Katharine Hepburn at 30

On the occasion of my thirtieth, I found myself going down one of the many rabbit holes of the interwebs. I began googling all my favorite stars to see what they were up to at 30. Katharine Hepburn at 30, Myrna Loy at 30, Oprah Winfrey at 30, etc.

If you choose to do this yourself, it would be my suggestion that you just go ahead and skip Beyonce and Grace Kelly. Trust me. You say you’ll do it anyway? Fine: Bey (2011) was the highest-paid performer per minute in the world her 30th year. Grace Kelly (1959) had already completed her acting career and moved on to the title of princess. It’s alright, they’re not the star of this post anyway. Let’s move on.

When Myrna Loy turned 30 (1935), she’d just started playing Nora Charles–the seemingly definitive role of her career. (Click here for the Thin Man cocktail guide.)

Mary Richards was moving into her Minneapolis apartment. (Click her for the style file.)

Oprah (*/cue angels singing/*) relocated to Chicago to host a half-hour morning talk show. The first episode aired 27 days before her 30th birthday (1984). (Click here to read my open letter to Oprah’s hair.) 

And Martha Stewart? (All hail Martha. Martha!) In 1971, homegirl hadn’t even started her catering company yet.

Katherine Hepburn at 30 | Hannah & Husband

So why is this post titled “Katharine Hepburn at 30”? Well, Hepburn had just starred in two of my favorite films of all time–Bringing Up Baby and Holiday–both with Cary Grant, both playing strong female leads. In fact, Bringing Up Baby is now considered a definitive movie of the “screwball comedy” genre. But it was after these two movies and around her 30th, that Ms. Hepburn was labeled “box office poison” in Hollywood.

Box Office Poison?!?

A little harsh, don’t you think? Haters gonna hate.

So what was a girl to do? Well, Katharine Hepburn bought out her contract with RKO. She turned to the stage to play Ms. Tracy Lord in “The Philadelphia Story”–a role written specifically for her by Philip Barry. The role was so perfect for her that before the play hit the stage, she acquired the rights to the film. (Her friend Howard Hughes is said to have bought them for her as a gift.) Then, she sold them to MGM on the condition that she would star. Which she did alongside who else? Cary Grant, of course! It got her praise, accolades, another Oscar nomination, and Spencer Tracy–well lots of movies with Spencer Tracy and then, eventually, Spencer Tracy.

Katherine Hepburn at 30 | Hannah & Husband

“It’s life isn’t it? You plow ahead and make a hit. And you plow on and someone passes you. Then someone passes them. Time levels.”

-Katharine Hepburn

And, just because I think it’s a cool, Grace Kelly played Tracy Lord sixteen years later in the musical version, High Society. It was her last film role. (Click here for the style file.) 

Style File: To Catch a Thief

Style File: To Catch a Thief  |  Secrets of a Belle

Feeling like a little escape? I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking we may need a jaunt to French Riviera. So I thought what better Style File for a dreary February day than To Catch a Thief? This was my first Hitchcock movie. (Although I was absolutely in *love* with his pen-drawn silhouette when I was little!) The cinematography was absolutely incredible, and I always swoon over Cary Grant. But, I’ll just say it, Grace Kelly was kind of hit or miss in this one.

Maybe I’m a cynic or maybe it’s that we are having such odd, dreary weather patterns lately, but I do feel better knowing that sometimes Grace Kelly wore a weird outfit or had a bad hair day. (#blessherheart) Here are a few examples.

Style File: To Catch a Thief  |  Secrets of a Belle Style File: To Catch a Thief  |  Secrets of a Belle

Things we can learn:

1.) When your man looks like Cary Grant, don’t wear mauve.

On second thought, just don’t wear mauve. Period.

2.) Blonde, slicked back hair, solid yellow, and pointy glasses may be a bit off-putting to your beach companions.

3.) Be aware of how your hair frames your face. There’s something about the sides of her ‘dos in this movie that make me think “Little House on the Prairie.” Is that just me?

4.) There’s no need to dress so much like your mother. Ever. Remember, just because you have an inheritance and still live with Mummy does not negate the fact that you are a grown-up.

Whew! Thanks for letting me get that out. Ok, let’s talk about

the fabulous…

Maybe I'm a cynic or maybe it's that we are having such odd, dreary weather patterns lately, but I do feel better knowing that sometimes Grace Kelly had a miss. Here are a few examples. Maybe I'm a cynic or maybe it's that we are having such odd, dreary weather patterns lately, but I do feel better knowing that sometimes Grace Kelly had a miss. Here are a few examples.

I’m pretty sure this particular outfit may have changed my life forever. In one simple outfit, Edith Head, the film’s costume designer, proves that fashion never takes a break. Personally, I too have a fondness for espadrilles (or even dock shoes) in contrast to $2 flip-flops, but what really sends this outfit over the top are the layers. A beach cover-up is what separates the full-time fashionistas from the slouchy beach bums.

Style File: To Catch a Thief  |  Secrets of a Belle

As a general rule, I don’t recommend a neckerchief to any man. Ever. However on Cary Grant, it is perfection! In fact, anything on Cary Grant is perfection. I give you Exhibit A…

Style File: To Catch a Thief  |  Secrets of a Belle

Style File: To Catch a Thief  |  Secrets of a Belle

Finally, a girl should always know how to work it in some costume jewelry. Sparkly baubles can dress up your outfits every day, but finding a few statement necklaces like this one can take even a little black dress from plain to stunning!

So what should my next Hitchcock film be? Do you have a favorite?



In Honor of Princess Grace, a Little Style File…

On her birthday, I just couldn’t resist sharing a little Style File from my *very* favorite of Princess Grace’s films: High Society. Two random facts before we start: It was Grace’s last film before becoming princess consort of Monaco. Also, High Society, released in 1956, was a musical remake of 1940’s A Philadelphia Story, which also had a crazy amazing line-up of stars, but we’ll have to get into that another time.

1.) Stripes are essential, flowers are abundant and a *lovely* accent (plus a little crazy) are essential in Newport…

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2.) The staple of every home is hidden bar. This one pictured happens to pop out from among the library books… that is, if you know which one to choose!

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3.) One never just walks from the dressing room to the pool in their swimsuit. Instead, one glides in a robe that makes them seem like a goddess and disrobes to reveal a suit that is just revealing enough to make  one seem untouchable.

Also of note: Bing’s 2-tone brogues with matching tie and pocket square. That reminds me, if you haven’t seen Mr. Crosby’s dressing room in this movie, you should…

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4.) If you are going to get drunk at your engagement party with your ex-husband, be sure to wear something fabulous and act so charming that no one can resist you. After all, you’re “sensational, everybody says so…”

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5.) Eventually you will have to go home and sober up. This is best done while wearing a yellow silk kimono and lounging in your impeccably decorated boudoir.

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6.) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when you do get married the next morning. Be sure you pick the Mr. Right. (*The wedding march jazzed up by Louis at the end of this video never fails to make me smile!)

Hello, Gorgeous… Let’s Have a Glamorous Monday!

It was on this day in 1929 that our very own American princess was born! I couldn’t resist a little bit of a celebration. So in lieu of random links today, how about a little advice from Princess Grace to get our week off on the right foot?


The Paper! You never know when you may fall in love with a prince and be whisked off to a foreign land.


Tea with your closest friends this week!


Gold! I will never stop swooning over Frances Stevens’ gilded ensemble from To Catch a Thief.


High Society! It’s my very favorite Grace film, and later today I’ll post a Style File from the 1956 musical.