As Julia Roberts turns 53, revisit her best style moments

Hikmat Mohammed
·3-min read
julia roberts - Getty Images
julia roberts - Getty Images

Earlier this year, rom-com classic Pretty Woman turned 30 - the film that established Julia Roberts as a style icon on and off screen. Her character Vivian Ward's wardrobe of knee-high boots, off-the-shoulder gowns, lace cocktail dresses and masculine suits all helped put Roberts herself on the fashion map, and have all trickled into her own real life wardrobe over the years.

On her 53rd birthday, we look back at the style moments that defined Roberts as the cool girl of the 1990s, and as a  fashion muse.

The oversized suit

Julia Roberts - Ron Galella Collection via Getty
Julia Roberts - Ron Galella Collection via Getty

The oversized relaxed suit trend launched onto the scene in the 1980s thanks to Richard Gere in American Gigolo, donning a grey Giorgio Armani suit, breaking the Italian designer into Hollywood. A decade later, Roberts had her own grey suit moment in an Armani number similar to her Pretty Woman co-star, at the Golden Globes, winning the Best Actress award for Steel Magnolias. A fashion coincidence, or perfect planning?

Sloane Ranger 

pretty woman julia roberts - Getty Images
pretty woman julia roberts - Getty Images

What is a 1990s chick-flick without a makeover scene? Vivian Ward’s transformation from the street corner of Hollywood Boulevard to the country club set stands on its own fashion pedestal. It’s not your typical rags to riches makeover jump from high street to luxury, but rather one that’s all about the attitude. Vivian may have not been aware of the rise of the UK Sloane Ranger, but the influence weighs heavily on the film. This polka dot frock and wide brim hat made for a memorable look.

Waistcoat-mania

Julia Roberts in a waistcoat at the Young Guns II Hollywood premiere - WireImage
Julia Roberts in a waistcoat at the Young Guns II Hollywood premiere - WireImage

Waistcoats are back, as seen on the catwalks of Saint Laurent, Celine and Dior. I have to admit, it's a hard one to pull off, even if you're a certain prominent football manager... Roberts has earned her style icon status on the back of making the hard look easy, the waistcoat being a prime example. The trick is to avoid going with a wide lapel as it will shrink your neck, choose a soft and less-expected colour, and always opt for more than four buttons, otherwise you really will look like Gareth Southgate.

The embellished skirt

julia roberts sparkly skirt - Getty Images
julia roberts sparkly skirt - Getty Images

Roberts' 1990s city style was ruled by the embellished midi-skirt. A hero Manhattanite piece favoured by the likes of  Sarah Jessica Parker and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, it is a highly versatile and a key piece that Miuccia Prada dotes on in her collections. Let the skirt shine on its own - a solid cardigan or tee will break up the dazzle, and make it suitable to wear for day.

A touch of colour

julia roberts - Getty Images
julia roberts - Getty Images

Roberts doesn't often opt for bold colour, but when she does, she goes all out. She has hit her stride in her 50s wearing bright pinks and purples for major red carpet moments - case in point this Brandon Maxwell co-ord worn in October 2018.

No fuss eveningwear

julia roberts armani -  FilmMagic
julia roberts armani - FilmMagic

Julia Roberts' red carpet looks routinely make best dressed lists. She has mastered the fine art of owning it in front of the paparazzi, with the help of  clean cut silhouettes and by usually wearing black, but with a twist, adding sequin, lace or pleats for texture and interest. 

The lockdown look

Julia Roberts shared pared back selfies on Instagram of her more pared back lockdown look. Her reading glasses were the chic focal point - consider great glasses the Zoom accessory that will jazz up all over-the-table outfits while simultaneously saving us from the pain of contact lenses in the mornings. Is that Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love necklace we spy, too?

For more news, analysis and advice from The Telegraph's fashion desk, click here to sign up to get our weekly newsletter, straight to your inbox every Friday. Follow our Instagram @Telegraphfashion