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The Elegant Women Who Inspire Me

I love the idea of taking inspiration from role models. Someone whom we can look to for style inspiration, and today I thought it would be fun to share the Elegant Women Who Inspire Me.

The women on my list embody the characteristics of fashionable style, elegance, intellect, kindness and grace, but they are real life women, not fictional characters. They are not perfect, they have dealt with hardships. While finding inspiration in their journeys and style can be helpful it is important not to idolize our role models.

The women I point out in my post here are celebrities and royalty. I do have women in my life whom I personally interact with who are also an inspiration to me, but for illustrative purposes today we are just talking about ladies who have lived in the public eye.

What is Elegance?

Dictionary.com defines an elegant woman is one who is pleasingly graceful and stylish in appearance and manner.

Elegance is not about wearing pearls and brand name clothes. It’s also not about having a lot of money or fancy cars. Elegance is not about what you wear, but how you wear it and how you behave while doing so. Elegance a mindset that a woman can possess, and develop no matter where she comes from, her financial position or her pedigree.

Elegance comes from within. As Dianne Vreeland said, “The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

tsaiproject / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

I have a long history of fascination with the Royal Family, but Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge previously known as Kate Middleton quickly became a role model for me. Intelligent, well mannered, hardworking, and ladylike at all times Catherine is the consummate modern day princess.

Beyond her impeccable camera-ready style, she has become known for her extensive philanthropic work, most notably with children’s organizations. It may sound silly, but aside from all these great qualities and endeavors what endeared Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge to me was her interest in physical activity, and her ability to balance her feminine style with sports & her love of the outdoors.

The Duchess knows the importance of physical activity and its effects of mental health and has been photographed playing ping-pong, hockey, cricket, volleyball, and basketball over the years.

Grace Kelly, Princess Consort of Monaco

Studio publicity still of Grace Kelly for the film Rear Window (1954). Public Domain

Another Princess and undoubtedly, the epitome of simple natural elegance, is Grace Kelly.

Grace Kelly lived a real life fairytale. Born and raised in Philadelphia, in early adulthood, Kelly pursued her dreams of becoming an actress in Hollywood. Through perseverance and hardwork in Hollywood she eventually made herself a celebrated and well-known actress, although rather briefly. It wasn’t long until her sophisticated charm attracted the attention of her future husband, Prince Rainier of Monaco. Once married and settled into Royal life, Grace, too, was involved in many charitable organizations during her time as Princess of Monaco.

Jimmy Stewart summed up Grace Kelly quite eloquently after her death:

“Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own”

Jimmy stewart

Audrey Hepburn

Photo of Audrey Hepburn by Bud Fraker. Public Domain

Actress Audrey Hepburn turned a sleek black dress into an enduring symbol of understated style, and a lasting wardrobe staple known as the little black dress. While her style is timeless, Hepburn’s unfailing ability to handle every situation with a sense of grace and graciousness is what endears her to me.

Despite enduring her share of hardships, which include two failed marriages and multiple miscarriages in the public eye, she never let the pressure of being in the media compromise her identity, she only spoke of other’s positively . She worked hard, but knew when to gracefully step out of the public eye in order to raise her two sons, and left her career at the height of its success to dedicate her energy to being a mother.

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington knows how to dress with pure elegance and understands the impact of femininity. In fact, her poise and confidence are what I really admire about her. Washington’s style choices reflect the strong, confident woman she is. Her street style is polished, and her red carpet looks are trendy and tasteful.

I am looking forward to Washington in Little Fires Everywhere later this month with Reese Whitherspoon on Hulu!


I hope I’ve inspired you to think about your own elegant lady role models! Having someone whose style and personality we admire can influence our own behaviors and motivate us to strive to uncover our own style and overcome our weakness or bad habits. Having them pushes us to make the most of our life, and become a better person.

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