Classic Style Muses- Do They Inspire You?

Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy have been classic style muses for many of us. Their classic fashion choices are as popular today as they were 30 years ago. Now that I’m in my 60’s I’m reevaluating their influence on my style because…

I don’t want to look dated. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the appeal of elegant, timeless fashion that looks sophisticated but it’s beginning to feel stale on me. At 20, I wanted to look sophisticated and grown up. At 60 I’m definitely grown up, hopefully, sophisticated and prefer to dress with a little more drama and creativity.

Those classic pieces are still a large part of my wardrobe and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. What’s changed is how I put them together.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing classic style

I never tire of wearing black cigarette pants or skinny jeans with a classic white shirt and ballet flats. These days I like to kick that look up a notch with bold jewelry or unique accessories to make them feel more modern. If I pair them with my classic 16″ strand of pearls I feel dowdy.

Interestingly, when I look back at images of Audrey and Jackie in their later years, their fashion choices remained consistent. They didn’t transition to statement necklaces and bold accessories. They remained classic to the end.

When I see a 25 or 30-year old dressed head to toe à la Audrey Hepburn, she looks fresh, modern, and a little bit sassy. At her age, she can pull off just about any look. I would look like I stepped out of a time machine…not a look I’m comfortable with.

Taking a snippet of one woman’s look and a dash of another’s is a great way to craft our unique style. Our clothes should reflect our inner self and give us the confidence to forget what we’re wearing. Style muses should inspire our creativity, not be a pattern we copy. Let intuition be your guide and dress to express yourself for the life you’re leading now.

My personal style is in transition to catch up to my lifestyle. With no need to dress up for work or business dinners out I’m trying out new looks to find what works for me now.

Do you have style muses? How do they inspire you?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!


Affiliate links within this post may generate income for AWSL.




  1. You are one of my style muses, Jennifer! I’ve learned a lot from bloggers like yourself and I’ve been inspired to try many new and different looks. I don’t copy, but I take bits and pieces and make them my own. They don’t all work for me, but I’m gradually learning what does. Since retiring, I’ve been aiming for a classy casual look.

    1. I am beyond flattered Elaine, thanks so much. Classy and casual is one of my favorite looks too.

  2. I have signed up several times to receive your daily emails and still don’t get them!

  3. Susan Gowan says:

    I like the classics too. Having retired almost 10 years ago I am finding I try to keep my style up but sometimes descend into frumpy territory. I too shop at Value Village and havw found others’ discards are treasures! I really enjoy your blog, Jennifer!

  4. Funny story about the Hawaiian shirts and shorts….20 or more years ago I was in a friend’s wedding. My fiance declined to go because he didn’t have a suit. He was working away from home. When I arrived at the church, the groom and all his attendants were in Hawaii shirts white pants and sandals. We often laughed about it!

  5. I have always loved the classics that’s why they remain classics, I wouldn’t say I dress up daily I prefer saying I get dressed every day. I totally agree, wearing summer fun clothes to a funeral is completely disrespectful. Wearing your pajamas to anywhere but to bed is just letting everyone know you just don’t care. I had children in school 5 of them and some how I managed to get dressed. If you’re over 40-50 and up we were raised differently we never went to church wearing jeans and looking like we just stepped out of bed. I so wish the younger generation would read your blog to learn it’s not that hard to look good and dress like a lady. Love all your fashion advice, never too old to learn new things.

    1. I agree completely Tammy. Some of the younger generation has taken casual too far. PJ dressing is a popular trend again but you’ll never see me indulging in it.

  6. Jennifer, I am beginning to think that dressing nicely is defining me as “older and passé”. The young have made wearing tees and jeans “ok” any place and any time. Last evening I attended a wake and there were people my age wearing shorts and Hawaiian shirts! Far too many…… not a small percentage. I agree with you. My thought was “how disrespectful”. I respect myself too much to not look my best when leaving my home. We have similar styles and am learning from you to use more statement pieces. Thanks for being there for us.

    1. If dressing nicely makes me passe, I’m happy to embrace that! I’m horrified to hear about the shorts and Hawaiian shirts, at a funeral!! People have no decorum these days and should be ashamed of themselves. Thank you for being here and reading, Linda! You and I are in good company:)

  7. Jennifer you look lovely! Chic yet comfortable with what you are wearing. I find everyone’s comments to be inspiring today. Transitions and classic wear certainly seem to be common ground!

    1. Thank you, they do and I am really loving to read too. I’m not sure where my style will transition but love sharing the journey with my readers, Janet!

  8. Here on holiday at the cottage and wearing my new linen dress, a bathing suit to the pool! Casual dressing and sunglasses, straw hats and flip flops!
    I would love to know an older woman whose style would inspire me…I have been seeing a lot of Cindy Joesph and think she may be my new fashion and style icon.
    Hope you had fun at the sales! What did you buy?

    1. Your cottage looks amazing, Leslie!! I bought some cashmere yesterday and am heading back to day for a closer look.

  9. I agree! Our sense of style changes as we do. When I was a young Mom I wanted T shirts and jeans, easy upkeep. As a health professional I am restricted (professionally and by practicality) to certain garments and jewelery. Patients often judge the type of care they will receive by the ‘grooming’ of the health care professional caring for them. So lots of jangling jewelry and flowing garments with sandals is not the look I want either! I will be retiring soon and taking up a life of travel, lots of time at our beach house and a new grandchild…but no return to jeans and Tshirts I love tunics and tights or leggings, pixie pants from J crew etc. One thing I will not go for though are sneakers (ugh) I spend a fortune on stylish, comfortable walking shoes for stomping around the hospital so I know good looking walking shoes are out there (Jennifer you have inspired me many times). A word about cost…I searched for a perfect pair of linen pants to wear. Checked out the Eileen Fisher’s, even on sale they were too $$ and looked ridiculous on my short frame(legs were very wide) found another pair at a third of the price which fit perfectly (also at Nordstrom) If you seek you shall find:) You American girls seem to really like EF but frankly I find her stuff kind of frumpy and uninspired(maybe that’s my Montreal blood talking…) and way, way over priced.

    1. Your retirement plans sound dreamy!! EF is costly which is why I only buy it on deep sale or clearance. I totally agree with you that many of her things look frumpy on me so I stick with her fitted options. Shoes are so worth the investment, Allison!

  10. I enjoy your daily posts. I recently retired to Fl in an all ages community with my husband.
    I’m like a fish out of water. I have no friends here. It’s so hot now, no one is outside. Neighbors keep to themselves. I am not a church attendee or volunteer type. I was a city girl & had a busy life in NY. My husband is happy & I miss people. Any ideas?

    1. Oh Carol, that’s miserable. I’m sorry. Look for a newcomers club in town or a neighboring town. Also check the local library for book clubs etc. There is also a website called Meet-up( I think that’s the name) which lists local meetings and groups. Is there a local little theater you could join, even to organize costumes! I’ll
      Ask around for you.

  11. Too often I see looks that are too casual, verging on slobby. I won’t mention wearing pyjamas to the store. Cruiselines have had to revise their formal nights because some want to be more casual. Polo shirts and slacks for men are ok now on formal nights. Not the same ambience. For every day wear I think it is just nice to look as if you made an effort.

    1. I totally agree. Putting time into our appearance is a sign of self respect and shows respect for others too!

  12. Katherine Hepburn is another classic. She made the casual style look great. She was way ahead of anyone with wearing slacks. Love her look.

  13. katheryn murray-lindsey says:

    I am in a transition time of my life – clothing being the biggest part of it. I’m in my 80s, have lost weight due to a medical condition and few items in my wardrobe even closely fit. I’ve always been a classic dresser and continue to like this style. My biggest challenge is to find ‘classic’ in the size I am today. However, I will survive! 🙂

    1. Classic seems the most readily available at all price points, Katheryn. I like is your attitude!

    Wish I could join you today for lunch…………….XX

  15. Lauren Bacall was the most stunning fashion icon of all time. Loved her upturned collar, one classy lady all her life.

  16. Virginia K says:

    Love the look of cigarette pants and for me a semi loose linen top. I agree classics are great but they need a dash of spice in the 21 st century.

  17. I am in a transition phase too. I retired a year ago and am still trying to figure out a more relaxed look without being sloppy. I need those clothes for working in the yard but struggle to pull together a casual look for a day out or dinner. I love the classic look of Audrey and Jackie! Maybe I need to focus on that and be happy.

    1. Your struggle is real Harriet. I’ll put together some posts to give examples.

  18. One never fails wearing a classic white blouse and black trousers. I also have a feeling the return of amazing art on silk scarves is imminent. You are looking quite healthy and svelte, dear Jennifer!

    1. Thank you Lynne! I’m a huge fan of scarves and always hunting for new ways to wear them.

  19. Anita Branin says:

    I have the same issues! After years of wearing “work clothes” I am lost in a world where wearing jeans and a nice shirt or tee is dressing up! I still like beautiful clothes and looking groomed, but it’s as much a challenge now to dress appropriately as it was when I started work in the era of suits, pantyhose, and pumps. I feel lost when it comes to my personal style! It’s a casual, casual world.

    1. It is an incredibly casual world, Anita but it varies by location. The day I find jeans and a nice shirt too dressy is the day I move:)

    2. AUDREY MEYER says:

      I’m with you Anita. When I go out into my local shopping area I am often the best dressed person. I get a lot of women staring at me and I simply smile sweetly and accept it as the compliment it is.

  20. Audrey and Jackie are my style muses too. However, I’m sticking with them. When I try on bold statement jewelry or tie a scarf in a complicated way, my perception is that I look like I am trying too hard! You look fabulous, so what you are doing works for you!

    1. I’ve sometimes felt I’m trying too hard too, Judy, which is my sign to dial things way back.The last thing I want to look is “too” costumey. A little is ok…depending on the occasion but too much and I feel silly.

  21. No, I like to see what other “real” women who have similar lives and budgets choose to wear. I don’t want to copy them but to create an awareness of possibilities. By 65 years of age, I know what sorts of clothing that I like to wear but I think that we always need to be conscious of the trap of wearing too much of the same style or colour(s). It’s always fun to try new looks and our sixties won’t (hopefully) be our last decade of transition.

    1. I agree, Joanne. Trying new things adds a jolt of creativity and energy to our look.

  22. Yes, i love the classic looks. I love Audrey Hepren and also Jackie Onassis, they are my favorites. Love their style, grace and so classy.

  23. You can’t do better or style muses than Jackie and Audrey, especially, as you say, in their later years. I don’t want to see pictures of myself later and say, “What was I thinking???” Most shots of Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn are still stylish today.
    I like the classics also because I am tired of spending so much time, money and energy on what I wear. It doesn’t define who I am, so why let it take an outsize chunk of my energy? Which is far from saying I let myself go. You won’t see me in a T-shirt and sweats except on the track. But if I aim to emulate anybody, it’s definitely Jackie, Audrey and even Joan Didion.

    1. I remember reading that Loretta Young sued her wardrobe designers from her TV show, many years after the show was cancelled because they’d dressed her in such “of the moment clothes” she looked foolish in reruns many years later! Not I fate I wish to inflict upon myself

  24. Regina Jones says:

    I don’t have any specific individuals that I consider my fashion muse, but Michelle Obama’s casual looks were always exciting! I loved the fact that she shopped at J. Crew.
    I consider the looks in Talbots, Chico’s and White House Black Market my go to looks.
    I’m 60 now and consider myself fashion forward. But I shop mainly in thrift stores to be able to afford some of the looks I like. I use A Well Styled Life as a reference for my age group. Some of the items are a little pricey for me, but I pride myself on being a shopper that can “find the look for less”.

    1. Finding the look for less is a brilliant skill, Regina! There are many looks I see on others that I hunt for in prices I know are less than they’re wearing. We all have varying budgets and dressing stylishly within our own is an art!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *