Top 20 Fashion Icons--From Marilyn to Madonna And More!

Narrowing down our top fashion icons of all time is like picking our favorite Rolling Stones album—there are so many great ones that it’s hard to choose—but we’ve chosen to honor those whose personal style has made a monumental impact on pop culture. Rather than conform to the defining looks of their time, these muses cultivated their own image and set the trends.

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    From Grace Kelly’s refined aesthetic to Madonna’s rebellious sensibilities, these icons leave us with an unforgettable sartorial legacy, inspiring women then and now to replicate their look. Click through our slideshow to see who made the cut.

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    PHOTO: Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images

    Marlene Dietrich

    From smartly tailored pantsuits to fedoras and bow ties, Dietrich’s tastes leaned heavily towards menswear dressing, yet the silver screen star of the ‘20s and ‘30s still exuded an undeniably feminine sensuality.

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    PHOTO: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Greta Garbo

    Legendary Swedish actress Garbo popularized a slightly androgynous look-- comfortable, classic, unfussy--that reflected her no-nonsense personality as well.

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    PHOTO: Alfred Eisenstaedt//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Katharine Hepburn

    This actress channeled a decidedly powerful look in the ‘40s, one that eschewed anything girly or fussy in favor of masculine-inspired pieces, like tailored blazers, pleated trousers, and loafers.

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    PHOTO: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

    Lauren Bacall

    To many, Bacall’s look in the ‘40s, which alternated between sharp suits and slinky evening gowns, epitomized all-American elegance.

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    PHOTO: Underwood Archives/Getty Images

    Grace Kelly

    Even before she became a real-life princess, Kelly was known for her ladylike ‘50s look, which consisted of pearls, ladylike coats, and feminine dresses that are timeless even today.

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    PHOTO: Moviepix

    Audrey Hepburn

    Hepburn’s signature style smacked of minimalist chic. Off-duty, she often enhanced her signature pixie cut with impeccable yet casual separates, like turtlenecks, cropped pants, and ballet flats.

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    PHOTO: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    Marilyn Monroe

    Monroe’s Hollywood image was that of sultry bombshell, a reputation she fostered by wearing skintight dresses and va-va-voom tops that flaunted her figure to perfection.

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    PHOTO: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Jean Seberg

    Although Seberg was actually from small-town Iowa, the actress’ penchant for Breton stripe t-shirts, crisp blouses, and slim trousers came to personify everything cool and sophisticated about Parisian style.

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    PHOTO: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

    The former First Wife was the picture of classic, all-American polish. Even after she remarried to Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, shifting her style from pillbox hats and shift dresses to oversized sunglasses and head scarves, the public continued to remain fascinated by her look.

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    PHOTO: Popperfoto/Getty Images

    Twiggy

    The British model’s gamine look--lanky limbs, a pixie crop, and doll-like eyes, not to mention the Mary Quant minis and mod dresses she often wore--made her a poster child of the ‘60s.

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    PHOTO: GAB Archive/Redferns

    Jane Birkin

    Hermes’ renowned Birkin bag is named after the British actress, who captured a free-spirited, bohemian-inspired style in the ‘60s--think: slightly sheer blouses, micro shorts, and flared jeans--that felt decidedly French.

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    PHOTO: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    Diana Ross

    The word “fierce” is part of Beyonce vernacular now, but back in the ‘60s, it belonged solely to Ross. The Supremes singer’s name is synonymous with glitz and glamour, thanks to her bedazzled outfits, bigger-is-better jewels, and voluminous coiff.

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    PHOTO: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Faye Dunaway

    We can’t think about Dunaway without envisioning the actress’ signature beret hats, short-sleeve sweaters, and midi skirts, the elegantly appealing look she sported in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde and also off the clock.

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    Talitha Getty

    Late ‘60s style icon Getty consistently looked the part of hippie gypset in colorful prints, kaftans, and furs, a style that’s undoubtedly inspired modern-day fashionphiles such as Sienna Miller and Kate Moss.

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    PHOTO: Ron Galella/WireImage

    Bianca Jagger

    Often spotted in turbans, sequined pieces, and truly fabulous hats, Jagger was fashion-forward even for her time. The model--and Studio 54 fixture--embraced the bold, flashy outfits that cemented her fashion icon status.

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    PHOTO: Dove/Express/Getty Images

    Anita Pallenberg

    As the paramour of more than one member of the Rolling Stones in the swinging ‘60s, it’s only fitting that Pallenberg commandeered a rock ‘n’ roll sense of style: swingy mini dresses, wide-brimmed hats, fringed vests, and kohl-rimmed eyes.

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    PHOTO: Ron Galella/WireImage

    Lauren Hutton

    Hutton’s approach to dressing is best described as effortlessly natural, much like the gap-toothed smile that became her beloved trademark. The actress and supermodel wore button-downs, slouchy pants, and simple t-shirts with an enviable laissez-faire attitude.

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    PHOTO: Getty Images

    Diane Keaton

    Who could forget Keaton dressed in a vest, tie, and bowler hat in her famous role as Annie Hall? The actress’ borrowed-from-the-boys style revolutionized the way women dressed in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s--and we’re thankful for it!

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    PHOTO: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    Debbie Harry

    As the frontwoman of Blondie, Harry is punk royalty, and her wardrobe reflected that with DIY-inspired, shredded rocker t-shirts, black jeans, and tough biker jackets galore!

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    PHOTO: David Mcgough/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Madonna

    Madonna has continued to reinvent her look over the decades, but it’s the Material Girl’s first appearance on the scene--wearing conical bras and studded bustiers in the ‘80s--that make her a fashion trailblazer.

EXPLORE: Celebrity, Katharine Hepburn, Jean Seberg, Talitha Getty, Marlene Dietrich, Jane Birkin, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Diana Ross, Greta Garbo, Bianca Jagger, Marilyn Monroe, Debbie Harry, Audrey Hepburn, Diane Keaton, Grace Kelly, Lauren Hutton, Madonna, Twiggy, Faye Dunaway, Lauren Bacall, Anita Pallenberg, Celebrity Style, celebrity style
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