As a child I loved watching the midday movies with Bill Collins and his Golden Years of Hollywood. The characters in those old black and white films, had me captivated. Especially the ‘femme fatale’ character, the glamorous dame who knew a thing or two about the ways of men.
Sometimes, the representation of women was woeful, but the wardrobes were fantastic. Here’s three of my favourite style icons from the glamorous old hollywood era. They’re not the usual people on the list, like Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe. We all love them, so I’ve decided to focus on three lesser known, yet still iconic Hollywood starlets.
Hollywood Style Icon#1 Carole Lombard
Carole was a star in the 1930s, churning out zany screwball comedies that suited her comic stylings perfectly. And in each film she was perfectly styled. I love her stunning evening gowns. She often appeared in satin, lamé and sequins, all perfectly draped to her flawless figure. Of course, each dress is immaculately tailored and cinched at her tiny waist. With every photo you find of her, you can’t fail to notice the wonderful draping. Her dresses are relatively modest by today’s standards. But, with the way they hug her feature, they’re super sexy, yet sophisticated.
She cut her flapper-style peroxide blonde hair in short waves to emphasise her killer cheekbones. Her makeup emphasised her lower lashes and she often chose a bold red lip to complete the look. Sadly, she died in a plane accident at the age of 33, leaving her husband, hollywood legend Clark Gable, devastated.
Carole Lombard movies to watch:
- My Man Godfrey (1936)
- To Be or Not To Be (1942)
- Mr & Mrs Smith (1941)
Hollywood Style Icon #2 Veronica Lake
Famous for her hair, Veronica Lake avoided the bob trend that was prevalent in the 1930s, 40s and 50s with longer soft curls. It’s the look that would certainly be welcome in any young fashionista’s Instagram feed today. Her curl over one eye and her ‘I’m not that impressed look’ was her trademark.
Veronica’s life away from film is fascinating too. She almost ditched Hollywood to become a doctor, and was an accomplished aviatrix. Then, she was quite an eccentric in later years, living in cheap New York Hotels. She took waitressing jobs for the simple pleasure of speaking with patrons. This led to unfounded rumours that she was destitute. Consequently, fans began sending her money, which she refused, saying, “people were making me out to be down-and-out. I wasn’t.”
Veronica Lake movies to watch:
- Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
- The Blue Dahlia (1946)
- I Married A Witch (1942)
Hollywood Style Icon #3 Jayne Mansfield
Now here we have our blonde bombshell! She’s famous for her busty curves and she knew how to work them, in gowns that clung in all the right places. Like other blonde bombshell actresses Marilyn Monroe and Diana Dors, she was known for a sashaying walk, breathy voice and dresses that emphasised her ample cleavage. Her measurements were famously once recorded as 40-21-35. Despite the silly blonde persona, Mansfield reportedly had a very high IQ and was known as ‘Hollywood’s smartest dumb blonde.’
She was one of the first stars to realise the value of the paparazzi. So, she worked closely with them and was always appearing in the papers, helping make her a household name. She also manufactured a few ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ to keep her name in the papers. I love that she may not have been the greatest actress, but she took the assets she was born with to make herself a star. Sadly she also died young in a car accident. If you think she looks vaguely familiar, it might be her daughter you’re thinking of. Jayne’s daughter is Law and Order:Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay.
Jayne Mansfield movies to watch:
- The Girl Can’t Help It (1956)
- Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (1957)
- The Wayward Bus (1957)
All images via Pinterest