Style Icon: Rita Hayworth

I always find it interesting to read about people’s style icons – I’ve never really had any or at least thought of it that way, though of course there are tons of women I love and whose looks inspire me. When I came across this video today I felt inspired to write about the lovely, incredibly talented Rita Hayworth. If you have not seen this video, please watch it. If you’ve seen it, rewatch it. She’s incredible. The joy in her dancing will move you – you can’t look at anyone else on screen. And of course all her outfits are adorable and THAT HAIR. She had the best hair in Hollywood. But the biggest thing to me is her smile. She was seen as smoldering, sexy, and exotic, but I love her best when she’s smiling.

Rita Hayworth dancing to Stayin’ Alive:

Welcome back! Wasn’t it the best?


The hair! I love how big it is in this picture. As a curly-haired girl I am obligated to love big hair.


The pants! Though she was dressed in gorgeous gowns for many of her movies, she dressed more casually in her off hours. From what I understand this is her outfit and her car.


The hair of the 40s could get so complicated – I love that she usually wore it down.


I think my favorite style icons have an element of masculinity. I love this coat and the collar on the shirt.


I love the drape of this dress. It’s so early forties.

(Photos found here)


I love this picture of her dancing with Fred Astaire. And oh, the Spectator shoes, as blurry as they may be!


In case you can’t tell from all the black and white photos, she was most famous as a redhead (though naturally brunette).

What you can’t see in her photos is that she had a troubled personal life – many marriages, a struggle with alcoholism, unhappiness. Even as we celebrate someone’s beauty we have to remember that beauty is not everything about a person. I’m sure Rita suffered in some ways for her loveliness – as her most famous quote alludes, “Men fall in love with Gilda and wake up with me.” I wish that when Rita was growing up more people told her that not only was she beautiful, but smart, kind, interesting. Maybe that would have saved her some heartache. And it helps me to remember when I look at impossibly gorgeous women that they aren’t perfect, and it’s okay that I’m not either. And I can still appreciate Rita for her timeless talent and classic style.