The Art of Ladylike Dressing

The modern-day royal has revived the art of ladylike dressing. Along with the Duchess, classic and feminine style icons such as Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn prove that the term ladylike doesn’t have to mean frumpy, uptight, or dated. No matter what trends are dominating the runways or magazines, classically feminine style remains timeless.

The same feminine elements that make Kate’s outfits as well as the outfits of starlets of the fifties and sixties so classic are easy to replicate. By incorporating just a few ladylike elements, you too can exude elegance.

The Basics

To bring out your classy, conservative side, start with a few basic silhouettes. They serve as a great starting point from which to pick your clothes.

Half sleeves

Half or three-quarter-length sleeves have an elegant vintage vibe. Although Audrey Hepburn may be most remembered in a sleeveless black dress (you know the one), she was often seen in longer sleeves—even turtlenecks. Opting for more arm coverage is flattering for the figure, as it highlights the elegant lines of your arms.


Settling for an ill-fitted dress is never a good investment. Find a tailor near you, and experiment with different styles until you know what shapes work best for your body type. You don’t have to go as far as sewing weights into your hem to prevent windy-day wardrobe malfunctions, as the royals allegedly do, but when your wardrobe is full of tailored dresses that look like they were made for you, you will feel more comfortable and confident in your outfit choices.

Knee-length or just above the knees

A dress that skims the knees or goes a couple inches above is universally flattering and really emphasizes your feminine silhouette.

Heels and ballet flats

Sleek ballet flats or heels dress up any outfit with a delicately feminine touch. If you love Audrey Hepburn’s style, invest in a pair of black ballet flats pronto! To modernize this classic staple, try a bold color or print.

Go Fancy at Night

When dressing for a special event or a party, opt for making your outfit memorable in a different way—such as intricate lace detailing, an embellished belt, or a great color or print. Adding a little whimsy to your look, such as a flouncy tulle skirt, lends a playful and flirty element without being over-the-top. Classic style icons are known for dressing with modesty but still showing their personality. The key to feminine and ladylike dressing is in the refined subtleties; embellishments, lush fabrics, or beautiful prints will make an impact without being excessive.

If dressing this way is completely foreign to you, but it’s something you want to try, remember that ladylike style doesn’t necessarily mean you have to embrace Kate’s fascinator hats or matching setsfeminine elements can be as bold or as subtle as you choose. You can add small doses of femininity in ways that feel right for you. Believe in dressing in a way that reflects who you are so that you feel comfortable and confident. There’s nothing more ladylike than that!