It was in 1953 that cinema-goers around the world first gazed upon a little Belgian girl with big eyes and even bigger dreams. When she stepped onto the big screen alongside A-lister Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn’s first role in a major motion picture would not only cement her status as a Hollywood actress but as a fashion icon.
From little black dresses to jewel-tone coats, designer sunglasses to larger-than-life earrings, Audrey’s timeless sense of style has become synonymous with her identity. Revered for her elegant ensembles and one-of-a-kind beauty, Audrey’s lasting legacy is one tapestried with unparalleled talent, enduring kindness and endless style tips.
Whether you’re looking for a masterclass in accessorising, a new makeup look or a little advice on how to build a capsule wardrobe, this leading lady is well-versed in the art of style.
1. When in doubt wear sunglasses
In the first scene of a little picture called Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey’s character Holly Golightly exits a yellow taxi cab in head-to-toe Givenchy and a pair of Oliver Goldsmith Manhattan sunglasses. Looking effortlessly chic as she indulges in an early-morning window shop, Audrey’s famous frames give her an air of quiet confidence. The epitome of glamour and elegance, whether you’re looking to amp up your desk-to-daywear ensemble or to hide your tired eyes after a night out on the town, a pair of sunglasses should never go amiss.
2. Less is ALWAYS More
A firm believer in the power of simplicity Audrey never felt that she had to wear the loudest dress in the room to turn heads. While she loved experimenting with colours, patterns and prints, the brunette beauty’s capsule wardrobe consisted of quality pieces which could be mixed and matched for effect. More interested in making a statement with her natural features, Audrey never needed a pretty dress to feel beautiful – it was just a bonus.
3. Every woman should have a red lipstick in her makeup bag
It’s a fact of life – you can never go wrong with a signature red lip – it’s just not possible. Stealing the show in Funny Face, which she co-starred in with Fred Astaire, Audrey pulled off a number of red lipstick looks for the role. The trick? Wear your hair up and keep the rest of your makeup subdued to keep all eyes on those luscious lips.
4. Accessories are EVERYTHING
Audrey certainly knew a thing or two about accessorising. From regal white gloves to huge summer hats, billowing silk scarves to diamond-studded tiaras, this Hollywood starlet had a talent for taking simple outfits and elevating them to another level with statement jewels and accessories.
5. Accentuating the waist is key
A lover of streamlined and fitted silhouettes, Audrey always chose outfits which accentuated her figure. High-waisted jeans, trousers, shorts and skirts were her best friends, and if she ever needed to cinch in a relaxed-fit dress or pencil skirt, she’d have a chunky buckled belt on hand.
6. It’s all in the eyes
Audrey may have had beautiful eyes to begin with, but she also knew how to draw as much attention to them as possible. Using her eyebrows as the outer frame, Audrey was an expert in creating a darker, more intense brow which still looked natural.
When it came to eyeshadow, she initially modelled more natural and subdued eyes but when the swinging 60s came around, Audrey also began to experiment with cut crease looks. She’d dust her eyelids in an oyster-coloured shadow and then apply a darker shadow in the crease of the eye, just below the brow bone.
Always finishing her look off with a signature cat-eye and statement lashes, Audrey would start at the inner corner of the eye and then slowly widen her liquid line to create a bold winged tip at the outer edge. Once that was done, she would then fan her eyelashes with three coats of mascara, using a pin to separate the individual lashes – talk about dedication!
7. Never underestimate the power of a neckline
Famously building an enduring friendship with Hubert de Givenchy, Audrey and the iconic designer possessed a mutual understanding of the power of a good neckline. Collaborating on looks for Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the pair incorporated a bateau neckline into the majority of Audrey’s costumes. Derived from sailors uniforms, this wide neckline runs horizontally, front and back, and almost to the shoulder points across the collar bone. Making for an extremely flattering and feminine finish, this ultra-chic neckline is still providing major fashion inspiration today – just take a look at Meghan Markle’s beautiful wedding dress, also by Givenchy.
8. Always have an LBD on hand
Without a doubt Audrey’s most universally acknowledged style tip, it really is true – you can never go wrong with a little black dress. Easily one of fashion’s most iconic garments, the moment Audrey stepped out of that New York City cab and onto the pavement at Fifth Avenue, everything changed. A symbol of elegance, grace and understated style, the little black dress is loved by women all over the world – and it’s not hard to see why.
9. Flats can be just as stylish as heels
Before Audrey became an actress, she originally trained as a ballerina. Fond of ballet slippers, Audrey looked just as chic in a pair of demure ballet-style pumps or leather loafers as she did in stilettos.
10. True beauty is on the inside
Above all else, Audrey firmly believed that true beauty was reflected on the inside. She famously said:
“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”