Forget Fashion Week Trends: Menswear Style on Women Is Timeless

History of Female Celebrities in Suits
Celine Dion and Rihanna
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02/13/2014 10:00AM

It's Fashion Week, that time of year when everyone looks to the all-knowing catwalks of New York City to see the sartorial future revealed.

While the runways of Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Badgley Mischka will show which clothes to covet for fall, we have tips from the red carpet you can use now.

One trend that continues to surprise and smolder is menswear styles for women. Rihanna, Diane Keaton and Hillary Clinton each have their own take on the look; now it's time to develop yours.

Revisit the history of female celebrities in menswear and suit up accordingly.



Marlene Dietrich

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Marlene Dietrich

Maurice Zalewski / Getty

A pioneer of androgynous style, Dietrich was often spotted sporting men's driving outfits and tuxedos in public. The German-born actress rose to fame in America during the 1930s, earning an Oscar nomination for her role as a tuxedo-clad cabaret singer in Morocco.

Katharine Hepburn

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Katharine Hepburn

Alfred Eisenstaedt / Getty

Ascending to the top echelon of Hollywood around the same time as Dietrich, Hepburn set herself apart by choosing slacks over skirts. In a time before it was socially acceptable for women to wear pants, Hepburn appeared on screen wearing slacks in 1943's The Philadelphia Story.

Patti Smith

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Patti Smith

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

Smith, the "Godmother of Punk," is one of the astounding few who make appearing cool seem effortless. Starting with her 1975 debut album, Horses, Smith's usual ensemble of misbuttoned men's shirts, skinny ties and messy locks became an inspiration – for men and women alike.

Diane Keaton

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Diane Keaton in Annie Hall

Courtesy United Artists

In the era of disco, Annie Hall's 1977 release gave many women a reason to ditch the extravagant disco wear for something more relaxed (and less flammable). Playing Annie Hall's titular character, Keaton continues to inspire women to work vests, fedoras and gloves into their wardrobe with her personal and well-photographed love for vintage men's style.

Annie Lennox

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Courtesy Eurythmics

According to Annie Lennox, sweet dreams take a little suit-and-tie action. The Eurythmics frontwoman spent most of the early '80s performing in men's suits as a message of gender equality. Lennox's sartorial sense became so iconic, it eventually inspired a 2011 collection by fashion house Dolce & Gabbana.

Madonna

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Madonna

Ron Galella / WireImage

Madonna's longtime love for suit pieces first appeared – among the lace and bustiers – in early music videos such as "Vogue" and "Express Yourself," and has continued through today, seen recently during her 2014 Grammys appearance.

Céline Dion

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Celine Dion

Steve Granitz / WireImage

Not all suits are the right fit. Céline Dion left fashion reporters at the 1999 Oscars feeling turned around when she appeared in a backward tuxedo jacket in lieu of a top. Luckily, Dion's heart may go on, but her attempted menswear look did not.

Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton

Bertrand / AFP / Getty

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton isn't quite the menswear maverick some of the others on this list are, but she can't be ignored. Over her long political career, Clinton has shown the endless pantsuit options available to professional women, and for that we are forever in her debt.

Janelle Monae

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Janelle Monae

Jason Merritt / Getty

It's stranger to see this vocal firecracker out of a suit than in one. Since her 2007 debut, Monae has graced almost every red carpet in a playful take on men's formal wear, and the bouffant-sporting crooner shows no signs of stopping.

Rihanna

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Dimitrios Kambouris / FilmMagic

Rihanna remixed the classic tuxedo and took control of the 2009 Met Costume Institute Gala. The look helped to solidify the songstress as a fashion risk-taker and show that the puffy sleeve's shelf life is forever.

Leighton Meester

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Leighton Meester

Andrew H. Walker / FilmMagic

She may have a girly-girl reputation, but the actress behind TV's preppiest tattletale, Blair Waldorf, ditched her Gossip Girl style to suit up for the 2010 Gotham Independent Film Awards.

Beyoncé

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Beyoncé

Jeff Kravitz / Filmmagic

In all things, Beyoncé is queen – menswear included. The singer has managed to add masculine touches to many of her fierce fashion moments, such as the sparkly suit jacket she accessorized with a baby bump for her 2011 MTV Video Music Awards performance.

Cate Blanchett

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Cate Blanchett

Dave M. Benett / Getty

Men, watch your closets. Blue Jasmine star Cate Blanchett isn't all ball gowns and sparkly silhouettes. The actress often stands out on the red carpet by incorporating menswear elements into her look, as seen in this 2012 ensemble.

Kim Basinger

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Kim Basinger

Taylor Hill / FilmMagic

Bombshell Basinger recently brought the menswear trend back in a big way. The actress arrived to the 2013 premiere of Grudge Match in a three-piece suit that seemed straight out of the 1920s – pocket watch included.

Salma Hayek

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Salma Hayek

Aurore Marechal / Startraks

Instead of picking pieces inspired by menswear, Hayek went for the real thing. The curvy actress sported a suit from Yves-Saint Laurent menswear collection to one of the designer's 2014 shows in Paris. Further proof that the well-tailored female is here to stay.

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