When Modern Family began in 2009, Sarah Hyland was a standout as Haley Dunphy. The eldest child of Claire and Phil, she seemed like an airhead focused on boys and dating more than anything. While not as dumb as brother Luke, her ditzy ways made for good jokes as did her rivalry with genius sister Alex. She also was clearly a fashionista, going out of her way to look as great as possible at all times. Her parents know the best way to punish Haley is forcing her to go out in an outfit that would not look good. However, as the series has gone on, the character has developed more. She’s smarter than she seems and has a big heart. She also has grown into a truly gorgeous young woman.
Hyland has risen to fame although her body hasn’t changed as much (especially compared to co-star Ariel Winter). However, the lady has grown into the part, maturing (well, a bit) into a smarter and more caring young woman. She’s wrestled with boyfriends, handled a short college tenure and a few other antics. She can still use her wiles and beauty to get guys to do what she wants, and sometimes even her parents. However, the character’s depth shows the care the writers have brought to the show. It is amazing to see how her wardrobe has shifted from the typical teenage outfits to a more adult look, while still keeping the core of the character intact. Here are 20 photos from the first season of the show to the current one showing her evolution, and how Haley has risen beyond her “ditz” beginnings.
20 Season 1 - Innocent Flirt
The first season had the show obviously finding its way a bit, the characters not as well developed. Thus, Haley truly comes off as an airhead for the most part, who is aware of her beauty, but nothing beyond that. She was presented as a stereotypical teenage girl.
This pic shows her typical outfit of the time, with a white top mixing into a large black skirt, a yellow coat over it and various long necklaces. Her parents don’t seem to mind too much as they don’t want to admit how their girl is growing up. Hyland looks so young here, bright and cheerful, and that personality continues on for the entire show. Of course she’d change down the road, but this pic shows that even at a young age, Haley was all about her style that would grow as she went along.
19 Season 1 - Airport Chic
The penultimate episode of the first season has the gang at the airport for hijinks before getting a surprise trip to Hawaii. During the episode, Haley starts to flirt with a handsome boy and it looks like sparks are flying. However, in a genius play on Hyland being older than she looks, Haley finds out her “crush” is actually only fourteen. This leads to a bit on the “confession cam” where Alex is laughing hysterically as Haley just glares at her.
Haley does look great in the outfit, a dark top and pants, with a lovely purple sweater and a pendant. It offsets how ticked she is about wasting some perfectly good flirting on a kid and letting Alex feel superior for once. It is a funny bit, showing how Haley was rather superficial at the start of the show.
18 Season 2 - More Outgoing
Season 2 saw some shifts to Haley in various ways. Though Haley may not be book smart, that doesn't mean that she is not smart in different ways. A hysterical bit has her brilliantly winning a bet on who can last the longest without a phone. She makes it look like she has used hers, carving out a piece of wood to look like a phone, and reveals her plan once everyone else has caved and used theirs.
This also works for her outfits as she’s clearly growing up and using that in her dresses (much to the chagrin of her parents). That includes this outfit, a tight dark green top with black dots. The makeup makes her look closer to Hyland's actual age at the time. The character does show more depth later but this season has her ramping up the adult look a little sooner than her family probably hoped for.
17 Season 2 - Halloween
A highlight of the show is the Halloween episode as the already nutty clan really cut loose in costumes. Claire and Phil go all out with massive Halloween decorations and were determined to be the best place for trick or treaters. But Claire clearly has issues with how Haley is trying to show off more in her costumes.
This leads to a running bit of her showing up, first in a cat costume that clearly shows off way too much of her legs. Then comes a nurse’s outfit which leads to Claire’s brilliant line “are you trying to get candy or Japanese businessmen?” She finally settles on a “hot” Mother Theresa, a look she actually pulls off. Later, Mitch and Cam get her to be the Tooth Fairy for daughter Lilly but it doesn’t end very well. Overall, it shows the great way Hyland can pull off nearly any outfit and how costumes are a great thing with her.
16 Season 3 - College Bound
Amazingly, Haley did manage to get into college, something that even her own parents are shocked about. She, of course, has very different views of what college will entail than they do, thinking it is going to be more about social stuff than actual studying and thinking she can get by on the bare minimum like in high school. She also doesn’t quite grasp that her dorm room is going to be smaller than the room she shares with Alex. She is bothered by the fact that she can't bring around her entire wardrobe.
Haley is determined to look her best and does have great promise with this outfit. The mix of blue is fun, one shoulder flaunting her shoulder, the other covered, and her hair nicely done up. It showcases her great vibe, stylish but fun, and while her actual college tenure was short, this outfit proves Haley could fit in on campus rather well.
15 Season 3 - Argue Gal
The third season finale has Alex happy to be getting ready for the prom. Her parents are just as excited and thus decide to keep it quiet about her date who doesn't like girls, but instead, likes boys. Meanwhile, Haley surprises them by saying she’s not going to the prom, which is where the still above is from.
The brown and dark patterns are good on the sweater as are the matching pants with the nice gold chain and hoop earrings. It turns out Haley wants to take a “break year” before getting a job. In reality, Haley is planning to move in with her older boyfriend, a move neither of her parents like. As it happens, brother Luke (who makes Haley look like a genius) has been hoarding the family’s mail which includes how Haley was accepted into college a while ago.
14 Season 3 - The Mouse House
If you’re an ABC comedy, sooner or later, you do an episode at a Disney park. Modern Family is no exception as the clan hits Disneyland where, of course, they get into various hijinks from a losing a child, to Jay realizing he’s too old for some rides. Naturally, the trio of siblings think they’re a little “too cool” for the park but are getting into it.
Haley looks very nice in bright blue jeans, a t-shirt with a tiger top and a light jacket. Things get complicated when Haley discovers her ex-boyfriend Dylan is working as a singer at the park and wonders why he never told her he was back in California. She thus basically stalks him around the park, ignoring the various photo shoots and vacations she’s messing up. It shows Haley as rather single-minded, but hey, at least she looks good.
13 Season 4 - The Mug Shot
When Haley left for college, it looked like she’d be absent from antics save for video chats. The writers perhaps realized how rough that would be for the show, so came up with a solution: Haley gets arrested for a wild school prank. Her parents expect a slap on the wrist suspension but instead, she finds herself expelled.
A few episodes later, Alex tries to get a photo of Haley doing road work as her punishment as she complains that “even in her mug shot, she looked great!” Sure enough, we see the mug shot and she does in fact look fabulous in a black dress, her hair wavy and fun, and a bright smile. True, her parents do tell her off for smiling during a mugshot, but as far as Haley is concerned, if there's a camera, you should be smiling.
12 Season 4 - Crash Gal
Season four had Hyland with a bit of a “new look” as she had been forced to undergo surgery for a kidney replacement from her father. The medications and other issues are the reason why Hyland remains so thin. In “Party Crasher,” Haley decides to tell her parents she's dating an older rich guy for money. She does this while making sure she is dressed in clothing that flaunts her body, in order to make her parents more nervous.
Naturally, they throw a fit and start following her around but Haley finally confesses to Claire that it is an act. She goes to the elevator just as Phil bursts in and, not seeing Haley, does a fantastic speech on how he’s not going to let anyone hurt his little girl. Haley is so moved that she hugs her father, a rare show of true love from her.
11 Season 5 - Drive Top
Haley lives up to the old stereotype of women being terrible drivers. Her first exam was a complete disaster as she managed to hit the only tree in a parking lot and also somehow managed to go from driving on the road to driving through a park. She’s not much better later on, as the family would much rather call a taxi than have her drive them around.
At least Haley makes sure she looks great with her various outfits. That includes this lovely ensemble, a dark red top mixed with black, combined with a dark jacket and matching pants. As ever, we get a lovely necklace, not as long as her usual chains but nice all the same. So while Haley may not be the best person to have driving a car, she at least does her best to always look great if she's in it.
10 Season 5 - A Fair Suit
It is true that Hyland hasn’t developed as much as Ariel Winter, who seems to be forever developping. A reason is her health issues that prevent her from gaining weight. But it is clear Haley has nicely grown up with the show and that includes her various swimsuits. She actually seems to prefer one-pieces more than bikinis which show off her legs.
A funny bit was the family in Sydney, where Haley assumed that going to a topless beach meant not bringing a hat. But this pic of her in a suit is great, the suit itself is a nice pink, her shorter hair framing her lovely face. Although Ariel Winter might have the eyes of the paparazzi, Hyland is the one who has our eyes glued to the television.
9 Season 6 - Room With A View
A weakness of shows involving kids is that sooner or later, they grow up and some are college bound. Thus, Modern Family has had to cover for the now 20-something Haley still living at home by the fact she was kicked out of college and has no job offers. This means handling two grown daughters who have serious issues with each other.
Haley is not adjusting to her life at home very well, not being able to grasp the fact that she has to pay rent. That shows here as she comes bursting into the room, ignoring Alex studying to do a rant on some minor issue. Haley is clad in a dress for a change, a lovely pattern to it with her hair flowing back nicely. It shows how she can mix the style up at times (including hair color) but still maintains that fun vibe she’s had since a teen. Hyland has grown in the role but this pic shows how Haley is a kid at heart.
8 Season 6 - "First" Drink
A running gag on the show is how Haley’s parents are in denial over how grown up she really is. She’s clearly active with boys, but they think of her as still a little girl. A fun showcase is when they take her to a bar for her 21st birthday. They all get glasses of beer and talk of how they know this is Haley’s very first drink and to take it easy. Before they can finish, Haley has downed the entire mug in one long gulp, with a smile on her face. She then gets a priceless “oh, nuts,” look as it is obvious to all (including her mother) that this is not her first drink but Claire (of course) tries to act like it is rather than face the truth.
In this, Haley opted for a casual look with her leather jacket and hair worn down. Obviously, Haley is more grown up than her parents like to think, but at least her outfits become more mature with her.
7 Season 6 - Hats Off
It has been noted how Hyland’s best feature may be her face with her gorgeous eyes. One boyfriend compares her to “the face of a cartoon lamb” and it is a key reason that Hyland was able to play so much younger than her real age. As the show continues, Haley has used that to her advantage in many ways.
In season 6, she tries to get a job as an intern at a fashion house, figuring her lifetime of shopping is more than enough for qualifications. Obviously, that doesn’t work as, despite Gloria’s help, she fails to get it. But she looks amazing with that lovely hat atop her head, mixed with a Bohemian dress, with a sweater and a crystal hanging around her neck. It helps frame more of Hyland’s lovely face and has us wondering why she wasn't taken up in that job.
6 Season 7 - Movie Night
There’s no such thing as a normal night out with the Dunphys. Even a simple night at the movies can be complicated as Haley learns when she runs into ex-boyfriend Andy and his new fiancée while going to see a film with her current boyfriend, Dylan. It is obvious she still has feelings for Andy despite her denials, leading her to break up with her current flame.
The outfit is great, a black dress with a floral pattern, with a nice chain. It shows how Haley has to look her best no matter what, even with the possibility of getting dirty from popcorn butter. It is a rare dramatic showcase for Hyland, but her performance was well received; she mixed in her humor and sadness in a way that was perfect for the sitcom.
5 Season 7 - Summer Time
Every season premiere of the show has the gang catching viewers up on what happened during the summer. In Haley’s case, it was finding out her ex-boyfriend Andy was preparing to propose to his current girlfriend. This made her realize she still had feelings for Andy, and she was trying to decide on whether or not to tell him. Unfortunately, she's also dating Dylan at the time, another handsome man. This leads the still superficial Haley to wonder which one really is better.
As this took place in late summer, it made sense to have her in an outfit to match, faded blue jeans with a great loose top, the floral pattern showing off her arms and her hair cut shorter to frame her lovely face. This season allowed Haley to evolve as a character, and she became more than someone who was just about her good looks.
4 Season 8 - Velvet Tone
Season 8 has Haley moving from pure teen outfits to more adult stuff. She still has a love for her great style and that shows as she insists on showing off, including a restaurant. That’s an interesting call-back as a hysterical early episode had Haley claiming to have been working at a restaurant when she was just hanging out. When the family shows up for dinner, she acts like she’s been working there and then “fired” because of their antics.
This time, she’s showing up at the same place for a dinner with her new boyfriend and trying to look great. She succeeds, the lush velvet dress with nice floral shawl mixed together to go with her tanned skin. Her light brown hair is the perfect color to match, the patterns making it not too obtrusive but still very lovely. It shows Haley as growing into a mature person, her style as a metaphor for that.
3 Season 8 - A Leg Up
The series is set in California, but for big episodes they tend to go off to other locations. The season 8 premiere has the Dunphy clan in New York and all ready to go home. Hanging around New York, Alex, Haley and Luke decide they’re going to stick around the city for a day and lie to their parents about heading home. What they don’t know is their parents are also lying about leaving, leading to hilarious bits of each group trying to keep the truth from the other, unaware they’re literally staying in adjourning hotel rooms.
Naturally, Haley looks terrific in New York with a red dress covered in bird and flower patterns, showcasing her amazing legs, but it flows enough that she seems casual. It is naturally far more stylish than her siblings, showing how Haley brings some California style to the Big Apple.
2 Season 9 - Beaded Top
As season nine has gone on, Haley is in a good spot. She’s got a regular job at last, she has hopes for a better career, and has even embraced reading more, rather than using her phone for everything. She may not be totally adult of course. She still has her flaws, a selfish side and such. But at the same time, she’s acknowledged it may be time to let go of her bratty behavior and even make amends for being such a jerk to her siblings.
When her father is in the hospital, Haley actually drops what she’s doing to see him, showing how much she loves him. This outfit shows Haley in jeans and a nice light top, not totally sheer but a lovely pattern. It is a bit showy but stylish all the same, hardly the massive eye-catching outfit she once loved. Thus, it shows that while still somewhat selfish and self-absorbed, Haley has shifted into a better person while still looking terrific all the time.
1 Season 9 - Golf Gear
In season 9, Haley is finally pressured by her parents to get a job. She gets one at the local golf resort Jay hangs out at, and naturally causes some problems, such as parking a cart right on the grass just as a guy is about to take his turn. But she finds herself able to handle things and even has time to read, which she surprisingly likes.
Haley also has an episode where a rich lady (Vanessa Williams) talks to her about being her personal servant for some extra cash. Luke argues about doing this and in a fantastic visual, Haley is in the foreground while talking to each on cell phones as they’re in the background so it looks like they’re the angel and devil on her shoulders. The outfit is nice with Haley in a uniform, mostly white, with a green skirt and green tie, making it look quite stylish and attractive. It is a great look at how she’s evolved into a true beauty and astounding with her changes.