Elizabeth Taylor’s Iconic Style

While the late Elizabeth Taylor dazzled the world with her on-screen performances, it was her style -- from tailored '50s dresses to Taylor's over-the-top jewelry during the '80s -- that made her a fashion icon.

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NOVEMBER 24: Actress Elizabeth Taylor poses for a portrait on the set of the movie "Giant" which was released on November 24, 1956. (Photo by Frank Worth, Courtesy of Emage International/Getty Images)
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While the late Elizabeth Taylor dazzled the world over with her on-screen performances, it was her style -- from tailored '50s dresses to Taylor's over-the-top jewelry during the '80s -- that made her a fashion icon. Here, an early portrait of the young star in 1951 in a buttoned-up look.
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Taylor, famous later in her career for her sex appeal and glamour, was earlier a portrait of innocence, sporting charming (if prim) looks with a schoolgirl appeal.
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In her early career as a starlet, Taylor exemplified early '50s American chic, sporting dresses with nipped-in waists and full skirts.
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Here, Taylor poses with fellow actress Lorraine Day at an airport circa 1955.
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When Elizabeth Taylor wed hotelier Conrad Hilton at the young age of 18, she sported the quintessential '50s silhouette: an ultra-slim waist and a high-neck collar.
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In the years that followed the wedding, Taylor increasingly embraced the look that would define her as a star and as a sex symbol: a perfectly fitted dress with a wide neckline that emphasized her decolletage.
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A portrait of Elizabeth Taylor in a white satin strapless gown circa 1953.
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John Hancock
Elizabeth Taylor poses with fellow actor Robert Taylor at the after-party for the premiere of the movie "Quo Vadis' in Los Angeles in 1951.
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Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
The look was one that would become her signature for years to come: Here, the actress poses in Rome in 1962.
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As late as 1992, Taylor was sporting her signature look at the Academy Awards, posing with Paul Newman.
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Elizabeth Taylor wears a low-cut pale pink gown at a party with eighth husband Larry Fortensky.
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Elizabeth Taylor's transformation from innocent young girl to American sex symbol happened rather quickly. Here, Taylor poses by the beach in a girlish one-piece.
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By the mid-'50s, she was hamming it up in a push-up bikini on the set of the movie "Giant."
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By 1959, she was striking a decidedly sexier pose in a one-piece swimsuit for "Suddenly Last Summer."
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John Hancock
Elizabeth's Taylor then enjoyed a kind of style renaissance in the '80s and '90s, transforming her signature brand of sex appeal into all-out glamour. Here, she poses with designer Calvin Klein.
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Here, she wears an eye-catching tiered gown at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's tribute in 1986.
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Sporting a slinky blank dress with metallic flowers at the 1985 Golden Globes.
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Wearing lace and a sparkling pin with George Hamilton in Arizona in 1986.
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Head-to-toe sparkle and glamour at the Drama Desk Awards at the Rainbow Room in New York City.
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Posing with Burt Reynolds in a sequin red gown at the 2nd Annual Starlight Foundation Benefit Gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.
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More sparkles and shoulder pads -- this time at the premiere "Comfort and Joy" at Academy Theater in Beverly Hills.
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Taylor seemed to even be aware of -- and embrace -- her glamorous-to-the-point-of-camp aesthetic. Here, she playfully sports a sparkling sweater embellished with her own face in sequins.
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J Luis Rey
Taylor also showed an affinity for embellishments of other varieties -- namely, headpieces. In 1964, she married her fifth husband, Richard Burton, wearing a garland of flowers on her head.
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Here, an '80s portrait of Taylor shows her wearing a ladylike purple gown with matching flowers in a headpiece.
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John Hancock
In 1996, Taylor complemented her sparkling gown with a matching sparkling turban at a party with Richard Burton in Rome.
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Toni Guinyard, KNBC-TV
Taylor also loved her furs: Here, she poses with fellow actor Robert Stack in the late '40s wearing a glamorous fur wrap.
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Toni Guinyard, KNBC-TV
In a portrait of Taylor in 1966 with then-husband Burton at London Airport, the actress wore a large fur coat.
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Angela Conners
In 1948, Taylor accessorized a prim ensemble with a ladylike handbag and a massive fur coat.
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Toni Guinyard, KNBC-TV
Then there is Elizabeth Taylor's legendary collection of precious jewelry. As signature as her bosom-enhancing dresses, Taylor never seemed to be without few spectacular pieces of bling, like this emerald-and-diamond necklace she wore to the Academy Awards.
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In the '70s, she opted for chunky gold and silver statement jewelry.
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Emily Holzhauzer
Here, she sports spectacular matching emerald-and-diamond necklace, ring, earrings, and headpiece at a premiere in Paris.
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John Hancock
At Elton John's 13th annual AIDS Foundation Oscar Party, she sported an eye-catching choker and matching earrings.
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Emily Holzhauzer
When the sparkles and diamonds weren't enough, Taylor cheekily added feathers. Here, she poses at Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden.
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Elizabeth Taylor wearing a cream-colored gown, statement jewelry, and a matching cream boa.
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