The Golden Age of Hollywood, typically thought of as the time between the late 1910s to 1960, is synonymous with many things, first and foremost the glamorous styles of the era’s leading ladies. Old Hollywood fashion has inspired women throughout the ages, and with the rise of shops like ModCloth and Unique Vintage, a resurgence of styles and silhouettes made famous by these icons are more accessible than ever.
How to Dress Like Your Favorite Classic Hollywood Star
Looking for an easy way to emulate your favorite old Hollywood starlets that won’t break the bank? Put away your faux-fur coats and hang up the ball gowns because, in real life, these icons were even more glamorous when they dressed things down. Here are three tips on how to dress like your favorite classic Hollywood stars.
1. Stick to neutral, tailored basics. When it came to downtime, our favorite ladies could be found in many of the same neutral basics we love today, including crisp button downs, slimming slacks, and stylish swing dresses. The secret to looking glamorous? Tailoring! By tailoring these staples and making sure they flatter your favorite body parts, you’ll not only look glamorous, you’ll feel it, so don’t be afraid to head to your local tailor today.
2. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. It’s no secret that the easiest way to amp up any outfit is by accessorizing. From chic scarves and striking drop earrings to a string of pearls and a pair of kitten heels, add new accessories to your favorite outfits for a quick classic Hollywood upgrade.
3. Don’t forget a pop of color. Whether it be a soft neutral pink or a true-to-era red, the ladies of the Golden Age were known for their lipstick. They were even credited with making various shades popular throughout history. As a result, many companies have dedicated shades to these ladies and the era, including Charlotte Tilbury, Napoleon Perdis, and Besame Cosmetics. The perfect way to cap off any look, a pop of color is vital for any old Hollywood transformation.
The Best Old Hollywood Fashion Styles
We’ve curated six looks based off of the everyday styles of your favorite icons of the Golden Age that are easy to recreate and effortlessly glamorous. Keep scrolling to learn how to dress like everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Grace Kelly and more!
How To Dress Like Marilyn Monroe
1. How to Dress Like Marilyn Monroe
When hearing the name Marilyn Monroe, one usually thinks of the blonde bombshell clad in that infamous magenta gown, charming everyone with "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" as she drips in diamonds (talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me all about it). But off screen, Marilyn liked to take her glamour down a notch, opting for carefully tailored basics like this neutral black-and-white ensemble.
To recreate this look, we suggest pairing a rolled-up black mock-turtleneck sweater ($32, Unique Vintage) with a chic pair of ivory pleated ankle pants, like this pair from LEITH ($41.40, Nordstrom). Top if off with a swipe of ever-flattering coral lipstick — we love Charlotte Tilbury's Matte Revolution Lipstick in the shade Sexy Sienna ($34, Sephora) — and you'll have the look down!
How To Dress Like Katharine Hepburn
2. How to Dress Like Katharine Hepburn
With four Academy Awards to her name and a list of timeless movies under her belt, like The Philadelphia Story and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, Katharine Hepburn is one of most enduring stars to ever come through Hollywood. And just as she made waves in film, she was also a trendsetter in fashion. While usually found in a crisp button-down shirt and slacks, Katharine was also an expert at embracing her femininity with stylish coats and modest dresses.
To recreate this look, pick up a peacoat, like L.L. Bean's Classic Lambswool Peacoat ($219, L.L. Bean), and a stylish polka-dot dress, like Unique Vintage's 1940s Style Emerald Green & White Dot Camilla Midi Dress ($88, Unique Vintage). We recommend finishing this look with the perfect complement to the rusty-red coat: Too Faced's Peach Kiss lipstick in the shade 'Chill Pill' ($21, Sephora).
How To Dress Like Audrey Hepburn
3. How to Dress like Audrey Hepburn
If there's one classic Hollywood star scores of women have looked to for fashion inspriation over the years, it's Audrey Hepburn. And no other movie of hers has contributed to this than the 1961 classic Breakfast's at Tiffany's. A continuation of Hepburn's long-term collaboration with Givenchy, the film is filled with dozens of iconic looks, like this one.
To recreate this famous trench-coat ensemble, you'll need a couple basic pieces that are probably already staples in your closet, including a little black dress, like Bobeau's Twist Back Midi Dress ($59, Nordstrom), a white silk scarf, like Nordstrom's Satin Border Silk Chiffon Scarf ($79, Nordstrom), a pair of black sunglasses, 1901's Victor 54mm Sunglasses ($25, Nordstrom), nude heels, like Charles by Charles David's Kitten Pointy Toe Pump ($99.95, Nordstrom), and, of course, a form-flattering trench coat. We love Prima's Trench Coat ($90, Nordstrom). Top it off with a lipstick inspired by Hepburn herself in the shade 'Hepburn Honey' ($34, Sephora), and you'll be giving Holly Golightly a run for her money in no time.
How To Dress Like Lauren Bacall
4. How to Dress like Lauren Bacall
Affectionately dubbed, "The Look" thanks to her piercing stare on screen, from the beginning, Lauren "Betty" Bacall was a style icon. Discovered on the cover of Harper's Bazaar by socialite Slim Hawks, wife of Howard Hawks — who directed Bacall in her first film To Have and Have Not (1944) alongside future husband Humphrey Bogart — Lauren's style symbolized that of the modern American woman. Off-screen, you could find Bacall in clothes that emphasized her laidback demeanor, like this outfit.
With a simple knit turtleneck, like Vince Camuto's Slouchy Turtleneck Sweater ($99, Nordstrom), a flowy pair of slacks, like Preston & York's Full-Leg Trousers ($59, Dillard's), elegant slides, like Halogen's Farrah Sandal ($39.68, Nordstrom), and Charlotte Tilbury's 'Tell Laura' lipstick ($34, Sephora), you'll be able to recreate this look and feel like a studio-system star without sacrificing any comfort in the process.
How To Dress Like Elizabeth Liz Taylor
5. How to Dress Like Elizabeth Taylor
One of the most glamorous stars of classic Hollywood was none other than Elizabeth Taylor. The celebrated actress and tabloid favorite knew how to keep people talking, especially when it came to her fashion. Well-known for her exquisite style and opulent taste in jewelry, we wanted to find a way to encapsulate the most memorable aspects of her style in a way that's still wearable in an everyday capacity.
To recreate this look, pick up a striped jewel-toned top, like Heartloom's Benny Blouse ($88, Nordstrom), elegant door-knocker earrings, like ASOS DESIGN's Vintage-Engraved Earrings ($13, ASOS), and a sangria-berry lipstick, like Too Faced's Peach Kiss Moisture Matte Long Wear Lipstick ($21, Sephora), to tie the whole look together in a glamorous bow.
Princess Grace Kelly Style Fashion
6. How to Dress like Grace Kelly
She may have been Hollywood-turned-real-life royalty, but Grace Kelly understood that glamorous fashion didn't always mean ball gowns and heels. An icon whose fashion we still adore through her on-screen looks in films like Rear Window (1954) and To Catch a Thief (1955), where she epitomized Old Hollywood grandeur, her off-screen looks were much more relaxed.
To recreate this Grace Kelly look, pick up a white button-down top, like Topshop's Pleat Shoulder Blouse ($55, Nordstrom), structured slacks, like Calvin Klein's Modern Fit Straight Leg Pants ($59, Dillard's), a brown belt, like Treasure & Bond's Washed Leather Belt ($49, Nordstrom), a multi-colored silk bandana, like Madewell's version ($24.50, Nordstorm), and cognac-colored flats, like Modcloth's Turn Back Prime Vegan Flat in Caramel ($35, ModCloth). To complete to look, top it off with a dash of Charlotte Tilbury's 'Amazing Grace' lipstick ($34, Sephora), named after the Princess of Monaco herself.