5 Style Icons Ahead of Their Time

There are always those women who set the bar high. Unfortunately, it takes us far too long to realize it, and it’s not until years after the fact do we realize how important they were, or are. Here are five of our favourites, who were far ahead of everyone else when it came to fashion and style. 

1. Coco Chanel
To hell with corsets! thought Coco Chanel, the groundbreaking French designer who freed women from the traditional corseted shape. Enter: the Chanel suit, as well as the dropped waist and token 1920s silhouette, which became a staple not only of flappers, but any woman tired of the fashion constraints of the male-dictated aesthetic. History!
Pieces to try: Pearl necklaces, work suits, knee-length pleated skirts

Coco Chane

2. Diana Ross
Diana Ross dresses only for Diana Ross, and that in itself is iconic. But from her time fronting The Supremes (wearing oversized turtlenecks with matching suits) to her sparkly, shoulder pad suits from the early 1980s, Ross refused to deign to typical fashion restrictions, and channeled only herself instead. By doing so, she taught the importance of personal style, as well as having no reservations when it comes to exploring new and unique types of fashion.
Pieces to try: Sequins, jumpsuits, oversize turtlenecks

Diana Ross

3. Katherine Hepburn
Katherine Hepburn once told Barbara Walters she’d only ever wear a skirt to Walters’ funeral, and that quote sums up Hepburn’s style (and Hepburn) perfectly. While Diane Keaton in Annie Hall often gets credited for beginning the gentleman wear trend (and in all fairness, she did help make it mainstream), it was Katherine Hepburn’s trousers and button-ups that helped set the style in motion. Of course, the attitude also helped make it: Katherine Hepburn was a total boss, and used her wardrobe to reflect that.
Pieces to try: Pleated trousers, striped button-up dress shirts, vests, oxford flats

Katherine Hepburn

4. Courtney Love
Never underestimate the importance of the grunge movement. (Ever!) What was simply reflective of a subculture to Courtney Love, the singer’s baby doll dresses and Doc Martens became so important in terms of style that they’re still being worn nearly 20 years later. And that’s not even including the effect of her music.
Pieces to try: Floral mini dresses, knee socks, Doc Martens, baby doll sweaters

Courtney Love

5. Janis Joplin
It’s easy to sell Janis Joplin short, since the 1960s saw countless strong female singers, all of which boasted eclectic and original styles. But not only should Janis’ personal look be championed, her evolution from early ˜60s blues singer to freewheeling bohemian “ for lack of a better phrase “ documents her willingness to accept change. Janis personified the free love movement of the mid-to-late 1960s, and sadly it was only at the time of her passing in 1970, she was finally starting to be recognized for the trailblazer she was.
Pieces to try: Wide-legged pants, faux fur jackets, feathers, fitted long-sleeve t-shirts

Janis Joplin

Tags: Coco Chanel, Courtney Love, Diana Ross, Fashion, five fashion icons, FW 2012, Janis Joplin, Katherine Hepburn, style, trailblazers

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