Fashion stylist Bertie Bowen channels the clothes and spirit of a fictional character. This week, she’s taking tips from an icon of effortless style: Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.
Inspired by my trip to see the Audrey Hepburn exhibition at The NPG, I watched a marathon of Hepburn films and Roman Holiday was by far my favourite. Ann wears the same outfit for most of the film but subtle changes to it visually transform her from trapped, prim princess to carefree rebel. Plus it’s a great way to dress for a summer city break and manage to cram everything into your carry-on case. The greatest style advice is always rooted in reality and practicality.
SKIRT: pockets rule
Audrey owns an impossibly waspish waist that we can only ever dream of but there are style tricks that help you achieve a similar silhouette. A voluminous skirt will dwarf your waist in comparison. Avoid gathers at the waist and instead find one cut on the bias or with panels for a smooth line that flows out to a wide A-line hem. Does it have pockets? You’ve hit the jackpot: there is something so fine about pockets on a dress or skirt. They instantly make you feel cool, and you have the option to go sans handbag for some serious liberation.
Add a wide belt in the same colour as your skirt, with a D-ring style fastening. D-ring fastenings are going to be huge next season; they will be everywhere you look – on jackets, skirts, tops and, yes, you will want to wear one and you won’t know why. Get one now and feel smug about being ahead of the game.
SHIRT: it’s all in the way you wear it
Ann’s shirt starts buttoned up and with long, billowy sleeves, making her look formal and reserved. Within a few hours of her adventure starting, she has rolled the sleeves up neat and short, unbuttoned it slightly to reveal her neck and popped her collar; small style tweaks that have a big effect on her appearance. She now looks carefree and bold, mirroring her new rebellious and uninhibited attitude.
HAIRCUT: be bold
A haircut is a powerful signifier. In Ann’s case it represents a release from the shackles of responsibility and transformation into a spontaneous and daring individual. The short cut is modern and defiant. I realise this is a column about clothes, but a haircut can alter your look so significantly it is worth mentioning. You don’t simply get a haircut, you get a new identity, a new image and – sometimes – a brand new outlook on life.
I love the fact Ann uses the money for her taxi home to pay for new shoes instead – it just shows how reckless she has become. They are beautiful shoes, too, and now I know where Isabel Marant got her inspiration from (get a high-street version from Boden).
PLUS, they are so practical! They have a tiny heel and lace up over your foot and round the ankle, giving them a tantalisingly sultry appeal while supporting your arch and ankle, making them incredibly comfortable too. These shoes are the perfect combination of functional and stylish.
SIDENOTE: Borrow from the guys
Ann looks her best when dressed in Joe’s floor-length paisley dressing gown with dripping wet hair. There’s something undeniably sexy about a woman dressed in a man’s clothes. A shirt left unbuttoned, a suit jacket slung over the shoulders or an oversized dressing gown that swamps you looks charmingly gamine – especially if you happen to be Audrey Hepburn. No wonder Joe falls in love with her.
The appeal of Ann’s costume lies in its simplicity and practicality: the outfit takes Ann from palace to daytime city adventure, to night-time dancing and bar brawls with just a few clever style adjustments. If your style is quick and easy, it leaves you more time and energy to enjoy that sightseeing, gelato eating and er, bar brawling… Bon voyage!1587 Views
Stylist, writer and mother living in East London. A clompy shoed, curly haired, Radio 4 enthusiast. www.mothershoppers.com