How Marilyn Monroe Revolutionized The Fashion Industry & The Price She Had to Pay For It

On the evening of September 15, 1955, around 1:00 a.m., the legendary Hollywood sweetheart Marilyn Monroe waited for a gust of wind. Little did the world know that the breeze that followed would completely enamor the world for decades. Marilyn’s dress billowed in the wind, and in her most adorable young accent, she said, “Isn’t it delicious?” The world agreed. Ultimately, Marilyn could hardly make out the filmmaker’s signals above the cacophony of the public’s jeers and screams.


Production had begun on “The Seven Year Itch,” a classic romantic comedy starring Marilyn in which the actress played a wife whose husband was enticed to sleep with their seductive next-door tenant. Marilyn portrayed the alluring next-door tenant, “the Girl,” a blonde, curvy supermodel on a toothpaste tour. The film and her role in it were mostly forgotten. However, her garment became the industry standard for iconic gowns. The straps of her white halter costume arched at her waistline and folded into hand-made knife pleats. Marilyn’s skirts were blown up by the warm air in the tube, and the fragile fabric clung to her skin like melted wax.

The Outfit Was The Birthchild Of William Travilla

After Marilyn’s outfit went viral, knockoffs began selling like hotcakes in the months that followed. Above Times Square, a giant banner depicting the smiling actress in her iconic outfit was set up. New Yorkers craned their heads to see the daring banner, and journalists questioned them about their thoughts. A housekeeper in a horrible burlap gown expressed her disapproval by asking, “What does she have that other ladies have and choose not to display?” Eventually, we’d find out the solution to that dilemma. It was merely the beginning of Marilyn’s upheaval in the modeling and fashion industry. In a time when Peter Pan collars, complementing scarves, and purses reigned supreme, she revolutionized fashion by making it more attuned to the human form. Monroe’s acceptance of her sensual, curvaceous body was maybe one of her most significant offerings to the world of beauty and style.


William Travilla, the architect of the now-iconic “white” outfit, first referred to his masterpiece as “that silly little dress.” He had no idea that his creation would constitute the most mimicked garment ever. The irony is that nobody could manage to get the replicas correctly. Travilla claimed that the clothing wasn’t white but rather a skeleton hue. Clothes photographed in white would have looked too gray in the 1950s lighting. Sadly, the once-white garment has now aged to a darkish ecru tone.

Marilyn’s outfit may have been cushioned. The bodices of the outfits William Travilla created for her frequently included cushioning. It wasn’t an attempt to make her bust seem bigger but rather to change its contour. Rumor has it that Marilyn’s bosoms were too small and too widely spread to match the fashion of the time. So, Travilla often added velcro to the bodice of her clothes to make her breasts look bigger.


How Marilyn Revolutionized The Fashion Industry

Marilyn looked stunning in everything from a modest pink halter gown of the 1950s to the most elaborate costumes imaginable. Marilyn donned her iconic Halter outfit while she was filming Niagara, and it’s a great illustration of how well basic, timeless styles can work. This garment is wonderful in every way, and the attention to design in the form of buttons makes any wearer shine out in the crowd. Marilyn’s ruched style sparked a massive shift in womenswear in the 1950s. Marilyn wore a stunning ruched orange dress while filming one of her most successful movies, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, where she captivated everyone with her style. A floor-length shawl in the same colors complemented the ensemble.

When it came to her style, Marilyn made sure to give folks a classic, effortless style. Marilyn’s off-duty outfit was perfect for lounging around the house or taking a stroll in the metropolis. Marilyn’s standard wiggle outfits were just another significant influence she had on the growth of women’s wear in the 1950s. This particular outfit had a crew collar, which complemented a belt strap that accentuated her slim waist. Marilyn’s attractive attire consisted of a white shirt and blue jeans; the style was subtle and timeless. This reportedly simple but really chic outfit quickly rose to the top of the popularity charts. In today’s fashion world, a white shirt and blue jeans are needed to pull off the classic but subtle style. One of Marilyn’s most iconic looks was a satin one-shoulder dress. This magnificent cocktail dress from the 1950s still serves as a prime example of its style. Marilyn turned the satin dress into something of a one-shouldered outfit, a design that still echoes in the industry.


Marilyn inspired several iconic looks, including the beauty mark, cropped curly hair worn high above the shoulder, fake eyelashes, Chanel No. 5, and the thong worn beneath skirts and dresses to hide the pant line. All of this helped shape Norma into the legendary Marilyn Monroe, but more than that, several of them set trends that are widely followed today. This demonstrates how Marilyn altered popular culture and established several traditions that are still practiced today.

Marilyn’s Husband Hated That Dress!

While most onlookers found Marilyn’s lack of decorum entertaining, others did not. Marilyn’s violent partner, Joe DeMaggio, was in the crowd that same day. Filmmaker Billy Wilder claims that when Joe watched his wife’s garments fly up in the air, he became furious and gave her “the death look”. He waited until Marilyn finished filming before he unleashed his regular savage assault. Joe’s attacks when she returned to the lodge rendered her idle for a week. To put it bluntly, he came dangerously close to killing her.


While Marilyn may have fit the stereotype of the naive blonde, the actress was anything but a fool. She might have allowed the wind to blow away her clothes, but she would never allow the person to abuse and humiliate her. Marilyn’s divorce suit came soon after Joe began assaulting her. Marilyn’s skirt-flying event and the stunning outfit she wore are fondly remembered as a reminder of women challenging gender norms. Unfortunately, there was a cost associated with all that sexual liberty. Joe became resentful when she stopped laughing at the television because of his constant abuse. There is a scene in the movie when Marilyn cries and begs for someone to come back and not abandon her. It was no other than her laughing and confident self. She had married a degenerate who constantly forced her to stop performing and engaging in her attention-seeking antics. Joe insisted that Marilyn portray a submissive housewife. And when he was unsuccessful in his attempts to manipulate her, he brutally assaulted her.

After Marilyn’s death, her signature white dress went to Debbie Reynolds for $200, and later in 2011, it was auctioned for a whopping $5.52 million. But we can all agree that Marilyn’s “silly little dress” was priceless.


See More: Who Was Marilyn Monroe? What Was She Like In Real Life?

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Rishabh Shandilya
Rishabh Shandilya
Rishabh considers himself a superhero who is always at work trying to save the world from boredom. In his leisure time, he loves to watch more movies and play video games and tries to write about them to entertain his readers further. Rishabh likes to call himself a dedicated fan of Haruki Murakami, whose books are an escape from his real being.

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