 Season One Kaley Was A Sight To Behold
And the actor who portrays this trying-to-be actor on the show? None other than the now famous Kaley Cuoco. Her blonde hair, gorgeous smile, and comedic timing made her the perfect foil to the overly-intelligent and hyper-awkward antics of Leonard and Sheldon, all the way back since the first fateful season!
19 At Least Her Hair Got Better In Season Two
Since it was the very early 2000s, as IMDb reminds us, it’s reasonable to expect a little bit of eyebrow raising when it comes to the styles we see. Most iconic are those early 2000s hairstyles which poor Kaley ended up becoming the victim of. Case in point: these flat curls which appeared in many episodes.
18 Well... Sometimes
The other iconic 2000s hairstyle that Kaley seemed to wear often in those first couple seasons? The Friends-inspired bun, which wasn’t just any old bun. Oh, no. This was a bun with personality, which is a nice word for “highly crafted messiness”. This little hair halo was Penny’s “relaxed” look, which quickly disappeared in later seasons.
17 Season Three Gave Us An Even Bigger Blast From The Past
By season three the show was established, and looked like it was going to be around for quite a while. Not only did it feature an upgrade in styles (maybe because their budget started to grow) but it also gave us more of a blast from Penny’s past. Most notably this look from her young adult years. We remember rocking that hair too, and we regret it.
16 But She Grew Up A Lot Too
See, this is what we mean by growing up. Her style’s become much more polished than the stretchy, floral patterned shirts and low riding jeans Penny was almost always in in the first two seasons. Season three showed us that she had some more grown up outfits, and started to shift into hairstyles that suited her a little more.
15 We Got Even More Of Her Personality In Season Four
Long hair Penny was definitely our favorite. Iconic in her casual wear, retaining her bright colors, and feeling even more settled in herself, this season’s Penny was the beginning of the character’s development from “girl next door” to “fully formed adult engaged in a friendship with her neighbors”. Honestly, we’re here for it.
14 And Even More Adorable Hairstyles!
We want to be clear, though: season 4 was still in that awkwardly-styled phase of 2000s/2010s style. The hair was adorable, but the clothing was still phasing out of the stretch jersey and floral patterns. We see a little bit of subtlety in her style, but she’s still the quirky Penny we know and love!
13 Season Six Gave Us A New Pattern For Penny In Every Episode
Is that Britney Spears? Nope! It’s just Penny and her friend Amy, who couldn’t be more opposite on the style spectrum. Penny’s outstanding style really is highlighted here. The low riding jeans are gone (thankfully), and she’s starting to wear outfits which suit her. Not to mention her luscious pop star hair!
12 While Seven Saw Her Taking An Interest In The More Cerebral Things
Blazers, soft waves, and darker color palettes for her style really started to appear here. We personally think season seven Penny was the best. She wasn’t as polished and put together as her later seasons, but she wasn’t as young and wild as her early seasons. This was a nice middle ground in Penny’s maturity we’re totally here for.
11 Just Kidding! She's Still The Same Old Penny
But hey, red pants and flowery tops can still count as grown up, right? This fun ensemble was a good representation of everything Penny stood for: innocence, creativity, passionate individuality, and bringing some color into the lives of Leonard and Sheldon. She’s a great character, and somehow this style shows that even more than previous ones.
10 Then The Big Chop Happened
It seems like many stars took the plunge to get short hair at the same time. Kaley Cuoco was one of the first if memory serves, and she brought it to the TV screens in a big way. Not only does she seem to have more confidence in this season, but the short hair made her much spunkier than innocent. We’re into it.
9 Growing It Out Was A Process...
And inevitably the short hair phase ends. It’s great for a month or two, but then it starts to grow out. Going from a pixie cut back to long hair (which is the trajectory Penny/Kaley took) can be awkward. There were certainly some growing pains with this style grow-out, but on the whole she still looked adorable.
8 But A Totally Cute One
See? How cute is this style? From the button up shirt (with a signature Penny pattern) all the way to the perfect side-part, this iteration of Penny is closest to our own personal style. Maybe that’s why we’re partial to it. Objectively, it was a bit of a deviation of compared to the rest of her looks, but not an unwelcome one.
7 Eventually It Was Enough To Pull Back
Finally, the phase of a short-hair-grow-out that every person is relieved to hit. Not only does the style start to become more versatile, but the looks can be more defined. However, it’s certainly harder to make short hair hold its shape/definition for a long period of time. This phase gave us Penny casual, thanks in part to the shaggy hair.
6 And Then That Casual Style Was All We Saw
But, like, not in a bad way. Just in that “I’m tired of dealing with these nerdy boys’ awkwardness” way. She certainly got a little more sarcastic in these later seasons. Maybe that’s just a natural part of growing up, or maybe it’s the way that the writers saw her going in order to make the most interest. Either way, we were stuck with casual Penny for a while.
5 Season 10 Was All Style, All The Time
A crisp white collar, casual sweaters, and slicked back hair: this was the kind of style that defined Penny in season ten, and we’re absolutely loving it. She was totally grown up here, although it’s certainly a bit of a deviation from the character as she initially started. The look is clean and chic, which certainly looks good on TV!
4 Seriously, Can We Say 'Glow Up'?
Remember when we talked about her pop star hair in the early seasons? She glowed up from that in a big way, and rocked movie star hair for much of the latest seasons. Paired with classic blue jeans and black shirts means that she was pulling off style without even trying. Even her makeup seemed to get a little more polished here.
3 She Really Settled Into Her Style In The Most Recent Seasons
She’s still good old Penny, though, with her fun shirts and bright colours. The messy ponytail might have been a signature look in early seasons, but hair and makeup even found a way to give that iconic style a glow up. Case in point, this outfit epitomization of Penny. Grown up but still totally her.
2 And Even Threwback To An Older Style
Space buns (or messy buns) were seen on Penny a few times, but these seasons were the ones that really showed us she could rock her old styles even with the new, polished Penny. All in all, she just comes across as a regular woman. Albeit with a bit of a quirky style. Although, we are getting the strangest urge to try pigtails…
1 Penny Totally Grew Up
All in all, Penny grew from the eager girl-next-door with a wild past to being a fantastic woman. Her style is grown up but not shy; she still rocks the bold colours and patterns, and her looks got fancier as time went on. If that’s how growing up is supposed to look, we can’t wait for season twelve of our lives.