By Quiz Clothing


Marilyn Monroe and the cocktail dress

Screen icon, Marilyn Monroe, is still renowned today for her on-screen persona, off-screen romances and unforgettable fashion choices. But when it comes to style, what made Monroe an icon?

Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926, defined what it was to be sexually attractive and made it acceptable in an era when women were still encouraged to dress modestly. While most ladies naturally opted for blouses, long skirts and high necklines; Monroe showed the world how to wear clothes that showed off your body in an attractive way — and the best example of this was the famous white cocktail dress.

In 1955, Monroe wore the unforgettable ivory dress for production of The Seven Year Itch. You may not have watched the film, but you’ll certainly recognise the now iconic scene where air blows up from a subway grate and lifts the skirt of Monroe’s frock, as she playfully tries to push it back down — an example that perfectly defines how Monroe contributed to fashion. This famous backless dress featured a daring halter-like bodice with a plunging neck and bare arms — a far more risqué design than many 1950s’ women were used to. Similarly, the sheer, strappy dress featuring more than 2,000 crystals that she wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 again displayed Monroe’s ability to create an attractive silhouette while fusing sex appeal and high-fashion.

The most popular sex symbol of the 1950s, many attribute the invention of the term and definition ‘bombshell’ to Monroe. Her curvaceous figure and ability to exhibit it with class and style today makes her one of fashion’s most celebrated icons. Soon after her death in August 1962, we saw the rise of miniskirts and knee-high boots — both styles that helped women break free of humble fashion during the Swinging Sixties.

Monroe embraced the power of femininity and did not conform to the modest trends of the 1950s, instead fusing her attractiveness with fashion to create an alluring, elegant, feminine appeal and encouraging other women to do the same. Perhaps today, we could even thank Monroe for 2018 fashion-favourites like figure-hugging bodycon dresses, backless jumpsuits and strapless tops. 

Get the look:

There are plenty of styles around today that can help you channel the confidence and glamour of Marilyn Monroe. Bodycon dresses will give you an enviable silhouette by flaunting every curve, while Bardot tops allow you to show some shoulder and halter-neck jumpsuits look amazing with a pair of heels. Strapless, fishtail dresses are the ultimate in Hollywood glitz, and anything with metallic or diamante embellishments will help you shimmer like the blonde bombshell herself. Make sure to finish off your look with pretty pieces of jewellery, too.

Cher and bell bottom trousers

Before the 1960s, bell bottom trousers were most widely associated with the British and United States Navies. However, the rise of the multi-talented singer, actress and fashionista, Cher, was the driving force behind bell bottoms — potentially the most iconic of all 1970’s styles.

She is credited with popularising the clothing style on both sides of the Atlantic — from the 1965 episode of Beat Club when she sang ‘I Got You Babe’ in flared trousers, to the end of her three-year run on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in 1974 where she donned the trouser-style throughout.

Looking back from 2018, many of us consider the bell-bottom jean — which were typically flared from the knee with an opening of up to 66cm — a product of the hippie movement. However, Cher brought the style into mainstream fashion via her fame and influence in TV, radio and film; encouraging men and women alike to adopt the style and aiding the fusion of genderless fashion styles. 

Get the look:

Bring the 1970s into 2018 by replicating these famously wide cuts. Think bell bottom jeans are too retro? Go for a pair of black palazzo pants and match with a cropped top and heels for a stunning, going-out look with just a hint of nostalgia. Or, pull on a pair of nude culottes and team it with a floral Bardot top for the perfect boho, 1970s vibe for drinks and food with friends.

There are countless more fashion icons that we and women before of us have used as a source of inspiration when it comes to dressing. Why not pay homage to these iconic styles by bringing a taste of them into your 2018 wardrobe?