Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965) was a dynamo of talent and beauty who became the first African American nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Her starring role in Carmen Jones launched her into the Hollywood stratosphere, but the racism of the era meant that there was still no real place for her in mainstream pictures. She was a brilliant performer and a box-office draw, yet her talents were ultimately wasted by the white movie industry. Sadly, she died much too young, but her memory—and her mesmerizing screen presence—lives on.

The easiest way to dress like Miss Dorothy Dandridge is to rock that iconic Carmen Jones look. It’s unmistakable! Here are the pieces we suggest, from left to right:

1. Red pencil skirt.
2. Off-the-shoulder black top.
3. Red rose hair clip.
4. Silver-tone hoop earrings (2 inch diameter).

Hair and makeup: Ebony McCrary did a gorgeous retro glam look à la Dorothy Dandridge on her Colored Beautiful YouTube channel a few years ago:

And this is the wig-styling video she’s talking about:

The wig she’s using is the Naomi from the Janet Collection, but we’re not sure they make that model anymore (the video is a few years old). They do have a synthetic wig called the Monroe that seems very similar. As Ebony shows in her video, it’s amazing what you can do with an inexpensive wig.

Now you just need a man who looks like Harry Belafonte…

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