What Would Audrey Do?

I can’t think of one woman I know who doesn’t consider Audrey Hepburn to be their own style icon. With a beautiful face, impeccable sense of style, and glowing personality, who wouldn’t look up to Ms. Hepburn?

I absolutely include myself in this generalization. I have watched Sabrina more times than I can count. I’ve had a pair of black flats in my shoe collection for as long as I can remember. Pearls are my staple. And if I knew I could pull off her signature pixie haircut, I would get my own hair done in a heartbeat.  

It may be cliché to admit to all of these things, but I’m not ashamed. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t look up to her. She is the epitome of elegance and beauty, two things that {among other things} I aspire to be as well.

A few months ago I picked up a book in my local Barnes and Noble. It’s called “What Would Audrey Do?” {I also have “What Would Jackie Do?”}, and I wanted to share a few things that I’ve read. Maybe it will inspire you to live more gracefully and beautifully as well.

The AH List

Make the most of your assets, underplay your flaws. In Love in the Afternoon, Audrey mock-complains to Gary Cooper. “I’m too thin and my ears stick out, my teeth are crooked and my neck’s much too long.” “Maybe so,” Cooper replies, “but I love the way it all hangs together.” So study yourself and make the most of your assets.

Have a POV. In terms of fashion, find what works for you and stick with it. Even as a struggling chorus girl in London in 1945, Audrey {who could do more with a plain white shirt than anyone} knew what worked for her and what didn’t.

Her style was subtle, not obvious. “She was the first to make something that’s not sexy, sexy,” says Cynthia Rowley. With apologies to all the Pamela Andersons and Paris Hiltons of the world, and an entire subset of UGG-loving, lingerie-revealing Hollywood actresses, don’t be afraid to tone it down a little.

Disregard Trends. Audrey was unique in her style choices in that she knew what was going on in fashion, but did not follow trends. Instead, she decided, early on, what worked for her and moved within those parameters. That said, she never got stuck in a look: Ballet flats gave way to Ferragamo and Roger Vivier, which gave way to Keds and probably would have led to Manolo Blahnik, had he been designing when she was alive. And although there was always a very distinctive Audrey look, she never got stuck in one decade.

Posture. Chin up, shoulders back, and when you walk into that room, walk in there like you own it – think of AH gliding across that tennis court in that amazing Givenchy gown in Sabrina.

The ubiquitous ballet flat. Fact: Audrey was the first person to wear ballet slippers in public. The lesson here is, take something from your life {Audrey’s first dream was to become a ballet dancer} and bring it out into the public. Then, with any luck, it will become a fashion perennial three generations later.

Never underestimate the power of a good white shirt. Or trim black trousers, or a turtleneck, or the right haircut that shows off your profile…which leads to the second corollary that style has little to do with money. Audrey wore jeans and a polo as authoritatively as a mink shrug or Givenchy ball gown.

If these few points haven’t convinced you to go buy this book, here is a short and sweet list of the Audrey Essentials:

1. Wear mascara.
2. Stand up straight.
3. Get your clothes tailored.
4. Lower your voice.
5. When in doubt, love.
6. Be generous.
7. Don’t kiss and tell.
8. Forgive.
9. Turn around and check the back of your reflection in the mirror before you leave the house.
10. Smile.

{All excerpts are taken from “What Would Audrey Do? Written by Pamela Keogh and published by Gotham Books, ©2008}

I try to follow all of these rules, but I admit that I fail miserably sometimes. I have been guilty of leaving the house with no makeup on whatsoever {though I try to limit these occurrences}. I tend to hold a grudge when I’m upset. And the only item of clothing that I’ve ever had tailored to fit was my wedding dress. But they are definitely good guidelines to {try to} follow in life, especially in a world where tact has been thrown to the wind in favor of tastelessness.

Audrey wasn’t perfect, and neither are any of us. This doesn’t mean we can’t try and live our lives beautifully, however. Audrey’s beauty and style transcended what she wore and her hairstyle; it was who she was. And I want to be known as a beautiful person, inside and out.  

Much love, and I hope you all have a beautiful Sunday!


Ms. H said...

This is WONDERFUL. Thanks for sharing Joelle!! I had soooo much fun reading this post--great tips for sure. =)

Beka said...

Ah! I absolutely LOVE this post.
Love Audrey:)
Sabrina and Roman Holiday are such good movies...
Pearls, oh yes.
Mascara, yep!
That's a great list to keep in mind..

westcoastsoul said...

I love love love this post!

Louba said...

Great post - I love Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday are two of my favourite films. Think I'll give my wardrobe a clear out this week!

Ashley said...

Very lovely post. I use her as one of my inspirations when I dress to impress. I like simple basics and not trying to make clothes that don't work for me work. I buy and wear what looks good.
Mascara, definitely an essential!
This looks like a wonderful book. I think I shall check it out!

Mrs. Bee said...

Oh my gosh thank you so much for posting this! I HAVE to get that book! Roman Holiday and Sabrina are two of my all time favorite movies! I'm sure you are a lot closer to AH than you realize!

Adrian said...

LOVE!! Thanks for sharing! Totally picking up the book this week. I can't wait to try out some of these tips in my own life. Audrey is just so classy and refined, definitely someone worth emulating!

Jillian said...

love love this post. i have looked up to audrey hepburns style and humanitarian efforts for years (i was obsessed with sabrina too). all lovely tips for stylish ladies. xoxo jcd

Kaitlyn Thatcher said...

Love, love, love this post. I have looked at Audrey style books at Anthropologie more times than I can count but I've never bought one. I think I might have to bite the bullet and add one to my book collection!

a life of color said...

I have read "What would Audrey Do?" and loved it!! Great post...!!!