Ten Fashion Icons, Spanning Decades, Who Have Inspired My Personal Style

Fashion is so much more than the marriage of fabric and thread to create a garment, but it is an art, an expression of one’s personality. Fashion is the catalyst for how people perceive us, and whether right or wrong we are summed up in a matter of minutes based on our attire choices. I have always had an affinity for fashion, which turned into a precarious obsession during a season in my life. Thankfully my obsession is no longer, I have come to realize style is not about collecting every trend which comes to the forefront, but maintaining my own personal aesthetic apart from the dictates of the fashion industry. After years of floundering to keep up with every new trend, I have developed a different perspective of fashion.  Whether current, vintage or entirely original, I consistently glean inspiration from so many different sources.

Photo: The Neo Traditionalist

Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was an actress turned Princess Consort of Monaco after marrying Rainier III, Prince of Monaco in 1956. While attending a prestigious Catholic girls’ school, Kelly began a modeling stint and this is where it all began. Grace Kelly lived up to her name as she was the quintessential lady of elegance, emanating ultimate grace, style and class. Kelly passed away at the age of 53, after suffering a stroke while driving from her country home to Monaco with her daughter Stephanie, who survived the accident. Grace Kelly’s innate sense of style lives on as women continue to be influenced by her fashion choices.

Photo: Wallpaper Base

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) was a British actress and humanitarian, although modest about her acting, she has remained one of the most famous actresses to this day. Hepburn redefined glamour with her large doe eyes, thick brows and waif-like body. Couturier, Hubert de Givenchy, gained inspiration from Hepburn and is credited for creating her style. He continued to be her friend and ambassador throughout her life, while she his muse. She equally inspired photographer Richard Avedon, Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo and a litany of women all over the world.

Photo: My Vintage Vogue

Hepburn is considered one of the most beautiful women of all time, ironically, she never considered herself attractive. She was quoted in a 1959 interview stating, “You can even say that I hated myself at certain periods. I was too fat, or maybe too tall, or maybe just plain too ugly…you can say my definiteness stems from underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority…” Audrey Hepburn passed away at the age of 63 from appendiceal cancer, not only did she leave a mark in the fashion industry, however, also as a great humanitarian.

Photo: Mark Shaw

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994) was the wife of 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, until his assassination in 1963, the pink Chanel suit she wore during this tragedy is famous to this day. Jackie had a knack for planning social events and entertaining, and soon became a muse to many famous designers, although Oleg Cassini who created an original wardrobe for her as First Lady was her primary designer. The look of white jeans with a black top was made famous by Jackie Kennedy and continues to be a staple for many.

Photo: Bettmann/CORBIS

During Jackie Kennedy’s years in the White House, her style changed dramatically as she evolved from the conservative pieces of a “campaign wife” to wide leg pant suits, large lapel jackets, gypsy skirts, head scarves and large sunglasses. This look has proven to be influential as generation after generation is seen emulating it.

Photo: Alain Dejean

Five years after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Jackie married Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis. She passed away at the age of 64 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma , a form of cancer. Jackie O left quite a legacy, from which the fashion industry, will continues to draw inspiration.

Photo: Huffington Post

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (1966-1999) was the wife of John F. Kennedy Jr. the son of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Carolyn’s style was classic and effortless, she wore streamlined pieces with minimal accessories. Her career in fashion began as a salesperson at the Calvin Klein store in Boston before being transferred to the corporate office in New York where she worked as a publicist and met John F. Kennedy Jr. Many of the pieces Carolyn wore 13 years ago could easily be worn currently. She passed away at the age of 33, along with her husband and older sister Lauren when the aircraft Kennedy was piloting crashed. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s style has proven to be the epitome of timelessness.

Photo: Vogue

Sarah Jessica Parker (1965-present) is best known for her leading role as Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO television series Sex and the City (1998-2004), which many tuned in for a front row seat at an endless fashion show guaranteed with each episode. Shortly after the last season of Sex and the City wrapped, Parker went on to become the face of many of the world’s biggest fashion brands, and ultimately launched her own fashion line Bitten.

Photo: Getty Images

Sarah Jessica Parker has a beautiful fashion aesthetic, it is always a treat to see what creation she will choose for the next red carpet event.

Photos: Photo Agency, Frederick M. Brown, Joe Corrigan, Jason Merritt/Getty Images, Marie Claire

Actress, Cameron Diaz (1972-present), began her career as a fashion model at the age of 16 after signing with Elite Model Management. Her early exposure to the world of fashion played a part in developing her keen eye for the styles most flattering for her frame, of course with her frame most anything looks great. Diaz is consistent in her style, choosing classic pieces with the perfect balance of accessories and detail.

Photo: Wardrobe Oxygen

Gwenyth Paltrow (1972-present) has proven to be a lady with many talents, not only is she a mommy and wife, but also an award winning actress and quite the songstress, and to top it off, Stylista can certainly be added to the list. Paltrow is the face of Coach, and currently owns the lifestyle company Goop, which offers limited edition collaborations, recipes, travel notes, shopping ideas and a fashion newsletter in collaboration with Net-A-Porter. She models all the suggested and featured pieces. The site is quite well done, and no surprise from the woman who seems to excel at all she pursues.

Actress, Zoe Saldana (1978-present), is another beauty with an excellent sense of style, I truly identify with Zoe because of her natural proclivity to take moderate risks when it comes to her fashion picks. I truly appreciate her confidence when it comes to her style, which she seems to keep in it’s proper perspective. Fashion is not brain surgery, if a particular look doesn’t work, chalk it up to experience, knowing better than to do a repeat. Zoe seems to grasp this notion, with the intent of having fun with fashion, but not taking it too seriously.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Wireless Images

R&B singer, Janelle Monae (1985-present), launched on the scene in 2010 with her debut album, The ArchAndroid Suites II & III.

Photo: Stiletto to the Metal

This little rocker with the flawless face has an eclectic musical style, which has been described as “A soaring orchestral trip enlivened with blockbuster vocals, mysterious imagery and notes of sixties pop and jazz.”

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Monae’s signature clothing style of a tuxedo wardrobe segues beautifully with her music style. In Honey Magazine, she stated, “I bathe in it, I swim in it and I could be buried in it. A tux is such a standard uniform, it’s so classy and it’s a lifestyle I enjoy. The tux keeps me balanced. I look at myself as a canvas. I don’t want to cloud myself with too many colours or I’ll go crazy…”

Photo: Getty Images

In an industry where it is much more prevalent to see a young woman showing as much skin as possible without breaking any laws, Janelle Monae’s approach to fashion is quite refreshing, it’ll be interesting to see how her style evolves as she matures in the industry.

Photo: Will Ragozzino/Getty Images

Fraternal twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (1986-present), are best known for their role as Michelle Tanner in ABC’s Full House. Who would have thought the two cuties would one day become two of the most influential fashion icons at such young ages. Mary-Kate pioneered the signature “homeless” look also referred to as “Bohemian-Bourgeois.” This look consists of layering, over-sized sweaters, large sunglasses and flouncy skirts.

Photo: Style Files

In 2006 the twins became the faces of Badgley Mischka, then went on to launch their own couture label, The Row, named after Savile Row in London. In 2007 they launched, Elizabeth & James, a contemporary collection inspired by many of their unique vintage finds and pieces in their personal wardrobe. They also released a women’s clothing line for J.C.Penney called Olsenboye, as well as a t-shirt line called StyleMint. Each of these endeavors have had great success, these two young women have taken the fashion world by storm, making an indelible mark.

Is there someone you consider a fashion icon who has inspired your style? If so, please share…


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7 thoughts on “Ten Fashion Icons, Spanning Decades, Who Have Inspired My Personal Style

  1. Stunning pic of Jackie O, Audrey and Grace Kelly! They are on my ‘style icons’ pinterest board for the same reasons you state here. Timeless style. The others you list are all also very worthy.

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