Style Icon: Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Actress in the 1954 hit musical, Carmen Jones. She was also a singer and a round entertainer. She is known to have inspired countless black actresses and entertainers today, from Halle Berry, to Cicely Tyson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Angela Basset, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston and many more…

In 1992, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
In terms of aesthetics, the styling of the film is still referred to today. Dorothy confidently rocked an elegant scarf dress, a flirty salsa dancer look, complete with a red rose in her hair, and many more visual delights.
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Dorothy didn’t stop there – she went on to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in the 1959 musical/comedy Porgy and Bess.
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Dorothy’s Style

  • Keepin’ It Classy. Dorothy’s style was filled with lots of well-tailored shapes and silhouettes, which created a classic, yet unfussy look. She wore clean-cut blouses, dresses and trousers for a timeless look — most of her outfits would still be considered super-stylish today!
  • Prim & Proper. To complement her classic look, Dorothy also chose pieces with a distinct feminine flair. She accessorized with gorgeous jewelry, sleek handbags and ladylike footwear, which added the finishing touches to her timeless outfits.
  • Figure-Hugging Pieces. Dorothy always wore outfits that accentuated her amazing figure. She chose pieces that were body-skimming (but never vulgar!) and used belts and scarves to show off her hourglass shape.
  • Shoulder to Shoulder. Dorothy was often photographed wearing clothes that showed off her gorgeous shoulders. Mimic her look for yourself by wearing strapless or off-the-shoulder tops and dresses.

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