Audrey Hepburn's Rules of Style

Whether you're wearing a black turtleneck or opera gloves, the iconic star's signature look is the ultimate source of inspiration.

Though it's been more than 50 years since Audrey Hepburn reigned supreme as the queen of Hollywood's Golden Age, her influence can still be found in our everyday sartorial choices—from pixie pants and feminine flats, to classic black dresses and bold red lipstick. We learned a lot from Audrey: the transformative power of a skinny belt, the importance of oversize eyewear, and the belief that timelessness will always supersede trendiness. Consider these Hepburn-approved fashion rules your bible for chic style.

Create shape by cinching in your waist.


Manipulate any silhouette—be it a full-skirted shirtdress or a body-hugging sheath—by simply adding a belt. The actress alternated between wide and skinny versions, always positioned at the smallest part of her waist.

Borrow from the boys.

By day, channel your inner Audrey with a preppy plaid blazer and a bowtie. After dark, tiptoe out of your comfort zone by pairing a bralette with a half-buttoned tuxedo jacket.

Add a bold red lip.

A punchy pout has the ability to instantly elevate any ensemble—whether you're sporting off-duty denim or a little black dress for date night. Be sure to keep the rest of your look simple, as Hepburn did, with pared-down accessories and clean, minimalist makeup.

Invest in a pair of penny loafers.

Your prep school days might be a thing of the past, but penny loafers should always have a place in your footwear rotation. They're youthful yet sophisticated, and a well-made pair will last a lifetime.

Always have oversize sunglasses within arm's reach.

When you're inclined to go incognito in your own city, oversize shades will forever be your secret weapon. Holly Golightly opted for large, tortoiseshell frames with off-green lenses in Breakfast at Tiffany's—a style that's still being produced today.

Behold the power of the one-piece.

One-piece swimsuits are coming back with fervor, and Hepburn, who rocked them often, would approve. When she wore a solid red suit with slicked-back hair on the beach in '66, it confirmed what we already knew: Subtlety can be seriously sexy.

A skinny ankle-crop flatters every figure.

Hepburn was known for her signature pixie pants, cropped just above the ankle to show a tiny sliver of skin. The classic cut elongates legs and works equally well with both flats and heels.

When in doubt, default to the LBD.

One could argue that a little black dress (LBD for short) is the most essential staple of any woman's wardrobe. Hepburn swore by them. Think of the LBD as your most loyal companion—an always-available +1 for parties that simultaneously serves as a default for first dates, funerals, and interviews alike.

Explore the versatility of a striped t-shirt.

The actress taught us that stripes should be treated as a neutral. Pair a Breton top with jeans, mix-and-match it with contrasting patterns, or style it with—that's right—more stripes.

All-black-everything is a guaranteed style win.

Hepburn let us in on a number of invaluable secrets. Among the best: There's no such thing as "too much black." When worn head-to-toe, the slenderizing hue is the epitome of chic.

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Avery Matera
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