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Michelle Yeoh

Seven Timeless Jacket Looks Inspired by Style Icons Throughout the Decades

From Jackie O to Tracee Ellis Ross, these style legends know how to wield the power of a great layer.

By Emma Steinbergs

You know how some little kids love to play dress up in their parents’ clothes? No princess dresses or dinosaur suits—just good, old-fashioned grown-up stuff like button-downs, blazers, and giant shoes to shuffle around in. These kids make it clear: Even our tiniest selves can see that a strong shoulder or sharp collar helps you stand a little taller. 

At M.M., we’ve certainly believed in confidence-boosting clothing from day one. And this Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the power of one piece in particular: the jacket. Once seen as a controversial choice for women, the jacket has since become a symbol of strength and a staple in the modern woman’s wardrobe. So over the course of the next few weeks, we’re spotlighting jackets by offering special styling appointments, donating to Bottomless Closet, giving you an opportunity to win an M.M. shopping spree, and, of course, sharing plenty of outfit inspiration.

Below, discover seven confidence-boosting outfit combinations inspired by some of our favorite jacket-loving style icons.

1. Mary Tyler Moore

Photo: MTM Enterprises

Growing up in Minneapolis, I periodically thought about Mary Tyler Moore. I grew up less than a mile away from the house featured on her eponymous show and often passed her statue downtown. But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I appreciated just how progressive her TV show—and style—really were. Moore’s character was uniquely independent, ambitious, and self-assured—qualities that her clothing helped to communicate. We could all use more of her spunky spirit, so next time you head into the office, try taking notes from her polished, playful ‘70s work wardrobe. Start with a statement jacket like the beloved O’Hara blazer, which pairs strong shoulders with a menswear-inspired houndstooth fabric that has a secretly stretchy feel. Complete your charming skirt suit with the matching Whitney, and finish it off with a black turtleneck, long gold necklace, small hoops, and chunky-heeled shoes.

2. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Photo: Getty Images

In addition to being First Lady of the United States, Jackie O was known for her iconic sense of style. With an extensive collection of pillbox hats and coordinating coats, she was often pastel-clad and always impeccably put together. If you love her ‘60s-chic vibe in theory, but tend to prefer neutrals, draw inspiration from one of her more muted suits. Try our take on timeless tweed suiting with our Interweave Lilia jacket—crafted in Japan and designed to be passed down to future generations—paired with the matching Krista skirt. Let this beautifully patterned knit set speak for itself by finishing off your look with streamlined styles like a white underpinning, black flats, and classic pearl earrings.

3. Bianca Jagger

Photo: Getty Images

Bianca Jagger wasn’t just married to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones—she was also a star in her own right. A ‘70s “it” girl who ran with the likes of Andy Warhol and later became a human rights advocate, Jagger had an epic wardrobe that reflected her position as a worldly free spirit. (If you haven’t seen the look she wore on her wedding day, Google it now.) Has your style been feeling a little stale? Jagger might just inspire you to shake things up with one of her unexpected yet minimalist combinations. To emulate this look in particular, grab the Porter jacket, another one of our luxe Interweave styles, and layer it over a contrasting black base that consists of a fitted underpinning, slip skirt, and tights. For a fashion-forward finishing touch, select an open-toed shoe like the Ella sandal (yes, you can wear tights with sandals!), and tie it all together with a pair of statement earrings.

4. Christy Turlington

Photo: Getty Images

‘90s style has cycled back around for good reason. It’s comfortable, minimalist, and full of neutrals that look chic on everyone—even those of us who don’t happen to be supermodels like Christy Turlington. Take this look, for instance. A relaxed beige suit is about as approachably chic as it gets, and you can achieve the look with our timeless Yiyan blazer. For added ease, we’ve included signature knit panels in the back, allowing you to move like you’re in a George Michael music video. Round out this laid-back look with a matching pair of trousers, a crisp ivory tank, and leather sneakers. And if you really want to party like it’s 1999, add a textured brown belt and sparkly studs.

5. Michelle Yeoh

Photo: Getty Images

In case you haven’t noticed, Michelle Yeoh is having a moment, thanks to the delightful film Everything Everywhere All at Once. We love to see it, but she also deserves credit for the work she’s been doing for decades as a trailblazing female figure in martial arts movies. Trained as a dancer, Yeoh handles most of her own stunts and always manages to look graceful and tough at the same time. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up. If you want to join me in channeling her bright, badass spirit, opt for a vibrant jacket like the Merritt in vine. This best-selling jardigan features a blazer-inspired silhouette, chic lapels, and a waist tie that multiplies your styling options. To create a stretchy (read: action-ready) suit, pair it with the matching Harlem skirt plus a cotton T-shirt. For accessories, the Rowan flats and Kat studs will be equally no-fuss but still full of personality.

6. Cate Blanchett

Photo: Getty Images

Cate Blanchett has played some pretty intense characters in her day (have you seen Tár?), which seems to influence her personal sense of style—in the best way possible. Just like her acting, many of her looks are a master class in drama. Poofy sleeves? She nails those. Neon colors? Not intimidated in the least. If you’re not quite as daring but still want to connect with a new side of yourself, try incorporating one element of surprise into your everyday looks. The next time you’re in the market for a new suit, go for something a little boxier, a little bluer—like the indigo O’Hara blazer. For a look that’s Oscar-worthy from head to toe, pair it with the matching Mejia pants, a striped button-down, leather sneakers, and a navy tote.

7. Tracee Ellis Ross

Photo: Getty Images

The daughter of Diana Ross, Tracee Ellis Ross has style in her DNA. If I had to pick one adjective to describe her wardrobe, it would be “fun.” Just look at her pictured here, proving that black, white, and gray can be as interesting as any other palette—just as long as you select unique silhouettes. For your own look that stands apart from the crowd, you could combine everyday separates like the plaid O’Hara blazer over a button-down shirt, and balance out some swingy culottes and hoop earrings with a pair of black pumps.

Whatever you decide to wear, be sure to follow these wise words—spoken by Ross herself: “Use fashion as an entrance. Let your clothes be your superhero cape, allowing you to be the best you you can be.” Come to think of it, you know what’s pretty darn close to a superhero cape? A jacket.

Written By

Emma Steinbergs

Emma is M.M.LaFleur's Brand Manager. She previously worked as an M.M. stylist and still loves thinking through styling challenges and solutions for customers.

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