Marilyn was more than a fashion icon. She was and still is an international sex symbol, a representation of Old Hollywood at its finest, and a pop culture phenomenon. The influence she’s had on popular culture is simply immeasurable. Like other legends of her time, such as James Dean and Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe fascinated the masses with her sensuous, glamorous good looks, and her classic movie star appeal.
Whether it was due to her tragically young death, her bodacious curves, or those full lips and flirtatious eyes, Marilyn’s legend extended far beyond the time of her passing, at the early age of 36. Films such as Gentleman Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch, and How to Marry a Millionaire were among her most mainstream film roles, and they were also her most famous. She later appeared in hits like Some Like it Hot and Let’s Make Love and the Misfits, which further secured her historical spot on the Hollywood starlet map.
Marilyn was also an icon due to the string of high-profile public figures she dated during her time. She’s been linked to everyone from Joe DiMaggio, President John F. Kennedy, and even Elvis Presley. Since her death, countless celebrities have admired and emulated her over the years, some even transforming into pop culture and fashion icons themselves due to the direct influences they drew from her. Madonna and Christina Aguilera are only a few of the many modern celebrities who were inspired by her platinum blonde locks, red lips, and sexy aura. Today, her face is still plastered on everything from novelty lunch boxes, posters, and t-shirts, to license plates and key chains.
Perhaps most famous for herkiller curves and the seductive character that accompanied them, one of her most recognizable looks is from a scene she shot in the film The Seven Year Itch. The white halter dress she wore became an instant iconic fashion symbol, and it just so happened to hug her curves in all the right places.
Paired with her blonde curls, bright red lipstick, dramatic eyelashes, and high-arched brows, Marilyn created a signature look all on her own, which she is still recognized for today. It is both classic and unique, and will forever be identified as “the” Monroe style.
Throughout her career, Marilyn was both hailed and criticized for her sensational, super sensual look. Her clothes were often tight fitting, daring, and revealing in more ways than one. Her track record for playing the typical ditzy blonde, paired with an overload of sex appeal, is what catapulted her to international sex symbol status.
Even in 1999, almost forty years after her death, she was named the sixth greatest female star of all time on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Stars list. Love it or hate it, her sexy clothes and flighty blonde character defined her stardom and set her apart from a number of other glamorous Hollywood actresses of her time. Hollywood has certainly evolved since Marilyn’s era, but her legend continues to carry the spirit of Old Hollywood from one generation to the next.