Dressing Like Jackie Onassis

Save
 
 
Dressing Like Jackie Onassis
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Perhaps no American fashion icon of the late 20th century was more influential than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Her refined elegance and effortless grace continues to inspire women around the world. From classic pillbox hats to demure A-line dresses to her signature Jackie O sunglasses, Onassis was glamour personified, always carrying herself (no matter the outfit) with unflappable poise. She was also an artist and intellect -- an editor at famed New York City publishing house Doubleday -- and could often be found with highbrow literature in tow. It's not just the clothes she wore, but the way she wore them that made Jackie O's style unique. While that history-making style was hers alone, you can emulate Jackie O's sartorial choices with a few key classic pieces.

Make Me Blush
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Make Me Blush

Jackie O was a devoted fan of understated dresses in soft pinks and dreamy pastels. Look for knee-length silhouettes in colors that recall the days of Camelot, like mint green, robin's-egg blue and dusty rose. Fine tailoring is essential: Onassis favored clean lines, rich-looking fabrics and veered away from loud, distracting patterns. She took a shine to sleeveless shift dresses with special touches, such as slit pockets and beautiful belts and sashes. When seeking out your own Jackie O frock, keep it simple and elegant. Your dress should be form-fitting, but with a touch of flounce.

Knit One, Pearl Two
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Knit One, Pearl Two

Accessorize your Jackie O ensemble with a dainty strand of white Tahitian pearls, a pair of white satin gloves (cotton will do in summer) and a pillbox hat or smart-looking chapeau that evokes her sophisticated yet fanciful style. (Try a felt teardrop-shaped topper in alabaster by Los Angeles-based Louise Green Millinery.) Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a pink rosebush nearby -- Jackie O loved the scented blooms in the White House garden.

Top Things Off
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Top Things Off

For casual play a la Jackie O, keep things crisp and clean with a cotton poplin button-down in white with pale pinstripes (pink, blue, yellow and green all add a bright, fanciful touch). Pick a shirt with a little stretch in it for extra comfort. Keep your chin- or shoulder-length bob fuss-free, parting it on the side so that a few loose strands skim the front of your forehead.

Full Coverage
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Full Coverage

Jackie O was famous for her head scarves. During the late 60s and 70s she sported lots of them in bold hues and whimsical Pucci and Hermes patterns. She'd often slide her sunglasses on top of her scarf for a look that screamed "movie star." To replicate the look, take a square scarf (vintage stores are a gold mine for scarves) and fold it into a triangular shape, tuck the points behind your head, then tie the ends in the front, under your chin.

Mock Me If You Will
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Mock Me If You Will

Like Onassis, choose a chic, short-sleeved mock turtleneck for warm, summery days. Cotton fabrics work best to keep you cool, and stand-out colors like electric blue and mandarin orange add a modern twist to the popular 60s style. Keep accessories to a minimum; an unpretentious pair of over-sized gold or silver hoop earrings keep things simple, but sexy.

Give Me the Skinny
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Give Me the Skinny

Be it a leisurely stroll around New York's Upper East Side or walking tours through Rome, sleek Capris were Jackie O's favorite go-to pants. Pick a pair in muted gray or dusty blue, though you can never go wrong with basic beige. Find a fit that flatters. Capris should be form-fitting, with a hem that hits right at the ankle. Pair with pretty ballerina flats. Just make sure to veer away from a pant that's too tight in the legs or rear, because tacky is so not Jackie.

Stay in the Shade
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Stay in the Shade

Whether she was dodging the paparazzi in New York City or sunning herself on a private isle on the Aegean Sea with husband and Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, Jackie loved a dramatic pair of dark, oversized rims. To mimic the look, splurge on a designer label (Ray Ban offers a spot-on replica) or save on a pair of cheap drugstore sunglasses with big squarish frames. Either way, going incognito has never looked so cool.

In the Trenches
Malina Saval - Demand Media

In the Trenches

If you're to buy one Jackie O-inspired item of clothing this season, invest in an amazing knee-length trench coat in either camel or beige. A staple piece for any working girl's wardrobe, a trench coat easily translates from day (paired with jeans) to night (paired with a little black dress and classic pumps). Not raining? No worries. Trench coats are perfect for cool, windy days as well.

Brown-Bag It
Malina Saval - Demand Media

Brown-Bag It

Whether darting through airports or hailing a taxi in Manhattan, Jackie O was never without a fabulous designer handbag (Gucci renamed its original hobo-shaped bag after her). Today, no Jackie O ensemble can be complete without a vintage leather handbag. Coach makes amazing totes in rich, buttery leathers (try the Stewardess Bag in British tan or mahogany) or trawl vintage store bins for discounted second-hand bags. Throw on your trench and sling your bag on your shoulder for a look that's practical and polished -- just like Jackie Onassis.

Related Searches

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!