The Little Black Dress: Random thoughts on Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Audrey Hepburn in the iconic "little black dress" from "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

Few actresses, or films for that matter, are as iconic as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This picture birthed a minimalist style that women clamored for in the 60’s, and continue to mimic today. Audrey’s large dark Sunglasses and colored trench coats have had such staying power in the fashion world that even the most style inept (author included) of us can follow the influence this movie has had.

One of the most reproduced costumes of this film is Holly Golightly’s little black dress. It’s become a cliche of sorts and a staple in most women’s closets. This garment is sleek and easier to move in than the ball gowns of earlier time periods. It marks a real change for the better in practicality of women’s dresses, and in celebration of the female form as it is.

However, does this fashion free women from their role by allowing them to embrace their bodies, or does it stifle them by reinforcing the idea of the feminine as an object?

In the novel, Capote’s aim was to show the hypocrisy in how the world views promiscuous men vs their female counterparts, though this does not quite come out in the de-sexualized movie, Holly’s character makes it clear that she is not a possession. These characteristics in some way do make the movie pro-feminist. Yet the main character is also shown as materialistic because she’s so willing to marry for money.

But I digress, in either case the sleek black dress, bangs and sunglasses are pieces that have endured the test of time and contine to influence what women wear.

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