Icona Am In Love With Little Edie Beale and Her Fashion Style

When I woke up this morning, I checked the emails on my iPhone. Lord knows, I can’t miss any news. I mean, people don’t email me so I have to pretend that all “dot coms” are my besties! InStyle.com greeted me with the news that Anne Hathaway had a baby.  Ugh. Ann “Hathaway” of annoying me. I’ve read way too many articles on her as a fashion icon—especially during her pregnancy.

Anne Hathaway is NOT a fashion icon. She is dressed for red carpet events by stylists. These stylists make a lot of money in order to make one believe Hathaway is the ultimate purveyor of style.

anne-hathaway pregnant

Hathaway is NOT a style icon.  She is merely fortunate enough to afford stylists to assist her.  BTW, her eye makeup is atrocious!

Add to that, the word “icon” is way overused.

You want iconic women in fashion and style? I’ll give ’em to you!  Lauren Hutton—when she started out as a model was considered odd looking because of her gapped teeth and slightly crossed eyes. And she went on to become one of the most famous models and style icons. Her laid back style is a reflection of her personality.  Jane Birkin—the woman reeks of style. Another gap-toothed beauty, with an iconic bag named after her. Birkin’s personal bag of choice was an old woven basket.  Bardot—queen of the naughty girls and with the style of a woman who just got out of bed after a wild night. She proudly personifies the “Walk of Shame” to her walk of style fame!  Then there’s Jackie.  Her eyes set way too far apart, but beautiful nonetheless.  She is the iconic queen of simple dressing. She reeks of class…..

Iconic Women

Now THESE are what I call iconic style and fashion mavens! And you don’t achieve this title in your twenties or early thirties either! It takes a few decades to become iconic!

…and so did Jackie’s cousin.  Little Edie Beale.

Another shot of edie

“Little” Edie Bouvier Beale. Jackie’s cousin. Beale was considered the real beauty in the family. And she was!

If you’ve never seen Grey Gardens, the documentary about Little and Big Edie Beale, the infamous mother and daughter who were members of the Bouvier family, I strongly suggest you see it.   Or rent the follow up: The Beales of Grey Gardens.

Edie in front of gray gardens

An older Edie Beale in front of the family home, Grey Gardens, in East Hampton NY.

Television programme: Grey Gardens Edie Beale no fee free picture from internet april 2007 film dvd  documentary

Big Edie, in yellow, and daughter Little Edie enjoying a sunny day at Grey Gardens!

Also on my recommendation, rent the 2009 film based on the original documentary. Drew Barrymore stars as Edie Beale and she does a bang-up job at channeling every single nuance of Little Edie. Barrymore was epic. The story of Little Edie and her mother even made it to Broadway.

Drew barrymore as Edie

Drew Barrymore nailed Edie perfectly. This is what made me a fan of Drew Barrymore!

Bill Heder formerly of SNL also does a great job of channeling his inner Edie on the IFC show Documentary Now.


Heder channeling his inner Edie.  Everyone wants to be her!

In my opinion, Little Edie was a fabulously tragic, funny, interesting, and sad, intriguing, delusional, talented, and absolutely beautiful woman.

Edie Headshot

Edie in earlier times as a model…..


She was absolutely gorgeous!

A younger and beautiful Edie

Was this hooded covering on her head an omen of  a look to come?

Edie shunned the socialite life and opted for modeling and trying to break into show business.  Her life took twists and turns and she ended up caring for her mother, Big Edie.  She ended up living a life of delusions and eccentricity.

Edies mom

...Big Edie was very delusional. She lived with her daughter and was completely dependent on her. Both Edies were dependent on each other.


The original premise of her caring for Big Edie was also taking care of the many cats that also lived in Grey Gardens.  Check out her stylish head covering. She still looks classy!

And through it all, her sense of style, no matter how wild or weird or crazy others may have thought, proved the woman had class.  Listening to her upper-crust accent, I’m amazed that she is devoid of any iota of a “New Yawk” accent.

Edie talking people and gardening. Listen to her accent. It’s so prep school but not New Yawk!

Studying her wardrobe, it is so obvious that she took time to carefully put her one-of-a-kind ensembles together.  Stylists can learn a thing or two from Little Edie!

Edie by ron galella

What does this photo have in common with Edie’s cousin Jackie?  Ron Galella snapped it! Look how chic Edie is–and her creativity knocks the head scarf out of the park—she tucked it into her shirt and it peeks out over her pants!  I LOVE this outfit!


Look at her skin!  She was in her her late fifties here. NO TURKEY NECK!  Her skin is beautiful and she matches that head covering perfectly with the vintage swimsuit! 

She lost her hair.  Her family blamed it on stress.  Someone else close to her said it was because she set her hair on fire.  Regardless, she rocked the DIY head coverings.  Scarfs and various fabrics draped tautly around her head, framing her flawless complexion like a nun, and secured with a brooch, her style was whimsical, creative and pragmatic.

MOre edie with headwrap and brooch

The brooch is the perfect way to class up Edie’s head covering!  

Grey Gardens 5

Her All-American look!

The clothing she wore may have been old and almost tattered, but the lines were there. Simple and great quality.  She wore timeless and classic clothing. But she wore that clothing in her own special way.


She put time and effort into her daily outfits!

Edie in brown

and she stood her ground against her mother’s wardrobe wishes.  Typical mom and daughter arguments! Edie made brown and black look so fashionable!

What is not to love about her look?

little edie in black headwrap and brooch

Her style and beauty are timeless. Look at her face–it aged beautifully!

And despite the fact that she was labeled crazy or odd, she had enough self-respect and self-esteem that she would still take the time to use make up. A real girly-girl!  I watch Grey Gardens quite often because I’m obsessed with her.

Happy edie

A rosy cheek, a nice pink lipstick, filled in brows and a touch of shadow, along with a multi-colored scarf around her head make Edie look happy and delightful!

I admired her for being her own person. I felt empathy for her because she was forbidden by her family to pursue her dreams of being a writer or poet or singer or actress.  Her mother suffered the same fate.

Edie beal news item

From the NY Times. Showcasing her desire to write poetry!

And yet, living in the squalor of a once magnificent mansion, both women managed to live their sheltered and protected lives just fine.

And Little Edie displayed an air of fashionable, stylish flair. She really is one of my style icons. The fashion industry decides that a woman who has stylists and makeup artists and a village in helping her achieve that elusive nuance called style. The industry needs to realize that style is not “bought” nor is it made.

Grey-Gardens-12 Edie Flag Dance

Edie dressed to perform.  She was also in great shape! I love the bodysuit with the hose. And those scarves!!!!

Style is innate.  Thank you Little Edie! Thank you for your personality and your class and your iconic style!

Thank you Edie. I tried channeling your head covering look. I tried a nice classy plaid with a red ribbon (Old Navy PJ bottoms)–but somehow it didn’t look chic, nor classy, nor stylish on me. I’ll stick to my regular look!

And remember–if someone looks odd or different, praise them for their individuality and creativity!

Today I give you a bit of Edie Beale performing a patriotic July 4th dance from Grey Gardens. Check out the shoes. They are incredible!  XOXOXOXO



About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in Beauty, Fashion, Grey Gardens, humor, Jackie Kennedy, Little Edie Beale, Style, The Bouvier Family, Unusual fashion and style icons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Icona Am In Love With Little Edie Beale and Her Fashion Style

  1. BunKaryudo says:

    I didn’t really know anything about Edie Beale before your post, Catherine, but now think I might have been unknowingly influenced by her when it came to my head adornment, but slightly overdid it.

    • Catherine says:

      Bun! Hahahahahaaa! How true! How true! I’m off from work today so I think I’ll re-watch Edie this afternoon! You need to check out Grey Gardens!!!XOXOXO!

  2. julietC says:

    I loved that film! Just brilliant – I don’t go near the cinema, but now and then I watch the odd late night film on tv preferably ones with subtitles. Grey Gardens was magical, quite otherworldly and yeah – she really had style and spirit, despite her world closing in and almost crushing her she still had spark and individualism.I guess the women I admire for their style are less the beauties of their age and more the “wonky”, “quirky” or just plain oddball women who kind of got where-ever they wanted to go not just despite their looks but rather because … they rather pointedly made the best of what they had but then got on and focused on the more interesting aspects of themselves, like dear I say their personality, drive or enthusiasm for life – none of which I pick up from the divine Miss Hathaway who I am sure is a delightful woman but I don’t want to ever be sitting beside her at a table or anywhere as I cannot imagine almost peeing myself with laughter or even losing track of time etc,she comes across as somewhat dull and formulaic and I imagine you would count every minute in her company. The icons look like they pull their own strings and don’t give a damn about other people mores in the best possible way, Miss H I thinks looks almost entirely remote controlled, not a role model I’d want to influence my daughter and I am not even sure why.

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet. You said it all and stated it so eloquently! Grey Gardens WAS magical. I watched it again a few hours ago. Every time I watch it, I come away with more about the relationship between big and little Edie. Big Edie was incredibly selfish and controlling. But there are moments of the film that are so funny and others so sad. I’m with you though. The most admirable women are those who are a bit quirky, odd and a bit of a misfit. Little Edie was all three and she was a wonderfully admirable woman with her own style. Hathaway, like many young “cough” stars these days are devoid of any personality. They are little puppets. Cut your hair and cry and you get an Oscar. So ridiculous!! XOXOXO!!!

  3. calensariel says:

    I thought it was interesting what she said in that little interview about “them” wanting everyone to be the same. Gives you something to think about. I’d never heard of her. Interesting post.

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Calen, You HAVE to watch this documentary on Netflix or wherever you can find it. Grey Gardens is so much more than just Edie’s fashion statements. It’s so insightful. I adored Little Edie–despite the fact others thought her odd or delusional. She was a prisoner of her mother’s controlling ways. XOXOXOXO!!!

  4. mareymercy says:

    If you haven’t yet seen Jinkx Monsoon’s amaaazing impersonation of Edie Beale on RuPaul’s Drag Race – you really must (it’s on YouTube if you search for it – I’d put a link here but I don’t think that’s allowed and will mark me as spam or something)! She nailed it and killed the competition with her impersonation!! And the Documentary Now spoof slayed me when it turned into Blair Witch Part II. It was fabulosity!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marey! OMG! I HAVE to Google and look. I love RuPaul but haven’t seen this. I LOVE Documentary Now! I’m going on YouTube right now to look for Jinkx Monsoon’s impersonation right now! I love you!!! Thanks so much!! XOXOXO!!!

      • mareymercy says:

        If you have never watched rupaul’s drag race, you really must! It is amazing and I am obsessed with that show!!

      • Catherine says:

        Marey. I LOVE RuPaul’s Drag Race and watch it when my schedule allows. I dig my drag Queens. Miss Richfield and I are practically twins! XOXOXO!

      • mareymercy says:

        How strange – I read your comment differently the first time. Or maybe that was someone else? Someone who said they’d never seen the show? Oops!

      • mareymercy says:

        Oh I see now – you said you’d never seen that particular episode.. got it 😉

  5. Hi Catherine, I’m a big fan of both Grey Gardens films. I think she was a tragic character, sadly due to the pressure her mother put on her to give up on her dreams. Also, a touch of ‘crazy’ in both mother and daughter but that doesn’t mean for a second that little Edie didn’t have tons of style. I agree she is an icon in the true sense. She loved to swim in the ocean and I think that’s how she stayed so fit. I also love the other women you name here. I did a style icon post last year and it was so fun to put together. Some of these women were also on my list. Great post, Catherine. I love your creative incarnation of Edie! Nicely done!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lisa! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Also–I’m so glad that you totally get Edie as an icon. We need more iconic women like her–no matter how tragic or bizarre her life was. And the swimming. I”m glad you brought that up. When I was watching Grey Gardens yesterday, I took a deeper look at her swimming scene and realized that is what kept her in such fantastic shape. Thank you so much!! XOXOXO!!!

  6. Love “Grey Gardens” both the original documentary and the Drew Barrymore version. Bring on more original style icons. Thanks for inspiring me – I’ve let my blog lay dormant, but I am just about ready to return to it!
    Here are two Australian ones for you: Florence Broadhurst – she was a ‘master’ or rather ‘mistress’ of reinvention and the great Orry-Kelly – Hollywood costume designer: http://www.thehipsterette.com.au/wordpress/?p=70 and http://www.thehipsterette.com.au/wordpress/?p=10460

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Hipsterette! Thank you sooooooooooooo much for the links! I’m also so glad that you loved Grey Gardens AND the Barrymore version. I love that we have stuff in common! Checking out Broadhurst right now! “XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  7. I just laughed out loud at the Hathaway pun. That’s pun gold! Love little Edie. Have you heard of a drag queen called Jinxx Monsoon? She does an awesome little Edie impression x

  8. Theodora says:

    Thanks for making me aware of little Edie. I enjoyed your post and following the links you gave. The full video is on YouTube and the follow up video too

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