Skip to main content

Great Outfits in Fashion History: Marlene Dietrich in Statement Sleeves

Some truly timeless glam from the 1930s.
Marlene Dietrich in "The Devil is a Woman" in 1935.

Marlene Dietrich in "The Devil is a Woman" in 1935.

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

Marlene Dietrich had the kind of style that transcends time — the actor and cabaret star was born in 1901, but the way she dressed continues to influence fashion more than a century later. Dietrich fully embraced the Hollywood glam of her era, and was often seen dripping in sequins or fur with perfectly curled hair and flawlessly applied lipstick. But she also made waves by wearing men's suiting long before that was the norm, and proved she could deliver sex symbol appeal while doing it.

Some particularly delectable looks of Dietrich's are seen in her 1935 film "The Devil is a Woman," in which she played a femme fatale opposite Cesar Romero. Though some of the film's elaborate headpieces border on the absurd, there are also plenty of looks that would feel just right on the red carpet today, like this dramatic two-tone silk dress. Created by costume designer Travis Banton, it features a full skirt with a trim waist in two contrasting colors of silken fabric. But it's the dramatic sleeves that ultimately take the cake, by playing with oversized proportions while still revealing the full length of the arm. A bit of wrist bling completes the look.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

You may not have anywhere to wear such fancy gala attire to at the moment, but why not dream about it anyway? See the gallery below for some of our favorite modern takes on the statement sleeve.

Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.

Stay current on the latest trends, news and people shaping the fashion industry. Sign up for our daily newsletter.