How to Dress Like Coco Chanel

By Hilary White

Pioneering Parisian designer Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel spurred a sea change in fashion by creating stylish clothing for women that was also comfortable. Her far-reaching fashion influence is still felt today, with women of all ages sporting her coveted tweed suits and wearing her signature scent -- the best-selling perfume in the world, Chanel No. 5. Chanel's musings on style are words for every fashion-minded female to live by, and the iconic innovator of the little black dress was the ultimate embodiment of her sage style advice.

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A model wearing a Coco Chanel dress at a fashion show.

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Comfort Is Key

Incorporate loose-fitting, menswear-inspired pieces into your look and clothing in relaxed fabric, such as jersey; as Chanel said, "Luxury must be comfortable." At the forefront of designing modern clothing for women in the 1920s, Chanel believed that comfortable, easy-to-wear clothing was the way of the future and helped usher in loose silhouettes that allowed women to put away their corsets for good. Try an oversize men's jacket with jeans for day and over a feminine jersey dress for evening.

LBD Always

Dive in to your collection of LBDs, which became the look of the future when "Vogue" put Chanel's simple black sheath on the cover in 1926. Considered daring in its day, Chanel often appeared in this timeless style of dress that flatters every woman and appears effortlessly elegant at the same time. To faithfully channel the couturier who said, "Black trumps all," wear tailored noir frocks with clean lines, long sleeves, and just-below-the-knee hemlines.


The design of the classic Chanel suit never goes out of style, a look that consists of a boxy tweed jacket and matching pencil skirt. Mix-and-match for a modern take, wearing the jacket with leggings or jeans, or sport the skirt with a silk blouse or sporty tee. Stick to neutrals, as Chanel favored black and white -- especially together, as seen in the brand's interlocking Cs logo. She also gravitated to beige, along with touches of gold and red -- her signature lipstick color.

Accessory Savvy

Mademoiselle Chanel often complemented her elegant LBDs and suits with strings of pearl and chains. And you don't have to break the bank on the real thing, as Chanel was a staunch advocate of costume jewelry. A quilted handbag with a chain strap -- a Chanel classic -- is a bag that will never do you wrong. Invest in quality footwear, as Chanel believed, "A good woman with good shoes is never ugly." For Chanel, that meant menswear-inspired oxfords or low heels with ankle or t-strap detailing.