Lessons from Audrey, Part 3: Smart Gals with Good Style

This is the 3rd and final installation of “Lessons from Audrey”, a series on fashion lessons gleaned from certain movies starring the one and only Audrey Hepburn. If you missed Part One read it here, and Part Two here.

By: Emily Yakashiro

pont-des-arts_paris_funny-face_audrey-hepburn_untapped-cities-1Above: Audrey is here and taking up space & isn’t sorry about it in Funny Face

One of the big messages that women like me get from the media and society at large is that women are a few very specific, stereotypical things. You know, girls like purses, shoes, chocolate, and their boyfriends. Dynamic, changing, and multi-dimensional women aren’t something that we often see or hear about, because the world likes us to be this or that, then compare us against one another–Kim Kardashian vs. Kate Middleton, Anne Hathaway vs. Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Aniston vs. Angelina Jolie, etc. Years and years ago when I first started watching Audrey Hepburn movies, I was definitely susceptible to such thinking. Then I saw a few of the movies below and it all changed…

The Movies: Funny Face (1957), Charade (1963)

The Lesson: Smart gals can be interested in fashion, too. This is literally the whole point of this movie, wherein Hepburn plays a bookish Jo Stockton whose interest in philosophy clashes heavily with her new life as a supermodel. Just watch it!


Above: Audrey/Jo taking a break from modelling by chilling in a smoky cafe, dancing and discussing philosophy with her Parisian friends.

The movie also focuses on Jo’s romantic relationship with a much-older Fred Astaire, who of course plays the photographer. Ignore that part, it’s soooo not the point. The point is, you can know your stuff about Simone de Beauvoir and know the trends for all the pre-fall collections!

Funny-Face audrey hepburn maginifying glass close up


Above: Audrey’s character pre-Paris. Here she is with her books, catching the eye of magazine editors.

Another interesting character in this movie is Kay Thompson’s character Maggie Prescott, who plays a magazine editor. She’s another example of an intelligent, classy lady with a big investment in the fashion world.


Above: One of the many shots of Audrey in the movie–there’s a whole scene where they’re taking her pictures/doing fashion photography, it’s good stuff.

I also like in this movie how Jo takes off and does her own thing and doesn’t feel bad about it. Instead of showing up for a shoot one day, she opts not to go, and Fred Astaire has to go find her and of course get all patronizing and scold her for not considering other peoples’ investment in her role in Paris as a model. I just think it’s nice ’cause usually young women are shown accommodating the needs and wants of others before their own, and I like Jo’s independence that way.

Below: One of the more famous shots from the movie, with Audrey/Jo modelling a fabulous ball gown.


In Charade (1963), a suspense movie, Audrey plays Regina Lampert, a woman unhappy with her marriage when she suddenly finds herself caught up in a mystery surrounding her husband’s murder. There are many types of smarts, and keeping a cool, logical head when everything around you seems to be falling apart is definitely one of those smarts.

Below: Audrey/Regina looking impossibly chic even though her life is in danger and whatnot.


Despite assistance from Cary Grant’s character, Audrey’s character figures out what is going on all by herself. Lady detectives for the win!

Below: I don’t know how she does it–if I were caught up in a whodunnit type of a mystery, I would be crying alone in y sweatpants and slippers somewhere probably, not in an awesome mustard coat and prim leather gloves.


There are so many twists in the movie it’s hard for the viewer to keep up. Audrey’s character manages just fine though, even risking trusting a few folks along the way. I also like this movie because her character is especially snappy and notably bitter at some points, not the super-sweet and naive characters Hepburn often played.

Below: Chillin’ in a hotel room in the perfect sheath dress hoping not to be killed.


Audrey was a beautiful person on and off screen, apparently. She was very well-known for her humanitarian work in her later years, and was very composed, gracious person to work with. She could act, sing, and dance (just watch her movies–she’s good at all three and won an Oscar to boot), and she could apparently speak 5 languages! Now that’s what I call a good role model and all-around cool woman.

Lessons from Audrey, Part 2: Accessories

This is Part 2 of “Lessons from Audrey”, a series on fashion lessons gleaned from certain movies starring the one and only Audrey Hepburn. Did you miss Part 1? Check it out here.

By: Emily Yakashiro

I’ll let you in on my biggest fashion secret: accessorizing. I’m serious. Adding a necklace here or some earrings there is the #1 way to add something special to my outfit, and it’s usually the cheapest way to do so. The importance of accessories is a lesson I learned from Audrey in her various film reincarnations. Her wardrobes of hats, sunglasses, diamonds, etc, added a lot to her outfits, which were usually quite simple if you think about it. I know everyone likes to talk about Audrey and the LBD, and that is a well-established fashion convention, but what can I say-I get way more mileage out of my jewelry than I do with the couple little black dresses I have.

The Movies: Love in the Afternoon (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Sabrina (1954), How to Steal a Million (1966)

The Lesson: Accessorizing

In Love in the Afternoon, which I discussed in the first post of this series, Audrey’s character is trying to seduce a much older man. One of her schemes revolves entirely around an anklet-yes, an anklet. She hears from her father that, “there is something very provocative about an anklet,” as it is not, “exactly something you would get from your sister.” So, the next day before she goes out she finds herself an anklet and wears it to the picnic with her lover, and sure enough, it sparks some jealousy in him. Now, I’m not advocating we all go about accessorizing to make our significant other jealous, it’s just interesting to note that the right accessory can really turn heads.

Above: Audrey in the anklet scene–unfortunately you can’t see it, this shot cuts her off precisely at the ankles, but you can see how she uses something that is apparently quite provocative (the anklet) to balance out her otherwise preppy look.

In How to Steal a Million, Audrey epitomizes mod style. I love the hats, sunglasses, and scarves-without them, her smart outfits wouldn’t be so memorable as she goes driving around town. By the end of the movie, she changes up her game, adopting face veils (very Ulyana Sergeenko) and diamond earrings to lend a more mysterious air to her criminal activities.

Above: It’s a mod world with Audrey.

Below: So alluring and chic.

In Sabrina, which I also talked about last time, Audrey’s character (the eponymous Sabrina) spends some time abroad, coming back a sophisticated lady. When she makes her first appearance stateside, she looks very chic. So much so that the man she is hoping to charm drives right by her, then comically puts the car in reverse so he can go back and offer her a ride. She looks fantastic in her turban and earrings standing amongst all her luggage. Throughout the rest of the movie, big earrings make an appearance, perfect for her short hair.

Above and below: Those earrings! That chic turban/hat!

And now, the Big Leagues. Rhapsodizing about Hepburn’s accessories in her movies cannot be complete without bringing up Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The diamonds are of course lovely, but definitely out of my price range. Fortunately, you can get great statement necklace or costume jewelry pretty cheap at normal accessories stores. Sparkly details very much liven up the infamous LBDs Audrey wears. So do the glamorous shades, hats, etc. Hell, even her coffee cup usage became iconic, not to mention the sleeping mask and hilarious ear plugs.

Above: A funny face (get it?) from Audrey, but showing off all her accessories in the iconic scene in Breakfast quite nicely.

Below: Audrey even makes sleeping in look like the height of glamour.

Now, I love hats. I bought my very first fancy hat years ago at a real hat shop, it was definitely an investment, and not something I had originally planned on buying. However, my mum actually gave me the idea-we were in the hat shop, and mum spotted a lovely little black hat/fascinator, and suggested that instead of spending all my money on other clothes that I save up and get the hat as it would be “very Audrey”. Sold. So, I saved up, bought the hat, and I’ve worn it a thousand times since, always keeping Audrey in mind.

Above and below: Nothing adds an air of sophistication and mystery more than a good hat.

This has been Part 2 of “Lessons from Audrey”, a series on fashion lessons gleaned from certain movies starring the one and only Audrey Hepburn. Other instalments will be along soon!


Lessons from Audrey, Part 1: Transformation

By: Emily Yakashiro

Audrey Hepburn’s status as a fashion icon needs no explanation. Her style has been endlessly emulated, reimagined, and is constantly referred to as the epitome of gamine chic. Audrey is my favourite movie star of all time, and I’ve always loved her style. When I was in grade nine (I think?) I was lucky enough to find a 1950s circle dress at a thrift store (white with black polka dots) which I wore endlessly (at least once a week), deeming it as close to Audrey as I could get coming from a relatively small town with no vintage stores. I was also Audrey in various reincarnations of her movie roles for many a Halloween growing up.

Above: A hopeful Audrey in Roman Holiday looking out from her ‘gilded cage’.

While I love all of her movies, I remember some as having a particular influence on my style, taking away certain fashion “lessons” which I keep in mind even today. Though these lessons have no doubt been observed by many fashionable folks throughout time, I’m going to share what I’ve learned at any rate. Her style has really impacted mine, as we have very similar figures (except for the height–I’m shorter) and I think it’s important for women to share and discuss what they’ve learned from other women (whether you know them personally or not), ’cause, you know, it’s important.

So, without further ado here it is: the first instalment of a series dedicated to exploring fashion lessons from movies starring the one and only Audrey.

The Movies: Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954), Love in the Afternoon (1957)

The Lesson: Transformation

So, there are a lot of Audrey movies besides these three that involve clothes to achieve a complete transformation, like My Fair Lady. Actually, I really don’t like My Fair Lady—waaaaay to patriarchal for me. At any rate, I digress…in these three movies, Audrey’s character undergoes a transformation of sorts, aided a lot by a wardrobe change, and in the case of Roman Holiday and Sabrina, a good haircut.

Now, with the latter two movies, she changes her style specifically to try and capture the attention of men which I’m not-so-into, though the lesson I learned was not so much changing your style to attract a bf, but to change the way your perceive yourself–as mature, grown-up, and ready to be taken seriously.


Above: Unhappy Audrey in Roman pre-adventure in her royal regalia, surrounded by overbearing adults.

Below: Audrey at the end of the movie, in something decidedly more mature with her infamous haircut.


In Roman Holiday in particular, Audrey’s character takes her style into her own hands, choosing a daring haircut, and more lady-like silhouette in the very last scene of the movie, in order to show the people close to her that she is not a girl to be directed and bossed around-she’s a woman who knows what she wants. As a side note, Hepburn was 24 when she played the role.

Above: Audrey’s character in Sabrina before her experience abroad, unhappy with the impression she’s leaving.


Above: Audrey’s Sabrina post-Paris in the dress she knew would perfectly display her transformation from a girl to a chic socialite.

In Sabrina, Audrey’s youthful character goes abroad to Paris to study, and comes back a head-turning lady. She actively experiments with her new look, at one point identifying a certain ball gown as particularly fetching for her debut into high society, knowing that it will show off what she considers her best features.


Above: A nervous Audrey in Love in the Afternoon, after meeting Gary Cooper’s American “playboy” character for the first time.

In Love in the Afternoon, Audrey’s character is trying to charm a much older gentlemen who she considers very sophisticated, and she uses her wardrobe, wearing her best dresses (and in one amusing scene a fur coat in the middle of summer!) to appear older and sophisticated as well, knowing full well that Gary Cooper’s character prefers curvaceous, bombshell types.

Below: Audrey dressing to impress, figuring a fur coat was mysterious and would help evoke a persona of someone with many admirers.


This has been Part 1 of “Lessons from Audrey”, a series on fashion lessons gleaned from certain movies starring the one and only Audrey Hepburn. Other instalments will be along soon!

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