Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic women in history. From her on-screen talent and quick wit to the breathtaking styles in her wardrobe, it’s no surprise she continues to enchant us more than fifty years after her death.
Images such as the famous shot of Marilyn standing on top of an air vent, which was taken to publicize her 1954 movie ‘Seven Year Itch,’ have cemented her personal style in popular culture. Halterneck dresses, platinum blonde hair, bright red lipstick — we all associate these with the classic ‘Marilyn Monroe’ look. But have you ever wondered why Marilyn’s style worked so perfectly?
The answer could lie in her color scheme. Using the science of seasonal color analysis, we can see how Marilyn’s most famous outfits complemented her seasonal color palette and created the unforgettable style we remember her for today.
In this post, we’ll be analyzing Marilyn Monroe’s style and colors. Whether your favorite Marilyn moment is her singing ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ in a hot pink bustier dress, being stitched into her figure-hugging gold dress for ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, or standing over the air vent in her white halterneck, read on to find out why exactly these outfits looked so good.
How Does Color Analysis Work?
Color analysis first became popular in the 1980s, when professional color consultant Carole Jackson published the book ‘Color Me Beautiful.’ Jackson introduced us to the principles of color analysis based on the tones of the four seasons, but this theory has since been expanded. Today, we generally use 12 season color analysis, which looks at the following factors:
- Hue: Does someone suit warm or cool colors?
- Value: Do they suit bright or dark colors?
- Chroma: Do they suit saturated colors or softer shades?
This gives us 12 different seasonal color palettes:
- Warm Autumn
- Warm Spring
- Cool Winter
- Cool Summer
- Clear Spring
- Clear Winter
- Deep Autumn
- Deep Winter
- Light Spring
- Light Summer
- Soft Autumn
- Soft Summer
Whichever color palette somebody falls in will depend on their personal coloring, which includes their hair color, eye color, and skin tone.
What Color Eyes Did Marilyn Monroe Have?
To determine her seasonal color palette, the first step is to find out what color were Marilyn Monroe’s eyes.
If you’ve ever struggled to work out the true Marilyn Monroe eye color from her photographs, you’re not alone. There’s often confusion surrounding the question of “What color eyes did Marilyn Monroe have?” This is not just because she was often photographed in black and white. It was also because the state of California listed her eye colors as brown on her drivers license.
However, that’s not actually the case. Marilyn Monroe’s eye color was actually blue. Although some photos make them look green or hazel, this is a result of poor lighting or badly restored black and white images)
People who have the same Marilyn Monroe eyes color are typically light springs, clear springs, warm springs, light summers, soft summers, or cool summers.
What Color Hair Did Marilyn Monroe Have?
We tend to picture Marilyn Monroe with the platinum blonde hair she became famous for. However, this wasn’t her natural hair color.
Monroe’s natural hair was very curly and brown, darkening to a deep brunette shade by the mid 1940s. She hadn’t yet dyed her hair when she started her modeling career aged 21. It was only once she’d signed with 20th Century Fox in 1947 that she debuted the blonde hair that we associate with her today.
People with brown hair can potentially fit into every seasonal color palette, depending on the exact tone. However, Marilyn Monroe’s striking platinum blonde would typically fit the clear winter, clear spring, and light summer palettes.
What Was Marilyn Monroe’s Seasonal Color Palette?
Based on Marilyn Monroe’s eye color and the shade of her hair, the actress fits best into the clear spring palette. Known for its bright and classic colors, clear spring contains typical paintbox shades such as true blue, green, orange, pink, and yellow.
In many of Marilyn Monroe’s most famous photos and movie stills, she’s wearing shades from this seasonal palette. Let’s take a look at some of her most iconic moments to analyze why Monroe’s style suited her so well.
The Hot Pink Dress From ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, 1949
When singing the famous track ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ on the set of ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ in 1949, Marilyn wore a strapless bustier dress in hot pink, complete with full-length gloves and diamond jewelry. Bright pink is a beautiful color for clear springs, as it complements their fair skin.
Clear springs are all about contrasting shades — just look at Monroe’s blue eyes in comparison to her blonde hair. The strapless neckline of her hot pink dress heightens this sense of contrast, sitting beautifully against her pale skin.
The Ruched Orange Dress From ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, 1949
Also, on the set of her movie ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,’ Marilyn Monroe was pictured in a ruched orange gown with a sparkling center panel. Orange might be a famously difficult color to pull off, but thanks to her clear spring palette, Monroe managed it with perfection.
Her stylists balanced the bright shade with matching eyeshadow and lipstick — an orange-toned variation of her classic red lip.
The White Dress From ‘Seven Year Itch’, 1954
This iconic dress is so famous it even has its own Wikipedia page! Although we all know it as ‘the white dress,’ it was actually a delicate ivory shade. Off-white is perfect for clear springs because they often suit shades with warm undertones. Pure white tends to suit people in the light and soft summer palettes more.
These classic Marilyn Monroe colors have given us some of the most iconic looks of the 20th century. Whether you’re a fellow clear spring, a fiery warm Autumn, or a versatile soft summer, we hope this article has inspired you to find your true colors, just like Marilyn did.