Style & Beauty

Vintage Coats From Old Hollywood Are All The Fashion Inspiration You Need

Stars like Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman and Esther Williams were masters of outerwear.
11/12/2018 05:45am ET | Updated November 12, 2018

There’s nothing like a great coat to finish off any outfit, especially during the cold and dreary winter months.

Wearing the right coat can make you feel plenty of things: strong, polished, sophisticated and even just plain fun, depending on the style. If anyone understood that, it was the women of Old Hollywood. Stars like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Esther Williams, among many others, were masters of outerwear.

During these stars’ reign of the film industry, fur coats ― often seen as a symbol of wealth and status ― were a go-to, but tailored wool coats, sometimes in check and plaid patterns, were also popular.

Many of the classic styles beloved by Old Hollywood starlets, such as belted wool trenches and oversized silhouettes, have stood the test of time. One notable difference, however, is real fur’s declining popularity. Over the past year alone, major brands like Burberry, Givenchy and Gucci have ditched fur in favor of faux alternatives. And while faux fur isn’t a perfect substitute, it doesn’t involve harming animals.

To get a little inspiration for the upcoming winter coat season, check out the photos below and find out how to get some vintage-inspired outerwear for yourself:

Marilyn Monroe, 1956
Gene Lester via Getty Images
Elizabeth Taylor, 1962
Keystone via Getty Images
Ingrid Bergman, circa 1948
Bettmann via Getty Images
Grace Kelly, 1956
Bettmann via Getty Images
Gene Tierney, undated
John Rawlings via Getty Images
Marlene Dietrich, 1933
Keystone-France via Getty Images
Audrey Hepburn, 1960
Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
Doris Day, 1960
Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images
Sophia Loren, undated
Keystone-France via Getty Images
Leslie Caron, 1961
Keystone via Getty Images
Irene Dunne, 1939
Keystone-France via Getty Images
Esther Williams, undated
Keystone-France via Getty Images
Ann Harding, 1935
Clarence Sinclair Bull via Getty Images
Jean Harlow, around 1932
John Kobal Foundation via Getty Images
Rita Hayworth, 1941
John Kobal Foundation via Getty Images
Ava Gardner, circa 1950
Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images
Ginger Rogers, 1936
John Kobal Foundation via Getty Images
Gina Lollobrigida, 1964
Keystone via Getty Images
Jean Simmons, undated
PA Images via Getty Images
Veronica Lake, 1942
Bettmann via Getty Images

Get the look:

Sam Edelman Tweed Reefer Maxi Coat
Nordstrom
J.Crew Plaid Single-Breasted Topcoat
J.Crew
Asos New Look Tailored Maxi Coat
Asos
Club Monaco Remmi Coat
Club Monaco
Express Boucle Cocoon Coat
Express
J.Crew Faux Fur Leopard Coat
J.Crew
Moon River Houndstooth Double Breasted Coat
Nordstrom
Leith Single Button Plaid Coat
Nordstrom
J.Crew Daphne Topcoat in Glen Plaid
J.Crew
Cole Haan Signature Faux-Fur-Collar Walker Coat
Cole Haan
Kendall + Kylie Double Breasted Plaid Coat
Macy's
Old Hollywood Fall Fashion Inspiration