How to Dress up as Audrey Hepburn

A few weeks back my niece turned 13 and to celebrate she invited our family (adults only, now that she is a teenager!) to join her for a dress-up party! Now I LOVE dress-up parties and am definitely of the opinion that they don’t happen nearly enough for us adults. So, I jumped at the chance to go all out!

The theme was “Favourite Celebrity of All Time” so naturally it had to be Audrey Hepburn. Her most iconic look was definitely as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The film was recently voted the most stylish film of all time, so it’s hardly a bad choice – after all if you are going to be dressing up, you may as well look good while doing it, right?

As luck would have it just this past weekend I was able to rewatch the movie at an amazing open air picnic for Valentines Day at Spier, and as always it was well worth it. I own it on DVD but don’t always remember to sit down and soak in all the details, so this was a treat! If you haven’t ever seen the movie before (my husband had to be educated!) get a brief glimpse by watching the trailer below…

So, how did I put myself together for the evening as Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Today I’m going to share the process with you….


1. A black dress.
The essential element of this look is of course – the little black dress. On looking at pics of the opening movie scene where Holly enjoys her breakfast at Tiffany’s, I realised that, in fact, the dress was long and not short (that one appears later). It will be quite difficult to find the exact one as designed by Givenchy but if you’re feeling creative you could sew your own dress but I’m guessing not, so just pick a little black dress from your cupboard or borrow from a friend. Remember Audrey was known for her simple, elegant style so when it comes to a LBD, less is always more. You don’t have to have a long dress just try to keep it at knee length or longer. It most definitely wasn’t short! I didn’t have the exact dress so made do with a long black Hip Hop gown I’ve had hanging in my cupboard for ages and never really get a chance to wear. It was bought pre-kids which meant I did have to squeeze certain body parts into it and as it was strappy so wasn’t exactly the right neckline but it did the job!




Apart from the main outfit you will need a few extra accessories to “Audrey-fy” your look. You will have heard that accessories make an outfit and never has this been more true! I had great fun hunting high and low for a few items I identified from the pic on the cover of my copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I tried not to spend too much money here and was lucky enough to find everything I needed from my own supplies…



1. Tiara.
As many a bride will tell you, they want to feel like a princess on their wedding day and I was no different! It was probably the only time in my life that I was going to get to wear a crown and so I claimed it!! And kept if for prosterity… and a moment such as this when I finally got to wear one again. If you don’t have one lying around from your wedding head to your kids dress up box or nearest China Town!

2. Ballet flats.
My “go-to” shoe style for everyday wear so this was an easy find – I just popped on my favourite pair of black pumps. Fortunately my dress was long so no one even knew that I was wearing pumps and not heels and it was a WAY more comfortable! Of course, they were also Audrey’s shoe of choice throughout her life and she always looked chic, stylish and elegant so you can’t really go wrong here…. I think I need to expand my collection!

4. Pearls.
Hard to find the exact replica of Audrey’s multi-strand pearl necklace with the rhinestone pendant, but what I used was a few strands of pearls – I have one and borrowed one from my mom. I had to forgo the brooch but I don’t think anyone minded. If you don’t have real pearls buy a few long strands from a toy shop and wind them around a couple of times to make a multi-strand set like Holly’s. If you have a pretty pendant or brooch, pin it to the front.

5. Cigarette holder.
So I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a super long, 60s style cigarette holder lying around the house so this was an item I had to improvise!! Enter, the eyeshadow brush… yes that is exactly what I used as my ciggie holder…. keeping the brush part between my fingers of course!

6. Sparkly earrings.
Although Holly does say “It’s tacky to wear diamonds before you’re forty” she did wear  pair of sparkly earrings which means they were probably fake! Choose the sparkliest earrings you can find…  I love my pair of Swarovski Bella crystal earrings and think these did the trick.

7. Sunglasses
Fabulous, oversized sunglasses were Audrey’s top choice and she wore the iconic Ray-Ban Wayfarers, but as I didn’t yet own a pair I used another style of black sunnies (I’ve since righted this wrong – thanks to a Sunglass Hut voucher from the Met) If you heart is set on The Wayfarer you could probably find a cheap pair at the robot vendors down the road!

8. Opera gloves.
OK so this was another one of those tricky finds. I only had short black gloves so was going to wear those until I had the brainwave of cutting the toes off some opaque knee high black stockings (why I had a pair of those I don’t know!) You can also fin elbow length gloves at a China Town equivalent but I only found that out afterwards at the actual event when my sister-in-law had a pair of white ones (she was dressed as Julia Roberts from the opera scene in Pretty Women)


Audrey’s iconic “pineapple-like” up do is actually quite easy to achieve. You will need a lot of hair pins and hairspray, especially if your hair tends to be fine!

1. If you’re feeling brave, cut a small fringe just like your mom did on you when you were a kid! Otherwise do what I did and sweep a piece of hair across your forehead to imitate a fringe!

2. Pull the rest of your hair back smoothly and form it into a full, controlled ponytail, high on your head. Unless you have very thick hair like myself, you will need to backcomb the ponytail and then smooth it over the top. In hair that is not quite long enough, create a second ponytail about 5cm down and hide it under the first then the hair from the top ponytail is fanned out to cover all traces of the second. This also works well with layered hair.

3. Create a bun by pinning the ends of the hair under the band of the pony tail and spray with strong hold hairspray. Lots of it!

4. Add a sparkling tiara or hair clip at the front and voila!

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Make up

It’s undeniable that Audrey was a natural beauty but you too can create the Holly Golightly look with a few quick makeup tricks…. plus my recommended products too!

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1. Remember that skin should be natural, fresh and glowing. Use a foundation in a shade that matches your skin tone exactly. I’m currently loving the new Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Nude in Golden Nude. Remember to hide under-eye dark circles and add a swish of powder to set the foundation.

2. Cheeks should have a natural, flushed glow – use a soft pink cream blush. I love the Stila Convertible Colour in Lilium. NB: No bronzer allowed!

3. Audrey was all about the brows and although they weren’t as defined as in her previous movie roles they were still an important aspect of her look. Create a strong arch and fill in gaps using an eyeshadow or eye brow pencil that matches your brow colour.

4. For eyeshadow use only matte colours (shimmer makeup didn’t exist in 1961). Apply a matte grey eyeshadow along your lash line and blend upwards and don’t go higher than your sockets. I used a grey I had called Cat Fight by Urban Chic available at Clicks but you could just as easily use Scene from Mac Cosmetics. I always love their eyeshadows!

5. Apply black liquid liner with a flick that elongates and emphasises your lashes. I used the one that came in my Eylure set.

6. Two words: False lashes. I’ve always been a bit scared about these coming loose during the evening but if you stick to well known brands such as Eylure and use fresh glue, you won’t have a problem. There are so many stunning shapes and styles to choose and you won’t believe the difference they make. A dress up party is a great excuse to experiment so DO IT! Once you have fixed them apply a single coat of mascara if necessary. If you don’t go with the falsies option then use a mascara that gives you a false lash effect like Lash Mania Reloaded from Essence.

7. Holly wears a very natural looking lipstick in tones of coral or pink. Keep it pale and not too bright, always matte, never glossy and line your lips to give you a bit of a natural pout! The one I used is no longer available unfortunately – Clarins Pink Quartz 01 but good alternatives are the NEW Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Elusive 205 or for something a little darker try Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick in Rose 17.

So, there you have it: How to look like Holly Golightly in a few easy steps! All in all it was SUCH fun playing around with a new look – make up & hair and I had a blast getting ready and channeling Audrey! I hope you feel inspired for your next dress up party… I certainly am looking forward to the next dress up opportunity – and fortunately I don’t have to wait too long as my BFF from high school is having her Bachelorette Party next weekend – although I can almost guarantee I won’t be looking as classy as Audrey then! 😉

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One more pic I can’t resist sharing. On seeing my outfit for the night, my daughter rushed off to pull her own together to look just like me! I die from the cuteness….

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Images: Kathryn Rossiter; Top Image

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

  1. Thanks for the great tutorial – I’m definitely going to use your inspiration the next time there is a dress up!

  2. I like your take on AH’s look. 🙂 You put your twist to it.

    I like the olden time’s garment and the way they apply their make-up without looking too overdone is so classy! That’s the real beauty!

    Blog hopping from blogcatalog. Happy to be in your blog!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ria! Glad you enjoyed this post! I had such fun doing it 😉

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