Fashion Icons: Exploring the Signature Styles of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe

Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe are two of the most iconic names in Hollywood history. They both rose to fame in the 1950s and captivated audiences with their beauty, charm, and talent. They also had distinctive and influential styles that have inspired generations of fashion lovers. In this article, we will explore the signature styles of these two fashion icons and how they reflected their personalities, careers, and eras.

Audrey Hepburn: The Epitome of Elegance

Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium in 1929 and grew up in various European countries. She experienced the hardships of World War II, which shaped her compassionate and humble character. She studied ballet and worked as a model before becoming an actress. Her breakthrough role was in the 1953 film Roman Holiday, for which she won an Oscar. She went on to star in classics such as Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and My Fair Lady. She was also a humanitarian and worked as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

Audrey Hepburn’s style was sophisticated, minimalist, elegant, polished, and mod. She typically chose a muted palette of black, white, beige, and pink, which emphasized the darker undertones of her eyes and hair. She “compensated” for her height by wearing ballet slippers and flat shoes. She also favored simple and tailored silhouettes, such as boatneck blouses, cropped trousers, and turtlenecks. She often accessorized with pearls, sunglasses, hats, and scarves.

Some of her most iconic outfits include:

  • The black Givenchy dress, pearl necklace, and oversized sunglasses she wore in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This outfit has become a symbol of chic and timeless style, and has been replicated by many celebrities and fans. The dress was designed by Givenchy specifically for Hepburn, and was auctioned for over $900,000 in 2006.
  • The white floral dress, wide-brimmed hat, and parasol she wore in the Ascot race scene of My Fair Lady. This outfit was inspired by the Edwardian era and showcased Hepburn’s grace and elegance. The dress was designed by Cecil Beaton, who won an Oscar for his costume design in the film. The hat was made of straw and silk, and the parasol was covered with lace.
  • The black turtleneck, capri pants, and loafers she wore in the dance scene of Funny Face. This outfit was casual and comfortable, yet stylish and chic. It reflected Hepburn’s love of dance and her playful personality. The outfit was also influenced by the beatnik culture of the 1950s, which embraced simplicity and rebellion.
  • The pink cocktail dress, gloves, and tiara she wore in the embassy ball scene of Roman Holiday. This outfit was romantic and feminine, and contrasted with Hepburn’s role as a rebellious princess. The dress was designed by Edith Head, who won an Oscar for her costume design in the film. The tiara was made of rhinestones and pearls, and the gloves were made of satin.

Audrey Hepburn’s style was influenced by her collaboration with French designer Hubert de Givenchy, who created many of her costumes and became her lifelong friend. She also admired Coco Chanel and wore her designs. She once said, “My look is attainable. Women can look like Audrey Hepburn by flipping out their hair, buying the large sunglasses, and the little sleeveless dresses.”

Marilyn Monroe: The Ultimate Bombshell

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles, California in 1926. Her father was absent, and her mother suffered from mental illness, so she spent her childhood in foster homes and orphanages. She married at 16 to avoid going back to an orphanage, but divorced four years later. She then pursued a career as a model and actress, changing her name to Marilyn Monroe. She became a sensation in the 1950s, starring in films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch, and Some Like It Hot. She also had high-profile marriages to baseball player Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller. She died of a drug overdose in 1962 at the age of 36.

Marilyn Monroe’s style was glamorous, sexy, feminine, and playful. She often wore bright colors, such as red, pink, and white, which contrasted with her platinum blonde hair and blue eyes. She also loved to wear figure-hugging dresses, plunging necklines, and fur coats. She often accessorized with diamonds, pearls, and red lipstick.

Some of her most iconic outfits include:

  • The white halter dress with a pleated skirt that flew up in the subway scene of The Seven Year Itch. This outfit was provocative and flirtatious, and became one of the most famous images in cinema history. The dress was designed by William Travilla, who said he wanted to make Monroe look like “an angel”. The dress was sold for $4.6 million in 2011.
  • The pink strapless gown with a bow and gloves that she wore while singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. This outfit was dazzling and glamorous, and showcased Monroe’s curves and charisma. The dress was designed by William Travilla, who used eight layers of rayon satin to create the shape. The dress was also worn by Madonna in her “Material Girl” video in 1985.
  • The gold lamé dress with a low-cut back that she wore in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and on the cover of Life magazine. This outfit was stunning and seductive, and made Monroe look like a goddess. The dress was designed by William Travilla, who used 24-carat gold to make the fabric. The dress was so tight that Monroe had to be sewn into it. The dress was banned by the censors for being too revealing, and was never worn in public by Monroe.
  • The beige beaded gown that she wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy in 1962. This outfit was daring and controversial, and sparked rumors of an affair between Monroe and Kennedy. The dress was designed by Jean Louis, who used 2,500 rhinestones to create the illusion of nudity. The dress was so tight that Monroe had to wear nothing underneath it. The dress was sold for $1.26 million in 1999.

Marilyn Monroe’s style was influenced by her costume designers, such as William Travilla and Jean Louis, who created many of her memorable outfits. She also borrowed clothes from the wardrobe department of 20th Century Fox, where she had a contract. She once said, “I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.”


Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe were two of the most influential fashion icons of the 20th century. They had very different styles, but they both expressed their individuality, femininity, and charisma through their clothes. They also inspired countless designers, celebrities, and fans to emulate their looks. Their styles are timeless and still relevant today, as they reflect the essence of elegance and glamour.

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