Marilyn Monroe's Best Fashion Moments of All Time

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

M. Garrett/Murray Garrett/Getty ; Hulton Archive/Getty ; Bettmann

Both on screen and in public, Marilyn Monroe was as glamorous as could be, swathed in luxurious gowns that would go down in history as some of the most iconic of all time.

She often wore elegant looks created by costume designers like William Travilla in her films — and would pull some of the gowns for red carpet premieres, too. Photographer Milton Green's wife, Amy Greene, relayed to Elizabeth Winder for her book Marilyn In Manhattan: Her Year Of Joy, "Whenever she needed something to go out, she'd go to her friend in the wardrobe department at Twentieth. She'd borrow something, and then the next morning she'd bring it back with a $50 bill slipped in."

As for her most memorable fashion moments, there are few who aren't familiar with the plunging white halter gown with a pleated skirt she wore in The Seven Year Itch or the floor-length hot pink gown with an oversized bow that she titillated audiences with while performing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

The beige beaded gown that she wore to sing "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 is equally as famous. Kim Kardashian wore the dress to the 2022 Met Gala. While Dr. Justine De Young of the Fashion Institute of Technology told PEOPLE the move was "irresponsible and unnecessary," Monroe's estate supported Kardashian, with Nick Woodhouse of Authentic Brand Groups (the company in charge of the estate) saying that Monroe would've celebrated the reality star's choice of wardrobe.

Keep reading to revisit all of the other incredible fashion moments Marilyn Monroe created over the years.

Marilyn Monroe at her wedding to James Dougherty in 1942

Marilyn Monroe with her first husband police officer James Dougherty
Marilyn Monroe with her first husband police officer James Dougherty

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

For her wedding to neighbor James Dougherty, Monroe, then 16 and known as Norma Jeane Mortenson, chose a simple streamlined gown with ruched sleeves and a modest scoop neckline. The couple, who were wed for four years, married at the suggestion of Monroe's foster mother to avoid sending her back to the orphanage, according to Dougherty. As he later told United Press International in 1990, per the Los Angeles Times, "I never knew Marilyn Monroe, and I don't claim to have any insights to her to this day. I knew and loved Norma Jeane."

Marilyn Monroe at a portrait session in Los Angeles in 1946

Marilyn Monroe then known as Norma Jeane Mortenson poses for a portrait in 1946 in Los Angeles, California
Marilyn Monroe then known as Norma Jeane Mortenson poses for a portrait in 1946 in Los Angeles, California

Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty

For a portrait session in January 1946, Monroe wore a simple red crewneck sweater, a pair of houndstooth Bermuda shorts and a brown Western belt.

Marilyn Monroe posing for a portrait in Los Angeles in 1946

Marilyn Monroe then known as Norma Jeane Mortenson poses for a portrait in 1946 in Los Angeles, California
Marilyn Monroe then known as Norma Jeane Mortenson poses for a portrait in 1946 in Los Angeles, California

Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty

During another photo shoot in 1946, the future actress looked like a young Judy Garland in overalls and a red striped top with her hair in a red bow.

Marilyn Monroe at the start of her movie career in 1947

Marilyn Monroe as she appeared in 1947 at the start of her movie career.
Marilyn Monroe as she appeared in 1947 at the start of her movie career.

Bettmann

The actress wore this show-stopping number, which featured a tight bodice with an off-the-shoulder neckline and a tiered skirt embellished with bows, early on in her film career.

Marilyn Monroe posing for a portrait in Los Angeles in 1947

Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in 1947 in Los Angeles, California
Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in 1947 in Los Angeles, California

Earl Theisen/Getty

Shortly after being signed by 20th Century-Fox, the 21-year-old showed off a far more demure style than the one she would come to be known for during a 1947 photoshoot with Earl Thiesen. She stood in the grass in a floor-length robin's egg blue frock with floral embroidering at the bust, sleeves and skirt. The dress also featured see-through sleeves.

Marilyn Monroe in agent Johnny Hyde's backyard in 1950

Marilyn Monroe photo session at Hollywood agent Johnny Hyde's backyard (708 w. Palm Drive) on May 17, 1950 in Beverly Hills, California
Marilyn Monroe photo session at Hollywood agent Johnny Hyde's backyard (708 w. Palm Drive) on May 17, 1950 in Beverly Hills, California

Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The same year she made her film debut, the starlet looked radiant while visiting talent agent Johnny Hyde in a pair of shorts that showed off her legs and a quarter-sleeve turtleneck with banded stripes at the arms and collar.

Marilyn Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle in 1950

Marilyn Monroe posing for an off scene photograph from the film 'The Asphalt Jungle', 1950
Marilyn Monroe posing for an off scene photograph from the film 'The Asphalt Jungle', 1950

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty

Monroe breathed new life into the little black dress with this off-the-shoulder version she wore in the 1950 film The Asphalt Jungle. She paired the number with black sheer tights and black heels.

Marilyn Monroe on the beach in 1951

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) wearing a polka dot bikini, circa 1951
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) wearing a polka dot bikini, circa 1951

Archive Photos/Getty

The Hollywood legend was pictured in many different bikinis throughout her career, but this polka dot one circa 1951 is perhaps the most known. The suit featured ruffled trim for added flirtiness.

Marilyn Monroe at the 23rd Academy Awards in 1951

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962), wearing black off-the-shoulder gown in tulle, 1950. Monroe wore the same dress at the 23rd Academy Awards
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962), wearing black off-the-shoulder gown in tulle, 1950. Monroe wore the same dress at the 23rd Academy Awards

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

For her one and only appearance at the Oscars, where she presented the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing, Monroe chose an ultra-glamorous, black off-the-shoulder princess dress. The gown was reportedly created for Italian actress Valentina Cortese for the 1951 film The House on Telegraph Hill.

Marilyn Monroe reading fan mail in 1952

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962), wearing a red negligee trimmed with black lace, sorts out her fan mail shortly after her film 'The Asphalt Jungle' had been released, Beverly Hills, 1952
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962), wearing a red negligee trimmed with black lace, sorts out her fan mail shortly after her film 'The Asphalt Jungle' had been released, Beverly Hills, 1952

Slim Aarons/Getty

The actress looked glamorous while wearing a lacy black robe over a pink gown to read fan mail shortly after the release of her latest picture, The Asphalt Jungle.

Marilyn Monroe in Life magazine in 1953

STATES - MAY 1953: Marilyn Monroe writing at home.
STATES - MAY 1953: Marilyn Monroe writing at home.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/Pix Inc./Time & Life Pictures/Getty

Dressed down in a black turtleneck and a pair of white capris, Monroe looked sharp and elegant for a series of photographs taken for Life magazine by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. Her outfit was later recreated by Ana de Armas for Netflix's Blonde biopic.

Marilyn Monroe in Niagara in 1953

Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait dressed as Rose Loomis from the film "Niagara" which was released on May 21, 1953
Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait dressed as Rose Loomis from the film "Niagara" which was released on May 21, 1953

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

For her part as Rose Loomis in Niagara, Monroe wore a cropped suit jacket and a matching pencil skirt with a strapless blue top with a bow at the side.

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953

Marilyn Monroe - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - 1953
Marilyn Monroe - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - 1953

20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock

One of Monroe's most iconic looks is the hot pink strapless number she wore for her "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

"I took a brilliant candy-pink silk peau d'ange made in Paris and flattened that to a giant billiard felt with an overlay of silk," designer William Travilla said in 2011's Dressing Marilyn, per Vogue. "Apart from the two side seams, the dress was folded into shape rather like cardboard. Any other girl would have looked like she was wearing cardboard, but on screen I swear you would have thought Marilyn had on a pale, thin piece of silk. Her body was so fabulous it still came through," he explained.

Travilla accessorized the famous dress with a pair of matching opera-length gloves. As for the oversized bow at the back, it was stuffed with horse hair to help it maintain its shape.

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

Travilla was also behind the sexy gold lamé getup Monroe was briefly spotted in during Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The halter-style design featured a plunging neckline and sunburst pleating with an open back. It was also skintight, with Monroe reportedly needing to be sewn into it.

The actress later wore it to the Photoplay Gold Medal awards dinner, where she took home the award for most popular female star.

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, directed by Howard Hawks
Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, directed by Howard Hawks

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

Though the pink dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is the one most-oft referenced, the orange fishtail gown Travilla created for the film is also memorable. With ruching down the front and a beaded center, the dress is said to have caused theater-goers to gasp when the actress appeared in it alongside costar Jane Russell, who looked equally radiant in her own beaded black sequin gown.

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953

Marilyn Monroe in an off screen photograph for the film 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', 1953
Marilyn Monroe in an off screen photograph for the film 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', 1953

20th Century-Fox/Getty

The matching wedding dresses that Monroe and Russell wore in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes were far more dramatic than any of the dresses the blonde bombshell wore for her real-life nuptials to Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. Designed by Travilla, they featured a mock neck, a sheer lace bodice with voluminous bell sleeves and a pleated tulle skirt. They also buttoned halfway up the back.

Marilyn Monroe at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1953

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) (left) and Jane Russell stand in the courtyard of Grauman's Chinese Theater as they promote director Howard Hawks's film, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' Hollywood, California, June 26, 1953
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) (left) and Jane Russell stand in the courtyard of Grauman's Chinese Theater as they promote director Howard Hawks's film, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' Hollywood, California, June 26, 1953

M. Garrett/Murray Garrett/Getty

Monroe and her Gentleman Prefer Blondes costar Russell looked gorgeous in near-matching halter dresses while having their hand and footprints immortalized in wet cement at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Though both gowns were cut to the mid-calf, Monroe's featured eyelet detailing throughout while Russell's had a polka dot print.

"Marilyn and I were invited to add our footprints to those already cemented in at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. We were both wearing summer dresses and high heels as we posed, arms linked together, for the photographers. We were thrilled beyond words," Russell later remembered of the moment in her eponymous autobiography.

Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire in 1953

Marilyn Monroe on the set of "How to Marry a Millionaire"
Marilyn Monroe on the set of "How to Marry a Millionaire"

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

Even the swimwear for How to Marry a Millionaire, which was designed by Travilla under Charles LaMeire, looked couture. This red one-piece featured diamond pins at the hip and chest.

Marilyn Monroe after the How to Marry a Millionaire premiere in 1953

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) smiling as she sits at the home of director Jean Negulesco, after the premiere of his film, 'How to Marry a Millionaire,' in which she starred
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) smiling as she sits at the home of director Jean Negulesco, after the premiere of his film, 'How to Marry a Millionaire,' in which she starred

Darlene Hammond/Hulton Archive/Getty

For the premiere of How to Marry a Millionaire, Monroe once again turned to Travilla for her wardrobe. The resulting look reportedly took six hours of prep, as she had to be sewn into the dress. It featured a sheer nude underlay and white French lace by Sophie Hallette, which Travilla personalized with sequins. It was topped it off with a white fur stole and Monroe's signature opera gloves.

Marilyn Monroe at her wedding to Joe DiMaggio in 1954

Marilyn Monroe and former Yankee great Joe Di Maggio press through a crowd of newsmen after their marriage in the office of Municipal Judge Charles Peery in San Francisco City Hall January 14
Marilyn Monroe and former Yankee great Joe Di Maggio press through a crowd of newsmen after their marriage in the office of Municipal Judge Charles Peery in San Francisco City Hall January 14

Bettmann

Monroe went against the traditional grain for her wedding to second husband DiMaggio, selecting a dark-colored button-down suit with a furry Peter Pan collar for their city hall ceremony.

Marilyn Monroe posing for Milton Greene's Ballerina Sitting series in 1954

marilyn-monroe-14
marilyn-monroe-14

Photographed by Milton H. Greene ©2017 Joshua Greene. Taken from the book 'The Essential Marilyn Monroe', published by ACC Editions

While Monroe posed for more than 50 photos for photographer Milton Greene, the most famous was undoubtedly the 1954 Ballerina Sitting series he did with the actress — one shot of which was named as one of the top three photographs of the century by TIME magazine. Its success was due in large part due to the stunning white tulle-and-satin frock Monroe wore by New York designer Herbert Kasper. Though the dress didn't quite fit (it was two sizes too small), requiring her to hold up the front of the bodice, she reportedly took it "in stride."

Marilyn Monroe in There's No Business Like Show Business in 1954

Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait dressed as Vicky Hoffman from the film "There's No Business Like Show Business" which was released on December 16, 1954
Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait dressed as Vicky Hoffman from the film "There's No Business Like Show Business" which was released on December 16, 1954

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

1954's There's No Business Like Show Business saw Monroe team up with Travilla once more to bring his flashy garments to life. Here, she's seen in a form-fitting gown with beaded embellishments that crescendo into a dramatic pouf at the bottom of the skirt.

Marilyn Monroe at the premiere of There's No Business Like Show Business in 1954

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) arriving at the premiere of the film 'There's No Business like Show Business'
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) arriving at the premiere of the film 'There's No Business like Show Business'

M. Garrett/Murray Garrett/Getty

Monroe revisited a similar silhouette to the belted strapless one she donned in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes while attending the 1954 premiere of There's No Business Like Show Business, albeit with an added fur stole and a more streamlined fit.

Marilyn Monroe in her Palm Springs garden in 1954

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) sits in shadow against a garden fence, 1954
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) sits in shadow against a garden fence, 1954

Hulton Archive/Getty

The former model looked chic even when dressed down, as evidenced by the black-and-white striped turtleneck she was photographed in at her Palm Springs, California, home garden.

Marilyn Monroe in River of No Return in 1954

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) in costume as dance hall girl in a full length promotional portrait for director Otto Preminger film, 'River Of No Return'
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) in costume as dance hall girl in a full length promotional portrait for director Otto Preminger film, 'River Of No Return'

Hulton Archive/Getty

For her turn as a bar singer in River of No Return, Monroe performed in a red number with swirly black sequine embroidery and delicate beaded off-the-shoulder straps.

Marilyn Monroe visiting the 25th Marine division in Korea in 1954

Marilyn Monroe during a night show for the 25th Marine Division in Korea.
Marilyn Monroe during a night show for the 25th Marine Division in Korea.

Bettmann

In 1954, Monroe performed for U.S. troops stationed in Korea in a sparkly purple spaghetti strap design. The dress was recently put on display in Bendigo, Australia, in 2016.

Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch in 1955

Marilyn Monroe - The Seven Year Itch - 1955
Marilyn Monroe - The Seven Year Itch - 1955

Moviestore/Shutterstock

Everyone remembers the moment when Monroe's dress blew up over the subway grate in The Seven Year Itch. The plunging halter piece became a huge part of the actress's legacy.

Monroe reportedly wore two pairs of undergarments in order to keep the crowd from getting an eyeful while filming the scene, which took place in New York at 1 a.m. Fellow actress Debbie Reynolds later purchased the gown for $200 and sold it for over $4 million in 2011.

Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch in 1955

Marilyn Monroe in a scene from 'The Seven Year Itch' in 1955
Marilyn Monroe in a scene from 'The Seven Year Itch' in 1955

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Another costume from The Seven Year Itch, the "tiger gown" featured black stripes over gold fabric, a slit and a tulle train. The actress also paired the look with black evening gloves.

Marilyn Monroe posing for a photo in 1955

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) posing in an evening dress with her hands on her hips circa 1955
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) posing in an evening dress with her hands on her hips circa 1955

Archive Photos/Getty

Monroe was all smiles in 1955 when she posed for a picture in a black evening gown with a unique, yarn-like shoulder strap at one side, a strapless bustline and a mermaid tail. She previously wore the piece to the 1952 Hollywood Foreign Press Association award ceremony.

Marilyn Monroe lounging on the floor in 1955

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) in a red brocade evening gown, reclining on white satin, with her head resting on a white fur coat, 1955
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) in a red brocade evening gown, reclining on white satin, with her head resting on a white fur coat, 1955

Gene Lester/Getty

Monroe looked every bit the movie star while lounging on a white satin sheet and a white fur coat in a red brocade evening gown with spaghetti straps. She accessorized with long, dangling diamond earrings, black tights and pumps.

Marilyn Monroe in front of her California home in 1956

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) poses outside her home during a photo call, California, USA, 1956
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) poses outside her home during a photo call, California, USA, 1956

Gene Lester/Getty

Smiling in a belted trench coat, Monroe looked chic and at ease outside her Brentwood, California, home.

Marilyn Monroe meeting Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Command Performance in 1956

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller arrive at the Empire Theatre in London

The screen siren broke royal protocol with the gold lamé gown she wore to meet Queen Elizabeth II at a 1956 screening for The Battle of River Plate at the Empire Theatre in London. Guests were asked to dress "conservatively" and "in a suitable manner to meet royalty," according to the 2022 book When Marilyn Met the Queen. However, Monroe's dress, though initially covered by a matching cape, was cut low enough to show the top of her décolletage, directly ignoring the ask not to wear anything "so low-cut that they showed too much cleavage."

The ensemble reportedly earned the Hollywood A-lister a "brief look up and down" by the Queen, who is said to have later told a friend, "I thought Miss Monroe was a very sweet person. But I felt sorry for her, because she was so nervous that she had licked all of her lipstick off."

Marilyn Monroe hosting a press party at her Los Angeles home in 1956

Marilyn Monroe hosts a press party held at her home on March 3, 1956 in Los Angeles, California
Marilyn Monroe hosts a press party held at her home on March 3, 1956 in Los Angeles, California

Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The sleek black satin slip dress, which Monroe was photographed in while hosting a press party in 1956 is right in line with the makeover she reportedly received from photographer Greene's wife, Amy, several years prior.

An excerpt from Elizabeth Winder's book, Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy, revealed that Milton was "exasperated" with the star's off-screen clothing sense, reportedly telling her, "Look. … You have something that looks fantastic on screen, but you walk around like a slob." As Winder explained in the book, "[Marilyn would] just go back to the old clothes she was used to — slacks cut too short that never really fit, blouses that never really had the right lines."

As the story goes, Milton even enlisted Amy to help Monroe with her closet needs. "She went to her good friend, the designer Anne Klein, and said,  'Listen, I have a friend and she's an actress' — I never told Annie who it was — 'and I need some clothes because she has no fashion sense and I have to dress her up,' Amy recalled. "And Annie said, 'Come and get what you want. The result was a capsule collection of black sheaths and slips, sexy but simple and perfectly in tune with Marilyn's aesthetics."

According to the book, once she found her style groove, Monroe had cheaper versions of the couture looks made.

Marilyn Monroe at her wedding to Arthur Miller in 1956

Arthur Miller and his bride, Marilyn Monroe are shown after their marriage in a religious ceremony at the home of Mr.and Mrs.James Barrett of South Salem, NY. Rabbi Robert Goldburg of New Haven and Ha
Arthur Miller and his bride, Marilyn Monroe are shown after their marriage in a religious ceremony at the home of Mr.and Mrs.James Barrett of South Salem, NY. Rabbi Robert Goldburg of New Haven and Ha

Bettmann/Corbis/Getty

While Monroe wore a pencil skirt and a simple shirt for her official courthouse wedding to playwright Miller, she had a another look lined up for a secondary ceremony in the form of a Norman Norell gown with an empire waist, a ruched neckline and a tea-length skirt. She topped it off with a short-but-sweet veil.

Marilyn Monroe at the premiere of The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957

Arthur Miller, playing the attentive husband role, brushes off skirt of his attractive wife, Marilyn Monroe, which had become soiled during their tumultuous arrival at Radio City Music Hall
Arthur Miller, playing the attentive husband role, brushes off skirt of his attractive wife, Marilyn Monroe, which had become soiled during their tumultuous arrival at Radio City Music Hall

Bettmann

For the premiere of The Prince and the Showgirl, the first production from Monroe's company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, the entrepreneur dazzled in a fitted satin dress with a mermaid silhouette. She paired the ensemble with full-length gloves and a satin stole.

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot in 1959

Scene from the movie 'Some Like it Hot'' Directed by: Billy Wilder USA 1959
Scene from the movie 'Some Like it Hot'' Directed by: Billy Wilder USA 1959

ullstein bild/ullstein bild

Australian costume designer Orry-Kelly won an Oscar for his fashion designs in Monroe's 1959 film, Some Like It Hot, in which she wore this black-and-nude cocktail dress with beaded fringe and butterfly appliqués. It has been said that the dress was so tight, the star had to be lifted on top of the piano she sang on in it.

Marilyn Monroe at the premiere of Some Like It Hot in 1959

Marilyn Monroe (C) emerging from limo upon arrival at premiere of her new film Some Like It Hot in Times Square
Marilyn Monroe (C) emerging from limo upon arrival at premiere of her new film Some Like It Hot in Times Square

Lee Lockwood/Getty

Monroe wore yet another of her film designs to the premiere of Some Like It Hot when she stepped out in an embellished ivory crepe gown with bugle beads that swung loosely at the bottom. Fans would later see the gown in 1960's Let's Make Love, for which Dorothy Jeakins was the costume designer.

Marilyn Monroe boarding a plane to Chicago in 1959

Marilyn Monroe snuggles into her fur coat to escape the icy winds at La Guardia airport here March 18th. Marilyn flew to Chicago for the premier of her latest picture, Some Like It Hot. She attended the New York Premier of the Film.
Marilyn Monroe snuggles into her fur coat to escape the icy winds at La Guardia airport here March 18th. Marilyn flew to Chicago for the premier of her latest picture, Some Like It Hot. She attended the New York Premier of the Film.

Bettmann

The film legend bundled up in a luxe fur coat while boarding a plane at La Guardia airport en route to Chicago for the premiere of Some Like It Hot.

Marilyn Monroe in Let's Make Love in 1960

Marilyn Monroe rehearses a dance routine for the film Let's Make Love. Released in 1960.
Marilyn Monroe rehearses a dance routine for the film Let's Make Love. Released in 1960.

Bettmann

In a departure from her usual ultra-tight evening gowns, costume designer Dorothy Jeakins outfitted Monroe in a chunky cable-knit Aran sweater from Cleo Ltd and a pair of sheer black tights.

Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits in 1960

Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits, directed by John Huston
Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits, directed by John Huston

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

The Golden Globe winner's ensemble for The Misfits may have been simple — she wore a brown belt, a white cotton voile blouse and a pair of Lady Levi's (the first line of jeans for women) — but the costume had a major style impact. According to Vogue U.K., it was this very getup that helped popularize denim for women.

It wasn't the first time she'd donned the look, either: Monroe also wore Foremost JCP jeans for 1954's River of No Return, which were auctioned off by Tommy Hilfiger in 2017. The designer also reportedly gifted jeans previously worn by Monroe to both Britney Spears and Naomi Campbell.

Marilyn Monroe landing in New York City in 1961

Marilyn Monroe returns to new York June 15
Marilyn Monroe returns to new York June 15

Bettmann

Monroe threw it back to a popular '30s style with the houndstooth-printed coat she wore over a solid dress while touching down by way of jet in New York City.

Marilyn Monroe at the Golden Globe Awards in 1962

Marilyn Monroe attends the Golden Globe Awards where she won the "Henrietta" award at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 5, 1962 in Los Angeles, California
Marilyn Monroe attends the Golden Globe Awards where she won the "Henrietta" award at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 5, 1962 in Los Angeles, California

Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Monroe took home her third Golden Globe Award in 1962. For the occasion, she donned a green sequined gown with a draped neckline designed by Norman Norell. She finished the look with a pair of sparkly diamond earrings.

"Everything had to be skintight," Norell reportedly said of designing for the starlet in the 2017 book Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy. "You had to reinforce every seam or everything would break."

The gown, which went on to become one of Norell's most famous designs, was sold at Christie's for $96,000 and worn by Kardashian to a Met Gala after party.

"To top off my night after The Met, I had the honor of changing into Marilyn Monroe's Norman Norell dress that she wore to the Golden Globes in 1962 — where she received the Henrietta Award For World Film Favorite," Kardashian wrote on Instagram in May 2022. "In my quest to find the Jean Louis hand-beaded dress that I wore to the gala, I discovered @heritageauctions owned Marilyn's iconic green sequined gown. … It will forever be one of the greatest privileges of my life to be able to channel my inner Marilyn in this way, on such a special night."

Marilyn Monroe at President John F. Kennedy's birthday celebration in 1962

kennedy-monroe-1-2000.jpg
kennedy-monroe-1-2000.jpg

Cecil Stoughton/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Apart from her pleated white dress in The Seven Year Itch, Monroe is also remembered for the $12,000 sparkler she wore while singing "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in New York ahead of his 45th birthday on May 19, 1962.

Sketched by Bob Mackie at the age of 23 and crafted by Jean Louie, the sheer beige number featured 2,500 hand-sewn crystals. The custom piece was so form-fitting that Monroe reportedly had to be sewn into it. She also forwent undergarments despite the 18-inch slit in the back.

The gown was first sold at a Christie's auction in 1999 for a cool $1.27 million. In 2015, however, it was purchased by Ripley's Believe It Or Not for a record-breaking $4.81 million. The figure beat the previous record of $4.6 million set by another item of Monroe's: the pleated dress she so famously wore for The Seven Year Itch.

Kardashian borrowed the gown for the 2022 Met Gala, which had a theme of "In America: An Anthology of Fashion," wearing it on the steps of the Met before changing into a replica. As she relayed to Vogue, "Nowadays everyone wears sheer dresses, but back then that was not the case. In a sense, it's the original naked dress. That's why it was so shocking."