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When you start to get dressed in the morning do you ever have a specific person in mind? Not necessarily someone you want to impress, but someone you want to emulate? I think the same goes for sewing projects too. Whether or not it’s conscious, sometimes when we start making or altering garments we often have an end look in mind and usually that look is attributed to another person – our “muse” if you will.

Everyone has different fashion icons. Whether you’re attracted to the prim and proper looks of Jackie Kennedy or the rock ‘n’ roll rebelliousness of Kate Moss, I guarantee that there is at least one person out there (or in my case 3 or 4) whose style you covet. I thought it would be fun to explore some of the well known style influencers (as well as a few perhaps more obscure names and faces) who have helped define certain aesthetics and created new categories all their own. First up: miss apathy herself, Margot Tenenbaum.

Margot Tenenbaum paper dolls via claudiavarosio on Etsy, film stills via IMDB

Any given Halloween you are sure to see at least a handful of Margot knock-offs, with their blunt blonde wigs, kohl-rimmed eyes and heavy fur coats. However, Margot’s style doesn’t necessarily have to be confined to the archives of Halloweens past. Her quirky look is a mix between 70’s school-girl and old-money posh with a dash of over-educated rebelliousness. In essence, Margot embodies the same kind of hotness as the coolest girl in your college lit class.


At the core, Margot’s style is simple and classic: a striped polo dress, penny loafers, fur coat and her Birkin.


It’s easy to translate the look into your own wardrobe with simple, timeless project patterns.

Clockwise from left: Polo Shirt, Three-Quarter Sleeve Dress, Short Polo Dress and Button Up Shirt Dress patterns.

From left: Wide Lapel Coat, Slip Dress and Jane Night Set patterns.

Who are some of your favorite fashion icons? Who’s style should we dig into next?


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    Apr 1, 2011, 04.04 AMby glassknuclezz

    I love Margot! For a few years now I’ve been on the look out for the perfect Margot dress

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    Mar 25, 2011, 12.52 PMby Megan Stiver

    Charlotte Charles from ‘Pushing Daisies’ pulls off some amazing outfits…especially inspiring since spring is in it’s way :)

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    Mar 23, 2011, 03.27 AMby nursejenny

    of course, loafers! how marvellous…

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    Mar 22, 2011, 07.24 PMby tinapickles

    Style icon’s I’d like to see (mostly because I think they translate to “real world” really easy) are Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Onassis. More “modern” looks I’d like to see Penelope Cruz and Natalie Portman.

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    Mar 21, 2011, 01.04 PMby freaky-philomeen

    My favourite film character when it comes to cool clothes, is named Claire. She is doing/living/breathing pearl-embroidery in the film ‘Die Perlenstickerinnen’ (Brodeuses/A common thread). She wears mostly green and blue dresses with capes and her wonderful red curls are tied back in large turbans. The story is heartbreaking and she is such a lovely one! The clothes were nearly a bit too beautiful though, I got distracted (as usual…)

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    Mar 19, 2011, 03.17 PMby whalen

    I’d really like to see Scarlett Johansson. I love her hip hugging style dresses. Also, I always have the feeling that she’s doing an old-school version of the bombshell. I love the old bombshells.

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    Mar 19, 2011, 11.45 AMby varenoea

    Wow, the mere idea of dressing in preppy, striped Polo mini dresses for my entire life… no wonder she has such a sour face ;-)

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    Mar 18, 2011, 11.33 PMby rifka

    I absolutely adore Wes Anderson and all his characters. The aesthetic in some of his films genuinely tugs at my heart. Like, Margot Tenenbaum, the appeal of his characters is their vivid individuality and childlike sincerity. I think a true muse will inspire you to create something wonderful, possibly awakening something new within yourself . Very different than trying to emulate someone else’s style.

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    Mar 18, 2011, 05.33 PMby vintagegal

    I really covet Millicent Rogers style, but am in no way able to emulate it! I have been positively influenced to revamp myself, though, thanks to those magnificent fashionista gals over at the Advanced Style blog. Jenny has empowered me to let some of my gray show, and Debra is just all kinds of crazy, wonderful creative. All the women Ari profiles are style icons that are really relatable, and inspirational.

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    Mar 18, 2011, 05.31 PMby gmculp

    David Lynch does a terrific job outfitting his characters. Who can forget Audrey Horne and her saddle shoes?

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    Mar 18, 2011, 05.07 PMby carottesauvage

    Cool article! Joan Crawford’s wardrobe in Mildred Pierce is pretty swell, from the motherly attires to the executive woman outfits

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    Mar 18, 2011, 04.52 PMby wzrdreams

    I also dig this article’s concept… taking a character or a movie as inspiration is a fun idea.

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    Mar 18, 2011, 04.25 PMby bodicegoddess589

    I love it – what a great concept! I’d love to see a Burdastyle article about the vintage looks in “Mad Men” and how to achieve them – from Don’s clean-cut suit, to Pete’s propensity for blue and a skinny tie, to Betty’s collection of dresses from when she was a model in Italy!

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      Mar 22, 2011, 07.23 PMby tinapickles

      THIS! I’d love to see some Joan inspired outfits for the simple fact that Christina Hendricks has CURVES! And she’s not a scrawny size -1 either…

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    Mar 18, 2011, 04.12 PMby flynnflynn

    This is a really fun post! The style icon I’d most like to emulate would be Auntie Mame. That scene where she makes a hat from Christmas tree ornaments is so fantastic. I want to feel that happy every time I get dressed, too. (If anyone knows where I can get a pattern for the dress Pegeen wears in the second-to-last scene, I’d love to try my hand at it.)

    The style icon I most often find myself imitating; Ms. Frizzle. She always dressed in theme according to where the Magic School Bus was headed; I still love it. Lately every time I think about the really enthusiastic school teachers I had, I think how much fun they would have had with a site like Spoonflower for making illustrative clothes!

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      Mar 18, 2011, 04.14 PMby themisslinds

      Ah Ms. Frizzle! I loved The Magic School Bus – what a great inspiration.

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