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Marilyn Monroe- Style Icon

Marilyn Monroe changed beauty ideals when she swept onto the big screen in the 50’s and 60’s in various movies. She exuded femininity, and was the epitome of a siren, with her innocent sex appeal, little girl voice, platinum blonde hair, and dangerous curves that dominated every room she entered.

Personally, while I find Marilyn Monroe to be stunningly beautiful and understood her charm to both men and women, I also admired her sense of fashion, and it’s a style I emulate and copy. From her monochromatic wardrobe, to the simple and classic style and lines, Marilyn Monroe was very elegant and minimalist. A beautiful woman doesn’t need a lot of frills to look attractive; instead, she dresses in a way that highlights her best features to make her an alluring woman, and at this, Marilyn Monroe was a master.

How to dress like Marilyn Monroe

1. Basic neutral colors Marilyn Monroe’s wardrobe was mainly composed of black and white clothing, which put the focus on fit (and on her). Not everyone looks good in black and white, so find colors that flatter you (you’ll know them because when you wear them, people will suddenly keep telling you how healthy and fabulous you look). Your best neutral colors may be cream and navy, or chocolate and beige, but if you build a classic wardrobe on flattering neutral shades or a basic color scheme, you will not only look great all the time, it also makes it easier to shop, providing you with an easier to match, maintain, and afford closet of ready-to-wear clothes.

Color can add fun to a monochromatic wardrobe, and many of us may find other colors that look great on us as well (I happen to love red, powder blue, periwinkle, and baby pink). These colors should be added onto an already well-built wardrobe that consists of one or two basic colors, to add some variety, not used as the foundation, or else you’ll find getting great looking outfits together every morning difficult. A simple black dress accented with a colorful cardigan one day, a shrug another day, and a silk scarf another, is more affordable and realistic way to stay in fashion than having three or four different dresses for variety.

2. Simple lines and styles Marilyn didn’t rely on frills or illusion in her dress to look good, and by certain standards she (like all women) was not perfect. She chose to celebrate what she was, and millions of men celebrated along with her. She chose classic styles, such as pencil skirts, cashmere tops, and crisp white shirts, and had them tailored to fit her body shape, which is one of most flattering things a woman can do to build an enduring and fashionable wardrobe that suits her for years to come- choose classic pieces that never go out of style, and have them tailored to fit well on your body, whatever your body type.

Trying to change your natural shape, hide it, or ignore it tends to do more harm then good when designing your own personal fashion style. Trying to make major changes to what you naturally are is usually obvious and not very attractive. It is better to choose more flattering styles, use color to minimize or highlight sections of your body, use quality undergarments to give body parts a little boost, and even use patterns or other style tools (to an extent) to create a bit of an optical illusion, but in general, it’s better to dress the body you have than try to pretend to be something else.

3. Modest For a woman known for her extreme sexiness and appeal to males, Marilyn Monroe’s was surprisingly modest in her style of attire. She rarely wore a dress or skirt cut above the knee, and rarely wore low cut tops, instead relying on the fit of her clothes to flatter and highlight the fact that she was indeed a woman. Her clothes were nipped in at the waist, as well as the knee (a style trick not often used anymore- pencil skirts that are “pegged” at the bottom flatter more and give the illusion of curvy legs and a more feminine silhouette).

Marilyn Monroe’s effortless and modest fashion sense also emphasized an important point more women would take note of…you don’t need to reveal everything to be attracive and alluring. Too many women get attention not because they are beautiful, but because they’re half naked (which would get anyone’s attention, and not in a good way). If you want people to be attracted to you, and not just get attention from lazy men responding to what appears to be a lack of challenge, cover yourself (at least the basics- day time cleavage, very mini-skirts, and bare bellies on the street are big fashion no no’s). There is just no way to have a classic wardrobe if it’s not also classy.

4. Feminine There is nothing about the clothing that Marilyn Monroe wore that could confuse her for a man. While she wore jeans once in a great while, like most very curvy women, they didn’t particularly flatter her. In more feminine clothes, such as well-fitting dresses, pencil skirts, adorable short jumpers, fuzzy fitted sweaters, peg pants, etc she was very much a woman. If a woman looks great in jeans, she can certainly wear them, but clothes on a woman should differentiate her from males as much as possible (it’s the differences, after all, that make us appealing).

What makes clothes feminine? A closer fit and curvier lines, textures that hint of smoothness or softness (think cashmere, angora, silk, satin), color accents that are traditionally popular among females (such as pastels: pink, periwinkle, baby blue, light buttercup). These styles were very popular in the 40’s and 50’s, when women’s fashion was most girly and popular with guys, and let’s face it, women keep going back to it too…the retro look always makes a come-back among women in updated versions because of its appeal, and some styles have never gone out of fashion.