Where to Find Vintage Clothing to Dress Like Marilyn Monroe

December 28th, 2011


marilyn monroe pictures

Marilyn Monroe melted the hearts of both American men (her sexpot looks) AND women (her stylish wardrobe) during her movie career beginning in the early ’50s and spanning more than a decade before her death in 1962.

While Googling images of this Hollywood starlet is easy, knowing where to buy clothing that resembles Miss Monroe’s great outfits from her classic films isn’t.

Using screenshots from some of my favorite Marilyn movies, I found examples of vintage clothing available to buy online that resembles some of MM’s greatest looks. These are wearable pieces for today that’ll inspire you to channel your inner bombshell beauty with fitted sweaters, showgirl sequins, princess fur, Chelsea collars and more.

While the Marilyn look is vintage-inspired a la the ’50s and ’60s, her style sass was truly ahead of its time. She dressed for the curvacious body she had and won the hearts of many thanks to her radiant self-confidence. If Marilyn were alive today, I know she’d endorse the best style secret of all: No matter the trends, loving yourself is your best bet to both inner and outer beauty.

Keep reading after the jump for information on where to buy vintage clothing on Ebay and Etsy that resembles Marilyn Monroe clothing and 1950s dresses worn in her movies Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Somethings Got to Give.

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<< SHOP NOW: Authentic & awesome 1950s vintage clothing from eBay!


For more great information on Marilyn Monroe’s clothes, visit The Marilyn Monroe Collection to view images of her wardrobe as sold at auction plus complementary visuals and video showing how she wore it while still alive. It’s fascinating to see how the media swarmed Marilyn and arguably created her fame for the American public to consume, revere and love to honor for decades after her death.

What’s your favorite Marilyn Monroe look or ’50s women’s fashion trend? Would you love to see me shop online vintage sellers for a future vintage icon look?

Let me know in the comments, or send me some vintage love via Twitter, Facebook and email!

xx, SD

1950s Style Dresses from Shabby Apple

MARILYN MONROE CLOTHING: MONKEY BUSINESS (1952)

marilyn monroe monkey business pictures
THE LOOK: Marilyn wears a knit dress with a high, fitted waist. The skirt is maxi length with accordian pleats. Her “neck tie” is a structured, almost ascot tie fastened into an L shape around the neck with a pin.
Thanks to advice from a few vintage sellers, it’s best called a “cigar scarf” because of its tubular shape. Other terms include scarfette, jabot or neckerchief.

You can mimic this look with an ascot tie or a wide fur collar for more formal neck flair.

marilyn monroe dress

THE LOOKALIKE: 1950s Red Day Dress on Etsy, $58. The Marilyn Monroe lookalike dress I found on Etsy is a a gorgeous red with a matching red/white ascot tie resembling the style Marilyn wore in Monkey Business.

While not maxi length like Marilyn’s, the quarter-length cuffed sleeves and fitted waistline of this dress still have you looking like a classic, ladylike version of Miss MM!

MARILYN MONROE CLOTHING: GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953)

marilyn monroe gentleman prefer blondes pictures

THE LOOK: Marilyn is sweet and sophisticated in a brown & black cropped checkered sweater in the movie that made her the famous sexpot she was in her day.

What sets this look apart is the neckline, which was difficult to identify in my research and even more difficult to source to buy. What I did discover are a few feminine options that resemble the sweet & sophisticated sass of Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!

marilyn monroe clothing

THE LOOKALIKE: 1950s Vintage Brown & Black Checkered Suit on Etsy, $65. This is a gorgeous wool suit from the ’50s that radiates the same classy n’ chic aura of the quintessential Marilyn Monroe style. Since you’re getting both the skirt and blazer at such an affordable price (I personally think it should cost twice to three times as much as the seller is asking for!) you are practically getting a 2 for 1 deal.

To channel your inner MM, wear this ’50s blazer with high-waisted stovepipe black pants and ballet flats.

marilyn monroe clothing

THE LOOKALIKE: Black/Tan Houndstooth Print Turtleneck on Etsy, $24. While the collar of Marilyn’s sweater is really what gives her look a punch of pizazz, this black & tan houndstooth sweater is a great option to mimic the pattern of Marilyn’s checkered sweater.

While you may not have the Jessica Rabbit figure of Marilyn Monroe (can you believe her measurements were approximately 36 23 35? yes that means a 23 inch waist!!!) you can take a fitted houndstooth print sweater like this one and tuck it into anything high-waisted, another big trend of the early ’50s that with a figure like Marilyn’s, she was surely wearing, too.

marilyn monroe gentleman prefer blondes pictures

THE LOOK: Marilyn Monroe dazzles each and every man she encounters wearing this deep-slit all sequin red dress.

It reminds me a lot of the jaw-dropping front open slit dress that J.Lo so famously wore to an awards show years ago. Can you imagine the crowd reaction after seeing Marilyn in such a jaw-dropping piece in the conservative ’50s?

marilyn monroe dress

THE LOOKALIKE: 1960s Anne Fogarty Beaded Cocktail Dress on Etsy, $95. To truly do as Marilyn did, the red sequin dress must have a deep front slit, be fitted to the bod and with long sleeves. Finding a deep front slit dress was tough, but this example exposes enough flesh to resemble the real deal.

marilyn monroe dress

THE LOOKALIKE: Red Sequin Showgirl Blazer on Ebay,$33.30. Perhaps a red all-sequin skintight dress isn’t in your bag of fashion tricks. I understand not every girl wants to look like a showgirl!

But how about a showgirl BLAZER for a smaller amount of roaring red bling on your bod? This v-neck blazer resembles the deep V of Marilyn’s dress without actually exposing anything.

Plus, you can pair this bad boy with anything from a simple bit of denim or a sexy touch of hot pants below. However you want to style MM into you look, it’s up to you!

marilyn monroe gentlemen prefer blondes pictures

THE LOOK: Marilyn looks  a bit French and a bit sailor girl sexy in this oversize collar single breasted blazer & pencil skirt ensemble.

The best way to describe this collar is an “wing” collar that slightly resembles a Chelsea collar. I researched “oversize collars” and “wing collars” to find the pieces suggested above and below.

A vintage lover (hey Wilda!) specifically requested that I research this look, as it was one of her favorites from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes! I found a few lookalike options that can be worn alone or paired with a black skirt to grab the sailor girl style of Miss Monroe a la the ’50s.

marilyn monroe clothing

THE LOOKALIKE: Cropped Single Breasted Houndstooth Blazer on Etsy, $28. While this blazer is technically from the ’70s, it’s a great lookalike option because of the white collar, dark coloring and the fact that it’s single breasted. I love the vintage Navy Chanel jacket further below, but unfortunately she costs a pretty penny!

When channeling ’50s and ’50s styles, single-breasted pieces with large buttons in a wool or wool-blend material are key traits to mimic to get the era’s authentic look.

marilyn monroe clothing

THE LOOKALIKE: Chelsea Back Collar Wiggle Dress on Etsy, $35. The photo I’m showing above is actually of the BACK of this dress, because to truly resemble Marilyn’s chic Parisian outfit you’d have to wear this style suggestion in reverse.

This vintage piece’s collar more closely resembles a Chelsea collar. It has the same starch white contrast and sharp points of Marilyn’s collar. While I can’t be entirely sure because the photo is B&W, I’d assume that MM’s skirt/blazer combo is a navy blue, the same color of the wiggle dress.

Add a pair of peep toe heels and a beret tilted to the side and you’ve mastered the Marilyn!

marilyn monroe clothing

THE LOOKALIKE: Vintage Chanel Single Breasted Navy Blazer on Ebay, $499. My last suggestion is a pricey one but a beautiful piece to point to regardless. This vintage Chanel blazer is single breasted and fitted to the waist like Marilyn’s.

While the blazer’s four pockets give it a more safari feel, the blazer’s tailored design, deep navy and a starch white collar radiate the energy of what Marilyn would wear if she were still making movies today.

MARILYN MONROE CLOTHING: SOMETHINGS GOT TO GIVE (1962)

marilyn monroe somethings got to give pictures

THE LOOK: Marilyn is a pure princess with her golden locks, pouty lips and innocent eyes in this fur trimmed single breasted skirt set jacket. It’s a classic piece of the era, a time when every woman wanted fur not for warmth but for luxury and beauty worn both outdoors and in.

So while today we may wear a fur scarf for time spent outside, in the ’50s – ’60s fur was attached to everyday clothing and so it was considered normal to be wearing fur indoors as well as out.

Her ensemble is technically a cardigan with fur trim at the collar and sleeves which matches to a fur trimmed skirt. The skirt plays with the “princess style” look because of the fur trimming, however technically it should flare in an A-line or circle skirt cut to be of true “princess” design.

marilyn monroe clothing

THE LOOKALIKE: 1960s Mink Fur Trim Princess Coat on Ebay, $168. Tis the season for warm-weather gear, so this mink fur trimmed cream coat is the perfect combination of ’50s Marilyn meets modern princess style.

Last week I wrote about the beauty that is the winter white, and with its cream coloring this coat is no exception. You’ve got a fuzzy neck, wrists AND enough fabric to keep your booty warm.

I’m sure Marilyn would have approved of this ’60s keeper!

marilyn monroe somethings got to give pictures

THE LOOK: Marilyn wows from behind (and undoubtedly from the front too!) with a plunging back line in this classic sheath dress.

Searching “1950s sheath dress” on any online vintage marketplace yields many results in the floral-garden-party variety. At the height of their popularity, they were as necessary to own as a Little Black Dress or a pair of flat riding boots.

Today the garden party throwin’ gal can wear her floral fun wherever she’d like — just like Marilyn did. Here you see her posing on set of Somethings Got to Give, probably in a scene of a little bit of summer garden romance ;-)

marilyn monroe dress

THE LOOKALIKE: 1950s Cream & Floral Wiggle Dress on Etsy, $69.80. I found a great ’50s dress that closely resembles the one Marilyn wore in Somethings Got to Give.

The floral pattern is of blue & green hues, but like Marilyn’s rests on a cream base. The cut should hit the average woman’s knee and bit tight around the hips like a wiggle dress.

And the best part about this Marilyn dress lookalike is the open V-neck back that’ll have you looking over your shoulder at every admirer who passes by!

 

MORE FROM THE ’50s

INSPIRATION: Why the 1950s Makes You Feel Like a Lady
MODERN: Why the 1950s Style is Popular Today 
STYLE: Why Casey of Elegant Musings Loves the Shirtwaist Dress
OUTFITS: 3 Easy Ways to Rock ‘50s Fashion Now!
TRENDS: The Top ’50s Clothing Trends for the Modern Lady

From Our Partners

PLUS: More on 1950s Fashion from Fashion-Era.com
SHOPPING: Where to Buy Your Dream 1950s Dress

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7 Comments

  1. Cynthia says:

    As always, Sammy, a polished, well-written article, and also lots of fun!

    I adore the neckline on the jacket you featured from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” – I have a blue and white vintage Von Bramlett secretary dress in my etsy shop with that neckline, and it’s just so flattering and sassy!

    I can’t wait to see Michelle Williams’ costume changes in her new Monroe movie :)

    [Reply]

    Sammy Davis Reply:

    Thank you so much, Cynthia! I have NOT heard of Von Bramlett. I will look up that label, thank you! I haven’t seen My Week with Marilyn yet — I meant to say why I wrote this post, which was inspired by the movie’s release. Will have to put it on the to-do list soon!

    [Reply]

  2. CAG says:

    I love love love love love this post! And I adore the way you put some much time, effort, research, and all around HEART in the things you write. Marilyn would be so proud. ::WINK::
    The thing I admire about Marilyn is her willingness to embrace her curves. She wasn’t a size 0, but she looked awesome and her stylish choices were beyond her years.
    RIP Marilyn…Your style lives on…

    [Reply]

    Sammy Davis Reply:

    I said this to you over email however it is worth saying again: beautiful just like YOU! xx

    [Reply]

  3. gabby says:

    omfg..
    i love this style like unff..
    i wished i lived in the early 50′s well not really but meeeeeh, is so cute♥
    but where can i find this?
    where, can i shop vintage clothing?~
    ahahahahaha….

    [Reply]

  4. gabby says:

    omfg..
    i love this style like unff..
    i wished i lived in the early 50′s well not really but meeeeeh, is so cuteâ?¥
    but where can i find this?
    where, can i shop vintage clothing?~
    ahahahahaha….

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    Gabby, check out Ebay.com & Etsy.com & Style.ly to shop great vintage online!!! Happy shopping!! XO

    [Reply]

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