As the summer heat make us wondering in front of our wardrobe which kind of dress we should wear to make it through our day, I made a list of some of the most popular and iconic dresses worn by the divas of the last Century, who always made the right choice when faced with the daunting question “What do I wear?”
With this fabulous guide maybe you’ll be inspired to create a timeless and effortless wardrobe, following the footsteps of the most glamorous and chic women who graced our planet with their own style and taste.
You will be inspired by these incredible examples of beauty, sophistication and elegance, to make your closet worth of a diva!
It’s not necessary to have “Bette Davis’s eyes” to dress just like her. Bette Davis was an independent woman and actress, who shaped her character choosing avant-garde outfits and playing unexpected roles. The final result was sometimes less attractive, compared to the prototype of Hollywood actresses in the ‘30s (blonde plus beautiful pair of legs).
Her body was also very different from beauty standards. She was a curvy proud woman in a decade of “ruler-shaped” bodies.
Her smart fashion choices made Bette Davis a revolutionary and strong woman, who was able to plan accurately her wardrobe.
A bias-cut, backless long dress is what you have to wear in a cool summer night, under the stars to steal the scene from all other guests. The hour-glass body requires a dress that gently caresses the curves, creating a sensual idea of allure. The naked shoulders create a balance with the generous hips, making the dress a perfect combination of volumes expressing pure femininity.
Gilda was the most iconic sex symbol of all time. And Rita Hayworth became immortal thanks to this role. Her astonishing beauty made Rita a muse, a goddess, a diva. She was considered really tall, compared to the common standards and her legs were the absolute protagonists of every outfits. Jean Louis, costume designer of Hollywood’s divas, simply adored her and that’s why most of her looks on set were considered a masterpiece of elegance.
She was a sex symbol for men and an idol for women. She had an innate elegance and her outfits were the natural extension of it.
But even if she was a femme fatale, wrapped in gorgeous satin gowns, for her everyday life she preferred an easygoing wardrobe, sober and confortable.
So if you want to show your beautiful legs with a sophisticated grace, take inspiration from this outfit. A pair of short cotton trousers, a belt, to underline the tiny waist and a loose-fitted blouse, which you can steal from your boyfriend’s closet!
This dress is one of the most famous, iconic, unforgettable, incredible product of Hollywood’s world.
And every one of us wants a dress like this. Because we want to be Marilyn.
This dress has the perfect fit and satisfy every requests a woman demands from a dress.
It underlines the waist with a bow, it creates a deep v-neck, but it covers perfectly the breast, so it’s not vulgar at all and it leaves the back completely naked, unveiling the right amount of skin.
The pleated full skirt screams “I’m fabulous when I walk down the street and the silk plays with the romp wind”.
William Travilla, the fashion designer behind this creation, reached the peak of his career, designing a dress that could only be defined perfect.
This dress, designed for the memorable movie “The Seven Year Itch”, released in 1955, should have a place of honor in our closet. The exuberant beauty of this dress has been edited a million times by every fashion designers and fashion labels so it’s absolutely not difficult to find. My tip? Search for it in vintage stores!
If you consider your style more understated, your ideal chic guide should be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She was a savvy interpreter of classical beauty, always polite and measured. Her aristocratic origin contributed to develop her passion for fashion, which she demonstrated in a sober and politically correct way. When she became First Lady in 1961, she hired Oleg Cassini, a costume designer, who was in charge of her entire wardrobe. She became a role model for every American women in the country, with her iconic sheath dress and pill-box hat. She captured the essence of modern elegance and her image was instilled into people’s imagination.
Not to mention how many fashion designers all around the world adored her exquisite taste.
So if you want to capture the true nature of chic, opt for a simple, minimal sheath dress.
But how should you choose the right one?Which one has the perfect fit for your body?
The answer is in the words of my favorite costume designer Edith Head: “A dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to prove you’re a lady.”
She has always been a reluctant style icon. She spent her childhood in extreme poverty, until when she was noticed in Rome by film producer Carlo Ponti, who later became her husband. She was a genuine Italian beauty, with her curvaceous figure and seductive joie de vivre. She had a spontaneous style and a sensual attitude.
She has been the perfect prototype of Italian bombshell and her dresses contributed to put an accent on her voluptuous shapes.
So if you want to hit the screen and become a Cinecittà sex symbol, her is the perfect dress for you! Or in a more modern way, if you want to be a Dolce&Gabbana muse, opt for a dress with a corset, full skirt and sunny summer prints. This one is the protagonist of each outfit of Sophia, who was able to wear it with sizzling aplomb and sophistication.
To quote Sophia’s thought about fashion: “A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence, serving its purpose without obstructing the view.”
Germaine Hélène Irène Lefebvre, aka Capucine, arrived in Paris where she found work at Givenchy, as seamstress. But one day the master saw her in the lab and promoted her on the spot on the catwalk. Capucine very quickly became the most chic mannequin for historic fashion houses such as Dior and Balmain, and soon tried to become an actress.
Her strong personality and her aristocratic manners led directors to give her almost exclusively aristocratic parts as Ecstasy of Vidor and Cukor of 1960, and The Triumph of Michael Strogonoff, in ’61. The same choice, years later, was made by Fellini, who gave her a role in his Satyricon. She also played in the comedy The Pink Panther, in which she was the wife of inspector Clouseau.
She was trapped into her character, the cliché of a high-class woman, always unfailingly refined, a sophisticated lady par excellence, but she was smart enough, to laugh it off and come up with almost a caricature of herself.
She spent her life, surrounded by the jet set of London, Paris , New York, Hollywood, Monte Carlo and Gstaad.
She was always searching for pure simplicity in style, as you can see from the picture, which portrayed her in a super chic ensemble, with a scarf smartly wrapped on hair, making her immediately recognizable as a classy icon.
In 1966 Daily Express voted Twiggy as the Face of the Year. Her overwhelming beauty, so different from the standards of the previous decade, made Twiggy a pioneer of an effortless style. She can be considered the first real supermodel, even if she retired from runways just after four years from her debut. Her style of ethereal teenager was a real revolution in fashion, because of that image of fresh and ambitious girl.
Hemlines became shorter and necks became higher, shapes were geometric and sharp and the abundance of bows and buttons were Twiggy’s perfect allies to set off her thin and elongated body and her innocent eyes.
An A-line dress could be also a perfect ally for the everyday life of contemporary girls. A timeless shape that can help us slender the figure and concentrate the attention on our beautiful legs and on a great pair of Mary-Jane at our feet. The minimal cut of the dress counteract with the super short hemline, which plays an ambiguous balance between drama, childhood and sensuality.
She will be always remembered for the exuberant explosion of her rich and soft blonde hairstyle. She had a healthy and fit body, her skin was always tanned and she 100% embodied the American spirit. She knew she was a sex-symbol. When Charlie’s Angels was the most famous TV show in USA, she admitted that it was a result of not wearing bras, rather than being a good actress. She had of course sense of humor and her carefree personality contaminated her outfits.
One of her most famous dress was the wrap dress. It was the look of the mid-‘70s and it was created by another beautiful and talented lady, Diane von Furstenberg. The garment emerged in a time when women were confident to express their own sensuality and their bodies. The wrap dress was easy to put on, comfortable, because made of soft jersey, and very easy to take off!!
It was the “go anywhere” dress, which attends women’s life from workplace to bedroom.
Would you love to wear it? If you want to be modern, feminine and professional, without loosing your sex-appeal, you should definitely wear it!
Studio 54 took the night-club scene by storm. And so did the VIP who attended it.
Everyone shared the same dance floor and the banquette. If you were able to get in.
Andy Warhol said that the Studio was “a dictatorship at the door and a democracy inside”. The selection was strict, but once inside, you were a star.
If you’d like to feel the same glitter atmosphere when you party, opt for Bianca Jagger’s outfit. A jersey off-the-shoulder long dress. Simple, chic, minimal. And not to mention how comfortable it is if you’re planning a triumphal entry on a white horse!!
If you’re a party girl, that’s the right outfit to grab the attention in the most elegant way. Learn from a diva!!
The hair scraped back off a high forehead, hooped earrings, scarlet lips and a backless dress. Sade became memorable. She studied as fashion designer, but she succeeded as a singer. Her voice was incredible, but her style cemented her as a fashion icon.
Sade was elected by Vogue and Elle and the other authoritative magazines as the queen of cool understatement. She had an elegance based on simplicity and her taste for siren dresses and mannish suits recalled the old fashion from 1930’s and 40’s American Jazz Clubs.
If you like this absolute effortless style, opt for a backless dress, with long sleeves and white corset and a tight black mini-skirt. It was 1984, when she began her career as a singer, but the outfit seems tremendously modern to me. What about you?