6 Fashion Icons And The Trends They Made Famous

By Tess DiNapoli
·  6 min read
7 Fashion Icons

The term “icon” gets tossed around a little too loosely nowadays. In a social media-saturated world, anyone with a phone can create a brand for themselves, showing off their individual style and flair in the process.

However, the true icons constructed the stage for today’s fashion and beauty standards. Their influence flows through these ever-changing industries, creating truly timeless ensembles.

From Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Audrey Hepburn, plenty of beauty and fashion icons are worth recognizing for their historical significance. However, their unique looks don’t have to be left in the past. These styles are still inspiring and totally on-trend today. That’s right, with the right info and a few tips and tricks, you can create a modern, in-demand ensemble that mimics some of the most iconic ladies in history.

Grace Kelly’s Preppy Chic Look

Grace Kelly lived the dream in the 1950s. As a Hollywood starlet turned princess, she was #UltimateGoals, for her personal life as much as her fashion sense. She leaned into her princess role, embracing a preppy, well-tailored appearance. Her styles were sophisticated, but they were each infused with her specific sense of glamor.

This elegant style doesn’t clamor for attention, which is precisely what makes it so sophisticated.

To bring Grace’s look into the modern world, shoot for preppy chic. A belted shirtdress and well-tailored blazer speak to that casual vibe the princess was known for. Strappy shoes, pencil skirts, and fine jewelry are also a must for a Grace Kelly-inspired outfit. More than anything, remember that simplicity is key. This elegant style doesn’t clamor for attention, which is precisely what makes it so sophisticated.

Audrey Hepburn’s Classic LBD

The late, great film star, Audrey Hepburn, smashed onto the fashion scene in the mid to late 20th century. She was immediately recognized for her effortless elegance—an air many women still try to copy today. Her style caught the attention of people across the world, but none more than Hubert de Givenchy. Givenchy designed many of her personal and professional ensembles. What began as an elegant and understated appearance became an iconic symbol for high-end fashion.

Though many of her looks were enviably gorgeous, there’s no Audrey ensemble more enduring than the little black dress. It’s a staple piece for any closet and one that you likely already own. Vault this classic into the 21st century by looking for an LBD with an edge, be it shoulder cut-outs or interesting zipper details, and pairing it with bright heels, or maintain Audrey’s understated elegance with a large sunhat. Either way, you’re guaranteed to be right on-trend and embrace some of Audrey’s chic fashion sense in the process.

Katharine Hepburn’s Tailored Pantsuits

As the original menswear queen, we have Katharine Hepburn to thank for a new era in fashion. While tailored suits are all the rage on this season’s runways, they were totally unorthodox when Katharine embraced this now-iconic appearance. Blazers, loafers, collared shirts, and trousers were the norm for this popular actress. Though her appearance was quite unconventional, she refused to change. A good thing, too — she’s the herald of the androgynous looks some of us love today.

A pantsuit is the perfect way to embrace Katharine’s style. Not only will you now know the history behind your outfit, but you’ll also blend in with the rest of the powerful women who understand that a pantsuit is the ultimate choice in commanding women’s clothing.

Brigitte Bardot’s Signature Cat-Eye

A French actress popular in the second half of the 20th century, Brigitte Bardot was, at one time, considered the most beautiful woman in the world. Her beauty decisions trended away from the flawless glamor that was popular at the time. Instead, Brigitte opted for a more laid-back look, complete with heavy eyeliner, tousled hair, and barefoot outfits.

Brigitte Bardot was, at one time, considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

Brigitte is perhaps most popular for her heavy cat-eye makeup. Applied with a dose of liquid eyeliner, heavy black lines added sensuality to every look. While cat eyes are still popular today, a heavy hand should be used to mimic Brigitte’s. Don’t be afraid to draw some lines underneath, as well. The kohl-stained appearance will draw attention to your eyes, making your baby blues (or soulful browns or alluring greens) the most prominent part of your face.

Diana Ross’s Bold Lashes

Diana Ross is known as the queen of Motown. Her popularity surged in the '60s, primarily due to her endless charisma and charm. However, her iconic looks were also well-recognized among the masses. She had a standout style full of theatrical costumes, and her heavy makeup highlighted her best features.

Diana would often focus her makeup on her eyes, doing her very best to make them pop. She’s the queen of bold, fluttery eyelashes, a trend we can all be thankful for today. If you want to copy her iconic look, don’t shy away from heavy, thick lashes. As long as you can still see, any lash is fair game when replicating her signature style.

Marilyn Monroe’s Iconic Red Lip

Marilyn Monroe was as much a fashion icon as a beauty icon. Known for her confidence and her effortless sensuality, it was hard not to fall in love with Marilyn. What’s more, she changed the idea of an acceptable body type for women. While at one time ultra-skinny girls were the goal, Marilyn’s more voluptuous body quickly changed most people’s minds.

While at one time ultra-skinny girls were the goal, Marilyn’s more voluptuous body quickly changed most people’s minds.

While there are plenty of things to focus on, Marilyn’s iconic red lip is the most enduring of all. While she was far from the first to try a red lip, she was the beauty maven that made this bold look iconic. Choose a bright lip color that complements your skin tone the next time you’re headed out for a nice evening. It’s really that easy.

Closing Thoughts

As you consider adopting some of these trends into your everyday look, think of ways you can mix and match them to make them 100% you! For example, wear a simple LBD like Audrey Hepburn but add a splash of that vibrant red lipstick that would make Marilyn Monroe proud. Dress preppy like Grace Kelly, and draw attention to your eyes with Diana-Ross-style lashes. No matter what you do, wear it proudly, as these icons did, and you’ll look amazing!

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