The role of a fashion icon is not a small one, in the ever-changing fashion industry, it is our style icons we turn to find the newest trends, styles and fashions. A fashion icon does not usually set out to be one, but their exceptional sense of style and ability to inspire sets them apart.
We see the influence of fashion icons on the daily, whether it’s your go-to little black dress or that leopard print skirt you see on every second person. And in the age of social media we don’t have to go far to get our fashion inspo; whether it’s the Hadid’s, the Kardashians, Alexa Chung or any other budding style icon we are at no loss for stylish muses.
But who paved the way before them? And who are the upcoming fashion icons of the 21st century?
Top 10 Fashion Icons
10. Michelle Obama
This former First Lady of the United States has continued to grab our eye through her killer style as she tours throughout the states on the tour of her book Becoming. She may not be the first person you go to when thinking of a style icon; but this author, mum and former lawyer is a testament that regardless of age you should never stop taking fashion risks.
The 55-year-old champions the trend of power suits, donning them in bright hues and sequins, pairing them with glittery bodices or thigh high boots. Whatever she wears its worn with an air of confidence and grace and frankly we can’t get enough.
As one of the biggest stars in the world, it’s no doubt that her style is influential. In recent years Rihanna’s style game has been at the top of its class and she is easily considered one of today’s most prominent style icons. Whether it’s her iconic Met Gala looks, her cool and casual street style or her daring red carpet looks there is always one thing Rihanna completely embodies, body positivity.
This style icon has now dipped her toes into designing her own fashion with her lingerie brand Savage X Fenty and her new LVMH brand Fenty both of which catering to sizes up to US14. No matter what trend of Rihanna’s you’d like to try there’s one thing for certain, no matter what you look like or what size you are, you’re going to look amazing.
8. The Spice Girls
Okay hear me out, I know they’re a group and I know their style is out there, but the influence of the Spice Girls on fashion is undeniable. It’s the little black dress, strappy heel’s and tiny sunglasses that Posh wore, the animal print that you see in every store whether high street or high fashion that was the signature of Scary, the logomania of Ginger and don’t forget the Buffalo Sneakers and baby doll dresses of Baby, the Spice Girls are EVERYWHERE.
Perhaps the most influential is one that you least expect, Sporty spice’s popularization of athleisure has lasted decades. You will not look out of place wearing leggings and sneakers outside of the gym and bike shorts are seen on every second insta-influencer these days. No matter what trend of theirs you decide to take from, it’s guaranteed to spice up your life!
7. Vivienne Westwood
In the mid-70’s a revolution took place. Disenfranchised British youth fought against the ‘man’ and embraced a new style, punk. And the woman at the forefront of this was none other than the red-haired rebel Vivienne Westwood. Vivienne Westwood is hugely credited for bringing modern-punk into the mainstream and continuing that defiant nature into her designs.
Punk trends are no longer just for those that listen to the Sex Pistols and fight against the government and these trends are often seen both on the streets and the runways. Leather jackets, ripped jeans and combat boots is the go-to model off-duty look and these items are often considered staples in the everyday wardrobe. Think the Ramones and Blondie but with less hardcore partying.
6. Celine Dion
Celine Dion is a woman who needs no introduction. An icon in more than one sense of the word and a woman who's style is bigger than life. Celine is a true fashion lover and her love of style translates every time she steps out of the house. From this years glittering and fringed Oscar de la Renta leotard at the Met Gala to a head to toe snakeskin outfit, Celine's outfits are never tame and are always on trend.
The best part about Celine's style is that she is always taking risks. A fan of avant garde couture, it is rare to see her wearing something 'ordinary' and when she does more casually it's a leopard print tracksuit. So take a page out of Celine's books and wear a sequined suit to work next time!
5. Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot was the embodiment of french-girl chic. With her famous curtain bangs that thousands have taken to their hairdresser in an attempt to mimic it (guilty), her perfect cate-eye liner or carefree summer dresses, Bardot is the perfect summer style muse.
Other wardrobe staples that will help you channel your inner Brigitte Bardot include ballet flats, cropped pants, headbands and floppy hats. The most important thing to consider when wanting to emulate the perfect french-girl chic (which is the total trend du jour) is to remember, simplicity is key and style is timeless.
A name that you know doubt have heard before, Twiggy’s influence on fashion is paramount. Since she made her name as a British cultural icon and international icon of the 1960’s, Twiggy is now considered one of the faces of mod 60’s fashion.
Twiggy along with Mary Quant, who is thought to be one of the pioneers of the mini-skirt, helped popularize the trend throughout the 60’s and beyond. She was also a fan of embracing more masculine items such as her short pixie cut hair and less curvy shape. Other trends that you’ll see today are shift dresses, oxford shoes and ribbed jumpers!
3. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Another former First Lady of the United States has made the list of style icons and there is no surprise why Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has secured herself a spot as a fashion icon. A fashion fiend herself Jackie Kennedy popularized many styles during her time as First Lady, many of which continue today.
Jackie was famous for her oversized glasses, which at the time were referred to as “Jackie O” glasses, and this was a trend much adopted by celebrities of the early 2000’s most notably another list member Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) is also known for her love of huge sunnies. Kennedy’s impeccable and preppy style is making a comeback as seen at Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, Jackie O’s style oozes the American dream so it’s no wonder iconic American designers still emulate this.
2. Grace Kelly
Often considered one of the most elegant and iconic Hollywood stars of all time, Grace Kelly’s influence on fashion is still around today. Kelly’s style was very simple and timeless, think tailored Capri pants and perfect button ups. When she married Prince Ranier III of Monaco, Kelly embraced the class and elegance and leant towards modest candy coloured coats and capes and A-line gowns.
Perhaps one of her greatest moments in fashion influence was when luxury brand Hermès Kelly bag in her honour, after she was frequently seen shielding her baby bump with them! How chic!
1. Audrey Hepburn
It should come as no surprise that Audrey Hepburn tops a list of fashion icons. Although the peak of her acting career was around the 1950’s and 60’s, Hepburn’s style is still considered one of the most influential of all time. Her style is easily emulated as well, like the previous 3 style icons Hepburn’s style revolved around classic and timeless pieces that translated over decades rather than adhering to trends.
You can steal her style by embracing checked cropped cigarette pants and black turtlenecks a la Funny Face or you probably have one of her most iconic looks in your wardrobe already, the little black dress! Seen in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the LBD soon became one of her most recognizable fashion pieces. And as winter keeps coming take a page out of Holly Golightly’s book and grab yourself a classic trench coat and a ginger cat to complete the look.