The dress diaries: Vintage vixens made me do it

The dress diaries: Vintage vixens made me do it
As a young woman, I was delighted by the grace of Loretta Young and the pizzazz of Doris Day. The glitz and glamour of these Hollywood starlets filled the dreams of almost every little girl (and boy for that matter).

At Sarsparilly, our style pays homage to these beauties of the ‘golden age’. Our dress designs pay particular focus to the 1950s and the vintage styles of pin-up girls. The bodaciously and beautiful pin-up is defined as an all natural American sweetheart. She’s racy and flirtatious, yet strong-willed and independent. She’s come a long way from wartime propaganda and nude magazines and we couldn’t be more proud. This feminist progression is everything that represents Sarsparilly style... strong women with ridiculously good fashion sense. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most empowering and beautiful women who inspire us every day.

Here are our top five Hollywood starlets and pin-ups that proved themselves as way much more than just a piece of eye-candy:


Marilyn Monroe

Let’s kick things off with a lovely subway breeze, shall we? Marilyn Monroe is the epitome of class and sex appeal. She is known for being curvy in all the right places, and often referenced as the pin-up legend. Her blonde bombshell haircut, luscious red lips, and perfectly placed beauty spot defined her, and her good heart and professional work were what she strived to be known for.

She is classically represented as the ditzy blonde in much of her work, but did you know she proved to be quite the opposite with an IQ of 168? She was also an icon for women embracing their curvacious and luxurious side. Her dripping in jewels, ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ look, catapulted women to explore their bougie side, and embrace their femininity with her iconic bikini pin-up looks. It’s no wonder that the Marilyn style is so often impersonated today.

Probably more well known than sliced bread, her Seven Year Itch white draped dress billowing around her has gone down in history. It was at this moment that she ventured out of the classic 1950s vintage housewife and embraced flowy dresses like these. I would love to see Marilyn twirling in our My Pretty Pony dress.


Marilyn Monroe Gif

Marilyn Monroe image courtesy of GIPHY


We love you, Norma Jeane.


Audrey Hepburn

We all remember those iconic pearls and long black gloves from the classic film Breakfast and Tiffany’s, but what others may not know is that Hepburn was an avid humanitarian as well as an accomplished actress and former ballerina. Her difficult past was a contributing factor to her lifelong support to the charity, UNICEF.

Along with Audrey’s striking beauty and acting skill, she was an icon of the fashion industry. Audrey’s style paved the way for pixie cuts, capri pants, neck scarves and men’s buttoned shirts (which of course in the 1950s was unheard of). She was forward thinking and a true fashion icon by inspiring millions of women to branch out and explore their own realms of fashion.

Her boatneck cut dress was collaboratively designed with Givenchy, which led to the forefront of fashion sophistication for the era. And who can forget that “little black dress” worn for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? You know the one, your go-to dinner party number? We can thank good old Audrey for that.

Although she made the LBD famous and can do no wrong in this sophisticated yet sultry number, I think she’d look just stunning in our Sweet Sadie dress. The light and playful pink would compliment her blush cheeks and bubbly personality just perfectly, and the elegance of this dress pays homage to her ballerina background.


Audrey Hepburn Gif

Audrey Hepburn image courtesy of GIPHY


“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” - Audrey Hepburn


Dorothy Dandridge

Despite a very turbulent past, Dorothy Dandridge was an influential triple threat and trendsetter during the 1950s and 1960s. Her career began as a singer in a musical group called The Dandridge Sisters, where she eventually moved into acting. She challenged racial stereotypes, as the first African American to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her role in the 1954 film Carmen Jones.

Style-wise, Dorothy was a fashion leader for silhouettes and tailored shapes. She chose figure-hugging pieces that accentuated her hourglass figure and beautiful collar bones. Her style was classic and classy, with the looks she chose still prominent in fashion magazines today. At Sarsparilly, we create our dresses to shape your body beautifully, highlighting curves and clean fitting in all the right places. I like to think that icons such as Dorothy inspired this.

If I got to style Dorothy for the day, I’d put her in our Out in the Sun skirt with a deep plunge off-the-shoulder crop. Paired with her elegant jewelry style and her bouncy 1950s curls, this timeless look would have highlighted her figure beautifully, whilst still staying on trend for 1950s vintage fashion and sophistication.


Dorothy Dandridge Gif

Dorothy Dandridge image courtesy of GIPHY


Grace Kelly

In the wise words of Polish pop singer Mika, “I try to be like Grace Kelly”. And really, who wouldn’t? Grace Kelly was nothing short of a visionary. Her early life led her into being in the spotlight, and her succession and fashion influence were born. She was highly respected and an incredibly sought-after actress. You might even go as far to say that she was the ‘Queen of Hollywood’ at her peak. Her Hollywood fame status soon became actual royalty status when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco and became Princess of Monaco in the 1950s.

Grace’s style was sophisticated and classic. Her mode has become a designer’s dream to mimic. Her tailored and feminine dresses were both elegant and bold and highlighted her long decolletage and jawline. Always topped off with pearls, Grace has become the epitome of sophistication in fashion and is often referenced in the vintage high end as a fashion mogul.

Grace also influenced designers. The “Kelly” bag by Hermes Paris and the “Grace” bag by Mark Cross were renamed after her once she was spotted sporting the accessories.

I love to sprinkle in a little bit of Grace Kelly sophistication into my dresses. With poise in mind, I would have loved to have seen her in our Ellie-Mae dress: a beautiful blue to match the eyes, a high rise neckline to compliment the collarbones, and a plunged back to show a little skin.


Grace Kelly gif

Grace Kelly image courtesy of GIPHY


Elizabeth Taylor

When I was aged six, I cut out pictures of Elizabeth Taylor from my mum’s New Idea magazine and put her in my scrapbook right next to Kylie Minogue and Princess Diana. Elizabeth’s career in Hollywood started at a young age, acting in films like There's One Born Every Minute (1942) and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944). She flourished as a beautiful young woman and succeeded in her acting along with her striking beauty, taking Hollywood and the fashion world by storm.

Taylor was another influence for Sarsparilly women. Her humanitarian work led her to launch the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation in 1991 in hopes to create well-funded research for advanced treatments to cure the disease, as well as offering greater support to sufferers.

It’s kind hearted women with impeccable style that inspire us. And Elizabeth never fell short in the style department. Her fashion celebrated the female Coke bottle figure that was highly sought after in the 1950s era. She made the most of what her mama gave her, wearing shapely halter-neck dresses that hugged her slim waist and accentuated her full bust.


Elizabeth Taylor Gif

Elizabeth Taylor image courtesy of GIPHY


Style vintage fashion your way

At Sarsparilly, we’re constantly inspired by the progression of women in fashion. We love to incorporate the classic sophistication of vintage, with elements of the 1950s rockabilly style. Mixing the style of yesteryear with the trends of today creates something so special and beautiful. Ultimately, fashion is all about learning from the past and incorporating the new, so why not style your Sarsparilly dress with touches of Marilyn or Elizabeth and just a little bit of you?

Did I do these icons justice? I’d love to know who your style icon is - drop me a line.


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