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The Influence of Audrey Hepburn in Women’s Culture—Class, Style and Elegance

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, anyone? Grab your go-to coffee order and a croissant—quick! We’re about to dive deep into the life of an iconic Hollywood starlet … Can you guess who?

She is classy, stylish, and elegant; she is Audrey Hepburn! Who is this timeless lady, you may ask? Well, perhaps you recognize her from her classic films, Breakfast at Tiffany’s or My Fair Lady, or you’ve seen girls dressing in pearls with a tight updo for Halloween. Miss Hepburn is notably one of the most influential movie stars ever.

breakfast at tiffanys back
Paramount Pictures

Audrey Hepburn first rose to stardom in the early 1950s, starring as Princess Anne in William Wyler’s Roman Holiday. Many say she was ahead of her time because Audrey offered a new way for women to dress and act, as well as new goals to aspire towards. She was every young woman’s role model. In addition, Audrey is considered one of the most beautiful women ever. Heck, in 2006, New Woman magazine voted her the Most Beautiful Woman of All Time! But it isn’t just her physical beauty that has swept millions of people off their feet; it is more about her character. I believe Audrey epitomizes grace, style, and class in her very essence, and her influence has transcended over decades and become a model for young women everywhere. 

A novel that has recently sparked my interest in Audrey Hepburn’s life is What Would Audrey Do? Timeless Lessons for Living with Grace and Style by Pamela Keogh. The book is a pseudo-biography of Audrey combined with self-help tips based on Audrey’s teachings and actions, hence the “What Would Audrey Do?” 

Then I got to thinking … what truly makes a lady “elegant” and “dignified?” My first thought is someone who acts with morals and displays grace and respect in one’s appearance and self. This can include being polite, poised, confident, and upholding a robust and sophisticated manner. Truly, Audrey Hepburn is the first person to come to mind when thinking of these traits. That said, I’d like to unpack the true beauty of America’s timeless lady, Miss Hepburn!

A Fashion icon

In fashion, makeup, and accessories, Audrey knew all. Hepburn’s sense of fashion—both on and off-screen—has influenced millions and impacted women’s fashion and culture forever. She is considered THE style icon for heaven’s sake!

Audrey Hepburn’s fashion choices were nothing short of chic. She was known for her little black dresses, headscarves, trench coats, headbands, and oversized white button-down shirts. Her style was often described as sophisticated, minimalist, elegant, and polished. In recognition of her impeccable fashion sense, she made the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame List in 1961. She has also been featured in numerous ‘best-dressed’ lists, including “100 Fashion Icons” for Time, “Women Who Changed Fashion” for Harper’s Bazaar, and “Style Icons” for Forbes. As for makeup, Audrey chose distinctive makeup that highlighted her memorable eyes, kept her eyebrows clean, and stuck to a soft blush that resembled her natural lips. 

generosity and kindness

Audrey Hepburn served as an ambassador for UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) from 1988 until her death on January 20th, 1993. As an ambassador, she traveled to places like Africa, Asia, and Latin America to raise awareness about the impending issues of poverty, disease, and conflict for children. After her Hollywood fame, she dedicated much of her time and energy to advocating for children’s rights and fighting to improve the world. Audrey was selfless and generous, a great role model for young girls and women everywhere.


Despite her immense talent and impending worldwide fame, Audrey is known for her humility and modesty. She preferred a private life, steering away from media attention, and remained humble in her interactions with others. Audrey’s modesty was not just a trait, it was a reflection of her classiness both on and off-screen. She was a fashion icon and Hollywood actress, yet she never sought attention for herself. Her simple and elegant style mirrored her down-to-earth nature, inspiring admiration not only for her beauty and talent but also for her humility and compassion towards others.

“I have more sex appeal on the tip of my nose than many women have in their entire bodies. It doesn’t stand out a mile, but it is there.”

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn’s influence on women’s culture transcends time and spans generations. All in all, Audrey’s mark on the world lies in her timeless elegance, iconic style, and her embodiment of strength, compassion, and social consciousness. Even after her fame, she continued to inspire women around the globe, reminding us of the power of grace and resilience in shaping a better world.

P.S. if you’re looking for a great rom-com starring the fabulously dressed and stunning Audrey, I recommend Roman Holiday. Her co-star, Gregory Peck, is also considered one of the greatest male stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema!

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Julia Norton

U Mass Amherst '25

Julia Norton is a senior at UMass Amherst majoring in Economics with a minor in English. She is very excited to be a part of Her Campus and connect with the other young women in the UMass chapter. Along with writing, she enjoys reading, painting with watercolors, yoga, and watching movies.