Looking back at Joan Rivers’ iconic style

Actress, comedian and writer Joan Rivers died at the age 81 Sept. 4, following a week-long hospitalization. She's known as a trailblazing entertainer who broke through the ceiling in a time when comedy was a boys' club.

Rivers' beginning as a stand-up comedian carried her through the last years of her life, but her career blossomed in several different directions. As she got older, her fame was bolstered by collaborations with her daughter Melissa. From their show, "Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?" to conducting interviews on the red carpet for the TV Guide Channel, their senses of humor went together like peanut butter and jelly.

One of the amazing things about Joan is how little her look changed, from her early TV appearances in the 1960s to photos taken earlier this year. Her style was bold, eye-catching and iconic.

The early years
Back in 1965, Joan Rivers was invited to perform on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." The show launched comedy careers for some of the most famous names of our time, from Steve Martin to Jay Leno, and Joan was no exception. It was during this time that her style was first exposed to mass audiences. She often wore relatively simple black dresses and statement jewelry. Among her favorite accessories were long pearl necklaces, which she continued to wear throughout the rest of her career.

New York Magazine posted a picture of Joan from the 1960s that sums up the way she looked during the transition from performing stand-up in coffee houses to mixing it up with the biggest names in comedy. She's wearing a tight black shirt with a brooch resting on her right collarbone. A pair of pearl studs is visible under her voluminous blonde bob. Joan frequently wore diamond studs as well, like the IGI Certified 14k White Gold Screw Back Diamond Stud Earrings from Fine Jewelers.

Mother-daughter style
It's clear from looking at any picture of the duo that Melissa Rivers learned a thing or two from her mom's fashion sense. The two can be seen wearing gold bangles in almost every picture, as well as earrings that you just can't ignore.

In a picture from the 2013 Matrix Awards, Joan and Melissa can be seen embracing on the red carpet. Joan is wearing a black dress with a cream-colored blazer. Her dangly emerald earrings complement the gleaming necklace around her neck. A more recent photo of the women shows Melissa wearing almost the same earrings. Meanwhile, Joan went with a shining collar necklace to dress up her black attire.