Sure, French women have a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to fashion, and Italian women have mastered the whole dressing like bombshells thing, but American women have long been champions of personal style.
From Audrey Hepburn, who forever implanted the little black dress in history, to Madonna, who somehow made cone bras cool, to Elizabeth Taylor who could work a pair of capri pants like no other, the icons of American style are all unique, and all fabulous.
Perhaps most surprising is how enduring the fashion choices of many of these women have turned out to be. Grace Kelly may have made her mark in the 1950s, but mimic her look of a belted shirtdress and kitten heels today, and you’ll find yourself right on trend.
In the lead up to America’s Independence Day, we’ve dissected the personal style of 8 icons of American fashion, plus we’ve broken down how to make their style work for you.
Have a favorite American style icon? Share who it is in the comments below!
Jackie Kennedy's most iconic looks during her time as First Lady included a pink bouclé suit and pillbox hat, and a satin gown and white gloves combo. Personally though, we will be forever in awe of her pitch perfect summer style, which she showed off in spades after she left the White House, often while vacationing in a tony summer destination like Capri.
Get the Look: With jeans or khakis, a black t-shirt, a shoulder bag, and most importantly a head scarf and oversized sunglasses, you'll be channeling Jackie O in no time.
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Known as the tomboy style icon, every woman wearing pants today owes Katharine Hepburn a debt of gratitude, since she was one of the first big name female adopters of trousers. With a penchant for menswear-inspired outfits like collared shirts and blazers, she is often referred to as a pioneer of the American sportswear aesthetic.
Get the Look: Wear high-waist wide leg trousers, a thin knit top (tucked in), and a menswear watch.
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Think of Audrey Hepburn's style, and timeless elegance probably comes to mind. Hepburn's style was both ladylike and tomboyish. She knew how to combine black skinny pants and loafers as well as Peter Pan collars and pearls. And seriously, no one rocked a little black dress quite like her.
Get the Look: Hepburn's signature look works just as well today, as when she first popularized it in the early in the 1960s. Pick out your favorite little black dress, and pair it with ballet flats, and pearl earrings. You'll be the spitting image of Audrey in no time.
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From a celebrated actress, to a princess, Grace Kelly's impecable style included tailored tops and nipped at the waist skirts. When she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco she proceeded to wear what is now one of the most iconic wedding dresses of all time: a dramatic gown with a long-sleeve lace top. Her fashion sense was so revered it inspired Hermès to rename one of its most popular bags "the Kelly" after the actress, who regularly carried the style.
How To Get the Look: A skirt suit belted at the waist, or a shirtdress with a 1950s silhouette, paired with a ladylike handbag and kitten heels.
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Without a doubt one of the great American beauties, Elizabeth Taylor was a style icon who knew how to wear gowns and diamonds with the best of them, but also perfectly captured the Americana style of the 1950s and 1960s during her downtime.
Get the Look: During the late 1950s and 1960s Taylor was known for wearing capri pants, and a button-down blouse tied at the waist. It's a look that works just as well today.
Known as a fashion chameolon, Madonna has made everything from tutus, to cone bras, to country western shirts stylish at some point in her career.
Get the Look: We're huge fans of Madonna's Vogue period during the 1990s. Get the look in a black skirt, and menswear shirt, and finish off the look with a slim black tie and red lipstick.
A modern day style icon, Michelle Obama has fascinated women for ability to mix designer fashions with inexpensive finds. While she always looks flawless, whether she's wearing a print dress or a ball gown to a state dinner, something about the way she dresses speaks to women in a way that says "I could look like that."
Get the Look: Obama's summer staples mostly include print dresses cinched at the waist with her favorite Alaïa belt. Follow Obama's model, and splurge on a great belt you know you'll wear a ton, and then find some fun dresses that work for your body.
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Tina Turner's personal style revolves around showing off her flawless legs (can you really blame her?). Between sequined mini dresses and leotards that became a signature of hers on stage, to bodcon dresses and mini skirts that she wears in her off-time, her style begs the question, is this woman actually aging? The evidence says no.
Get the Look: We love Turner's signature sequined mini dresses! Give them a fun summer twist pairing a Tina worthy dress with a pair of gladiator sandals.