"At a time when the prevailing notion of the acceptable way for women to dress was highly sexual, with a very obvious silhouette of large breasts, a tiny waist beneath a full skirt and mincing heels, by her example, Audrey offered another way for women to dress, behave, aspire to and even be," writes Keogh in her latest book, "What Would Audrey Do," (Gotham, April 2008, $23).
And 55 years after "Roman Holiday," Audrey is still someone who can show us how to live our lives with style. Fashion designers continue to mimic her sleek chic in their collections, and fashion editors are always describing something or someone as "very Audrey," says Keogh, which is "shorthand for the absolute height of chic."
While Keogh's book has many chatty stories about this movie star legend, who was the epitome of not only beauty but grace under pressure, according to many quoted in the book, there are a lot of useful tips on how to improve your outlook on your fashion life.
The Fashion 'A' List
Follow these tips and you just might make it to the Best Dressed Hall of Fame.
Make the most of your assets, underplay your flaws. Audrey may have been a little self-conscious about her size 10 feet, but you wouldn't know it, says Keogh, who notes that she always concentrated on showing off her size 22-inch waist.
"Everyone's got something wonderful to emphasize," says the author, "highlight it and ignore the rest."
Have a POV or point of view. Whether Audrey wore the same scarf tied 24 different ways or could do more with a plain white shirt than anyone else, she knew what looked good on her.
"Find what works for you and stick with it," says Keogh.
Create a style that is subtle, not obvious. "With apologies to all the Pamela Andersons and Paris Hiltons of the world, and an entire subset of UGG-loving, lingerie-revealing Hollywood actresses, don't be afraid to tone it down a little," says Keogh.
Disregard trends. Yes, Audrey knew what was going on in fashion, but she never got stuck in a style rut, according to Keogh. "Ballet flats gave way to Ferragamo and Roger Vivier, which gave way to Keds and probably would have led to Manolo Blahnik, had he been designing when she was alive," she writes. "She knew when to put away the perfect Givenchy suits of the 1960s and rock out the peacoat, trim jeans and biker boots of the 1970s."
Never underestimate the power of a good white shirt. "Or trim black trousers, or a turtleneck, or the right haircut that shows off your profile," says Keogh, who admits that for Audrey, style had little to do with money. "Audrey wore jeans and a polo shirt as authoritatively as a mink shrug or Givenchy ball gown." Always think about accessories. They make a bigger impact than you think. Remember those oversized black sunglasses, the ballet slippers, the scarves, Cary Grant? And skip the watch. Audrey did.
Other 'A' list style tips of Audrey's: She never left the house without wearing mascara. She was not a label snob - think Keds. She loved to shop in malls and loved Gap. She had massages three times a week. Her favorite color was white, but she favored red or black in the evenings.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.