Past, present American fashion icons whose style will forever inspire

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While America doesn’t have official royals, the home of the brave is also home to some major fashion royalty. From Jackie Kennedy to Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly, the iconic fashionistas of yesteryear are just as influential today as they were in the past, and have paved the way for this generation’s stateside style stars.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively and Kerry Washington are just a few of America’s current style icons who, like those before them, flawlessly transition from off-duty casual to after-hours glamour without skipping a beat.

Jackie Kennedy at the 1961 Inaugural Ball in a white dress and cape combo by Bergdorf Goodman. (Photo by Pinterest)
Jackie Kennedy at the 1961 Inaugural Ball in a white dress and cape combo by Bergdorf Goodman. (Photo by Pinterest)

Jackie Kennedy: Whether summering in Hyannis Port, Mass. or attending evening galas at the White House, the former First Lady not only made her mark on America, but also on fashion around the world. Though trends come and go throughout the years, everything from Kennedy’s oversize sunglasses and turtleneck sweaters to her pearls and waist-defining dresses, have remained American classics.

Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2012 Oscars in an all white Tom Ford gown with a floor-length cape. (Photo by Pinterest)
Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2012 Oscars in an all white Tom Ford gown with a floor-length cape. (Photo by Pinterest)

Gwyneth Paltrow: Like Kennedy, Paltrow is an American favorite when it comes to style. The actress is adventurous with the designers and silhouettes she chooses, but is never overshadowed by trends. At the 2012 Oscars, Paltrow channeled Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Ball look by Bergdorf Goodman in an all white Tom Ford gown with a floor-length cape.

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Marilyn Monroe mastered va-va-voom style in looks like this metallic gold number complete with plunging neckline. (Photo by Pinterest)

Marilyn Monroe: The original blonde bombshell was known to rock denim basics just as effortlessly as she did high-waisted bikinis and sultry dresses, like this metallic gold number complete with a plunging neckline. Monroe clearly knew how to work her curves in body-hugging pencil skirts, draped silk blouses and silhouettes that fit in all the right places.

Blake Lively at the 2014 Met Gala in a sequined, nude Gucci gown. (Photo by Pinterest)
Blake Lively at the 2014 Met Gala in a sequined, nude Gucci gown. (Photo by Pinterest)

Blake Lively: Similar to Monroe, Blake Lively is a master of straddling the line between wholesome and sexy. The ‘Gossip Girl’ expertly brings Monroe’s va-va-voom style into the 21st century with class. She wows everyone every time she steps her Christian Louboutin-clad foot onto the red carpet in a nod to old-Hollywood glamour, including this sequined, nude Gucci gown from the 2014 Met Gala.

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Grace Kelly in a full-skirted, black and white evening gown accessorized with pearls and white silk gloves. (Photo by Pinterest)

Grace Kelly: American actress turned European princess, Grace Kelly was the epitome of elegance in everything from casual polos and pixie pants to full-skirted evening gowns and pearls, like this black and white ball gown accessorized with a pearl choker and white silk gloves. Plus, the Princess of Monaco was given the ultimate stylish gift when famed fashion brand Hermès named its iconic Kelly bag after her.

For the "Scandal" season four promo pic, Washington donned a black and white Vera Wang ball gown with long black opera gloves. (Photo by Pinterest)
For the “Scandal” season four promo pic, Washington donned a black and white Vera Wang ball gown with long black opera gloves. (Photo by Pinterest)

Kerry Washington: In a way not seen since Grace Kelly, Kerry Washington exudes a quiet confidence through her wasp-waisted gowns and pretty day dresses that is distinctly her own. Washington’s stylish influence is infectious, especially when it comes to the fashion of her amazing-outfit-every-time ‘Scandal’ character, Olivia Pope. For the hit TV show’s season four promo pic, Washington – as Pope – donned a black and white Vera Wang ball gown with long black opera gloves.

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