"I wear my kind of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear." Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn exhibited a unique fashion sense both on screen and off. A slender, angular figure, costume designers loved the way her outfits hung on her slim frame. Behind the scenes, Hepburn preferred the laid back outfits which accommodated her athletic lifestyle. When the studio once stole her slacks from her dressing room, Hepburn walked around the lot in her underwear until they were returned. As Hepburn's screen persona reflected her real life personality, she began to develop a unique brand of American tomboy glamour. IMDB describes her trademark of wearing "slacks instead of dresses, decades before it became fashionable for women to do so." Below are some pictures of the star wearing slacks through the years, from her earliest days in Hollywood and into old age.
"All the rich and famous, in a great coral
saw me tumble in the Grand Canal.
Ensnared my gown
And I went down
And down in Venice means really under,
which made me wet
and made wonder:
would this have happened if by some chance
instead of a gown I'd worn men's pants?
Then soon all the sisters and the cousins and the aunts were calling me "The Pirate of Men's Pants"!
-"The Money Rings Out Like Freedom" from Coco (1969)
"Arrives at studio one day in luxury car and wearing patched dungarees. Later seen driving in battered truck and wearing expensive fur coat over dungarees." (Malcolm Phillips, "Hepburn's Hectic Headline History," January 1933)
"That slack suit paid for itself several times over - for Katharine Hepburn got special mention in hundreds of different publications. If she'd worn a dress her name would merely have been listed among the fifty-five other top stars..." (W.H. Mooring, "Moonshine About Katie," Picturegoer, July 1949)
|Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in ADAM'S RIB (1949)|
"I never cared how unattractive I looked when I fell [off a bike]. I was concerned with not breaking anything. That's what counted. And I was always wearing pants, so I could protect my bones instead of my modesty." (Hepburn, Chandler 272)
On director Dorothy Arzner (CHRISTOPHER STRONG (1933)): "She wore pants. So did I. We had a good time working together." (Hepburn, ME 143)
|"All About Me" TV documentary (1993)|
"Today, Hepburn's trousers have become a beloved cultural icon, but in the early 1930s they were considered subversive... By 1934, Katharine Hepburn (in pants) was not a comforting image for much of the population - not even to many women." (Mann 7)
"I put on pants fifty years ago and declared a sort of middle road." (Hepburn to Barbara Walters, 1981)
|ON GOLDEN POND (1981)|
"There was a press conference at Claridge's for which I got myself all done up in a Balenciaga suit and Katharine Hepburn stole the show in her pants." (Lauren Bacall, Edwards 253)
"Her no-frills off-screen sense of style - roomy sweaters, comfortable pants - grew to seem a sign of sensible Yankee behavior rather than a signal of masculine inclinations. By the end of the century, Katharine Hepburn had become an icon of women's liberation." (Edwards 396)