Friday, 29 June 2012

Woman actor? - The style of Katharine Hepburn

Now, now, don't get ahead of yourself. This is not an attempt to reduce Kate the Great to something as *frivolous* as fashion. This is only this blogger/fashion lover trying to understand and cherish one of Kate's many innovations: The way she dressed. Which, mind you, can relate completely to her personality and life story. How's about we get started?

Kathy, in her slacks, circa 1942
I. She wore the pants
I'll admit it myself: This one was far too obvious. Kathy was one of the first glamour girls in Hollywood to show up wearing pants to the studio. Surprisingly enough, she had no intention of being a visionary or changing the rules: The only thing Kate wanted was to be comfortable while being active and athletic as she was her entire life. Always elegant, she favored khakis for more informal occasions and black, high-waisted slacks for evening wear, which helped give her mile-long legs and to elongate even more her already thin, subtly hourglass-shaped figure. Eventually, she even went for the full-body romper.
If you, like me, live in an insanely hot climate, don't be afraid to channel the tennis-playing Kate, who gave us the honor of seeing her legs revealed by high-waisted shorts.

II. What do I pair it with?
Looking relaxed and lovely, and probably feeling so
Kathy - thank goodness - didn't go for prints on the bottoms, so don't be afraid to rock them on the top. Polka dots always looked cute as a button on this 5'7'', austere-looking actress. She generally played it very safe with her outfits - sticking to the slack and button down shirt combo, a classic that looks good on any body shape. However, the occasional light turtleneck with the black slacks looked particularly elegant on the first lady of cinema, and, depending on the formality of the occasion, she'd even rock a statement piece of jewelry on a dark shirt. Another option for tops would be a neutral sweater over a colored button down shirt, with the nice pretty collar peeking through. For cold days, stick to the blazer - androgynous as ever - or, if the temperatures fall very low, a polished trench coat is just swell.

III. Complementing
Silly hats aside, Kathy was not one to rock too many accessories. She played it safe and understated, but never boring. If you're channeling a true Kate, make sure your accessories are functional: Old fashioned (cough cough VINTAGE!) sunglasses, to protect your darling eyes from the sun, maybe a nice watch, or the occasional non-silly hat. For a beach day or a very casual occasion, I see nothing wrong with the Jackie O. scarf around the head (as pictured above). All other jewelry, keep it simple: A simple and delicate necklace OR a few plain bracelets OR bigger earrings than the usual studs. But don't clog your outfit trying to rock them all at once. Oh, and before I forget, heels!

IV. Dat volume
Kathy's hair was frizzy and rebelious: Must get it off her face! In an effort to be comfortable, as usual, the first lady of cinema set a trend. Getting the hair off her face in any way she could, she started the trend of messy half-up hairstyles. Sometimes with the little poof on the front, looking very forties, sometimes just pushed to the side, or sometimes with a high sexy bun, it was always up and messy. Here are some examples of Kathy typical hairstyles:
To achieve this forties look, tease your hair by
backcombing it to add volume. Then part it around
your ears and bring it all up. Secure with bobby pins. 

The Woman of the Year hairstyle (my favorite), consists
of a deep side part followed by pinning your hair loosely

Channel my favorite movie, The Philadelphia Story, by volumizing
your hair (a lot) and then putting it up on a very loose high ponytail.
After you're done with that, wrap your hair, again loosely and
messily, around the ponytail creating the top bun. Secure with bobby
V. All made up
Finally, ladies, let's talk makeup. Kate didn't rock a lot of it on her own time. She, as should all of us, favored naturality to flawlessness. Stick to a light coverage foundation, a mascara that focuses on lash length and subtle liquid eyeliner, just to make sure your eyes are accented. Take it from me, girls: Coral lipstick is SO Katharine. 
One of Kate's earliest color pictures

How about some wearable outfits?

Outfit K - Summer casual day

Outfit A - Formalish in Winter

Outfit T - Night out

So, that's it for today, folks! I hope you enjoyed today's post and I wish you all a swell day!

So long,


  1. Ohmygoodness Marcela, you are such a great writer, I really enjoyed this post!

  2. You should write some Katharine Hepburn hair tutorials if you can. Hope you don't mind the suggestion. Nice article you have written here and it sounds like you might know how to achieve the hairstyle.