Female Style Icons From The Past Who Changed Fashion

Fashion icons are important to create new trends and inspire the public.

This is especially true for those who don’t know which direction to take their wardrobe. Celebrities all around the world are creating electric statement looks we can’t help but replicate. Let’s take a look at six female style icons who changed fashion forever.

 style icons, fashion icons, most influential style icons, influential style icons, people with style

Credit: Pixabay, maya_7966

Influential Female Style Icons 

These six females from different eras left a lasting impression in the fashion industry forever, and whether you realise it or not, have probably influenced your wardrobe. Can you spot any trends you use?

1. Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn is one of the most influential style icons for many reasons. Many of her TV appearances – such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s influenced people’s wardrobe. Her timeless fashion style is still admired to this day, and there’s something we can all learn from her vintage fashion.

Unlike other style icons in her era, Hepburn often wore high-waisted jeans with a black belt and a vibrant sweater. This look is still relevant and popular in the present day thanks to her bold fashion persona. Her large black sunglasses quickly became a fashion statement along with a staple coat and block earrings. When she wasn’t feeling bold, Hepburn would often exude elegance and femininity with a tight black dress along with a matching oversized black hat.

When you think of females from the Hollywood Golden Age, Audrey Hepburn is one of the first style icons that pops into your head. Her heavy jewellery, big hair and eyeliner flick are still relevant to this day, because she liked to accentuate all of her features with fashion and makeup.

Many of her followers admired her individuality and simplicity when it came to fashion. Never one to shy away from flamboyant accessories, she adored having fun with fashion. This is certainly one style icon whose book we'd like to take a page from -- or several.

2. Babe Paley

Babe Paley is another of our favourite style icons, and for most of the 50s, 60s and 70s, she was recognised on numerous Best Dressed lists. Many admirers of the time loved how she never tried to hide her natural beauty, and would often allow the greys in her hair to show. Although she dressed elegantly and stylish, people liked that she seemed like an average woman and would often leave the house with her hair wrapped in a scarf when in a hurry.

Despite a successful career, Paley liked to mix designer goods with discount accessories to make her overall look seem flawless and effortless. She famously quotes, “I’m rich, but I don’t have to flaunt it”. This admirable quality encouraged other women to think about what their fashion spoke about their loyalty and morals.  Many modern fashionistas replicate this notion to keep their style unique and desirable.

She easily made herself recognised as a style icon by taking ordinary, common pieces and adding custom elements to make herself stand out from the crowd. Her favourites included silk scarves, large pearls and prim skirts. When combined, her overall mannerism was aspirational and elegant. She was also a huge fan of Givenchy and would team her outfits with fine jewellery, with no other style icon at the time did.

3. Nan Kempner

Nan Kempner became a style icon without pushing a new career to edge her into the limelight. No matter the occasion she attended, Kempner always took considerable care over her appearance just for the sake of loving fashion, rather than how people wanted to perceive her. With a knowledge for art, her wardrobe replicated her beliefs and perceptions. Yves Saint Laurent was her favourite designer because she admired that the clothes wouldn’t overpower her slim, tall figure.

Even around the house, Kempner made an effort to look her best because fashion touched her in a way nothing else did. One of her infamous home outfits was a white Moroccan man’s shirt with a black caftan from Fernando Sanchez. Even when attending an event, she loved changing outfits, so you never knew what to expect from her. This element of surprise was inspirational and brave during her era, as many other style icons felt the pressure to appear a certain way.

On the other hand, her pieces weren’t fussy or excessive, as she liked to adopt simple shapes and designs to remain casually luxurious. The fit and overall vibe from the ensemble was the most important aspect of her fashion.

4. Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry was one of the most famous style icons from the ‘70s and won ‘Style Icon’ at the ELLE Awards. Her punk rock persona defined her personality and music talents, which many women in that era weren’t touching on. Her platinum blonde hair with sharp cheekbones gave her a fearless attitude many of her fans replicated and embodied into their own personal style.

One of her staple styles in the ‘70s was her punk leather jacket, which she was rarely spotted without. Whether she had it on or wrapped around her outfit, she combined it with a fluffy jumper and girly lip. For Debbie Harry, there were no rules in fashion, as you could dress in whatever mood you felt like in that moment. Another example of taking risks and dressing outside of the ‘norm’ was wearing men’s suit jackets. She didn’t shy away from the gender and felt that men and women should share the fashion experience.

Not afraid to wear popular pieces in an unconventional way, she’d often adopt double denim or wear a jacket unbuttoned without any shirt underneath. Another of her popular stage looks was a plain, oversized t-shirt worn as a dress with a pair of statement knee-high boots.

5. Princess Diana

Another of the world’s most famous style icons is Princess Diana. She left remarkable history in many of her public appearances. One in particular is the black off-shoulder cocktail dress designed by Christina Stambolian which exuded elements of lace.

Unlike other style icons, Princess Diana cared considerably about what people thought about her clothes. Her personality crafted her wardrobe and she never wanted to offend anyone or look inappropriate. For this reason, she always looked like an intelligent, beautiful woman who was aware of her position in the Royal Family.

Many of her most loved garments were simple and elegant and never underestimated. In 1982, she wore a Bruce Oldfield gown in blue silk which accentuated her slim figure. Towards the end of the ‘80s, Princess Diana became renowned for her wide-shouldered gowns in both subtle and bold colours.

She didn’t just wear anything handed to her though, and was heavily involved in the design and preparation process. She loved fashion and often thought out of the box, such as the occasion she wore a velvet Catherine Walker dress. The open back accentuated her figure and she wore a long pearl necklace backwards to work with the dress.

6. Twiggy

To sum up Twiggy’s style, we’d say daring, bare and extreme. There was no doubt that the successful model was a trendsetter in the ‘60s, and many of her outfits influenced today’s fashion, without us even realising it. She first turned heads with the mini dress and skirt which hit just above the knees. This controversial piece made its way onto magazine covers and quickly became a fascination amongst fans.

She liked to express herself through fashion, and introduced the braless style. Disposing of a bra, she campaigned that “less is more” and the world saw less bras on models than ever before. This sense of freedom brought life to a time when equality was limited.

Twiggy helped to shape the fashion and beauty industry with her thick eyelashes, boyish style and chopped hair in 1966. She quickly became the face of the decade because she broke down fashion barriers and inspired women to feel comfortable with themselves. At the age of just 17 year, she set a high standard in the celebrity world.

Who Are Your Favourite Style Icons?

The six style icons above were picked randomly from a long list of our favourites. Each of these females took fashion into their own hands and created new trends and inspiration for their generation. Fashion is about expressing yourself and taking risks, so we encourage you to dress freely and confidently.

Who are your favourite style icons who might not be mentioned above? Let us know in the comments and share what makes them so influential.

Related Article: Vram Jewelry — About the Brand & Our Favourites From The Collections

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