5 of Our Favorite Historical Fashionistas
March 14, 2019 Marlena Chesner

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we wanted to take the time to appreciate some strong women who influenced fashion throughout the years. These ladies challenged social norms, excelled in their fields, and left a lasting impression on the world.

1. Madame De Pompadour

“She’s a real brand name in the world of style,” says University of Pennsylvania professor Joan deJean, author of The Age of Comfort

Learn more: Susan Stamberg “More than a Mistress: Madame De Pompadour was a Minister of the Arts

Photo Credits: François Boucher

2. Elizabeth Smith Miller

In the spring of 1851, while spending many hours at work in the garden, I became so thoroughly disgusted with the long skirt, that the dissatisfaction… suddenly ripened into the decision that this shackle should no longer be endured. The resolution was at once put into practice. Turkish trousers to the ankle with a skirt reaching some four inches below the knee, were substituted for the heavy, untidy and exasperating old garment.” ELIZABETH MILLER (ELIZABETH SMITH MILLER, HISTORY OF AMERICAN WOMEN)

Learn more: History Of American Women: Elizabeth Smith Miller

Photo Credit:  “Elizabeth Smith Miller (Right) with Daughter Anne Fitzhugh Miller.”


3. Audrey Hepburn

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles”- Audrey Hepburn (Everydaypower.com, 50 Audrey Hepburn Quotes On Life, Style and Children)

Learn more: History.com, “Audrey Hepburn Born”

Photo credit: Paramount-photo by Bud Fraker [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Diana Ross

“In the midst of the Black Freedom Struggle, Motown, and in particular The Supremes, were symbols of changing race relations and the breaking of racial barriers.  The presence of The Supremes as glamorous, refined and respectable young black women was a counter to centuries-old stereotypes.” (Dr. Neal, Reflections: The Supremes and the Politics of Image)

Learn more: Classic Mowtown’s “Diana Ross” and Huffington Post’s “Reflections: The Supremes and the Politics of Image” Duke University Professor of Black Popular Culture, Mark Anthony Neal

Photo: The Supremes (from left to right): Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross. Cooper, Carol. “Supremes, The.” The Supremes AMERICAN SINGING GROUP, Encyclopædia Britannica, www.britannica.com/topic/the-Supremes/images-videos/media/574895/102011.

5. Donyale Luna

Learn more: Norman, Dominique. “BLACK EXCELLENCE: THE LEGACY OF DONYALE LUNA” V Magazine.

Photo Credit: NORMAN, DOMINIQUE. “BLACK EXCELLENCE: THE LEGACY OF DONYALE LUNA.” BLACK EXCELLENCE: THE LEGACY OF DONYALE LUNA, 2018, vmagazine.com/slideshow/103544/black-excellence-donyale-luna/.


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