Over the past century, fashion trends have come and go – and what’s hot and what’s not has changed dramatically. While these trends are normally determined by what the biggest designers in the world are sending down the catwalk, they’re also determined by what’s going on in the world, what’s happening in popular culture, and which celebrities are making their way to the top of the A-list.
Yes, one of the best ways to see the changing face of fashion is to check out what Tinseltown’s most iconic celebrities were wearing each year. From Audrey Hepburn to Twiggy, these style icons inspired a generation of fans and a worldwide community of fashion lovers. But who was the fashionista that reigned supreme when you were born? And what were they wearing? It might not be who you think.
1950 – Audrey Hepburn
If you were born in 1950, you would have had the pleasure – whether you remember it or not – of growing up at the very start of Audrey Hepburn’s career. This British actress landed her first professional role in 1948, and within just a few years she had won the world over with her talent and her breathtaking beauty. So, it wasn’t long before fans everywhere were copying her style and dressing just like her.
Throughout her career, Audrey became known for her sophisticated simplicity. She often wore cigarette pants with black polo necks, ballet flats, and a head scarf or hat, or she wore a high-necked A-line dress that showed off her figure. Of course, perhaps her most iconic look of all time came in 1961 when she donned a little black dress, large sunglasses, and rows of pearls for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
1951 – Elizabeth Taylor
During the early 1950s, Elizabeth Taylor became synonymous with the hourglass figure and the red lip. She wouldn’t leave the house without cinching in her tiny waist or putting on her favorite lipstick, and while her style certainly evolved as her career progressed – and as she married another one of her eight husbands in total – many fans remember her 50s look fondly.
During this era, Elizabeth oozed glamour. After growing up in the limelight she did everything she could to stand out from the Hollywood crowd. She’d wear figure-hugging dresses that showed off her feminine physique, and she’d finish all of her looks off with diamonds and jewels. In fact, an Elizabeth Taylor movie role during this time wouldn’t have been complete without some kind of tiara or giant headdress.
1952 – Jean Patchett
Those born in 1952 were born in the era of Jean Patchett. Before Jean came along, high fashion models were seen as approachable and friendly – a far cry from the brooding, aloof models we have in today’s day and age. However, Jean was a breath of fresh air. She was remote in nature, and she offered an air of superiority and sophistication that was intoxicating to all those who saw her.
The famous fashion photographer Irving Penn described Jean as “a young American in Paris couture,” and her chic style inspired a generation. While her overall bone structure and beauty blew people away, it was how she presented herself in her clothes that really got everyone talking. She never wore anything too outlandish or revealing, but instead wore clothes that accentuated her natural shape and beauty.
1953 – Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe is arguably one of the most famous women in history, and for many reasons. Not only was she a talented singer and actress, but her personal life was also fraught with drama. In 1953, Marilyn was thrust into the spotlight in movies such as Niagara and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and she quickly became known as the ultimate “Blonde Bombshell.” But when it came to fashion; she was a trailblazer.
As Marilyn became the most profitable actress in Hollywood, the world of fashion began to change. While curves had always been desirable, Marilyn’s hourglass and size 12 figure became the new Hollywood ideal. She wore clothes that showed off this figure, and she was particularly fond of sleeveless gowns and curve-hugging wiggle dresses, which she teamed with her blonde hair and a red lip.
1954 – Grace Kelly
What those born in 1954 might not know is that Life magazine actually called this year “The Year of Grace” – and yes, that was all to do with the one and only Grace Kelly. Two years before she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco, this actress was at the peak of her career. She appeared in five movies in 1954 alone, and this gave fans across the world the chance to fall in love with her beauty and her style.
Grace Kelly’s style didn’t change too much when she became a princess. Before she donned her tiara, she favored sophisticated, simple dresses for red carpet premieres and celebrity events. Then, when she was off-camera she opted for streamlined items like white button-down blouses, tweed skirts, embroidered dresses, and one-piece swimsuits that suited her perfectly. Her style was classic.
1955 – Sophia Loren
By the time 1955 came around, all eyes were on Italian siren, Sophia Loren. While blonde bombshells had largely dominated Hollywood in the few years prior to her breakthrough, Sophia Loren’s entrance into the world of Hollywood sparked a change. When she appeared in The God of Naples that year, her dark features and her sultry outfits inspired a whole new generation of women who instantly fell in love with her.
Sophia Loren had the ability to create the most stunning and beautiful look without putting too much effort into her clothes. While her overall appearance looked luxurious and sexy, her clothing choices were fairly simple. She would wear figure-hugging gowns with sweetheart necklines and simple jewels, or simple sweater and pants combos that looked ordinary on the rack – but looked extraordinary when paired with her effortless beauty.
1956 – Brigitte Bardot
By the mid-to-late 1950s, fashion began to change – and many suggested that this was all thanks to Brigitte Bardot. The model, actress, and singer brought “French Girl Chic” to Hollywood, and showcased a brand new side of the A-list world. This side was sexy, hedonistic, and free, and this was shown through her varied wardrobe that offered outfit choices for countless different occasions.
While Brigitte was no stranger to wearing fancy figure-hugging frocks, she began to experiment with her style and pushed back against the boundaries of what was considered feminine. She would often wear loose denim jeans with oversized shirts, she’d don tailored suits, or just some casual pants and a T-shirt. For her, style was always about accessorizing, and her accessories almost always included her trademark bouffant hairstyle, a hairband, and a dark, smoky eye.
1957 – Jean Seberg
When Jean Seberg was cast as the Joan of Arc in the 1957 movie Saint Joan, she had little-to-no acting experience. She had been put forward for the role by a neighbor, and ultimately landed the part thanks to her impeccable audition that saw casting directors bowled over by her talent and beauty. The American actress, who spent most of her life in France, was then credited with continuing the French elegance we’d seen from Brigitte Bardot.
Like Brigitte, Jean favored a more simple, androgynous style. Unlike famous actresses before her, Jean didn’t care too much about her appearance or the designers that she was wearing. She wore what was comfortable and chic, including Breton striped tops, nautical tanks, pencil skirts, and ballet skirts. Everything was thought out, but so effortless at the same time.
1958 – Sandra Dee
If you were born in the second half of the 1950s, you were born during a time of intense to-ing and fro-ing when it came to fashion. While 1956 and 1957 were all about that “French Girl Chic”, 1958 saw a resurgence in the “Blonde Bombshell” – and that was all thanks to the one and only Sandra Dee. It was this year that Sandra Dee made her triumphant entrance into Hollywood, with her coiffed blonde curls and her girl-next-door personality.
1958 and 1959 saw Sandra star in the likes of Until They Sail and Gidget, and these two movies solidified her stereotype as an all-American girl. With her cardigan sweaters, her gingham dresses, her stripes, and her polka dots, Sandra Dee’s wardrobe was modest but sexy, colorful but not garish, and just the right amount of fashionable. It was this equilibrium that proved to be so iconic.
1959 – Doris Day
Doris Day will forever be remembered as one of the most legendary actresses in the Golden Age of Hollywood, but it was her role in the 1959 Pillow Talk movie that truly thrust her into the spotlight. This film made her a household name and a style icon, mainly because she perpetuated the image of the all-American girl. Yes, she was a total fifties sweetheart.
While many believed Doris’s style to be too prim and proper, it was her cinched-in waist, pointed bras, and elegant clothing choices that made her so popular. Fans fell in love with her white and monochromatic outfits, and they loved it even more when she added a splash of color to her relatively ordinary clothes. But with her blonde hair, her perfect features, and her bold lip, the clothes popped.
1960 – Jackie Kennedy
While much of the fashion world was impacted by actresses, singers, and celebrities who made their way onto the big screen during the 1950s, 1960 was the year of change. It was this year that Jackie Kennedy became the ultimate style icon – as this was the year that Jackie’s husband, John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for presidency. Although political eyes were on her husband, the rest of the world was focused on the style and grace of Jackie herself.
Jackie started off the 1960s fashion revolution with a bang, and she wasn’t afraid to start a new trend. In fact, she’s credited with introducing items like the pillbox hat, tailored coats, and strapless gowns into the forefront of the fashion world. Women around the world wanted to dress just like her, and her style soon made its way into the world of popular culture – with many actresses and singers copying her look.
1961 – Catherine Deneuve
If you were born in 1961, you might already know that Catherine Deneuve was the talk of the town that year. The French actress and model had been in the limelight since she was just a teenager, and quickly caught the attention of the acclaimed fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. In fact, she was considered his muse for decades, thanks to the aloof and mysterious persona that inspired her nickname as “the ice queen.”
Despite her connections with high fashion society, Catherine’s style wasn’t outlandish or bizarre. She epitomized Parisian chic with her camel-colored shirt dresses, pencil skirts, LBDs, patent leather trench coats, and simple heels. But it was this, paired with her natural beauty and intriguing personality, that made her stand out from the crowd.
1962 – Françoise Hardy
The early 1960s was all about that chic French style, and in 1962 it was the turn of Françoise Hardy to showcase this fashion statement. The singer and songwriter first rose to fame in her home country of France, but she soon became a leading figure of the yé-yé wave that tore across the globe. And while fans loved her music, they also loved her rebellious and groundbreaking fashion choices. Of course, there were others who thought she was scandalous.
During this time, Hardy found a balance between her own shy style and the avant-garde pieces that designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel wanted her to wear. With her slender, tall build, she was able to bridge the gap between masculine and feminine – and on one occasion Yves Saint Laurent even got her to wear one of his tuxedos to the opera. While “people screamed and hollered,” many were also inspired by their bold statement.
1963 – Dusty Springfield
Those who were born during the 1960s probably heard Dusty Springfield’s dulcet tones on a regular basis. She became one of the most famous singers of this decade, but it wasn’t just her voice that had fans reeling. They also loved Dusty’s big, blonde hair, her big lashes, and her big personality when it came to what she wore.
Dusty was the kind of woman who knew exactly what she liked, and she knew exactly what she wanted to wear. She would largely be seen on the stage or attending red carpet events in her trademark column dresses which normally had some kind of adornments on them. Occasionally, she would mix things up with a column co-ord or cigarette pants, but her go-to was always her column dresses.
1964 – Jean Shrimpton
The “Swinging Sixties” were full of varied looks and styles. This era tip-toed from glam girl-next-door looks to the mods and rockers – and many believed that Jean Shrimpton was the perfect blend of the two. The English model and actress was all the rage in 1964, and today she’s regarded as one of the world’s very first supermodels. And with her long legs, her slender figure, her doe-eyes and her bangs, it’s clear to see why.
During her reign in the early 1960s, Jean wanted to break the mold of fashion. She was bored of seeing women cover up their arms and legs while at the same time showing off their curves, and so were the designers that she worked with. So, she became the first person in history to bring the mini skirt to life, and she focused on bringing more rugged, rough, and modern clothes to the forefront of fashion.
1965 – Edie Sedgwick
Anyone born in the 1960s should be familiar with Andy Warhol’s reign during this era. The artist and filmmaker was at the top of his game, and in 1965 Edie Sedgwick was also reigning supreme as his muse. She was known as “The Girl of the Year,” and while she made her mark as an actress, she primarily became known as the “Factory Girl.” As a result, the “Factory Girl Style” was born.
The factory girl style included mini dresses and leggings, dark kohl eyeliner, knee-high boots, leotards, leopard print coats, chandelier earrings, and more. This style was centered around the idea of night-out dressing. The party animals of the 60s would get party until they needed to go to work the next day, and venture out into the daylight in the outfit they wore the night before.
1966 – Mary Quant
If you were born in 1966, you might be familiar with the term “Chelsea Girls.” But do you know where that term comes from? Well, this whole look and idea came from British fashion designer Mary Quant. As a major figurehead in the Mod and youth fashion movements, Mary Quant was not only responsible for changing the face of fashion, but she was also a style icon in her own right.
In fact, Mary credits herself as being one of the designers to bring the miniskirt and hotpants into the clothing world. Mary would wear colored or patterned tights with her skirts, and overall keep the top half of her outfit simple and effective. In her eyes, the most stylish women in 1966 were the ones who “are curiously feminine, but their femininity lies in their attitude rather than in their appearance … She enjoys being noticed, but wittily. She is lively—positive—opinionated.”
1967 – Twiggy
While the 1950s and early 1960s were about curvaceous women who showed off their cinched-in waists and their hourglass figures, the 1960s were about thin, slender supermodels – just like Twiggy. In 1967, this British model made her way across the world and graced the cover of US Vogue three times in twelve months, and her unique style went with her.
Twiggy’s fame drastically changed the face of beauty and style, and her short hair and androgynous features marked a pivot when it came to the clothes that women wore. The model herself would often be seen wearing thick ties and men’s waistcoats with her mini skirts, or even men’s suit jackets with patterned flared pants. She marked the beginning of the age of experimentation.
1968 – Mia Farrow
Those born in 1968 had the pleasure of being born the same year that the iconic movie, Rosemary’s Baby, made its way to the big screen. The success of the film thrust newcomer Mia Farrow into the limelight, and it also gave fans a chance to really appreciate everything she had to offer. Yes, she was a great actress, but she was also a sign of the changing era in Hollywood. She wasn’t a blonde bombshell, and she wasn’t a sexy siren. She had her own beautiful style.
Instead of relying on long, flowing hair or her body shape, Mia Farrow used her clothing as her main form of expression. She wore Peter Pan collars, colored tights, A-line dresses, oversized coats, and basic shoes that elevated her pixie-like look. With her short hair, freckled face, and her doe-eyes, she seemed to contradict the rebelliousness of the swinging sixties – but that’s what made her even more intriguing.
1969 – Jane Birkin
Today, the Hermès Birkin handbag is one of the most iconic and stylish handbags a person can own. But what you might not realize is that these bags were actually named after the legendary English-French actress and singer, Jane Birkin. She was at the top of her game in 1969, and her style was considered to be iconic. She was effortlessly cool, and was never seen without her long bangs and her basket bag.
More than anything, Jane Birkin was celebrated for perfecting the I-just-woke-up-like-this look. She wouldn’t wear posh dresses or skimpy outfits, but would instead opt for a more bohemian look – whether that was a simple tee and jeans, oversized blouses, or crochet dresses and tops. Just as the 1960s were ending, she began to embody the hippie culture that was sweeping the world.
1970 – Joni Mitchell
If you were born in 1970, you were born the year that Joni Mitchell released her famous song “Big Yellow Taxi.” This song not only thrust her onto the worldwide stage but also solidified her as a bohemian queen. Her dulcet tones were synonymous with the free-loving seventies, and her loose, free-flowing clothing allowed her to become the original hippie chick.
With her long-flowing hair, her no-makeup look, and her wide selection of bohemian clothes, Joni Mitchell quickly became a fashion icon. She loved to wear colorful shift dresses, high collars, layered gypsy jewels, wide-brimmed hats, peasant tops, bell-bottom pants and sleeves, and so much more. She was regarded for putting comfort before style, but that’s what made her even more stylish.
1971 – Anita Pallenberg
1971 was the year of Anita Pallenberg. While she was first and foremost known as an Italian actress with a huge amount of talent, the 1970s saw her step into the role of a muse – and to none other than the Rolling Stones. She dated both Brian Jones and Keith Richards from the rock and roll band, and she followed them around the globe with her stylish closet for company.
Mixing the 70s bohemian vibe with a hint of rock and roll, Anita quickly became an icon in the fashion world. She’d rock bell-bottom jeans and sparkling mini dresses, fur coats and suits, and so much more. She had the ability to take two seemingly different separates and make them into one full outfit in an effortlessly cool way, and her fans just couldn’t get enough of her.
1972 – Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli’s mom, Judy Garland, may have reigned supreme in the 1940s, but the 1970s gave Liza her chance to shine. In 1972, she landed the leading role in the iconic movie Cabaret – and this movie gave us the chance to see this former child star in a different light. Sure, she was a hugely talented actress and singer, but she was also pretty stylish and inspired a new generation with her glitzy take on 70s fashion.
Liza epitomized show business within her wardrobe, and she wanted to show the world that she was born to be on the stage. The legendary actress would team her quirky pixie-cut with men’s ties and a double-breasted suit, over-the-top blouses with huge sleeves, shearling coats, and ballgowns that were sparkling from collar to toe.
1973 – Dolly Parton
While Dolly Parton made her musical debut in the 1960s, the 1970s was truly her decade. 1973 was the year that she wrote the legendary songs “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” and it was this year that the world came to realize that she was a country powerhouse. Fans loved her sound, but they also loved her look – and not just because of her big blonde hair and other big assets.
During this era, Dolly became a country musician in sight and sound. She looked the part in her denim and her flannel shirts when she was off the stage, but when she was performing she transformed into a larger-than-life goddess. She’d wear bedazzled jumpsuits and dresses, low-cut shirts and cowboy hats, and outfits that stood out from the crowd. In fact, she wears the same kind of thing today.