Marilyn in Style: From California Girl to New York Chic

Writing for PEOPLE, Nicole Briese kicks off another roundup of Marilyn’s evolving style with the sexy yet sweet sweaters, shorts and heels of her starlet years.

One of Dorothy Jeakins’ most elegant designs for Niagara went unused; and the wedding dress created by Travilla for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was, as Briese notes, “far more dramatic” than Marilyn’s own bridal gowns.

While Marilyn’s lavish movie costumes now fetch record-breaking prices at auction, its her more relaxed offscreen glamour that still influences fashion today. She chose a striped, turtleneck tunic by Walter Bass for a 1954 photo shoot with Nahum Baron. And after a year in New York, the belted camel coat and black cocktail dress shown above were among Marilyn’s wardrobe staples by 1956.