Style Icons


Do you have a style icon? Someone that inspires the way you dress, or would like to dress?

I’ve been thinking a bit about this since Gertie posted about her new fashion icon, Emma Pillsbury from Glee, and how that character inspired some of her recent creations and fabric purchases.

I like the idea of being inspired by an icon (even if it’s just an icon in your own mind). Not because I like the idea of copying someone else’s style, but because I think it could really focus your thinking about what you like to wear and why. It probably tells you a lot about how you imagine yourself.

There are a lot of stylish women who have inspired me, but I’ve never felt there was one icon that suited me before. I’ve often been inspired by women from the early 20th century, for example movie stars of the 1930s, or characters from novels. But I also like a certain modern elegance and simplicity.

So lately I’ve been surprised to discover that there is one iconic woman who pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as personal style goes for me: Sofia Coppola. She is beautiful, but certainly not in a generic hollywood way. She exudes elegance and intelligence. Her clothing is feminine and sometimes vintage-y, but she never looks fussy or done up. She wears a lot of black. Her beauty and sexiness has depth and character. It’s really no wonder she’s a muse for Marc Jacobs. I guess what I love most about her style is that, although her clothes are lovely, when you look at her you really see the woman, and not the clothes.

I also like that the things she creates, such as the film Marie Antoinette, are sometimes over the top feminine, yet that’s only partially reflected in her own style.

And If all that wasn’t enough to make me identify with her, there’s this quote: “When I was younger, I wanted to grow up – I thought I was more suited to being in my 40s than being a teenager.”

Do you guys have any particular style icons? A real person, or a character from a film or novel? Do you think about such things when you sew or shop? Or maybe it’s more of a general idea of the types of women or men you find stylish?

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 16


My style icon is without a doubt Charlotte Gainsbourg. I guess because I’m french and we have the same age. At almost 40, she always looks great and yet natural.
Nevertheless I could only agree with you regarding Sofia Coppola. A good few years back, I was working in the Marais in Paris and I bumped into her. I was so surprised that I didn’t get the courage to tell her how great I thought she was. She was wearing a simple T-shirt, a A shape skirt anda pair of ballerina shoes. A very simple look, that she carried with great elegance.


Oh yes, Charlotte Gainsbourg is also quite lovely, also in that perfectly understated way.


I love Sofia Coppola’s style too. I don’t think I could ever succeed in looking so polished and sleak as her though.


Wonderful post! These are stunning images and I agree with your sentiments on Sofia Coppola. In fact, she’s who I think of when justifying buying (or considering sewing) more and more black garments.

And the prints and details are lovely in these photos. Though prints and ruffles et al are things I’d typically shy away from (considering them too busy on me), on her they seem like just the right touches because they’re not overwhelming and add elegance. And so we can, as you say, focus on the woman not the clothes. Beautiful.


It’s hard to top Sophia Coppola, for sure. I do like Maggie Gyllenhaal’s look, also. But the character from a book/movie that comes to mind is Lena in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. yes, I’m an adult and YES I read teen literature! There, I said it! But she has such a sweet clothing character – so ladylike. Fresh, but with a granny twist.


Penelope Cruz in Volver, for sure! I love everything about her clothes in that movie… a sort of bright-patterned bombshell look. I had trouble finding images to show, but a Google search turned up these few images.


My style icon is Charlotte York from Sex and the City: the preppy yet classic girly girl. I always love her outfits on the show – printed shirtdresses, floral strapless dresses, classic shifts, and of course pearls and heels! That being said, I don’t always dress like her in my day-to-day life.. but often my sewing projects and ideas reflect her pretty, girly style.
I like your choice! Sofia Coppola has that ‘effortless chic’ thing going on that is so hard to emulate. Great inspiration photos!


I love Audrey Hepburn’s style. Even though our body types are very different, I take a lot of inspiration from the way she dressed: simple, elegant, understated, and classic. She didn’t wear a lot of jewelry, and her clothes were always so well fitted and pressed. You can just tell she really cared about how she looked every moment, and that she put a lot of thought into it.


I love Meg Ryan’s style in You’ve got mail for the office look, her style is so simple and yet look put together. Her jumper and cardigan-A-line skirt-tight are my winter staples

For weekend look, I love Jennifer Garner/Charlotte SATC/Audrey Hepburn. I love their girly yet simple look. Just one focal point to accentuate the look, it could be the pretty pendant or the flower print or just a cute cardigan


I think Sophia Coppola definitely has a sense of je ne sais quoi, yes? She is elegant, yet completely approachable. I have many style icons, some from the past and a few from today. My biggest inspiration right now is Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. She’s inspired my whole Spring/Summer sewing project:

Audrey Hepburn is a constant influence, too. So timeless and effortless.


Sofia Coppola is my style icon also! I actually have the last picture from your post pinned up on my inspiration board in my sewing room. Although I agree that she is often seen in black, when I think of her style, I think of the printed dresses — to me, that’s the part of her style that make it interesting and unique, in combination with the black. And, no matter what she is wearing, it is always clear that Sofia Coppola knows who she is style-wise, which is so inspiring.


My style icons are Catherine Baba, Anna Piaggi, Sabrina Impacciatore and Iris Apfel. Though I’m only 20 and they are in they are in their late 30’s to late 80’s I love they’re attitude and how they are totally glamorous eccentrics. They are over the top fabulous.


Amazing choices of women with a strong sense of self and extreme self confidence! There’s nothing more inspiring.


Great post! I had not really considered Sofia Coppola’s style, but when I see all the photos you’ve compiled together, I see it totally. I am no fan of straight-on period dressing, though I have a healthy appreciation of vintage clothes. I also need modern, clean lines. Her style includes an effortless blend of both.

Mrs Grackle

Man, I am REALLY out of touch in my old age (49)! I can’t imagine claiming status as a style icon with limp, lifeless hair like that. I’m more drawn to the pieces than to the people, though. I always figure rich woman can afford the advice of personal shoppers and the expense of really nice clothes. It’s the regular folks who can pull it off with much less that really appeal to me — especially the ones who make their own clothes. There is a difference between knowing what art to buy and daring to be an artist yourself.


Very well said.I love your last sentence.

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