Of all the unmatchable Hollywood stars, Marilyn Monroe is in a league of her own. That’s right. Decades after her mysterious death she is still revered as a sex symbol, style icon, and one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the screen. That’s what makes it hard to know what to do with her. Most of what she wears is rooted in the 1960s and would look vintage today, yet Marilyn Monroe style transcends any era and every year thousands of people strive to use her as the inspiration for their fashion and beauty looks. When looking at Monroe in the 21st-century, the things you should copy from her are more conceptual than physical. Look at how she wore her outfits and what pieces she kept in her wardrobe rather than trying to translate vintage wear into a modern look.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR FEATURES
Even though this is more conservative than typical Marilyn Monroe style, a few defining qualities still stand out. Most notable is the way she uses dark colors to emphasize her facial features and flattering silhouette. Don’t be afraid to pick what you want to stand out about your face and figure. If you’ve got great lips, make them pop. When your outfit has a low-cut neckline, commit to it. Monroe’s effortless precision is a lesson you can incorporate in any decade.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
A good wardrobe is an extension of your personality. It enhances your good qualities and helps soften any rough patches. Thinking of your outfit as a kind of costume can dramatically improve your style sense, but it’s a slippery slope. In the case of Marilyn Monroe style, a wardrobe tailored to public appeal became a metaphor for her entire life. The star literally had to become Marilyn for the crowds. Make sure you don’t take things this far. Clothes that complement your personality are good. Wearing a mask every day is not.
YOUR ACTIVEWEAR CAN BE STYLISH
This isn’t another plug for the athleisure trend. Athleisure fashion the opposite way around, using casualwear to simplify more formal attire. In Marilyn Monroe style, you should try a playful game of catch in sexy flats or even heels once and a while. If that’s too extreme, settle for a nice blouse. Again, the details of an outfit and the situation you’re wearing it for are important. Casual is comfy, but never forget the value in sophistication.
KNOW HOW TO LET LOOSE
Relaxing at home doesn’t have to mean sweats and a t-shirt. A simple dress can be just as comfortable if you find the right one. One of the key things that made Marilyn Monroe style such a timeless legend was the star’s dedication to looking good in every situation. This idea that you should look presentable all the time isn’t very popular in modern society. In the 21st-century you’re either high-end gaudy or streetwear chic. There are a lot of combinations that cross-over rather than a defined line between fancy and sloppy. Don’t be afraid to remind yourself what’s sloppy and strive for better. People still appreciate effort when it comes to style.
IT’S FINE TO EMBRACE TRENDS
Decked out in sunglasses with a pointy brassiere and pencil skirt, this image of Monroe is a prime example of 1960s fashion. There’s a casual sense of glamor to the look and a feminist “working woman” feel. Keep in touch with the prevailing fashion trends around you and learn to wear them well. As much as conformity is being bashed this century, trends still matter and should reasonably impact your wardrobe. If Marilyn incorporated the latest designs into her style, so can you.
DRESS UP SUPER FANCY SOMETIMES
If you’re going to be a successful fashionista, there will come a time when you need to dress up more dramatically than you might like. If a function calls for a gown, don’t recoil and make a statement about how much you hate excess. Buy the dress. Splurge every now and then. There is always a little indulgence when it comes to fashion. Embrace it in small portions and you can follow Marilyn Monroe style with a contemporary twist.
Fashion trend die away and most style icons represent one moment in time, but Marilyn Monroe is the exception. She teaches fashion through star power and smarts. Listen to these lessons and you can build a wardrobe that works in 2017 while honoring the fashion precedents of eras past.
— Julie Grossman