Women we love – Meryl Streep


Meryl Streep, circa 1976-1979

Meryl Streep is loved for her style and fearlessness. She is not only beautiful, but she’s also bold and incredibly brave. These are just a few of the reasons why le Rú admires Meryl and we decided to name our Meryl trench coat after this one-of-a-kind woman. 

Meryl Streep once declared she “couldn’t care less” about fashion. It’s precisely this refusal to curry favor from the fashion world that makes Meryl so attractive as a style icon. Vogue perfectly summed up our love of this Hollywood actress, noting that Meryl “possesses a timeless, confident elegance that consistently transcends trends.” 

An incredible force

Who could forget the classic trench coats Meryl’s character wore in the ground-breaking film, Kramer vs. Kramer? Set in New York, the film follows a difficult custody battle between two parents. At 29, Meryl Streep thrived in her role as Billy’s mother, Joanna. Her co-star, Dustin Hoffman was remembered for his taunts and aggressions; he once slapped Meryl so hard (and unexpectedly) it left red marks on her face. He did so, Hoffman said, to elicit the raw emotions her character needed for the scene. 

Meryl Streep trench coat Kramer vs Kramer
Meryl Streep in Cramer vs Cramer

These days, such offenses would not go without public outrage, but this was decades before #MeToo. Two years after graduating from Yale School of Drama and losing her boyfriend, Cazale to cancer, Meryl had already found her steely resolve and trademark composure. On the cusp of 30, Meryl was self-possessed, if not unshakable in her convictions and poise. Robert Benton told Vanity Fair, “There was no way Dustin could shake her. No way he could do anything to shake her. She was just there, and she was an incredible force.” 

It was a force that made Hollywood sit up and pay attention. Meryl Streep’s role in Kramer vs. Kramer won her an Academy Award. Instead of following the new romantic fashion trends of the 80s, Meryl wore a Sixties-inspired tulip dress with ladylike gloves. Just two years later, Meryl went on to win an Oscar for her performance as a Polish Holocaust survivor in the film, Sophie’s Choice. Again, she opted for a ladylike high-necked, long-sleeved embellished dress. The Oscar and her classic attire would cement her reputation as one of the industry’s most versatile and talented actresses. 

The devil is the details

Though Meryl never had strong feelings about fashion, she admitted she could be difficult for costume designers to work with, because she has very strong views about her character’s wardrobe and style. These opinions were most pronounced, perhaps, in the film, The Devil Wears Prada. The trademark “white-blond” color of Miranda’s hair was a big part of Meryl’s look. The producers worried that the color might make Meryl look old. She lobbied with the film’s costume designer, Patricia Field to convince them. Field noted that “Meryl used her power” to change their minds. The hair color was the perfect “backdrop–color, so to speak” for Field to build the fashion around.

Meryl was 55 at the time of the film. She almost refused the role of Miranda, because the initial pay was too low, if not “insulting.” It did not reflect her value to the project. The actress was tempted to say goodbye before the company doubled the offer. In an industry known for its agism, where mature actresses are told and encouraged to look younger, Meryl rewrote the rules. Meryl learned how to negotiate on her behalf, stepping into her experience and wisdom.

It’s complicated

At 60, Meryl revisited the topic of divorce in her film, It’s Complicated with a fresh approach to the subject. In the film, Meryl’s character, Jane falls back in love with her ex-husband after seeing him at their son’s graduation ceremony. The film was well-received. 

Meryl’s character drew attention for her uniform of jeans, belts and stylish accessories. Her stylist commented that Meryl “didn’t look like she was trying to look like a twenty-year-old. She looks like herself” with a Parisian flair and sensibility. In keeping with her character’s Parisian connection, Meryl wore several Hermès scarves in the film. People who watched the film loved this look and wanted to dress like her–proving true style never goes out of fashion because it is authentic and timeless. 

At times, Hollywood actresses may feel tempted to dress younger. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look or feel younger, if this style doesn’t fit with a person’s experiences and character, it can age a woman and be incredibly unflattering. Meryl always strikes the right balance, because her poise and elegance speak volumes. The clothes never wear Meryl; she is fully in control of her look. You always see her first, the clothes second. As a serious actress, this is exactly how it should be.

Behind every woman

The age-old adage says behind every successful man, there is a strong woman. We could extend this saying to successful and inspiring women like Meryl, who have enjoyed long marriages with a strong partner. The actress and her husband, Don Gummer have been married for over forty years and have four children together. 

Meryl Streep became US Vogue’s oldest cover girl at 62, thanks to the support of her husband and family. It is a testament to her talent and the strength of her character. More than 20 years earlier, she worried about what would happen to her career, when she turned 40. She asked her husband what should they do. She felt her career was over. 

“Once women passed childbearing age they could only be seen as grotesque on some level,” she explained when recalling the unspoken Hollywood rule. Little did she know that she would go on to challenge this thinking, paving the way for other women to be paid fairly and cast in a wider range of roles.


The next time you wear our Meryl trench coat, we hope you recall #leruwomenwelove.