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 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
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.)
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
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
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’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
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
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, 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
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
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
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
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’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!