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Style Icons Who Changed Fashion

These are some of the most stylish women in recent history.

Michelle Obama, Lucy Liu and Jennifer Lopez featured
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When you're in need of outfit inspiration, sometimes all it takes is a little spark to get those creative juices flowing. The quickest way to get that spark? Spend a few moments studying the sartorial choices of some of the most stylish women in recent history.

To save you the work, we've compiled a list of 15 female style icons whose fashion nous influences the way we dress today. All you have to do now is fire up Pinterest or Google images, and you'll have infinite style inspo at your fingertips.

Josephine Baker

The American-born French entertainer and civil rights activist had style in spades. Josephine Baker was all about high glamour. Think: silky body-con dresses, strands of big pearls, and the more accessories, the better. Baker's penchant for art deco motifs, more-is-more approach to jewelry, and love of form-fitting styles can still be seen in our fashion lexicon today (see: Beyoncé).

Audrey Hepburn

Simultaneously an icon of film and style, Audrey Hepburn's fashionable turns in movies like "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Charade" elevated her wardrobe choices to paragon status. Though she might be best known for the sheath dresses and pearls she donned as Holly Golightly, Hepburn was equally as comfortable in androgynous attire and showed just how chic straight-leg black jeans and a matching top could be.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis

The epitome of breezy glamour, Jackie Kennedy Onassis favored easy button-downs, summer shorts, colorful shift dresses, and structured skirt suits. We still see her influence today in women's prep fashion, but perhaps Jackie O's most important contribution to the modern closet were her trademark accessories: big, dark sunglasses and strands of short pearls.

Bianca Jagger

The ultimate '70s fashion plate, Bianca Jagger was a regular at Studio 54, turning heads in a mix of disco-inspired outfits (with sequins for days) and plenty of oversized suiting. For 2020, we're taking our inspiration from Jagger's structured blazers and menswear-inspired looks.

Jane Birkin

The original French girl fashion muse (even though she's British), Jane Birkin epitomizes the enviable "just threw it on" vibe of effortless Gallic style. Donning lace shirts, jeans, white t-shirts, and flowing dresses, her uncomplicated approach to styling casual basics endures today. In fact, her influence on fashion history is so memorable that the Hermès Birkin bag is named after her.

Grace Jones

Model, singer, and performer Grace Jones has no rules. She lives in cool leather jackets, oversized suits, colorful structured pieces with matching hats, and lots of gold jewelry. Her style today is just as unconventional as it was in the '80s, when she was one of the earliest adopters of clothes that transcended gender.

Michelle Obama

As the former FLOTUS, Michelle Obama elevated classic, American fashion. As much as she prized simple, wearable garments like wrap dresses, she also wore off-the-shoulder floral printed gowns and colorful suits. We especially love the fact that she brought color to the forefront of American style while championing emerging American labels such as Prabal Gurung and Cinq à Sept.


If anyone takes risks with fashion, it's Rihanna. She favors high-fashion statement-making pieces, and the sheer, crystal-covered Adam Selman gown she wore to the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards has gone down in fashion history. Cementing her style icon status, Rihanna has brought her unique sense of fearlessness to the masses by launching her own labels, Fenty and Savage x Fenty.

Kate Middleton

The Duchess of Cambridge is synonymous with colorful midi dresses, preppy blazers, tailored coats, and feminine blouses. Whatever she wears is usually an elevated take on a classic and super easy to wear. And that's probably why almost anything Kate Middleton wears instantly sells out—she masters the contemporary interpretation of regal style.

Meghan Markle

A little more laid-back with her fashion choices than her royal sister-in-law, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, has a refined, chic, but casual sense of style. Neutrals are often her go-to, and she also prefers a more relaxed silhouette than many of her royal counterparts. Comfortable with paving her own way with fashion, Markle's focus on a soft, sophisticated color palette redefines elegant, everyday clothing.

Lucy Liu

Sleek, structured cuts and a penchant for black and white have earned Lucy Liu icon status. A-line dresses, a pair of leather knee-high boots, and a great pair of jeans are her staples. And like Audrey Hepburn, Liu's style on-screen will also go down in history. Who could forget her though yet chic all-black outfits from "Charlie's Angels" or, more recently, her menswear-inspired get-ups in "Elementary"?

Jennifer Lopez

It's no surprise Jennifer Lopez was named CFDA's 2019 Fashion Icon. She'll always be known for her incredible picks on the red carpet, not least of all the plunging Versace silk chiffon dress she wore to the Grammy Awards in 2000 (and resurrected on the Versace runway last year). But what's even more inspiring about the singer/dancer/actress/business mogul is that she looks equally as phenomenal wearing streetwear-inspired pieces like hoodies and crop tops as she does in glamorous gowns.


The South Korean rapper, record producer, and leader of K-pop group 2NE1, CL is one of the biggest female style icons in K-pop. So it's no surprise that she's been a muse to designers like Alexander Wang, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Jeremy Scott. We love how CL wears fun, streetwear-inspired pieces when she's sitting front row at fashion week, but adds her own quirky twist.


Feminine with an edge is Beyoncé's signature style. From pretty, sheer gowns embellished with crystals to gingham wrap dresses, printed bodysuits, and sequined blazers, her fashion agenda is always photo-worthy. Without fail, Queen B's outfits showcase her creativity and unexpected pairings, which she also brought to her line of casual athleisure, Ivy Park.

Kim Kardashian

With an emphasis on body-con pieces like cycling shorts, crop tops, and super sheer dresses, Kim Kardashian's influence on the fashion world has no end. She creates trends simply by wearing an item—whether it's a sweatshirt or slip dress—interpreting each one into her own aesthetic.

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