Style

A Look Back At Billie Holiday's Ladylike Style

Her timeless style lives on just like her music.

Billie Holiday's short life may have been marred by a tumultuous upbringing and drug addiction, but when she stepped into the spotlight her image was immaculate.

Born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia, the "Strange Fruit" singer adopted her stage name from the actress Billie Dove and musician Clarence Holiday. She launched her jazz career in New York City nightclubs before being discovered by producer and talent scout John Hammond. He eventually signed her to Brunswick Records and introduced her to big band acts like Count Basie (a collaboration that included the famous tune "Summertime") and Lester Young (the saxophone player who came up with the nickname "Lady Day").

While Holiday received considerable recognition after her death, including posthumous induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame, a biographical film starring Diana Ross aptly titled "Lady Sings the Blues" and, most recently, a Broadway show biopic with Audra McDonald in the leading role, her ladylike style was always praised. From the fresh gardenias that adorned Holiday's hair to the fit-and-flare dresses she donned, she was truly a class act.

In honor of what would've been Billie Holiday's 101st birthday on April 7, we're taking a look back at her greatest fashion moments, both on and off stage.

Circa 1935
JP Jazz Archive via Getty Images
1935
Michael Ochs Archives
Circa 1930s
Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Circa 1937
Gilles Petard/Redferns
1939
Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images
Circa 1940
Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images
Circa 1940s
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Circa 1940
William Gottlieb/Redferns
Circa 1942
Charles Peterson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Circa 1944
Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
Circa 1946
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Circa 1947
Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images
1948
William Gottlieb/Redferns
1949
Gilles Petard/Redferns
Circa 1950
Gerrit Schilp/Redferns
Circa 1951
John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images
Circa 1954
Charles Hewitt/Picture Post/Getty Images
1957
Bill Spilka via Getty Images
Circa 1957
Paul Hoeffler/Redferns

A version of this article was previously published on April 5, 2013.