2021’s most ubiquitous hair trend? Curtain bangs, hands down. Chances are you can’t scroll far down your Instagram feed without spotting the long, sweeping fringe — maybe you’ve even taken the plunge yourself. But curtain bangs aren’t new, and before they got their current moniker, the face-framing locks were called Brigitte Bardot bangs.
Now a committed animal rights activist, Paris-born actress and singer Brigitte Bardot spent the 1950s and ’60s starring in iconic French films including And God Created Woman (1956) and Contempt (1963). As one of the midcentury’s top sex symbols, she pioneered many of the fashions we now think of as textbook French-girl style. On top of popularizing the world’s most flattering bangs, Brigitte kicked off the craze for ballet flats, Breton stripes, even sultry cat-eye liner.
Want to borrow a little of Brigitte Bardot’s je ne sais quoi? We rounded up her most iconic outfits — plus the best pieces to recreate the looks.
Brigitte proves that you can ooze sex appeal even when all covered up. The key is in the cuts: choose a slim-fitting, fine-knit sweater and snug cigarette pants to subtly show off your figure. Then add ultra-feminine details like ballet flats and a silky neck scarf. Casual enough for the grocery store and hot enough for a dinner date, this outfit is good-to-go from day to night.
Crown Brigitte the queen of nontraditional bridal style — she wore this pink gingham swing dress at her wedding to Jacques Charrier in 1959. The same year, she paired a fitted tee with a flirty skirt in the same pattern in the film Will You Dance With Me? The charming checked fabric is everywhere right now, so it’s a breeze to find gingham frocks that are perfect for a wedding (yours or a pal’s). Stealing the skirt? Go tea-length like Brigitte or update the look with a summery mini.
Forget the sweatpants that make up most of our in-flight outfits. Brigitte’s go-to airport attire is leather everything — these shots are from trips to Heathrow in 1968. Build off a black turtleneck base with sleek leather pieces like a blazer and over-the-knee boots or a waistcoat and straight-legged pants (personally, I’d rock this bold look at my favorite bar rather than Terminal B). And whether you lean more pageboy or cowboy, don’t forget a hat.
Originally an element of French seamen’s uniforms, Breton stripes became hallmarks of Parisian fashion thanks in part to Brigitte’s influence. A stripey top looks tres bien with a cozy cardigan (plus Brigitte’s signature wide headband). The pattern also livens up a basic cotton bodycon, as evidenced by Brigitte’s party-ready look from Two Weeks in September (1967).
Which Brigitte Bardot outfit are you most excited to try? Whose style should we steal next? Let us know in the comments!
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