It is February and that means Black history Month!! I know there are a lot of people out there who would say we should celebrate our heritage every day. I agree with that statement, but I think it is an awesome opportunity to bring awareness during this month, highlight important black figures in our history, and celebrate their legacies. Because of my appreciation and admiration of effortless, classic, and chic style, I decided to recognize and pay tribute to a black woman who had a major influence on classic fashion. I recreated 3 looks to pay homage to Dorothy Dandridge because I can identify with her classy yet timeless style.
You guys she was a Hollywood bombshell back in the 1950’s!! Dorothy Dandridge grew up in Cleveland Ohio and was a triple threat: singer, actress, and a dancer. She started out in a singing group with her sisters performing at high profile clubs that included the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater. She was the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in her 1954 film, “Carmen Jones”
Outfit #1: This outfit was recreated from Dorothy’s 1954 film “Carmen Jones”. This is an American musical film starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte. She was photographed in this outfit for the cover of time magazine here. She posed in this strong stance on movie billboards in the iconic red skirt, black off the shoulder top, and red rose in her hair. Her hair was always curled and kept short, to frame her face. The top and skirt were thrifted from Goodwill and I pulled down the straps of the top to give more authenticity to the outfit.
Goodwill top: similar
Goodwill red skirt: similar
She played multi-ethnic leading ladies in cinema including Mae West, Delores del Rio, and Anna May Wong. Not only was she a talented actress, but people were mesmerized by her beauty.
Style: Elegance, poise, and grace
- These words come to mind when describing this stunning and breathtaking beauty
- She knew how to rock classy, figure hugging dresses and loved to wear off the shoulder blouses and dresses
- Her looks were always tailored and she always added accessories that gave off enough glam
- Her style was simple, sexy, and classy
Outfit #2: This outfit was recreated as one of Dorothy’s go to casual looks here. She often chose very classic, sleek, and chic pieces for her every day looks. She went for a classic white button down shirt and black tapered pants. Dorothy often would pop her collar on her button down shirts. She used a scarf around her waist as a belt to define her waist. In the original photo she was wearing black slide in shoes, but I opted for these black and white loafers, which still add that classic vibe.
Old Navy white button down shirt: similar
Banana Republic tapered pants(sale): similar
G.H. bass loafers: similar
Outfit #3: Not only was she beautiful, Dorothy had a figure to go with it!! When attending red carpet events or parties, Dorothy Dandridge would be seen dressed in body-hugging, floor length gowns that were absolutely stunning seen here. This outfit is inspired by a modern day version dress Dorothy may have worn if alive during our era. I chose a white body-con dress and nude heels to capture the classy yet sexy vibe. As you can see it is form fitting, but it’s sleek and provides a refined, yet sophiscated look. White just exudes elegance, when done tastefully!
Photography: Floyd Mayne
Express dress: similar
Banana Republic shoes: similar
Style Tip: To add Dorothy Dandridge glam to your wardrobe:
- Go for simple accessories, belts, scarves, bracelets etc.
- Add a white button-down shirt and black pants to your wardrobe for that casual weekend look. This was Dorothy’s go to off-duty attire!!
- Find a dress that hugs your curves and is flattering to your silhouette. Make sure the neckline is high or off the shoulder and the dress length comes down to the knee or little past it.
“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise!!!”
Dorothy Dandridge was a classy and elegant fashion icon. Her personal style for glam and casual looks can be easily incorporated into your wardrobe for everyday life. It was tragic she died young, but her beauty and style will forever remain in our memories. Which look is your favorite? Please leave a comment below. I hope you were able to take away some new knowledge and inspired to recreate or add some pieces based off Dorothy Dandridge’s style.