How to Dress Like You’re Straight Out of ‘Valley of the Dolls’

Kristen Bateman
How to Dress Like You’re Straight Out of ‘Valley of the Dolls’
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Photo: 20th Century Fox

In 1966, writer Jacqueline Susann published her ahead-of-its-time novel Valley of the Dolls, which focuses on three main characters: Anna, Jennifer, and Neely, all young women who fall under the spell of nightlife, glamour, drugs, and the big, bright city.

And while the book’s dialogue might be out of touch by 2016 standards—feminism barely existed—the plot is still appealing, and the film adaptation, which was released just one year after the book and starred a stunning Sharon Tate and Patty Duke, has served as some vivid fashion inspiration.



On screen, the characters wore quintessential fashion pieces from the ’60s. Whether it was a Pucci-esque caftan; a lemon-yellow blouse; or a long, printed slip dress. Headbands, baby-pink robes, khaki-colored berets, and sky-high hair naturally lend themselves to the kind of retro-chic looks made to be plastered on Tumblr and Instagram. And the characters’ storied lifestyles had an impact on making a fashion statement too: A pet poodle and dinners at some of New York City’s legendary outposts like Sardi’s were a part of the plot.

Their looks are, surprisingly, reminiscent of the “new” Gucci. The pastel shirts, accordion-pleated halters, and deeply colored ochre blazers with pins on the lapels would likely translate into Alessandro Michele’s recent on-the-runway creations. We like to think that the girlishness of all the characters combined with the relationship they all had with performing on Broadway would probably have each of them supporting the modern trends of patent leather and furry shoes, too.

On July 4, a new 50th anniversary edition of the book will be released with an introduction written by Barneys’ Simon Doonan. In honor of the novel’s milestone, we’ve put together a shopping guide inspired by Valley of the Dolls. Shop our picks above, then click through some of our favorite fashion moments from the film in the gallery.


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