June 15, 2012

Fashion Forward Friday: Style Icons

Whether we like it or not or want to admit it or not, all of us are touched by celebrity style at one point or another. You might not mimic a celebrity’s fashion sense, but you probably at least admire someone famous out there and it’s easy to see why.  Men and women’s clothing has been dominated by icons of style for centuries. The onset of the motion picture and the creation of magazines such as Life and Vogue have seen certain men and women take the lead in becoming patrons of style. So, who are the icons of the last century and why are they so fabulous? In no particular order, here are 10 of my favorite celebrity style icons.
Steve McQueen

He was the super-masculine, hot-headed, King of Cool movie star.  He always looked stylish and comfortable.  Whether wearing a sharp suit, ala The Thomas Crown Affair   or wearing a weathered blue sweatshirt and khakis ala The Great Escape. But he was best known for his scruffy everyday style which was a sporty jacket, classic knits and he always sported a pair of dark sunglasses.   
Cary Grant

Grant was the epitome of debonair with dashing good looks and a smart but genial persona. He was one of Hollywood’s all-time greatest leading men. Always dapper, the key to his look, from the neatly combed hair, to the tailored suit and classic trench, is that he’s always immaculately turned out. 
James Dean

He is the blueprint of the well-dressed but casual man. Before the actor died at the young age of 24, the star of Rebel Without A Cause showed men everywhere that with four carefully chosen wardrobe staples – jeans, black leather jacket, white t-shirt and aviator sunglasses, you can look timeless and stylish at all times.
Robert Redford

While he can pull off just about anything he puts on, it is his uniquely American and Western-inspired style of casual-cool that elevates the original Sundance Kid. Redford built an entire empire around cowboy style.  His iconic style included a high-quality leather bomber jacket, vintage blue jeans, a tweed blazer and plastic dark-rimmed glasses. While you don't see him doing it much anymore, in his heyday Redford was also known to throw on a wide pinstripe suit perfectly complemented by a plaid cap. Let's see you pull that one off
Warren Beatty

He was sexy and stylish, from his pretty poster-boy image to his leather boots, slim-cut jeans, layered shirts, and an ever-present leather jacket.  Warren Beatty is a man who can wear the best of suits, but his own personal style of an open-collar shirt worn under a hip-length leather jacket permeates many of his best on-screen roles. Beatty’s characters seem to rely on this semi-casual style. He even follows this same fashion template when promoting his films. He truly is a style icon.

Jackie O

 The sunglasses, the bags, the hair! She was the all-time trendsetter and the queen of all-American class .First Lady Jackie Kennedy was the center of a more classic look in the 1960s. The Jackie O look included simple lines, tailored suits, and big sunglasses. Fitted A-line dresses, pearls and pillbox hats were the norm for this extraordinary style icon.  Before Jackie, a politician’s wife was never to detract attention away from her husband. And while many eyes were still on Jack, just as many were focused on his perfectly coiffed and outfitted other half. Upon her entree into the White House, Jackie hired Hollywood designer Oleg Cassini, to create her wardrobe. The First Lady favored empire-waist gowns, kitten heels, gloves and streamlined suits with knee-length skirts and 3/4 sleeves. Besides Cassini, Jackie also pulled pieces from Dior, Givenchy and Chanel, the designer behind her most iconic look: the pink boucle suit and matching pillbox hat she was wearing when her husband was assassinated.

Audrey Hepburn

 The hair, the make-up, the clothes, Audrey Hepburn was the picture of pared-down elegance both on and off screen.  My favorite look is that of Holly Golightly's oversize sunglasses and little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Hepburn’s style can be seen as soon as her first role in "Roman Holiday" where she added a belt to her skirt and blouse ensemble, setting the trend for future fashionistas to come. Her "Sabrina" Capri pants and flats became a uniform for chic casual, she had the ability to look stylish no matter the occasion. She was born in Belgium and fled to England before the outbreak of the war.
Her classic 1950s and 1960s looks are everything many women aspire to look like today. She loved little black dresses and had a penchant for large sun glasses.
 Audrey she is my absolute favorite and always will be. I have never seen a photo of her, taken anywhere, where she does not look stunning. Goddess of the little black dress, queen of style, poise, and grace, I think more stars today should take a page out of her book.
Coco Chanel

Possibly the chicest women ever, Coco Chanel is a name ubiquitous with fashion.  She was born in France at the end of the 19th century. Chanel took notice of everything on her horizons and adapted all sorts of clothes to create an elegant style of her own. Though she immigrated to Switzerland during Nazi occupied France, she came back with her brand and made it stronger than ever. Chanel developed one of the world’s most infamous fashion brands and is still admired to this day in women’s fashion. She ripped the linings out of jackets, ran them up in jersey and teamed them with slim-fitting skirts shorter than anything before, or matched them with boyish trousers. She believed women could be comfortable and elegant while keeping it simple and understated.

Marlene Dietrich


Wide shouldered masculine suits were her signature; along with full-on almost drag queen make-up.  With that in mind, one ever suited androgyny more or wore it better than Dietrich. She was acutely aware of image. Although she towered over most pint-sized actresses she felt her legs weren't great so came up with a style that would make her stand out and keep her pins hidden.  She was booed for her manly style and then copied for her ingenuity. Here was a woman being a man being a woman.  Her masculinity appealed to women and her sexuality to men. Feather boas, plucked eyebrows, lip gloss, black satin and sweeping floor length coats are still considered ‘very Marlene'.

Katherine Hepburn


She wore the pants. Literally!  She didn't just kick start the trouser gig she became a role model for independent women proving you could be confident and individual with your style.  Hepburn's had a tall, slender and boyish frame which was the opposite of the bombshell look in Hollywood when she reined the big screen. She hardly wore a trace of makeup and dressed with comfort in mind. But that doesn't mean she didn't ooze beauty and glamour at every turn.  Besides her famous trousers, which were wide-legged, high-waisted, and precisely-pleated, Hepburn’s style signatures included simple, button-down blouses, sharply tailored blazers and polished loafers. Her attitude exuded power and confidence and, most importantly, a less obvious brand of sex appeal.

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