Feminine yet confident, classy but mysteriously sexy…there’s a reason women around the world remain fascinated by – and envious of – Grace Kelly’s style. But how do you channel the 60s screen siren in 2010 without looking like you’re at a Mad Men party? The key is to focus less on the way she dressed than on the ideas behind it. Read on to find out how you can tap Grace Kelly’s fashion secrets and appear every bit as effortlessly chic as the 20th century’s best-enduring style icons.
1. Embrace your flaws
Little-discussed fact: Grace Kelly had a square face that was considered less than ideal in 1950s Hollywood. While other actresses would have tried to hide such a flaw, Kelly deliberately accentuated her strong jawline with a chin-length bob haircut. Smart move: by playing up her distinctive face shape, Kelly looked something better than perfect – she looked confident.
Instead of hiding your “flaws” with the usual style tricks, why not embrace them and play them up? If you’re short, wear flats; if you have thick eyebrows (Grace Kelly did, too), don’t over-pluck. It may seem unnerving at first, but by showing off your less-than-perfect features you’ll be sending out the message that you are confident in your appearance – and nothing is more stylish then that.
2. Wear signature jewelry
Grace Kelly wore a variety of jewelry, but she’s especially known for rocking classic, understated pearls – and little else in the way of jewelry. Pearls suited Kelly’s muted wardrobe, ivory complexion, and discrete, mysterious personality.
The key to picking a piece of signature jewelry is to think about it as an extension of who you are. Are you outgoing and adventurous? Try a bold cuff or chandelier earrings. More of a subdued, quiet type? A simple gold pendant might be more your style. Whatever you choose, be sure to draw attention to your piece by playing down other accessories – when it comes to Grace Kelly style, less is more.
3. Find a color palette
In her wardrobe, Grace Kelly stuck to an icy colour palette that complimented her fair complexion and suited her mysterious aura. Lavender, cream, ice blue and grey tones are quintessentially Kelly. Which colours are quintessentially you?
To find out what colours suit your complexion, check out UK style experts Trinny and Susanna’s colour guide here. But don’t let your colouring limit you – try building a wardrobe out of hues that suit your personality, too. Bold and chatty? Go for bright colours like yellow, electric blue, and black-and-white prints. Feminine and romantic? Pink might be more your style. Try to incorporate your signature colours into every outfit to build a unique look that is all you.
The name “Grace” couldn’t be more appropriate. Years of ballet training left Grace Kelly with an upright, yet fluid posture that telegraphed confidence, class, and mystery. But don’t let her dance background fool you: Kelly probably also knew that standing up straight will make you look slimmer, appear taller, and help your clothes fall better.
Maintaining good posture is more easily said than done, but with continuing practice and effort, you can transform your slump-shouldered gait into that of a ballerina’s. To assess your posture and get tips, go here. Even better – take an introductory ballet class to learn the basics of perfectly grace-ful (heh) balance and movement – and practice what you’ve learned at home.
5. Be consistent
The key to any signature style is consistency. Grace Kelly had an elegant, modest, aristocratic style that was affected little by the trends that came and went during her heyday (could you picture her in micro-mini and go-go boots?). By sticking to what suited her, she appeared far more stylish than her contemporaries who followed every “fashionable” trend.
Avoiding trends altogether isn’t necessary to maintain a consistent look. The key is to pick and choose pieces that compliment your existing wardrobe, and ignore the rest. If you have a classic style, for example, the current trend towards t-shirts with cut-outs and neon colours wouldn’t suit you – but the equally trendy vogue for slouchy knits and knee-length skirts would. Engage in trends selectively, so that you build a wardrobe that makes sense for your lifestyle, looks, and personality.