Follow College Fashion on Twitter!

Seven Fashion Icons That Everyone Should Know


Fashion Icons that Everyone Should Know

Fashion is always changing and evolving, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look backwards sometimes to appreciate the fashions that have come before. Instead of looking to today’s celebrities for style tips, sometimes it’s more helpful to look to fashion “It Girls” of the past for even more inspiration.

In this post, I’ve included seven important fashion icons that everyone should know and take inspiration from. Interested? Read on for a blast from the fashion past.

1. Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin is my hero. Not only is she an ultra-cool hippie feminist, she has pipes that would put Christina Aguilera to shame. (Listen to her song “Try Just A Little Bit Harder“- you’ll get it.) But her pipes weren’t the only thing she had going on in her heyday – her style was amazing! With piled-on jewelry, feathers, and loose garments in bright colors, this little lady was, and still is, the Belle of the Woodstock Ball.

Shop Janis’ Closet

Outfit inspired by Janis Joplin

(Necklace, Ring, Dress, Wooden Bangles, Beaded Bracelets)

If there is one defining thing that separates Janis’s style from the rest, it would be her accessories. Janis was fearless when it came to jewelry, often piling on mountains of bracelets, necklaces, and rings in just one outfit. And while on some, that would look gaudy and dirty, somehow for her it just worked.

In the set above, I’ve included some choice jewelry that can be bought online, but I also wanted to mention that much of this type of jewelry can be found easily if you visit your local thrift store or flea market. There, you can often find cheaper, more interesting, cooler, and better-made jewelry than you ever could at a regular store!

Above, I also included a super cute tie-dye dress. While oftentimes tie-dye is a fashion-don’t, it is definitely re-emerging among the fashion elite. (Remember the Proenza Schouler tie-dye tees? Genius!) Depending on the design and wash of a garment, tie-dye can be really beautiful and cool looking. Just don’t go too crazy with the colors or else you’ll look like your Uncle Bobby- you know, the one who always wears the same beer stained tie-dye shirt to every family barbecue. (Ew.)

2. Cher


The original Lady Gaga, Cher’s style has changed a lot throughout the decades (sometimes in a good way, sometimes… not so much), but one era that I have always admired when it comes to Cher is her 60’s/70’s period. Always the bohemian babe, Cher would always be out and about rocking cute mini dresses, fringe vests, and crochet anything- too cute!

Shop Cher’s Closet

Outfit inspired by Cher

(Lace Dress, Mary Janes)

Cher is a big fan of sheer clothing, and as such, I tried my best to find pieces that would speak to that affinity. What I ended up finding was a super-cute lace batwing dress. This dress is totally Cher because it incorporates many different aspects of her everyday wardrobe. First, the lace incorporates that sheerness I was talking about, secondly it is a mini-dress-which Cher could often be found wearing any day, and third the batwings give the dress a twist, which (as we all know) Cher also enjoys.

I paired the dress with a 70’s favorite: some classic mary jane pumps. Not only are they cute, but they’re also comfortable because the heel is not to high, and not too low. Don these shoes and you’ll be boogie-ing down the street all day long.

3. Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot

Triple threat Brigitte Bardot is the epitome of 60s chic. Known for her dark eyes and sex kitten looks, it is easy to see how she is still such a revered fashion icon. What I love about her is that she is not stick skinny like most celebrities we look up to these days; she flaunts her curves and sexy pout with confidence and elegance.

Shop Brigitte’s Closet

Brigitte Bardot fashion

(Eyeliner, Dress, Mascara)

Brigitte’s look would not be complete without her sultry eye makeup. As such, I chose some MAC eyeliner in Blacktrack to start off this look. Sweep a sultry cat eye over your lids with a angle brush, swipe some mascara on your eyes and whatever look you wear will be 60’s bombshell.

I also included a sexy bandage dress from Nasty Gal. It’s very formfitting, which fits Brigitte’s personality well, as she would often wear garments that showed her curves off. It’s important that you don’t let the dress wear you, though- if you want to channel Brigitte, the most important thing you’ll need to flaunt is confidence. Wear your confidence with no fear and nothing will stop you.

For more on Brigitte’s style, see Fashion Inspired by …And God Created Woman.

4. Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball

A while back when I was watching I Love Lucy, I was struck by how stylish the clothes were that Lucille Ball wears. Along with being hilarious and beautiful, Lucille also manages to wear beautifully tailored pant suits, dresses, and heels that Blair Waldorf would lust after.

Shop Lucy’s Closet

Fashion inspired by Lucille Ball

(Dress, Oxford Pumps)

Where would I Love Lucy be without all those gorgeous dresses? The answer: nowhere. I love the dresses Lucille Ball wore on I Love Lucy, and to mimic her style, I found the most adorable plaid ruffle dress. Pair the dress with a pair of oxford pumps and you’ll instantly feel 50s-chic.

5. Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin, model, singer, girlfriend of French crooner Serge Gainsbourg and namesake of the ever-coveted Hermès Birkin Bag, is one of those girls with effortless style. Whatever she wore, she wore it with grace, whether it was a tee shirt and jeans or a flirty spring dress.

Shop Jane’s Closet

Fashion inspired by Jane Birkin

(Blouse, Shorts, Espadrilles)

Jane’s look is effortless and young and is a mix of simplicity and uniqueness. While it is evident she likes fashion, she also sticks to basics… with a twist, of course. As such, I chose a pair of high-waisted denim shorts and paired them with a boho-style peasant blouse to be tucked into the shorts. And finally, for that last touch of hippie-chic fun, I plucked a pair of cute floral espadrilles. Don this outfit and you’ll be just as effortless and boho-fab as Jane.

6. Edie Sedgwick

Edie Sedgwick

Factory “It Girl”, movie star, model, and muse to artist Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick is the original downtown hipster. Whether she was starring in a silent black and white film or posing for a picture, Edie was always smart, chic, and well dressed. (And who wouldn’t love that makeup? So ’60s chic!)

Shop Edie’s Closet

Edie Sedgwick fashion

(Sunglasses, Earrings, Tights)

After pulling inspiration from pictures, I noticed a trend in Edie’s style basics. While her signature eye makeup definitely was key (you can get a similar look by using the makeup I included in Brigitte Bardot’s look), I also noticed her love of big statement earrings. Find a pair of classy drop earrings, or big jeweled ones like the ones I chose above, and you’ll be good. Next slide on some fun sunnies like the heart-shaped ones I found. And lastly, don some lovely black opaque tights- uniform in any of Edie’s key outfits.

Edie’s style essentials always made a statement: they were loud, but in a way that still made them chic, which makes it no wonder that she continues to be such a muse.

7. Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

Where would any fashion icon list be without the chicest of the chic? Audrey Hepburn (in my humble opinion) is the loveliest, most elegant woman to ever grace the silver screen. Always prim and proper, with her well-tailored clothes and gentle demeanor, Audrey proved that she was not only a brilliant actress, but also a humanitarian and a true lady. She exemplified the idea of being lovely inside and out, which, like her style, is something we can all still appreciate today.

Shop Audrey’s Closet

Audrey Hepburn fashion

(Shirt, Sunglasses, Flats)

Audrey’s style was classic yet simple, making it easy to replicate on a day-to-day basis.

To start off, I chose an elegant oversized stripe tee. Audrey was a fan of stripes and could often be found wearing them with tights, pants, and another style essential, black ballet flats. The ever-classic ballet flat is not only functional, it’s comfortable, so it’s only natural that Audrey (who was a fan of the simple things) loved her flats so much. Finally, I chose a pair of black wayfarer sunglasses a là Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Slip on a pair of those babies, a LBD, and a pearl necklace and you can walk the streets looking just as chic as Holly Golightly.


What do you think of the icons that I chose? Did I leave anyone out that you think should be included? Who’s your style muse? Which icon was your favorite? Whatever your thoughts, let me know in the comments!

Posted on on March 28, 2010 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

83 Responses to “Seven Fashion Icons That Everyone Should Know”

  1. 1
    March 28th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that I loved this article. Nice choices and great inspirations to draw from!

  2. 2
    March 28th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I agree, this is a fabulous article! If I had to target my style on these women, I would be a mix of Janis Joplin and Audrey Hepburn.

  3. 3
    March 28th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    the link doesn’t seem to be right for the cher mary janes…i’d love to see where they are from

  4. 4
    March 28th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    only audrey hepburn for me!!

  5. 5
    March 28th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Jibbers – Fixed the link! Should work now.

  6. 6
    March 28th, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    *and cher

  7. 7
    March 28th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    rad post- I’m lovin’ edie sedgewick’s ‘closet’ selection!


  8. 8
    March 28th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I love this post, but I think Jackie O should have been included too!

  9. 9
    March 28th, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    this is such a great list of fashion icons, although i do have to agree with jojo, Jackie O should be on the list too. My personal fave on this list is Audrey Hepburn, she just had the perfect classic style!

  10. 10
    March 28th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Needs more people from different ethnic backgrounds other than white. Otherwise good article.

  11. 11
    March 28th, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I just have to say, I’m thrilled that Lucille Ball made it on your list. I’ve been a fan of I Love Lucy and Lucille for the past five years. So many of the I Love Lucy episodes and the movies she did make me want to go back in time and raid her closet, lol.

    Also, I agree, Jackie O. should have made the list, but at the same time her fashion icon status goes without saying

  12. 12
    March 28th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    audrey hepburn is SO overrated as a fashion icon imo

  13. 13
    March 28th, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Love, love, love this article. All the clothes were very inspiring. I think I might want to make an attempt at remaking my own version of these styles from the clothes I already own. Fun!

  14. 14
    March 28th, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    love this post!!! but where’s katherine hepburn, grace kelly and as someone pointed out jackie o? it did say seven though so maybe next time.

  15. 15
    March 28th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I LOVE Brigitte Bardot and Edie Sedgwick!
    This was great, but you’re missing Debbie Harry. She is and always will be my fashion muse.

  16. 16
    March 28th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I also think jackie o should have been mentioned. I think Marlyn Monroe and Diana Ross are also worth mentioning. I liked learning about the women behind the infamous birkin bag, i had no idea who she was.

  17. 17
    March 28th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I agree with Audrey Hepburn I love her style. But i also agree with other girls that marilyn monroe and definatly diana ross should have been included. As a black female i was hoping to see at least one person of a different ethnicity on the list. Like Diana Ross, Dorthy Dandrige, Josephine Baker.

  18. 18
    March 28th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I love this post but I would suggest that you add some people of color (African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinas, etc) in the mix..your blog has many readers of all races and ethnicities and i believe that if a little diversity was added it would be an even better post..there are fashion icons who are non-caucasian that have great style! i say this with love :)

  19. 19
    March 28th, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    LOVE Jane Birkin.. Oh! I LVOEEEEEE the outfits you make they’re so gorgeous!!!

  20. 20
    March 28th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Kim … I’m going on vacations.. is there any way you could help me build up some outfits???!! Yours ROCKK!!

  21. 21
    March 29th, 2010 at 12:17 am

    I agree with Ete. I would have preferred a little diversity in this selection.

  22. 22
    March 29th, 2010 at 12:17 am

    edie sedgwick and audrey hepburn are definetly THE BEST it girl and style icon ever.

  23. 23
    March 29th, 2010 at 1:06 am

    love jane birkin style

  24. 24
    March 29th, 2010 at 1:43 am

    not sure about what you included for Audrey Hepburn :-/ The striped T is kind of frumpy and boring looking for her.

    Also, I’ll echo the others and clamor for some ethnic fashion icons.

  25. 25
    March 29th, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Hey girls! I’m glad you’re liking the article, and I am glad you’ve voiced your opinions on what you’d like to see more of.

    I actually did want to include A LOT more icons, I originally had 10 but the article ran really long so I had to cut down! Anyways I did consider a lot of the women you guys mentioned (Jackie O, Marilyn, Diana Ross, Etc). As far as the diversity issue goes, it was kind of a coincidence that they were all the same race, but I will try and keep that in mind for next time!

    I’m thinking about creating a second “icon post” as I really did enjoy writing this article and it seems like a hit. So if there is someone you’d like to see next post, just me know some of your favorites, and maybe I will include them in another post soon!

    @Greta- I’d love to help you with your vacation outfits. Where will you be going? LMK and I’ll see if I can do a post on it sometime in the future!

  26. 26
    March 29th, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Love the choice for your Audrey Hepburn… Great choices of icons too! All very great women…

  27. 27
    March 29th, 2010 at 6:31 am

    amazing choices :)
    but i think Grace Kelly was a big one too

  28. 28
    March 29th, 2010 at 7:48 am

    i loved this list, and while it is missing some bigger-ish names, i loved that about it. I loved seeing fashion icons that aren’t obvious and I especially loved learning where the birkin name came from.
    Great, great article

  29. 29
    March 29th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    some new people that could possibly be added to the second post could be Diana Ross, Dorothy Dandridge, Marilyn,Gisele Bundchen, Iman, etc…

    thanks :)

  30. 30
    March 29th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I love love LOVE Jane Birkin boyish/mini style. Wish on whole article inspired by her one day:)

  31. 31
    March 29th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I love Audrey Hepburn, love all these stylin’ gals. Thanks, CF!

  32. 32
    March 29th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I love this article! Audrey is my idol, and Breakfast at Tiffanys is my favorite movie! I loved seeing ALL of the different outfit inspirations though. And it would be great to see another article with some more fashion icons a few of the girls mentioned.

  33. 33
    March 29th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Great article but I think you should have included Twiggy and Debbie harry…..they influenced their worlds greatly….Twiggy shaped a decade and Debbie Harry brought an entire genre of music into the forefront!

  34. 34
    March 29th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I love the styles of ALL the icons!
    The amazing thing about them is that, while some were icons in the same era, others weren’t, yet they all have this effortless touch about them that have turned them into the icons we look up on today! Great choice!
    Audrey Hepburn is definitely my favorite of them all.
    Also, Ali MacGraw is a great fashion icon, too!

  35. 35
    March 29th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    i’d like to see patie boyd! the wife of george harrison and eric clapton! her clothes are amaaazing and she’s so pretty to me. but otherwise, i totally love this!

  36. 36
    April 2nd, 2010 at 2:37 am

    I would love to read a second icon post! I posted this one with my weekly round up this week– you can see it here if you’d like:

  37. 37
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Bridget and Audrey are my two favorite icons!

  38. 38
    September 16th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Marilyn Monroe should be # 1 always!!! But Love Lucille Ball and Audrey Hepburn:)

  39. 39
    October 1st, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Obviously, Lucille Ball and Audrey Hepburn HAD to make this list!

  40. 40
    October 3rd, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    This is a great mixture of fashion icons of various backgrounds. Well done! Just as a side note, you never add an apostrophe in a date because it is not possessive.

    Correct: The 1960s was the decade of peace and love.

    Incorrect: I love the 1800’s because of the growing influences it had from the British Empire, the German Empire and the United States.

  41. 41
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Twiggy!! how could you leave out twiggy

  42. 42
    October 24th, 2010 at 2:29 am

    You definitely need DEBBIE HARRY on this list, the most fashionable rock chick ever and one of the most versatile, she can do punk, new wave, mod, glam, disco and of all the style icons featured her style is the most easily adaptable to current styles. Heck just google her images and she looks even more current and edgy than today’s girls.

  43. 43
    November 13th, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I love Janis Joplin’s jewelry, Cher’s love of fringe and sheer clothing, and Bridgette Bardot’s sexy confidence:) I love her eye makeup too. The sex kitten look is all the rage.

  44. 44
    April 3rd, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    you DEFINITELY need Grace Kelly on the next list!! love this post :)

  45. 45
    June 28th, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Ali McGraw from Love Story (talk about college!) through her bohemian years with Steve McQueen. She’s a pretty cool 70-year-old as well.

  46. 46
    October 11th, 2011 at 10:06 am

    This article is very informative and also a practicle guide for day-to-day use! Now we can go out and buy the signature items you have listed to create the styles from the icons.. Personally I was suprised because I found something in all seven of the icons styles that I liked – even though I wouldn’t usually wear some particular styles. I think you did an excellent job narrowing all the facts and icons down to just seven! I look forward to your next article – I’ll be printing this one out as a handy day-to-day guide thank you =)

  47. 47
    October 20th, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Totally agree with list

  48. 48
    October 25th, 2011 at 6:24 am

    why no male fashion icons..?..!

  49. 49
    November 13th, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I just love it. Great advice, Well done.

  50. 50
    November 28th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I dont get what’s so “feminist” about Janis, but yeah, her style’s not bad. But Christina actually has a WAY better voice; I mean, come on, Janis was famous for her weak, raspy voice, and while Christy sings like she’s in pain just to show off, her voice is fantastic.
    Also, I find Brigitte and Edie really overrated, but more Edie. I didn’t even know who she was till like a year ago because it suddenly became cool for teenage girls to “love” her.

    And I agree, how can you have Audrey without Jackie! SO glad you added Lucy, though; she’s an underrated one.

    and to you all whining about a lack of “ethnic” icons- is this a beauty contest or a list of FASHION icons? Is what color their skin is what matters here, or what they WORE? Didn’t think so. If this were all black/Hispanic/Indian/etc. girls, no one would say a word, but if a white girl did, you’d all tell her to shut up.

  51. 51
    December 30th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I love your Fashion Icons list. My favorite was the one on Cher. Those Mary Jane’s are absolutely adorable! I would love to feature some of your style articles on my website in the fashion section. Please let me know if that would be okay. : )

  52. 52
    May 13th, 2012 at 5:34 am

    I agree with all of you who’s saying this was a great one! It really is. Thanks!

  53. 53
    July 18th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    when i see lucille, i remerber marilyn monroe,and when i see cher i would say tina turner .maybe.. But i still think that marilyn have a higher position in the list than lucille…

  54. 54
    January 20th, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Actually, Brigitte was extremely tiny! I believe when she initially began acting her waist was nineteen inches.

  55. 55
    October 16th, 2014 at 12:26 pm


Links to This Article

  1. Nine (More) Fashion Icons That Everyone Should Know – College Fashion
  2. Looks on Campus: Danielle- University of Miami – College Fashion
  3. Inspired by… Factory Girl – College Fashion
  4. 21 Hot Hats to Keep You Cool All Summer – College Fashion
  5. Hairstyling » 21 Hot Hats to Keep You Cool All Summer
  6. 4 Easy, Last-Minute Halloween Costumes – College Fashion
  7. Mad for Mod: A Guide to Achieving the ’60s Mod Look – College Fashion
  8. Mad for Mod: A Guide to Achieving the ’60s Mod Look at
  9. Choosing Accessories | Your Moment is Now
  10. Blogger Inspiration: Maria of Lulu Letty – College Fashion
  11. Get Inspired: 6 Amazing French Style Icons – College Fashion
  12. Looks on Campus: Sara – Humber College – College Fashion
  13. Electric Editorials: April 2011 – College Fashion
  14. Looks on Campus: Jessye – Indiana University – College Fashion
  15. Electric Editorials: July 2011 – College Fashion
  16. OnlineMagazine » Blog Archive » Fall 2011 Fashion Trend: ’60s Mod
  17. OnlineMagazine » Blog Archive » Fall 2011 Fashion Trend: ’60s Mod
  18. A History of Style: Fashion Inspired by Edith Head | Global Needs
  19. A History of Style: Fashion Inspired by Louise Brooks – College Fashion
  20. A History of Style: Fashion Inspired by Mary Tyler Moore – College Fashion
  21. Is Wearing Leggings as Pants Ever Okay? |
  22. Fashion Philosophy: The 1950s – College Fashion
  23. Class to Night Out: High-Waisted Black Ankle Jeans – College Fashion
  24. Class to Night Out: High-Waisted Black Ankle Jeans – College Fashion
  25. Looks On Campus: Ellie – Colorado State University – College Fashion
  26. Looks on Campus: Olivia & Alexandria – Indiana State University – College Fashion
  27. Looks on Campus: Olivia & Alexandria – Indiana State University |Parkkar Lifestyles and News
  28. 7 Fashion Icons We Should All Know (And Bow Down To)

Leave a Reply


* Comment Rules: CF is a positive place and our comments section is no different. Constructive criticism is fine, but if you're rude, we'll delete your comment. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name and do not put your website in the comment text, as both come off like spam. For more info, see our Comment Policy. Have fun & thanks for adding to the conversation!


* Want a custom avatar to show up next to your comments? Sign up for a free Gravatar.