Flashback Friday: Remembering The Best Of Katharine Hepburn's Style

23 August 2013 by

GALLERY >> Step inside the wardrobe of Katharine Hepburn

In her first film, Bill Of Divorcement, 1932

In Morning Glory, 1933

Having a make-up touch up in the mid 1930s

The typical Hollywood starlet in 1932

Showing the boys how it is done in 1935

That is one handy belt.

As Pat Pemberton, grab your gold club girls, this is one chic look.

Filming The Holiday with Carry Grant in 1938

Aviator apparel in Christopher Strong, 1932

Tailoring on ice, 1936

In Little Women, 1933

As Sylvia Scarlett in 1935

On the set of Sylvia Scarlett with Carry Grant

Going short in Sylvia Scarlett, 1935

Tailored tom boy on set in 1938

Going all geek chic in 'Break of Hearts' 1935.

Katharine Hepburn in 1930. Those shoes are so OTM.

Taking a break on set

On the set of The Philadelphia Story, 1940

Pounding the streets in 1934

On the set of Bringing Up Baby with Carry Grant in 1937

Going golf pro in 1935

A publicity still from 1935

Hello sassy sequins! In The Philadelphia Story, 1940

Sassy slacks in The Philadelphia Story, 1940

A Grecian gown for The Philadelphia Story, 1940

Graphic prints are so this season and Hepburn certainly knew how to work it.

Going graphic in Break of Hearts, 1935

Move over Maria Sharapova. Hepburn playing tennis in 1944.

Now this is how to work military, in The Iron Petticoat, 1956

Filming Spitfire in 1934

In a very dramatic black gown in 1935

Easy elegance in 1950

Opposite Elizabeth Taylor, in 1959

This is SO Dior AW13. Hepburn in 1955.

A typical 1950s look for Hepburn

One serious evening look, in 1955

On stage as Cleopatra in 1960

Take note V.B. this is how you do airport runway, 1944

As Coco Chanel in 1969

In Guess Who is Coming to Dinner

Kicking back in Nike kicks writting her book in 1987

With androgyny adorning the runways for yet another season, it seems to be the perfect time to revisit the wardrobe of its original poster girl,the actress Katharine Hepburn.

The four-time Oscar winner championed the relaxed, tailored look throughout her working career. Whilst her earlier roles in such films as A Bill of Divorcement (1932), saw her, like her peers, wearing the most elegant of gowns, Hepburn’s off duty garb soon came to influence the roles she undertook, positioning herself as a real trend blazer, wearing trousers long before it was popular for women to do so.

Right: In Sylvia Scarlett (1935) and Left: On Set With Carry Grant (1938)


The prominent turning point was her title role in Sylvia Scarlett (1935). Hepburn cut her hair short and masqueraded as a boy for the majority of the film, placing her as the definition of the ‘modern woman.’ Wearing slacks with masculine tailored jackets, Hepburn was seen in direct conflict with the ‘housewife’ stereotype, popularised in the mid-century. Whilst her peers were tap dancing with Fred Astaire, Hepburn was playing golf.  By shunning the publicity machine and having a habit for doing what the public didn’t expect from an actress, a string of film flops followed and she was labelled as ‘box office poison’ in the late 1930s. The public were not ready for a Hollywood starlet to wear trousers.

However her career resurgence came in The Philadelphia Story (1940) where Hepburn was back in long flowing gowns and with the odd sequin was thrown in for good measure. Moving into the late 1950s, Hepburn carved herself a niche for playing independent spinsters, in such films as Suddenly Last Summer (1959), placing herself in stark contrast to her co-star, the Hollywood glamour puss, Elizabeth Taylor.

In Bringing Up Baby, 1938


As her sixty year career continued and collecting more Oscars than any performer (ever!), Hepburn showed that she not only had the angular face, she had the personality to match. In a time of changing fortunes for women, Hepburn was highly vocal with her opinions, as she said, ‘I was totally unaware that we were the second rate-sex.’ Lets just go and burn our bras now!

Hepburn fully embodies the spirit of the androgynous woman we will become so familiar with this season: someone free spiritied, confident and fiercely independent. After all she is the very woman who said, “If you want to give up the adoration of thousands of men for the distain of one, go ahead, get married.” Hepburn herself only married when she was very young and after her divorce in 1934 remained fiercely independent. Move over Samantha Jones!

Take a look at the gallery above to discover why Katharine Hepburn is such a pivotal fashion icon.


All posts must obey the house rules, if you object to any comments please let us know and we'll take the appropriate action.