Before all the glitz and glamour that comes with stardom, Audrey Hepburn did not have an easy life. She was born in Belgium in 1929 and attended boarding school in England. When she was 6 years old, her father abandoned their family. At the beginning of World War II, her mother sent her to the Netherlands and temporarily changed her name to Edda Van Heemstra, hoping to keep her safe in the neutral country.
Unfortunately, the Netherlands would be occupied by Nazi Germany for five years. Audrey said that if they had known during the beginning months of the war that they would be occupied for five years “[they] might all have shot [themselves].” She would not only carry messages for the Resistance in her shoes as a child, but would also perform to get people’s minds off the world crumbling around them. It was here that she got her start in entertaining. Out of the worst of times would be born one of the greatest entertainers the world has ever known.
Audrey wanted to be a ballet dancer more than anything and earned a scholarship to the Rambert Ballet School in London. After being told that she was too far behind due to having no true training during the war years, she left to get a job. She started in musicals.
Audrey never sought to become an actress, but naturally fell into the profession as she took small parts in movies to earn money. When William Wylder came to England looking for an unknown actress for his movie, Audrey did many tests and earned the part that would be the start of a long career — Princess Ann of Roman Holiday.
And of course, you know the rest, she went on to star in many iconic films that would inspire people for decades to come. I, along with many other little girls I’m sure, became captivated by her after seeing her in Breakfast at Tiffany’s at age 10 before I could really understand what the movie meant. Her image has become so iconic that Tiffany’s even opened a café where you can really eat breakfast (that is if you can get past the lines).
The reason her image still holds so much power today is not only because it was so different from anything other actresses were doing — not a sex symbol, yet not quite the girl next door — but because her style remained relevant. Her partnership with Givenchy and love for classics would create the look of the Audrey we know and love.
Emphasize Your Waist
Audrey was always quite thin, but she understood how to dress to give herself shape. She never wore outfits that didn’t have a waist emphasis, which is so important to whether or not an outfit is flattering. So those baggy sweatshirts we all love so much, not helping.
If you want to match Audrey’s elegance, you’re going to have to wear pants that are the perfect fit for your shape. More tailored pants will ensure that your pants flatter your unique body shape. Flares are fun, but straight leg styles that are tight at the ankle or the calf are much more timeless (and more Audrey).
A-Line Skirts and Dresses
A-line dresses are one of the most flattering silhouettes for any body type, which Audrey clearly understood. However, your skirts don’t have to be as full as many of her more formal ones to have the same flattering effect on your figure!
Headscarves became a signature of Audrey’s, and no surprise, considering she’s seen in one in one of the most famous scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. They’re the perfect spring or summer accessory, especially if you’ll be somewhere with a breeze where your hair will get blown around.
Embrace a Collar
In my opinion, modern women don’t wear collared shirts enough! They’re easy to throw on and will keep an outfit casual, but are much more elevated than the typical t-shirt.
And while we’re on the subject of collars, we can’t not talk about how great Audrey looked in a turtleneck. When you find a style that works for you, stick to it! That’s where style can become personal.
Once you have the basics of a wardrobe, it’s all about the accessories. And one Audrey loved was straw hats. They’re cute, but also practical. They’ll keep the sun off your face which will prevent the sun from damaging your skin as you age. Hats aren’t just for old ladies!
Audrey was never one to wear a whole lot of jewelry. Understated was much more her style, which is generally a good way to approach jewelry. But she would often wear a strand of pearls or just a pair of pearl earrings. You can’t really go wrong with either!
Audrey Hepburn and sneakers! Just kidding, she didn’t really wear sneakers (sorry to disappoint those in love with the ultra-comfortable shoe). But she wore the next best thing, ballet flats. They’ll make you look more put together instantly and are still comfortable enough to wear everywhere you go.
Audrey Hepburn had a more subtle makeup look. If you ask me, that’s always the way to go. But one thing she didn’t skimp on was eyeliner. She loved a cat-eye and used it to help bring out her big brown eyes. So for an Audrey look, pull up the YouTube tutorials and steady your hand.
Audrey Hepburn remains one of the most prominent style icons decades later. So while we can’t all go to Fifth Avenue to eat croissants outside Tiffany’s, we can all make our wardrobe a little more Audrey.
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