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The Fashion Icons List: History at Its Gayest!

Calling all aspiring fashion icons! Want to leave your haute couture mark on the world? You need to learn from the best. Here are 24 of our favorites.
Grindr
&
Editorial team
April 2, 2024
April 16, 2024
7
min. read
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When you think of fashion, who and what comes to mind? Probably icons like Rihanna, Princess Diana, and Lady Gaga — fashion idols who shaped the cultural zeitgeist and challenged social norms with fierce self-expression, over-the-top theatrics, and unyielding authenticity. 

Whether they snatch the red carpet in head-to-toe meat or rebel against the royals in a form-hugging black dress (you wish you could, Camilla), they reflect their iconoclasm through their gag-inducing garments. 

But what separates the fashion icons from the rest? Grab your notebooks, kids. Class is in session. 

What’s a fashion icon in the first place?

These days, the word “icon” is everywhere. Everyone is iconic, everyone is a legend, and everyone is the moment. But not every queen makes it into the history books, and a good look for the ’gram doesn’t instantly make someone iconic. 

So, what distinguishes a person with great style from a style icon? Think of your own style idol, whether it’s Zendaya or Audrey Hepburn. Despite their wildly different takes on fashion, they share one thing in common: Their looks are instantly recognizable. 

Learning how to style yourself takes time (sometimes a lifetime), and there’s no step-by-step manual. Being a fashion icon is about understanding who you are and using clothing to express that — and redefining popular fashion in the process.

Consistency is often the best wardrobe accessory. Think of Diana Ross’s affinity for sequins or Chloë Sevigny’s daring androgyny. Their looks can’t be acquired; they are created (Paris Is Burning fans, you know what we’re talking about).

Once you carve out your unique vibe, well, that’s iconic. 

The icons are iconing: 24 of the most iconic fashion icons

Whether walking the red carpet, hitting the runway, or designing the world’s best threads, these icons not only love doing iconic shit — they’re pros at it.

1. Audrey Hepburn

On the surface, Audrey Hepburn’s style seems simple to mimic. The Givenchy muse favored good tailoring, clean lines, and subtle silhouettes. But she proved that a look isn’t complete without the right accessories. Her oversized sunglasses, ballet flats, and statement earrings always slayed.

2. Zendaya

Although we imagine the self-proclaimed homebody in a perfect pair of sweats and a T-shirt at home, Zendaya knows how to kill a red carpet. We still bow down to Blake Lively, Queen of the Met Gala. But that Cinderella gown! Zendaya’s looks cement her as a worthy successor. 

3. Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn wore pants so Diane Keaton could don enormous bowler hats. Her Dom-masc gender-bending energy was radical for the time. She became a women’s fashion icon with high-waisted slacks, blue jeans, and button-down shirts in an era when feminine was defined as dainty. 

4. Marilyn Monroe

“Fashion icon” is selling her short. Marilyn Monroe was never shy about showing off her figure, and she even broke royal protocol by meeting Queen Elizabeth in a halter top. Slay.

5. Elizabeth Taylor

Her fashion sense was as voracious as her taste in men. Seven hunky husbands? Girl, we get it. We just know Richard Burton was talking dirty.

Elizabeth Taylor could do it all: sultry Hollywood gowns and chic casual wear. But no matter the occasion, her extensive jewelry collection solidified her spot as a symbol of luxury. 

6. Bettie Page

She’s not just a pin-up girl. Bettie Page’s dark hair, short bangs, and fishnet stocking are still provocative. From drag queens to punk girls, her nontraditional take on femininity still empowers alternative fashion today.  

7. Princess Diana

We simply won’t allow any filth put on Princess Diana’s name. And it’s not only because she was an LGBTQ ally when we needed it most. She also embodied the power of a “fuck you” outfit that lets your ex know you’ve moved on. 

8. Madonna

The cone bra. The bleach-blonde pixie cut. The milkmaid era. It’s impossible to pick a single look from the Queen of Reinvention. Whatever she’s wearing, Madonna always proves that women can be feminine and sexy without being delicate.

9. Rihanna

The multi-hyphenate fashion leader is always at work, work, work, work, work — on everything but an album. Rihanna’s style has come a long way since she was a fresh-faced teen. We love watching how she has grown into herself and her style. Whether in head-to-toe streetwear or haute couture, she’s never afraid to show off. 

10. Jackie Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy set a new standard for American fashion when she stepped into the White House. Her pink Chanel suit and pillbox hats still resonate with designers and fashion enthusiasts today. 

11. Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly always was that bitch. The Hollywood actress defined grace and sophistication long before she became Princess of Monaco. Her wedding dress, with its high neckline, elegant train, and taffeta skirt (adorned with thousands of hand-sewn pearls), is so beautiful it’s frequently displayed in museums.

12. Billy Porter

The Pose star knows how to take over a red carpet. Who can forget his 2020 Grammy look and that wide-brimmed hat with a remote-controlled privacy screen? It’s giving church lady. It’s giving Geordi La Forge’s fabulous cousin. It’s giving “per my last email.”

Porter is one of our favorite Black fashion icons because he demands attention, takes up space, and plays by his own rule book.

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13. Twiggy

The English model was picked on for her thin frame — hence “Twiggy.” Still, she remains one of the world’s most iconic supermodels. Twiggy put swinging ’60s fashions on the mainstream map, empowering an entire generation to embrace shift dresses, miniskirts, and going braless. 

14. Diana Ross

In an era when disco reigned and New York had a personality, Diana Ross was the moment. Her sparkly sequin outfits and form-fitting tailoring ensured everyone saw her murder it on the dancefloor. 

15. Lady Gaga

Do we really need to explain? The mother of Monsters has always used her wardrobe to convey messages of empowerment, individuality, and inclusivity, whether she’s wearing a meat dress or getting carried down the red carpet in an egg. And Gaga has always supported LGBTQ designers, from Alexander McQueen to Alexis Bittar.  

16. Jane Birkin

The English-French actress and singer symbolized European chic in the ’60s and ’70s. Her understated style favored classic denim, simple silhouettes, and minimalistic accessories. Her understated makeup and “I woke up like this” hair show that simple is beautiful — a welcome message in an era of unrealistic beauty standards. 

17. Lauren Hutton 

Before Cindy, Shalom, and Naomi, there was Lauren Hutton. She broke barriers in the fashion industry by celebrating her natural, gap-toothed smile. Hutton’s unconventional features taught everyone that your “biggest flaw” is actually your unique signature. 

18. Victoria Beckham

They weren’t joking when they named her Posh Spice. Victoria Beckham’s namesake fashion house is the definition of British sophistication: lush cardigans, sleek minidresses, and trousers with lines so sharp they cut. 

19. David Beckham

We’ll never know how much Victoria Beckham had to do with the evolution of David Beckham as a male fashion icon, but we’ll thank her anyway. David has never shied away from experimenting. He’s done buzzcuts, shoulder-length hair, 2000s streetwear, sophisticated fall outfits, and plenty of underwear pics. Whatever the outfit, we’re thirsty and inspired. 

20. André 3000

The Outkast frontman redefined what it meant to be a rap superstar with sex appeal. His mixture of bold colors, vintage prints, and oversized accessories cemented him as one of the most interesting male style icons in the hip-hop game. We’ll let him play our flute anytime. 

21. Julia Fox

The Uncuy Jams star is certainly our fashion trend muse. There is still so much more to come from Julia Fox. We hope she keeps her fearless approach to fashion — and we really mean fearless. She’ll dig for autumn leaves in the park if it suits her vision.

22. Chloë Sevigny 

It’s Chloë Sevigny’s world; we’re lucky to live in it. After this celebrity icon burst onto the scene with a starring role in Kids, she earned It-girl status and has kept us gagging ever since. Sevigny has a special way of turning everything otherworldly, whether she’s wearing an androgynous pantsuit or a Jackie Kennedy-esque Chanel skit. 

23. Lil Nas X

We would definitely swipe right if Lil Nas X featured his silver thong Met Gala look as his profile pic. The young hip-hop star always strikes the right balance between masculine and feminine, donning Versace skirts and cleavage-bearing silk blouses.

24. Tom Ford 

Tom Ford’s tenure at Gucci revitalized the brand, turning the nearly bankrupt fashion house into a multibillion-dollar brand. Since then, he’s built his own namesake brand and used his impeccable eye to direct A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals. He’s sophisticated, he’s elegant, and boy, can he fill out a three-piece suit. 

Do iconic shit on Grindr

An icon knows to bow down to another fashion icon when they see one. Be inspired and bold, but always remember to be you. And if you need a man on your arm to accessorize your latest look, you’ll find him on Grindr. Get the Grindr app and show him what’s hiding underneath that outfit. 

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