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Happy Birthday, Frugal Icon Marilyn Monroe

To celebrate what would have been Marilyn Monroe's 86th birthday (can't you picture her being 86 and fabulous a la Zsa Zsa Gabor in her later years?), I'm reposting my Frugal Icon inauguration post so we can all remember her for what was most noteworthy about her - her thriftiness.

(I'll also throw in a link to this cool article from The Huffington Post that includes clips from all of the movies she did - including ones where she was a background extra. Interesting to hear what her actual voice sounded like, not her fakey breathy "Marilyn" voice.)

(Also note: if you guys watch the cheesy glorious mess that is NBC's Smash, you are not alone. I don't know what's wrong with me but I, like so many others, can't look away from that trainwreck)

"I'm not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful."
-  Marilyn Monroe, as quoted in Ms. magazine (August 1972) p. 41

Have you guys seen this article about Marilyn Monroe from It's actually an excerpt from Simon Doonan's new book Gay Men Don't Get Fat:

::waits patiently while you guys read the article::

So, a few things jumped out at me, as I'm sure they did to you. First, Marilyn Monroe was tiny? Really? Is it just an old wives' tale that she was really size 16 or whatever? And second, I should get a pair of capri pants for the spring. And third: she owned little of monetary value, she wore her clothes repeatedly, she spent more on books than shoes.

You guys... was Marilyn Monroe a closet frugalista? (Hey, I first began wondering about this in May 2011. Am I psychic? Or just forgetful? Does it matter?)

Some interesting (frugal-related) things about Marilyn:

- when she married Arthur Miller in 1956, she dyed a white veil in coffee so that it would match her beige dress (FRUGAL!)

The coffee-dyed veil in question.

- When The Seven Year Itch premiered in 1955, she borrowed a gown from the studio for the premiere, as she didn't own any gowns (FRUGAL!)

- She wore glasses (not frugal, exactly, as Lasik surgery had not been invented yet, but makes me feel like she and I have something in common)

- She anonymously posed for the famous nude photos taken by Tom Kelley for a calendar. When a blackmailer threatened to identify the model, she announced the fact herself rather than pay him off. (FRUGAL! BRAVE!)

She also shows it's totes fine to wear your hair in braids when you're over 25.

- When she wasn't acting, she preferred to wear simply a bathrobe (FRUGAL!)

- At the time of her death, she owned over 400 books (... and wore glasses? She and I are practically twinsies! I mean, except for a lot of things, most of them really sad.)

Reading is sexy!

- When her estate was put up for auction, Simon Doonan found that "she had worn [all of her clothing] repeatedly and there just wasn’t that much of it... With the exception of her DiMaggio wedding ring [her jewellery] was a bunch of paste danglers and costume crap... there were several pairs of black suede Ferragamo stilettos with worn heels. But Marilyn—brace yourself for another shocker—was more into books than shoes."

Simon Doonan sums it up as follows:

"This stunning lack of materialism made me love and respect her more. What do you need in life other than a good book, a few capri pants, and a cotton sundress or two?"

Other than a good lipstick and a microwave? I'm fully on board.

- article first posted on Shopping Detox on January 10, 2012

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