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A Generation of Fashion: The It-Girls and Icons Shaping Today's Styles

To make an impact in fashion history, you have to be prepared to be bold.

By Analise Bruno

Fashion icons have the innate ability to inspire an entire decade's worth of trends, due to their innovation and appeal. From blushing beauties on the big screen, like Marilyn Monroe, to more modern high-power brands, like the Kardashians, the way style is perceived has developed greatly over the years.

The 1920s, most commonly defined by the look of the “flapper”, was influenced by silent film star, Colleen Moore, who inspired an entire generation of women to adopt what's known today as the ‘bob’ haircut. Katherine Hepburn would later take Moore’s place with her bold, androgynous style of dress. Hepburn’s signature style featured many blazers, blue jeans, tennis shoes, and pantsuits.

Another famous Hepburn, Audrey, was also a leading lady in fashion, throughout the 50s and 60s. Her most famous looks involved a very ‘simple chic’ style, achieved through her knee-length dresses and matching cardigans. Her notorious look in films like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”have come to embody the style of divine femininity.

In the following years, First Lady Jackie Kennedy became the picture of class amid a fashion revolution where many modest customs were left behind. Jackie’s style was most known for her matching two-piece wool and hat sets. Her coordinated outfits soon became the pinnacle of American fashion.

Across the water, the beautiful Princess Diana was simultaneously hailed a style icon, with what many considered to be her more “scandalous” dresses. In breaking royal protocol, the people’s princess inspired a new way of thinking about modern dress, as she experimented with a more risqué style that still retained regality.

A mix of Cher Horowitz fromClueless and Jennifer Anniston dominated the fashion market during the 90s. During this era, the ability to take a basic article of clothing and dress it up was all the rage. A simple tank top thrown over a slip dress was a very avant-garde approach, and gained a lot of traction.

Subsequently, the early 2000s delivered uniqueness to say the least. Everything from Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears’ denim fiasco to the disorderly apparel worn by Sex and the City star, Sarah Jessica Parker.

New-wave fashion is currently dominated by those such as Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, and Zendaya. Their styles involve elevating the basics through trendy accessories and hairstyles. Alternatively, those like Enya Enzumor, Lily-Rose Depp, and Olivia Rodrigo represent a different side of fashion, with a perfect mix of timeless staples and edgy statement pieces.

Style aesthetics come and go, but reflecting back on history, it is clear certain trends have gained enough notoriety to stand the test of time. What’s in today, could be out tomorrow, but if we can learn anything from generations worth of fashion icons, to make an impact with your clothes, you have to be willing to take risks.

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