From Our ReadersHow To Channel Holly Golightly Without Becoming A HarlotFrom Our Readers

The 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s provides the golden paradigm of classiness for many women through Holly Golightly. I know I saw Audrey Hepburn’s iconic film for the first time when I was a cricket of a little red head, but I distinctly remember seeing it again with a new set of eyes when I was in High School. My journal entry for that day was simply “Note to self: be more like Holly Golightly.” Did I realize then that this woman was a hooker? Probably not (similar to the way I watched Grease understanding, well, nothing until after 6th grade health class).  So I wonder why, ten years later, I still long to be as much like this delightful call girl as possible. What about her life and awesome self do we, as women, wish we could bottle up and infuse into our own lives?

Since we all know I’m going to address it, I’ll go ahead and touch on this essence of Holly that we’ve all come to helplessly mimic. Her style. I have so many clothes that I have to switch out my winter and summer wardrobes according to season because there isn’t enough room in my closet. This is silly. Especially because I’m not a Hoarder (I swear I’m not. If I were, I’d be out and proud and on TLC). Here I sit, wanting to be like Holly and I fail before I begin because I’m pretty sure she only has 15 articles of clothing and not one person would ever accuse her of wearing the same thing twice. Because she somehow doesn’t. Whaaat?!

She takes these 15 classic pieces:

  •  THE black dress
  • 3 black trousers
  • 1 navy trouser
  • 4 classic button down blouses in assorted classic tones
  • 1 black turtle neck
  • 1 beige super trendy trench coat
  • 2 party dresses
  • 1 sun dress
  • 1 gentleman friend’s tux shirt

and accessorizes the above with bounds of oversized sunglasses, elbow gloves (WHY don’t we wear gloves anymore? I will! I shall!), strands of pearls, sensible ballet flats and luscious pumps. This is the recipe for the perfect wardrobe, I do believe. Am I right? Let me be clear: my closet looks nothing like this but at least I do have sensible black ballet flats, a black turtle neck and a pair of black trousers. Thank you, GAP and your 2006 Audrey Hepburn ad campaign (and the question there: should I be judged for holding on to my fading Audrey-wear from six years ago?).  Oh, and don’t forget to keep makeup in your mailbox for those necessary touchups. Duh.

Another little piece of Holly Golightly’s heart I think we all would love to tuck into our own is her frank manner of speech.

She says things like:

  • It’s useful being top banana in the shock department.
  • If we’re going to be friends let’s get one thing straight right now: I hate snoops!
  • A girl can’t read that sort of thing without her lipstick.
  • I’ll tell you one thing, Fred, darling… I’d marry you for your money in a minute. Would you marry me for my money?
  • If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!
  • I’ll never get used to anything. Anybody that does, they might as well be dead.
  • Oh, Golly Gee Damn!

If I told one of my friends that I was “top banana” in any department, they’d probably poke me in the eye and run away from me. Sometimes it’s not the words she says but the way she says them. For instance, Holly ridiculously remarks how gruesome Thursday is simply because she forgets it’s coming. In her sophisticated-organic-hot-chocolate-European twang, I fall for the statement and come to loath Thursday with her. Mind-boggling. If we adapted her beautiful tone of voice with accent as a packaged deal, we may lose our current friends because they would think we had gone mentally insane, but I’m convinced we would gain so many more than we ever could have dreamed of having, yes? Sigh.

Oh, also – soak up every opportunity for spontaneity and every chance for napping with a super duper eye mask in a bathtub sofa.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it one more time: you do not have to become a Lady of the Night to capture the persona of Holly Golightly. If you would like to do so, I will not stop you – that’s your prerogative and I’ll just let you live as Britney always wished. What it comes down to, I think, is maintaining a girlish innocence about life whilst relishing putting into practice being a classic woman. Umm… and somehow be able to pull off being a cat lady.

You can read more from Chelsea Reynolds on her blog.

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  1. love love love! You know that I truly want to be her in everyway. In fact, it is our duty to find amazing trousers and that trench coat .. this year! Oh Holly, please please please let me have your bath tub sofa… my north hollywood shoebox would feel so much more complete…
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  2. Hey girl. Great job…i can see you at Tiffany’s as i read…you are a our Holly in the best way.

  3. My absolute favorite movie…the book is much different, especially since they made sure in the film not to portray Audrey as anything but a lady. Even though in the book Holly Golightly is a prostitute, but she really does have some of the best philosophy on life.

  4. I can pay for my own whiskey and don’t you forget it!

    I’ve used this line before…many times.

  5. I watched this movie when I was little, and technically wasn’t allowed to. Then, since I was a totally brilliant 6 year old, I asked my mom to buy me a blue eye mask with eyelashes on it. Because that didn’t give me away at all :-P And as far as Grease goes, I thought that the “25 cent insurance policy” that broke was actually his car insurance….oh innocence.

    • haha! right?! and the whole defective typewriter thing? all i could think of was how annoying it would have to be to go through each of Rizzo’s papers to fill in those skipped periods.

  6. I love this movie; I actually own it! And I love how this was posted on the eve of my trip up to New York!

  7. This was one of my favorite movies growing up. I watched at least once a week but didn’t realize she was a prostitute until I was a teenager. I’ve always felt like this character is the closest to how Audrey actually dressed and held herself. Her style in this movie is the ultimate example of owning simple, classic, well made pieces that hold up for a long time and stay in style. I’ve always related to Holly because I’m also super frank and say what I’m thinking. let’s just say it leads to some funny moments.

  8. I’m so glad you wrote this! I have always admired Audrey Hepburn for being such a classy lady and I have always loved Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And you’re spot on about the classic wardrobe. Thanks for sharing!