Style Icons

Really, what can we say about Audrey Hepburn's timeless style that hasn't been said at least a million times before?  What woman doesn't have at least one Hepburn-inspired piece in her wardrobe? From ballet flats and cropped trousers to mens' dress shirts and the little black dress finally re-imagined in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Hepburn was the reigning queen of 'less is more' style and understatement in fashion. With her elfin beauty, she also epitomized the youthful exuberance of the gamine and showed us exactly what a closely-cropped pixie haircut was capable of achieving in the right hands. The real secret to Hepburn's style, though, was her unerring sense of proportion and balance coupled with self-understanding and appreciation for what made her unique. Nothing was ever 'off', too much, or out of place when she dressed, and she never needed much in the way of adornment. Perhaps better than any other fashion icon in history, Hepburn truly understood that style is an inside-out job.  

Iconic looks:  The little black dress, cropped trousers, ballet flats, turtleneck sweaters, pixie haircut, oversize tortoiseshell sunglasses, dark and delicate cat-eye frames.

Iconic color (s): Black.

Conceptual style: The Gamine. 

Youthful. Energetic. Flirty. Fun. Minimalistic. 

Audrey Hepburn

We've always believed that George Clooney got the better end of the deal when he married his wife, Amal, in 2014. Brilliant, accomplished and beautiful, Clooney's sense of style is at once playful, professional, strong, feminine and modern. And unlike many of today's fashion icons, she dresses like a grown WOMAN, which in this day and age is an accomplishment by itself. A devotee of couture, Clooney relies heavily on accessories and the strategic use of color to give her ensembles both power and punch. If you want to see what impeccable tailoring and a beautiful pair of shoes can do for your look then here's your icon. The woman is virtually incapable of making a fashion faux-pas .Iconic looks: Classic pumps and oversize sunglasses. Attention grabbing top- coats in bright colors or neutrals and worn over expertly tailored dresses, suits or  pants. Strategic use of flirty, and feminine prints. Iconic colors: Black, white, tan, red, bright solids and soft floral prints. 

Conceptual Style: The Professional. Powerful. Modern. Sophisticated. Feminine. 

Amal Clooney

You may not have heard of Polly Jean (PJ) Harvey unless you're a fan of indie-rock but for us her daring, take-no-prisoners sense of style flat-out embodies the essence of 'female-cool'. Though her look evolves with her music, Harvey manages to achieve a style all her own - seamlessly moving from black clad, bare-faced street-punk to edgy, avant-garde sophisticate in killer heels, satin catsuits, glitter slip dresses and Victorian blouses. Her "in-your-face" self-confidence and attitude with a capital "A" have enabled her to successfully pull off a multitude of looks that live somewhere between the intersections of  classic, sexy, costume, camp and vamp.  Iconic looks: Angular hair, red lips, stiletto heels, tight-fitting suits, skirts, shorts, edgy separates, Victorian dresses, City Street/Punk perfected, Matching electric guitars and clothes.  Iconic colors: Black, white, red, yellow, hot-pink.

Conceptual Style: The Artist.  Edgy. Inventive. Avant-garde. Fearless. Daring.

PJ Harvey

Even if you don't particularly care for Katharine Hepburn, it's difficult to understate her influence as a fashion icon. Her fashion lexicon was rather narrow by choice, but it really didn't matter much when you consider the lasting impact she's had on women's fashion. Often cited as a pioneer of women's sportswear, Hepburn was the first  person to popularize mens clothing for women, making it an at least semi-acceptable choice for in more casual settings. It was an especially daring demonstration of female independence given that few, if any, women were comfortably 'allowed' to wear trousers in public at the time. But Hepburn was consistently fearless in her choices nonetheless; sporting mens trousers, collared shirts, blazers and loafers at almost every opportunity. By1939, even Vogue was depicting a woman in slacks on its magazine cover, cementing Hepburn's status as a style icon for the ages.  Iconic looks: wide leg trousers, white-collared shirts, blazers, loafers. Minimal accessories. Natural, sporty hair and makeup.  Iconic colors: Camel. Brown. Gray. White. 

Conceptual Style: The Individualist. Sporty. Natural. Clean. Gender-defying. Rule-breaker.

Katharine Hepburn

Although Marilyn Monroe is considered the very definition of  a sex-symbol and is widely renowned for her history-making bombshell beauty  image and sex-appeal, her sense of style was second-to-none. Here is a woman who understood, and fully embraced, what made her unique.  So comfortable was she in her own skin that she could make a fashion statement wearing nothing but a towel. Marilyn instantly imbued everything she wore with sensuality and movie-star glamour, whether it was a gold lame gown, a flirty white halter dress or a simple black turtleneck. While few mortals can actually pull off her complete look without looking garish and over-the-top, Marilyn's fearless willingness to embrace and leverage the essence of her feminine powers is something that we can all aspire to.  Iconic looks: Translucent skin. Skin-tight skirts, dresses and evening gowns. Bare shoulders. Low-cut tops and halter tops. Hoop earrings.  Sexy/strapped heels. Iconic colors: White. Gold. Red. Hot Pink. Black. 

Conceptual Style: The Movie Star. 

Sexy. Seductive. Sensual. Glamorous.

Marilyn Monroe

While Lauren Bacall may not seem alike an obvious choice for this list, we think she belongs here nonetheless thanks to her unique look and attitude. Bacall carried herself in a way that conveyed seriousness of purpose, perspicacious intelligence and an undercurrent of danger. While many stars of her era were considered glamorous, few wore that glamour with the same easy elegance as Bacall. On her, glamour was like a second-skin. It was as inherent to her persona, as her seductive, femme-fatale looks. Bacall favored pencil skirts, wide-legged trousers, and power suits with padded shoulders, as well as silky, slinky fabrics and soft, elegant draping in her evening wear and blouses - all of which served to reinforce her wavy hair and come-hither stare. Looking at Bacall, there's absolutely no doubt that you were seeing a woman in complete control of her feminine powers, and one who had every intention of using them to their fullest. That's what we call style from the inside-out.  Iconic looks: Softly, draping fabrics and scarves, silky blouses, high-waisted pants and tops, pencil skirts, the charm bracelet, cascading locks, full red lips, Iconic colors: White, black, red and prints (esp. in later life). 

Conceptual Style: The Femme-fatale. 

Dangerous. Seductive. Elegant. Feminine. Glamorous.

Lauren Bacall

Nobody, but nobody, could rock 'ladylike'  quite  like Grace Kelly. Whether it was the pearl choker, white hand-gloves, chic suits, a perfect hat or graceful cinch-waisted evening gowns, Grace Kelly manifested as a muse for the ages when it came to all things feminine, elegant and tasteful - embodying the look and style of a princess even long before she was one.  Carrying  elegant east-coast preppy and safari-chic looks with equal aplomb. (check her out in the 1953 classic Mogambo), her cool ladylike elegance inspired some of the 20th century's most iconic designers, including Dior and Hermes. She was, in a word, "sublime".  Her gift for mastering the art of accessorizing was one of her style trademarks.      Iconic looks: Hermes Kelly bag, pearl chokers,  white gloves, cinch-waisted suits, elegant evening gowns, capri pants, shirt-waist dresses, safari jackets. Iconic color(s): White, creme, khaki. kelly green/green, baby blue. 

Conceptual style: The Princess. Ladylike. Tasteful. Graceful. Dignified.  

Grace Kelly

When you think of "timeless style" it's hard not to think the name “Coco Chanel”. Coco basically defined the timeless, classic look in women’s fashion, ushering in a new era of modernity in women’s wear. Most of us think of the Chanel Suit, the Chanel Bag, or Chanel No. 5 when we think of Chanel, but the true hallmarks of her fashion philosophy, still felt today, are simplicity, elegance, comfort and practicality. Credited with the invention of the ubiquitous “little black dress” as a wardrobe staple, and the appropriation of nautically inspired clothing (striped shirts, bell bottom pants, crewneck sweaters, espadrille shoes, etc.), Chanel’s influence on fashion has become so commonplace that we rarely consider it when dressing these days. Yet, you would be hard pressed to find any modern wardrobe untouched by her  legacy.  Iconic looks: Where do we start? Where do we stop? The little black dress? Coco.  Nautical stripes? Coco. Heavy accessorizing? Coco. Simple, clean cuts? Coco. Emphasis on comfort and style over fashion? You can thank her for that too.                       Iconic colors: Black. White. Navy.

Conceptual Style: The Designer.

Definitive. Classic. Timeless. French. 

Coco Chanel

One of Vanity Fair's Best Dressed Women of All Time and wife of CBS founder Bill Paley, "Babe"(Barbara) Paley was once hailed as the "original trophy wife" because of her beauty, impeccable taste, inimitable sense of style and eye for style detail. The penultimate rule-breaker and a style-maker who never missed a beat, Paley, unlike other women on this list, didn't really possess a singular iconic look.  Rather, she was an instinctive dresser, whose uncanny sensibility for what worked made her the de-facto trend-setter of her day. It wasn't so much what she wore, but how she wore it that made the difference.  Like Victoria Beckham she was self-made icon who consciously perfected her status by the way she carried herself, posed for the camera and even held her hands in photos. If Babe wore it, then it was, by definition stylish, tasteful, chic, and undeniably elegant.  Iconic looks: Whatever she wore. High-low mixing - especially costume and expensive jewelry. Pale skin & red lips. Neat hair. If you've ever tied your scarf around the handle of your handbag as a fashion statement, just remember..She was there first.  Iconic colors: All of them as worn by her.  

Conceptual Style: The Trophy Wife. 

Elegant. Expensive. Refined. Tasteful.

Babe Paley

For a nano-second we thought not to include Jackie-O in this list if only because her legendary status as a style icon is so de-facto that it almost seemed redundant. Jackie's style changed significantly throughout the years, echoing the changes in her personal life, but what never wavered was her inherent class and impeccable good taste. A master of understatement, most of Onassis' looks reflected the best in classic styling. But whether it was the matching Chanel suit-sets, prim dresses, pearls, pillbox hats and gloves of her White House years, or the Cartier tank watch, the turtleneck sweater, the capri pants, or the trench coats of her later years, it's hard to imagine anyone wearing it better than she did. She epitomized the classic good looks we commonly associate with American  style; clean, natural, fresh, timeless, sporty, business-like. Iconic looks. Oversize black sunglass frames, Cartier Tank, Pearls, pillbox hat, Chanel Suits, Prim dresses, Capri pants, low heels, Minimal makeup. Sleeve length master; sleeveless, short, three-quarter, long.. Iconic colors: White, black, red, saffron, red, camel, pastels.

Conceptual style: The First Lady.

Clean. Classic. All-American. Understated. Tasteful. Always. 

Jackie Kennedy Onassis 

Victoria Beckham is one of the very few modern-day women whom we consider to be a style icon with staying power. With singular vision, careful deliberation and practice she's invented a look that's uniquely her own. The once celebrity has reinvented herself as a celebrity designer with a unique style aesthetic and brand, both of which are certain to stand the test of time. There's just something so beautifully precise about everything Beckham does - from they way she holds her sunglasses and carries her handbags, to the way she poses for the camera. Her style is at once sophisticated, clean, minimal,  and ultra-chic-- almost to the point of being strict, which is exactly why we love about it. Her look defines self-discipline and perfection. You can't be sloppy or have an unplanned hair out of place if you want to pull this look off.  Of course that means work, but who cares?  When you have this much style it's worth it . Iconic looks: Sculptured, form-fitting dresses, pants, jackets and suits. Crisp, clean lines,. Single-color silhouettes. Perfect scale-fit- proportion. Oversize sunglasses. Minimal jewelry.  Designer heels, shoes and handbags. Angular hair. Iconic colors: White. Hot pink. Charcoal, Black. Camel.  

Conceptual Style:  The Trendsetter. 

Ultra-Chic. Polished. Sophisticated. Curated.

Victoria Beckham

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