Who are your style icons?


Are there any style icons that you particularly admire?

I must say that, while I’ve never tried to emulate anyone else’s look completely, there are always those women who I can turn to for inspiration. I may not dress exactly like them, but there’s something about the way they look or the way they use clothing that hits home for me.

I thought it would be fun for Caitlin and I to share a few of our favorites.

I grew up watching old movies, so it should come as no surprise that a few of my favorite style icons are the old movie stars Audrey Hepburn, Jean Seberg and Katharine Hepburn. While I love so many older actresses, these ladies really blended masculine details into their wardrobes at a time when frilly, feminine silhouettes were popular. I love the idea of mixing together two seemingly disparate styles to create a unique look. The collared shirt with peg leg pants and loafers is one of my favorite looks, paired with a fun scarf or a pretty necklace. Style is so much about our individuality, and to me, these ladies really nailed it. They were unique individuals, so of course they remain style icons today!

My favorite eras for fashion are the 1930s and the 1960s, so is it any wonder that the stunning Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of Bonnie Parker in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde hits all the right notes for me? Her classic combination of sweater, scarf, and beret is all you really need to look good, I think. Then there is the captivating Danish-born actress and muse to Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina. Her simple 60s style was always so perfectly intriguing, and I love that it always brought attention to her, not to the clothes. Natalie Wood is another favorite 60s icon. So poised and polished, but never overdone. And for a more modern icon, I’ve always loved Sofia Coppola. She has the effortless, offhand glamor thing down.

I suppose that, overall, I love when women use clothes to give a sense of who they are. The clothes don’t speak for themselves, even when they’re absolutely beautiful.

What about you? I’m especially curious if the icons you admire have changed over time (mine have)? Are they celebrities, old movie stars, artists, humanitarians, or anyone else?

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 37


These are all very inspirational. I do love Anna Karina!

I would add Diana Rigg, Twiggy, Louise Brooks and Gwen Stefani (not all her styles though).


Mine have definitely changed over the years but these days they would be Grace Jones because I’d like to look as fierce in a corset as she does at 62. Cyndi Lauper always but especially for looking so foxy and fabulous in a glitter stretch gown whilst heavily pregnant. Paloma Faith because her outfits are like wearing fairytales. The boys would be ska bands like the Specials because I love checks, braces and sharp tailoring and Prince and David Bowie for their beautiful take on what it is to be androgynous.


My style inspiration icons are Frida Kahlo and Bjork. I love Frida for staying true to her ethnical identity and wearing Mexican traditional clothes most of the times. On the other hand, Bjork impersonates no limits to what you can wear, it’s how you wear it. She looks great in all outfits: from punk wear during her Sugar Cubes period, to the swan dress, to the huge orange wig. Frida made me love ethnical prints, big accessories and voluminous shapes. Bright colors in clothes and make up, asymmetrical shapes, avant-guarde/crazy outfits in my wardrobe are probably Bjork’s footprint.


My biggest style inspiration is definitely Sophia Loren. She radiates elegance and va-va-boom sexuality with so much class! From white wrap dresses, to hair scarves, to denimn shorts– she can pull of everything in a way that’s uniquely hers.


We nicknamed one of our upcoming Spring patterns “the Sophia dress” because it reminds me of her. :)


I’m with Caitlin – Audrey Hepburn, Jean Seberg, and Jacqeline Kennedy are my icons. For modern ladies, it’s Kate Winslet and Reese Witherspoon.

Natalie | FrizzyDizzy

Lily Allen, oh I love her vintage dresses and bright colors. I also love the class of Audrey Hepburn.


I’m inspired by the clothing of any designer whose designs show their love of women and the female form. A design muse, for me, is Fiona on Burn Notice. I love the combination of form and fit and function. Kudos to that costumer.


I have always and I think I will always love Grace Kelly. I, too, admire Katharine Hepburn, Sophia Copola and the like for creating the feminine/masculine trend but something about Kelly’s poise is just so striking to me.


I love Jean Seberg and Sofia Coppola, too, but probably the style icon I love the most is early Marianne Faithfull… lots of peacoats, heavy bangs, miniskirts… love!


Oh yes, I love Marianne. And what a voice.

Maria M.

Audrey Hepburn. As well as Helen Hawks, who from what I’ve read was how Kathryn Hepburn was dressed for a particular movie. The name of the movie escapes my memory but clearly it seems it had a lasting impression on the delightful Kathryn Hepburn.
Other lovelies include — Sophia Loren, with her full dresses. Coco Chanel, especially in her earlier years as she wore jersey like no one else. Designers Agnes B., Diane Von Furstenberg, and Cathryn Malandrino. And no list is complete without some version of Jackie O. I happen to like her wearing casual clothes like capris, camp shirts, sheath dresses, or even wearing denim.


I really adore Debbie Reynolds, actually, and pretty much anything Catherine Deneuve puts on her body is a great idea. Also, Juliette Binoche, specifically in Chocolat, I want all her outfits, the tight fitting sweaters and skirt, mmmmm.


Oh! And Grace Kelly, of course. Always.


Classic: Jane Russell, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Gene Tierney, Jackie Kennedy (especially in slacks and casual clothes), Edie Sedgwick (her use of brooches and scarves and random fashion).

Modern: Dita von Teese.

(I also love Stevie Nicks stylewise but I could never pull off her bohemian styles.)

Alicia C.

My style icons have definitely changed over time. With the exception of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Barbie (both of whom I will always swoon over), ten to fifteen years ago they were musician-centric: Cyndi Lauper, Billie of Green Day, Kim Shattuck of The Muffs, Courtney Love. However, about ten years ago they started to change. I fell head over heels in love with Frida Kahlo. I discovered Joan Didion. I watched my first Hitchcock film from beginning to end.

I still admire all but Courtney Love. She continues to have her moments but they come fewer and farther between. And in the past two years I’ve discovered so many amazing sewist bloggers with inspirational style, particularly the women of Colette Patterns, Gertie, and Casey!


Ali MacGraw in Love Story, always. Unfortunately, I’m not tall and skinny, don’t have long dark hair and I certainly can’t play the piano. But I’m still hoping Ryan O’Neal and I will have a snowball fight in Harvard Yard …


My style icons: Audrey Hepburn, Gene Tierney and Marilyn Monroe.
Me too, I love the 1930s and the 1960s!
Have a good evening!


Mine would be Audrey Hepburn, Mary Quant, Barbra Hulanicki (biba), Bettie Page (because if she couldn’t find what she liked she would make it herself) and Twiggy (did you know she sews too!)

Modern would be; Keria Knightly, Rose McGowan and Zooey Deschanel


I really think you said it so well! My faves are Katherine Hepburn and Grace Kelly… individual, classic, and oh, so stylish.

Maria Z.

As weird as it may sound for a 28-year to say, Queen Elizabeth II. I just love a classic, well-tailored look, with just the right amount of accessories (and don’t forget the matching handbag!). Looking at pictures of her as a young woman, I can see myself wearing any of those outfits today and not looking out of time or place. Plus, I can’t wait to be an old lady rocking the brightly colored suit with matching hat! Besides, who wouldn’t want to take a peak inside the sewing room of the Queen’s seamstress(es)? I’m sure the quality of the materials and craftsmanship would blow our minds.

And on the topic of political style icons, I’m surprised no one has mentioned Michelle Obama yet. Again, a very classic look, but MO puts her own spin on it. I especially love her evening gowns and how she uses color.

Maria M.

Keen eye! I’ve seen photos of Her Majesty, in her earlier years, and you’re right, she was very fashionable. I’d like to think that in my later years, I’ll be able to pull off the brightly colored suit, coat and matching handbag, but I doubt it. One really needs a hat maker on staff to be able to do that.


My style icons are probably Katharine Hepburn, Helena Bonham Carter, and Kirsten Vangsness. They have very different styles, but to me they all say “yes, this is exactly how I wanted to look, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it”. Clothing should make you feel good about yourself, and I don’t think what is “fashionable” at the moment needs to have any say in the matter, unless you want it to.

Maddie Flanigan

Queen Elizabeth? I never would have thought but it was great that you mentioned her!


Ok, so I’m bucking the trend here, but for me it’s impossible to list any celebrity as a style icon. For me, style is a very personal thing- it means dressing for yourself, as yourself, and without knowing any of these people, who’s to say if any of these styles reflect the people inside? My style icons are my friends- the ones who dress in what they feel comfortable, unafraid of being judged. They make their style look effortless and these are the people who inspire my style- that is to dress as myself.


I agree, to an extent. But I think we’re all influenced by what famous or highly visible people wear, and some of them have completely changed the way women dress! For me, these women presented an image to the world that was unique and individual.

It’s possible that it doesn’t really reflect who they truly are. But the important thing is that I see a piece of my own personality reflected in their image.

Friends still influence me much more, though, I’d say. :)


Lauren Bacall. In her heyday, starring with Bogie, she was so classy and elegant. I love how she looked in 1940’s trousers too. x


As a French woman, my eyes are looking across the Channel or the Atlantic. My style icons could be Lauren Hutton, Diana Rigg, for example, …


Frida Khalo is an inspiration, both her personal style and art. Otherwise I would say Angelica Huston.


Angelica Huston is spectacular, at every age.

Pinup Gal

Icons of the 40’s and 50’s impress me the most. Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and Elizabeth Taylor. Simply Stunning


Nina Proudman (Asher Keddie) from the Aussie series “Offspring”


Have not though about it before. But at first name that comes to mind for me is Audrey Hepburn. Simple and elegant. Never over the top.

PS: Just got your book today. I try to resist buying it, as i already have a lot of similar books, but after reading your interview on one of the blogs I read, I just gave in. Now I can’t wait to receive it. :)

Sophie W.

I am mad for the stars of the 1930’s with their glamorous bias cut evening dresses. Jean Harlow is a particular favorite – her combiniation of that fabulous platinum blonde hair and slinky, sexy bias cut gowns are a continuous inspiration to me. Anything Art Deco is also a favorite – as you can tell, I love glamour (vintage and otherwise) and feel that we need more of it in our daily lives! Since these types of dresses are not readily available, sewing is the way to go for me to create the styles I love to wear.


Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman! What beautiful women and their 1940s style was so chic! Although she has been around long enough, Kate Middleton has terrific style – classic yet modern. Love that she is bringing back hosery!

dame flo

’50 years style… Marilyn for her elegance and style and … everything! but also Ava gardner, Jane Russell, Grace Kelly….. and also the beginning of the ’60 … the famous “vichy robe ” at that time the woman was feminine elegante .. something almost forget today.. and from my country, the COCO CHANEL style (the real one not the one of today), ahh the famous “petite robe noire”…. dame Flo… Nice France


Brigitte Bardot, Tina Chow, Chloe Sevigny, it’s a mix…

Your blog is amazing,


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