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Fashion Icons of the 20th Century: Audrey Hepburn and James Dean

The 20th century has an enduring legacy for changing the fashion world. It was the century of the dandy and the rebel, and there were two stars who embodied both of these fashion sensibilities in the iconic form: Audrey Hepburn and James Dean. From Hepburn’s elegance and poise in some of her most unforgettable roles to Dean’s penchant for leather jackets, denim jeans, and t-shirts, these two have become truly legendary style icons for their time. Here, we’ll take a look at their enduring style, the impact of their fashion, and delve into the personas that were crafted in their lifetime.

1. Timeless Style: The Audrey Hepburn and James Dean Legacy

The fashion of the mid-1950s was all about making a statement. Enter Audrey Hepburn and James Dean, two stars of the silver screen that defined the era with their impeccable and timeless style choices. Both iconic figures embraced traditional fashion with a rock n’ roll edge.

Let’s take a look at Audrey; her classically stylish wardrobe included gorgeous tailored trousers, pencil skirts, pearls and gloves. In the cult classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she wore a stunning little black dress that has graced the closets of many women for decades. A remarkable feature of Hepburn’s approach was the way she blended elements of high fashion and classic staples to create an effortless and timeless aesthetic.

The late James Dean embodied the 1950s concept of “cool” in all its glory. He was known to favor classic leather jackets, white t-shirts and blue jeans. With or without an accessory, the actor always managed to look effortlessly stylish and suave.

  • Classic staples: Suit jackets, pencil skirts, white t-shirts, leather jackets.
  • Accessories: Bow ties, gloves, shades, fedoras.

It is no surprise that both Hepburn and Dean remain style icons to this day. Their looks have been replicated and celebrated in popular culture for decades, inspiring a new generation of fashion enthusiasts, proving that classic beauty never goes out of fashion.

2. Audrey Hepburn – The Archetype of Refined Elegance

Audrey Hepburn was the very definition of refined elegance on and off the screen. Her style and grace set the world’s standard for iconic fashion for decades. Here we take you through some of the elements that made her the archetype she was:

  • The Graceful Posture: Hepburn was renowned for the grace with which she carried herself. Whether in an evening gown or a simple shift dress, she moved with deliberate, calculated grace. Her still image photographs lead to her somewhat trademark pose of looking slightly away with her chin slightly tucked.
  • Simple Outer Lines, Feminine Silhouette: Hepburn typically wore elegant, understated pieces that worked together to create an effortless chic look. She was often seen wearing shifts, slim trousers and collared shirts. However, whatever she wore, she kept to a feminine silhouette.
  • Accessories: With signature black cat-eye sunglasses and pearls, Hepburn created an iconic look that is still popular today. She often wore long necklaces and scarves, as well as evening gloves. Her accessories only served to accompany her understated yet feminine wardrobe.
  • Hair: Her trademark bangs and simple up-dos were the finishing touches of Audrey’s signature look. Her hair was an element that let her class never be questioned, as well as leaving her with enough versatility to fit any occasion.

Audrey Hepburn certainly captured the ideal image of refined elegance. Her impact on style can still be seen today, and is proving to be timeless.

3. Iconic, Rebellious and Cool: The Allure of James Dean

James Dean’s endearing combination of attitude and beauty has left many swooning. His iconic presence on the silver screen continues to cast a spell, even all these years later.

The Power of His Prsentation:
Dean’s undeniable charm is rooted in a very careful presentation of himself. He was a fine balance between vulnerable and cavalier, heartthrob and rebel. His wardrobe was something of a trademark, being a collection of staple items typical of 1950s fashion. His leather jacket, tight jeans, and white t-shirt were perfect representations of the era.

His Legacy:
He might have passed decades ago, but his influence will never fade. The man brought a certain kind of wildness to small-town America- an appeal that was irresistible. As a result, many of his style elements have been revived and continue to be worn and spun into contemporary fashion.

In a Word: Cool
When it comes to cool, nobody does it quite like James Dean. He was effortlessly self-assured and could pull off anything with that hey-it’s-me-you’ll-get-used-to-it attitude. His name will forever remain synonymous with rebellion, courage and, of course, coolness.

4. Personal Style with Universal Appeal

Fashion isn’t only for the experienced pro, the daring trendsetter, or the blueblood dressed in designer duds. Everyone can become a fashionista by embracing their own sense of style with a universal appeal. No matter the budget, here’s how to dial up your style.

  • Invest in Quality Basics: Make a few key investments such as a classic white shirt and pair of jeans. Look for timeless cuts that flatter your body type.
  • Accent Pieces: Pull in accent pieces, like statement jewelry, scarves, or a well-made leather jacket. Make sure to invest in quality materials that will enhance your look.
  • Fashion Color Palette: Create a color palette that can be used to spice up your basics. Maybe it’s just splashes of monochromatic tones, jeweled tones, or all-black ensembles.

Fashion isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Enjoy the journey of discovering your own personal style and create many unique looks. Whether your style is sophisticated chic, cool street style, minimalistic, or preppy, don’t forget to wear your wardrobe and enjoy the fashionista life.

With a few knowledge tools and investments, anyone can become a fashionista. Decide on a budget, purchase quality basics, inject some accent pieces, and create a unique fashion color palette. Remember to focus on expressing yourself and have fun with fashion!

5. Audrey Hepburn and James Dean: Fashion Icons of the 20th Century

Audrey Hepburn and James Dean were two of the most iconic celebrities of the 20th century. Both stars’ unique fashion sense, distinct style, and impressive screen presence captured the hearts of their audiences and made them timeless icons.

From Audrey Hepburn’s slim black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to James Dean’s fitted leather jacket in Rebel Without a Cause, their sensational looks were reflections of the youth movement of the times and live on today as the epitome of classic style.

Hepburn and Dean were trendsetters of their time with fashion choices that defy the test of time:

  • Audrey Hepburn: pencil skirts, tailored blouses, and oversized sunglasses.
  • James Dean: leather jackets, slacks, and t-shirts.

The pair’s fashion influence can be seen on red carpets and runways today. Young Hollywood stars and fashion designers alike often cite Audrey Hepburn and James Dean as major sources of inspiration. Whether on the silver screen or in today’s culture, the image of these two stars will live on as fashion icons of the 20th century.

It is clear that Audrey Hepburn and James Dean are iconic figures of fashion and will remain timeless icons of the 20th century. They each had distinct styles that continue to influence society today and bring back a unique and classic sense of glamour. No matter the era or style, these stars will always have a special place in our hearts.


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