50 Things a Girl Can Learn From Audrey Hepburn
The beauty and elegance of Audrey Hepburn was almost too good to be true. Her classy yet bold sense of style made her one of Hollywood's greatest fashion icons. Not only did she grace the stages of film and theater, but her glamor extended into real life as well, where she was a role model and philanthropist.
Audrey left us girls a long list of lessons for how to live life with style. Here are my top 50.
1. “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
2. Class outshines trash. Many less tasteful women have stolen the stage for small lengths of time, but Audrey outlasted them all with poise and grace. A tramp may grab men's attention for a day, but a lady will win everyone's respect and adoration for a lifetime.
3. Black turtlenecks never go out of style.
4. Bold hat risks are worth it. Audrey was frequently seen sporting crazy hat choices, and they always worked for her. The confidence she wore them with is what made them shine.
5. “Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people. It does for me.”
6. Pair a headscarf with sunglasses for effortlessly fashionable traveling.
7. “Forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile."
8. Black eyeliner is a must. Audrey is famous for ladylike liner and gorgeous, full eyelashes. Experiment with the glamorous cat eye in liquid eye liner and jet black mascara. Keep it classy by pairing this dramatic eye with subtle cheeks and lips.
9. Have several little black dresses, and don’t be afraid to wear them on average days.
10. “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion."
11. “Happy girls are the prettiest girls.”
12. Elegance is never overrated. One look at Audrey’s life proves that.
13. Never let anyone put you in a cage, but belong to someone. Playing Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Audrey teaches this delicate balance.
14. “Laughing is the best calorie burner.” Especially after chocolate cake.
15. A simple ponytail can be classy and cute.
16. Simplicity can be extraordinary. Part of what made Audrey’s style timeless is her use of simple silhouettes. Praising Givenchy (of whom she was both a fan and a muse), Audrey is quoted as saying, “He kept the spare style that I love. What is more beautiful than a simple sheath made an extraordinary way in a special fabric, and just two earrings?”
17. Always have a pair of big, statement sunglasses on hand.
18. “You can always tell what kind of a person a man really thinks you are by the earrings he gives you.” (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961)
19. Accept the reality of your weaknesses while playing your strengths for all they’re worth. Audrey studied ballet for many years and had a talent in the art. However, when she asked Marie Rambert (who had great influence on British ballet) about her future, she was told that while she could definitely have a successful career in dance, her tall height and residual issues from poor nutrition during wartime would keep her from ever becoming a prima ballerina. Audrey accepted the truth and moved her efforts to acting.
20. “When you have found it, you should stick to it.”
21. Even a street girl can pass as a princess with some manners. (My Fair Lady, 1964.)
22. Don’t waste time and effort trying to convince a man of your worth. In her role as Sabrina in the 1954 film by the same name, Audrey learns that a man who can’t see her value on his own is not worth pursuing.
23. “Find someone who appreciates you.”
24. Overdressing is better than underdressing.
25. “Your heart just breaks, that’s all. But you can’t judge or point fingers.”
26. Learn to forgive and never stop loving. When she was a child, Audrey’s father abandoned her family abruptly after being caught in bed with the nanny. Audrey finally found him with the help of the Red Cross nearly 30 years later. Even while he remained emotionally detached, she showed him unconditional love, stayed in contact, and supported him financially for the remainder of his life.
27. “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.”
28. “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”
29. Pairing a long sleeve button-down shirt with shorts is a do.
30. Take a day off every once in a while to do the things you’ve always dreamed of doing. (Roman Holiday, 1953.)
31. Appreciate your oddities; they make you unique. Playing Jo Stockton in Funny Face (1957), Audrey's character was teased for having an unusual face. That same elfin face ended up making her a killing in the movie, as well as in real life. Play up the things that make you different. They keep you from blending into the crowd.
32. “There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.”
33. Own at least one bright-colored peacoat.
34. “Paris is always a good idea.”
35. Marriage is not something that should be done half way: “If I get married, I want to be very married.”
36. Choose the mature sweetheart over the dashing young playboy. In her role as a sweet chauffeur’s daughter in Sabrina (1954), Audrey gains the attention of two wealthy brothers and makes this wise choice in the end.
37. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
38. A boyish pixie cut can be sexy.
39. Take advantage of a multinational background. Growing up, Audrey spent time in Belgium, Britain, and the Netherlands, which made her bilingual in English and Dutch. She went on to also become fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, and German. This wide knowledge of languages in no doubt impacted her acting career and aided in her humanitarian efforts.
40. “The beauty of a woman must be seen from her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.”
41. A cat needs a name. (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961.)
42. Turn life’s hardships into something meaningful. Growing up during World War II in Arnhem, Netherlands during the Dutch famine, Audrey witnessed many horrible things and suffered herself from malnutrition, acute anemia, respiratory problems, and edema. These hardships inspired her to become dedicated to humanitarian efforts later in life. Devoted to UNICEF, Audrey focused on aiding impoverished children in the poorest parts of the world.
43. “You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.”
44. “People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Never throw out anyone.”
45. Pair skinny black pants with chic flats for a classic look.
46. “I never thought I’d land in pictures with a face like mine.” Even the most gorgeous women have insecurities. Learn to have confidence and love who you are.
47. “I was asked to act when I couldn’t act. I was asked to sing ‘Funny Face’ when I couldn’t sing, and dance with Fred Astaire when I couldn’t dance, and do all kind of things I wasn’t prepared for. Then I tried like mad to cope with it.” Fake it till you make it.
48. Rock an updo now and then.
49. “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’”
50. Focus on the positive things in life and let go of the sad. Audrey said, “If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements, and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness, not my miscarriages, or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough.” We can all learn from that.