1957: The Blonde Bombshells
The 50’s were all about blonde curls, vibrant lips, and winged eyeliner. The blonde bombshells (most notably Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and Jayne Mansfield) were the ideal women of ’57. They had the curves, charisma, and pin-up style that was unique to the decade and knew how to love their bodies just as they were built. These three women alone were the prime examples of what it meant to be a sex symbol and in all honesty, at this point in time, who didn’t think a buxom broad was the ideal catch?
1958: The “Come Hither” Kittens
As 1958 rolled around, ladies like Ava Gardner, Natalie Wood, and Liz Taylor perfected the sultry demeanor and facial expressions that drew crowds in by the masses. They were seductive with the bat of an eyelash and redefined what it meant to be sexy in an industry that was dominated by blonde performers. They perfected a makeup routine that enhanced their eye shapes and colors, and embraced the heavy eyebrow almost three decades before the 80’s would claim it as a beauty trademark. What made these ladies ideal, however, was their ability to smile with their eyes with seemingly no effort.
1959: The Girls Next Door
Sandra Dee, Doris Day, and Joan Fontaine were a fresh of breath air for anyone who didn’t favor the pin-up genre. These girls next door came with a sweet and shy undertone that set them apart from the risque ladies of the decade. Their pearl accessories, warm personalities, and feminine wardrobes made them undeniably appealing to any audience that embraced the classic 50’s vibe. It’s a good thing they did, because, with the 60’s around the corner, beauty and style would begin to change hastily.
1960: The Untouchables
When we look at Sophia Loren, Rita Moreno, and Katherine Hepburn, we see women who are untouchable – in both talent and social accessibility. The ideal women of 1960 knew their self-worth and treated themselves on a daily basis because, well, they knew they deserved it. They dressed as if life was a red carpet, accessorized in diamonds, and knew how to make the transition from Old Hollywood into progressive couture. If you got it, don’t be scared to flaunt it.
1961: The Fresh Faces
What do Anna Karin, Jean Seber, and Deborah Kerr have in common? Despite these women’s different physical characteristics, they were all fresh-faced and brought attention to their natural beauty. The simple winged eyeliner from the 50’s became a classic trend, but a light lip color and rosy cheeks were only the only other makeup they needed. In ’61, the ideal woman had a healthy, natural looking glow and was able to be vulnerable while still exuding strength. This is something that Deborah Kerr was a master of doing.
1962: The Exotic Species
Bridget Bardot. Catherine Deneuve. Claudia Cardinale. These women shot 60’s style and beauty to the next level with big hair, candid, innocence, nude lips, and of course, foreign accents. They were the beach bunnies of their time who modeled for photoshoots, starred in movies, and knew how to make the camera love them. The ideal woman of 1963 would know how to embody the sex appeal of Bridget Bardot, had the subtly of Claudia Cardinale, and was as cultured as Catherine. Seems impossible, doesn’t it?
1963: The Power Players
Who doesn’t love a woman on top? Lesley Gore, Barbara Streisand, and Ann Bancroft were what fashion would call “unconventionally” beautiful but boy, were they successful. Their take on early 60’s style was simplified; classy cuts, conservative wear, and daytime makeup were their go-to appearance. For versatile women with many talents, this was essential. They were the ideal women in 1963 because of their flexibility and ever-changing looks. Not to mention, their everlasting, unique personal beauty.
1964: The Queens Of Class
In 1964, Jackie-O made class the most important accessory you could pair with any outfit. Julie Andrews, beautiful as well, was also a leading female who exuded grace in all endeavors. Last but certainly not least, Audrey Hepburn emphasized poise and personal style. These ideal women embraced color and textured fabrics, but they also knew how to cater to their own taste without influence from the media or outside world. They were trendsetters on their own terms in a nonchalant manner.
1965: The Dreamgirls
The year of 1965 brought magic to life. Ann Margaret was a dancing, singing, and stylish performer who could serenade you to sleep. Elizabeth Montgomery was the housewife with an edge and Baraba Eden was a quirky genie who made life just a little bit less boring. These dreamgirls were ideal for obvious reasons. They were the quintessential fantasy of men everywhere and weren’t afraid to be themselves, even during the peak of their career. They wore unusual clothing and accentuated their most original assets. If that isn’t confidence its most sincere, we don’t know what is.
1966: The Fine Wines
Ageless beauty comes in no better form than Lauren Bacall, Vivien Leigh, and Lana Turner in 1966. By the mid-60’s, they were legends of the silver screen and made getting older look darn good. To quote a cliche, they were like fine wines – only getting better with age. At this stage of beauty game, the more mature and experienced ladies were starting to become the ideal women. They’re wise, they know how to take proper care of themselves, and they’ve proven to shape-shift through decades of style trends.
1967: Mod About You
Funky and fun was all the rage in the late 60’s. No one knew how to personify the Mod style like supermodel Twiggy. Faye Dunaway put a “bad girl” spin on her Mod style and Nancy Sinatra presented herself as the perfect combination of Mod and California. The ideal 1968 babe would know how to work the Mod trend but as we’ve seen from Nancy, Tiggy, and Faye, it’s important to incorporate your own taste and unique vision into your physical appearance. Daring patterns, bold colors, and trippy accessories were the center for the fashion craze.
1968: The Baby Faces
The baby face emerged as the new “girl next door” genre when Mia Farrow broke out in 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby. Model Lesley Jones was equally as baby-faced, gracing the covers of Vogue in 3 different countries. Edie Sedgewick, the pop culture icon who was one of Andy Warhol’s most famous muses, had baby soft skin and a face that was dolled up in pastels and lipgloss. The baby face trend took off in ’68 and the ideal woman was one who looked youthful and had child-like expression on their face. The media and high fashion still heavily publicizes this trend.
1969: The Hippie Hype
If any 3 women were able to turn the hippie hype into a mainstream, glamorous trend, it was Julie Christie, Ali McGraw, and Jane Birkin. These ladies flaunted their effortless style and knew to feminize the tomboy look. In the late 60’s, girls who were one of the guys became a desirable trait and those who dressed the part were even more ideal and appealing to romantic partners. Jane Birkin was the influential style icon of ’69 who foreshadowed the sheer dress trend and denim wardrobe staple. Chic hippies never stop being ideal.
1970: Flower Power
The Flower Power of the 60’s would eventually come to an end but the style legacy of Joni Mitchell, Peggy Lipton, and Ingrid Boulting was immortalized through their modeling, music. and hit tv shows. Peggy Lipton was the ideal flower child of her time and destigmatized counterculture with her personal style. For these 3 women, loose braids, greenery in their hair, and bohemian accessories were all they needed to inspire the fashionistas who looked up to them. They kept their faces au natural and wore minimal makeup, only opting to highlight their natural attributes with neutrals and a bit of mascara.
1971: Designer Divas
Go big or go home! 1971 birthed the big hair trend and wild up-dos. Lola Falana, Chaka Khan, and Tina Turner were the popular divas that publicized the pre-disco era look and weren’t shy when it came to making wild statements in both their careers and their fashion sense. The portrait of the ideal woman took a sharp turn in the early 70’s and as big became what was beautiful, the unconventional became more desirable. Self-expression was implemented in the most exaggerated ways in ’71. We know it gets even crazier in the 80’s, but we haven’t reached that decade just yet…
1972: Bohemian Babes
You can’t reminisce about the ideal 70’s woman without mentioning Jane Fonda. She was the ultimate boho babe who inspired millions to become free thinkers and radical activists. Janis Joplin and Carly Simon were also ideal women of in ’72, both experts in bohemian trend with a rockstar edge tied in. Mousy brunettes with dangling jewelry and clean faces were all the hype in the early 70’s and these 3 women best personified the dream girl of their time. Not to mention, they also came to any party fully equipped with an open mind and a genuine heart.
1973: Disco Fever
If there was ever a time with where being a diva made you the ideal woman, it was in 1973. Diana Ross, Cher, and Donna Summer all equally praised for their glamorous efforts during the disco era. These ladies were tasteful with their wardrobe options, yet dazzling at the same time. The ’73 ideal woman looked like she had her own trademark style and knew how to wear the makeup of the time – cream shadows, lip gloss, shimmer, skinny brows, and pearl powders for an illuminating glow.
1974: The Super Heroines
In 1974, female superheroes dominated the mainstream in a genre that had otherwise been focused on men. Lindsey Wagner was unstoppable as the Bionic Woman, Lynda Carter was fearless as Wonder Woman, and Farrah Fawcett was irresistible as the lead Charlie’s Angel (at least in our opinion, she was the lead). These crime fighting superstars had more than just superhuman ability, they had the ultimate 70’s hairstyle, feminine appeal, and an athletic build. The ideal woman during this year was happy, healthy, and confident.
1975: Foxy Ladies
1974 only brought the athletic build further into the spotlight. Public appeal focused on women like Grace Jones, Pam Grier, and Beverley Johnson, all who were naturally built with a flamboyant style to accent their strong presence. These ideal ladies were fit to the core, but knew how to keep up appearances through shock value and trendsetting. The ideal woman of ’75 was bold, brave, and tough as nails.
1976: The Rock & Rollers
Women like Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall became style icons that not only rocked the 70’s, but remain crucial staples in fashion timelines until this very decade. Stevie Nicks was a legitimate rockstar who cultivated her own style, but evolved from the stereotypical Janis Joplin bohemian look that was once popular. The ideal rocker chic in 1976 embodied what Jerry, Bianca, and Stevie had to offer. A chic sense of style with the “I don’t give an [expletive]” to match. Bianca and Jerry, who were both married to Mick Jagger at one time or another, brought the bright red lip back from its pin-up grave and Stevie made tore down the good girl stigma all blondes were fatally attached to since the 50’s.
1977: One Of The Guys
We need to acknowledge women like Joanna Lumley, Diane Keaton, and Barbara Hulanicki for their gender fluid fashion sense, which ultimately, coined them as the original tomboys of the 20th-century. These influential women made the grandest style switch we’ve seen in history, donning tailored suits, bowler hats, and vests with ties. Their loose style, while roaring like proud women, was revolutionary. Barbara Hulanicki was responsible for the tomboy trend; she launched the female suit design under her own label, Biba, and stars like Keaton and Lumley followed suit (pun intended). The ideal women in 1977 didn’t just dress like a tomboy, she kept it natural and cool.
1978: Subtle Sirens
Sweet, innocent, and wholesome. These were the 3 traits the ideal women would quickly possess, for a brief period of time, at the end of the 70’s. Olivia Newton John was the perfect median between being a good and bad girl, while Cheryl Tiegs and Lauren Hutton were the apple-pie supermodels of the end of the decade. In 1978, the ideal woman had abandoned a face full of makeup and didn’t mind playing it safe. Being a sexy siren was all about being sublimely subtle.
1979: The Great Dames
The concept of class became redefined when Bernadette Peters, Meryl Streep, and Carol Kane conquered Hollywood. They were effortlessly beautiful and way too talented to comprehend. The inspired the ideal woman of ’79 to embrace their natural hair texture, depend on the beauty of their eyes to connect with those around them, and a fashion sense that didn’t depend on high-end labels.
1980: New-Age Knockouts
The 80’s ushered in an era of new-age, trademark beauty. As Debbie Harry once said, “Being hot never hurts!” Anita Pallenberg, Joan Jett, and Blondie were bombshells motivated by pure instinct and their indie style gone sharp punk. As their hair grew wilder, the color turned more drastic, and as their eyeshadow became heavier their eyeliner followed. The proper name for the ideal woman’s look in 1980 was “proto-punk,” the exact label inspired by Kieth Richard’s ex, Anita.
1981: The Fairest Of Them All
Royalty comes in many shapes and forms. Princess Diana was royalty to the United Kingdom. She exuded grace and elegance wherever she went. Dolly Parton was the queen of country during her prime and Carol Alt was considered one of the most poised supermodels in the 1980’s. The ideal woman in ’81, that was combating the proto-punk trend of 1980, was a regal one, with style and grace. Under the influence of these icons, clothes could be kept tasteful and modest, and sex appeal was seen through the right facial expression.
1982: The Jaw-Droppers
Women like Goldie Hawn, Kim Basinger, and Sharon Stone would eventually survive the 80’s and pursue successful, everlasting careers but it would be foolish to avoid their striking good looks and timeless party style. The ideal woman of ’82 aspired to replicate the gold, glowing tones of these 3 actresses and idolized their blue-eyed beauty. It was difficult not to idealize any woman of the early 80’s who could pull off a style similar to Sharon Stone, specifically.
1983: The Eyebrow Raisers
Farewell to thin eyebrows! In in 1983, Brooke Sheilds led the way for big, bushy eyebrows and their exquisite legacy. Sean Young and Margaux Hemingway were also prime examples of the thick eyebrow trend. Soon enough, te 80’s would be packed full of women opting for a bold brow instead of long lashes. The beauty trademark made the ideal woman look more mysterious in the eyes of her suitors and changed face shapes for the better.
1984: The Rule Benders
It’s impossible to forget Pheobe Cates’ red bathing suit scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Jennifer Beals become known as the aspiring dancer who performed cabaret during the night. And, Marisa Tomei was beginning to make a name for herself on the soap opera, As The World Turns. The may have been young adults at the time, but these women created the prototype for the ideal woman of ’84. Their coordinated dark hair and eyes were refreshing compared to the immortalized blonde hair, blue-eyed beauty scheme. They also had a penchant for doing what they wanted, despite social pressure or limitations.
1985: The Pop Princesses
Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Pat Benatar took punk-rock and turned it into early pop-rock. The pop princesses of the 1980’s were just as extreme as their rock and roll counterparts, Debbie Harry and Joan Jett, with fierce hairstyles and makeup routines that set them apart from any crowded club scene. The ideal woman was shocking, intimidating, and even a bit scary in ’85. What really made the ideal pop-rocker stand out was the dominant cheekbones – especially ones that looked like they could cut glass.
1986: The Glamour Girls
Towards the opposite end of the 80’s spectrum, glamor was in full force – specifically, thriving within the world of up and coming supermodels. Emulating the old Hollywood glamor of Katherine Hepburn and Natalie Wood became a priority in print, runway, and commercialized publicity. Paulina Porizkova, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington were just as charming as they were alluring, catering to their silky hair, soft lips, and perfectly bronzed skin. Who wouldn’t want to be a supermodel like these three?
1987: Simple Stunners
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jennifer Grey, and Lea Thompson remind us of a simpler time. When the world was easily enlightened, totally positive, and just, simply stunning. With the release of Dirty Dancing came the fascination with the female underdog – women who were inconspicuously beautiful without knowing it themselves. The ideal woman in 1987, inspired by Jennifer Grey, was approachable and “pretty,” without being too mature in a time where young ladies began growing up entirely too fast.
1988: The Blondes Are Back
One adjective that would accurately sum up Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Heather Locklear: Ravishing. Their symmetrical faces and shapely bodies were enough to keep television and movie audiences captivated by them for days. Thanks to these 3 women, the blonde bombshell was back in full force after decades of consistently flying under the radar. The ideal woman of ’88 was sort of a retro comeback, don’t you think?
1989: Girlfriend Material
Who didn’t want a woman that was obviously “girlfriend material?” Ione Sky made everyone swoon after the release of Say Anything. Mia Sara was the definition of girlfriend goals as seen in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And of course, Isabelle Adjani was desired for her honeyed, French singing voice. The ideal woman, as a result of these 3 beauties, had a romantic touch to her look; a soft, candy-coated, dreamy-eyed state of desire was the total catch in 1989.
1990: Model Mayhem
Supermodels had been gaining traction since the early 80’s but it wasn’t until 1990 that these unattainable women became the most wanted specimens on Earth. Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour, and Naomi Campbell were head-turners, who not only sported the chicest wardrobe options, but took risky chances on their public image with every magazine cover they graced. Simply put, the ideal woman in the ’91 was the model. A common issue in the dating world, that would be referenced by Sex & The City’s Carrie Bradshaw, for years to come.
1991: America’s Sweethearts
Ah, America’s original sweethearts. Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, and Susan Sarandon weren’t unknown women, by any means at all, before the early 90’s but their lovable, cute girl appearance didn’t skyrocket until the decade of simplicity came along. They were enviable individually but what these women had in common were their loathsome curls, lovely smiles, and big laughs that were infectious from the first giggle. To put it plainly, if you were the female version of a categorized “dreamboat” in 1991, you totally ideal.
1992: National Treasures
No ladies took the entertainment industry by storm quicker than Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, and Angela Bassett. Their personal styles were diverse in terms of event, time of day, and the roles they played. Janet Jackson was a sensual woman with the moves to prove it, Whitney Houston found the striking balance between modest and risque, and Angela Bassett made casual look cool. The ideal woman in ’92 wasn’t afraid to embrace neutral tones because of these women.
1993: Legs For Days
In 1993, the ideal woman was the tall, leggy woman! Superstars like Tia Carrera, Kate Moss, and Demi Moore are living proof of the “more to love” phenomenon. Any tall girl knows, no matter their current age, it takes a certain level of confidence to put on heels when the extra height isn’t mandatory. These ladies owned their body and the gift of their long legs. Because of their leading example, tall ladies were very much sought after in the early 90’s.
1994: The Tough Cookies
Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci, and Drew Barrymore had one thing in common during the 90’s: they were tough cookies. Nobody told these girls what to wear, who to date, and how to promote their careers. The ideal woman in 1994 was too cool for school, chopped her hair off, settled for a dramatic lip color, and knew how to merge fun colors with the grunge style. And dare we say, it was attractive to look a little trashy.
1995: The Leading Ladies
How could anyone not want a woman that reminds them of our favorite leading ladies from the 90’s? Jennifer Aniston, Rene Zellwegger, and Cameron Diaz were breaking out by the time 1995 rang in and they were the perfect combination of pretty, beautiful, and unconventional looking. The ideal woman, thanks in large part to Friends, The Mask, and Jerry Mcguire, the equivalent of a modern day fairytale princess – with an amazing sense of humor to match.
1996: The Teenage Dreams
By the end of the 90’s, the world had begun to appreciate women like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Melissa Joan Hart, and Alicia Silverstone. They transcended the gap between teen idols and mature, young woman, effortlessly The inspired the ideal woman to be one who is, sure, pretty and funny. But, they also knew how to evolve on a personal level as career and family women. In 1996, if you embraced your love for metallic colors, nude lipstick, chokers, and french tip manicures, you were 100% ideal.