These stunning women have helped permanently shape fashion in and made fashion history in the U.S. See the full list at Msn.com
The term “first lady” might bring images to mind of stuffy, tweed Jackie Kennedy suits, but Mrs. Obama is changing all of that. She often mixes casual, ready-to-wear brands with more “first lady quality” designer names, and has even been caught re-wearing outfits! Not to mention, she inspires us all to work our arms and show them in a classy sleeveless dress.
The vibrant Josephine Baker was the first African-American woman to star in a major motion picture when she landed her role in “Zouzou.” As a French citizen, she was always taking fashion risks that most American actresses were not, and gained fame for her provocative but beautiful outfits.
The lovely Naomi Sims has been credited as the first African-American supermodel and she created a huge buzz when she became the first black woman to be featured on the cover of “Ladies’ Home Journal” in 1968. Sims went on to launch her own line of affordable wigs, fragrances and cosmetics.
Pam Grier is the image of 70s style, popularizing that Macy Gray-style fro and strutting her action-film-worthy figure in go-go boots, short “shift” dresses and midriff-showing crop tops.
A woman whose voice still soothes couples into “the mood” today wore her soulful spirit on her sleeve—literally. She often donned elegant gardenias in her hair, classic pearls, and sophisticated furs.
Some might credit Beyoncé with bringing elegance and showgirl flare back to stage costumes. At any of her numerous Grammy performances, she’s worn jaw-dropping, glamorous costumes that make media headlines for weeks. Knowles even launched her own fashion line with her mom called House of Deréon.
It’s no stretch of the imagination to call Tina Turner a style role model for Beyoncé. Turner shocked the world when, after a strong career in the 60s, she made an 80s comeback with her signature rocker hair and mini dresses showing off her well-worked legs.
The former leader of The Supremes epitomized disco style with her disco-ball sparkly dresses, sequins, jumpsuits, shiny polyester, capes and elaborate headdresses. Her classic look still gets plenty of media attention at red carpet events.
Dandridge was the first African American to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, starring alongside greats like John Wayne. She went through several signature styles, from her off-the-shoulder tops and strapless dresses to her Holly Golightly pedal pushers and blouses with the collars popped.
Diahann Carroll was the first African American actress to be featured on a show not playing a domestic worker. She eventually went on to land a role in the wildly popular “Dynasty” TV series where she got attention for her signature 80s look of sequins and fur.