There are many beautiful pictures of young Elizabeth Taylor, who was perfectly formed for the fashions of the 1950s. But I am not here to talk about her retro style.

You see, apparently, I saw the commercial for White Diamonds at a particularly impressionable moment in my childhood, because that's how she froze in my mind—as the kind of woman mature and confident enough to give away a goddamned diamond earring for no apparent reason if she felt so moved by the spirit. Such panache!

I mean, sure, your '70s-era Elizabeth Taylor is pretty great, too.

But it's looking at her outfits from the 1980s that you can really tell that this was a woman who lived by her own fashion rules. Looking like a million bucks in something that looks like a sweatshirt despite not, upon closer inspection, being a sweatshirt but rather some silk concoction:


Why NOT try strawberry blonde hair?

Hell yes this is what you wear while testifying before a Senate subcommittee in 1986, telling them to find some damn money for AIDS research:


Hi haters!


Perfect in every way:

Arriving at Cannes with George Hamilton looking like the Barbie everyone wanted to play with, not one of those other B-list Barbies:


This perfume is called "Passion."


Yet another Capitol Hill testimony for AIDS research. May we all be so balls-out as we barrel toward middle age.

Photos via AP Images.