My encounter with Katherine Hepburn Style

Katherine Hepburn Style


Happy Thursday, ladies!  I want to share with you my recent encounter with Katherine Hepburn Style.

I so wish I had a picture of the encounter, but it was not possible…because it was in the surgery center on Monday morning.

I immediately noticed a woman…seemed older than I am…with long, soft, dark curls similar to the way Katherine Hepburn often wore her hair in early movies.

Her Katherine Hepburn style stood out in the sleepy, early morning surgery center.

It was the androgynous style, Katherine Hepburn made famous…she put the stamp on women wearing pants.

The woman I encountered with Katherine Hepburn style looked exactly like the actress in flowy, long wide trousers, with a smart unconstructed blazer in the same color.

She also wore a chunky heel on a short bootie.

It took me a moment as I watched the woman to realize it was Katherine Hepburn style I was observing.

Now, I want to order the book REBEL CHIC and return to that time.  I have never read about the actress and her style.

Have you?


Katherine Hepburn style

The woman sporting Katherine Hepburn Style stood out from the others wearing pajamas and athletic wear.

I could have titled this post….TEAM OVERDRESSED IN THE SURGERY CENTER.

I can completely understand going for surgery in your most comfortable, relaxed clothing.  I really am not criticizing anyone for that.

But, this woman and I chose to be on team overdressed and take it up a notch.

I was captivated with her style the moment I saw her in the waiting room.

Katherine Hepburn style

I wore this CHICO’S ZIP FRONT SWEATER RUANA, with wide leg knit pants, and a TRAVELERS CLASSIC V NECK top underneath.

My reasons were to do anything that would help me face this emotional and physical second surgery with confidence and joy.

I did not want to dress as I would feel going out!

Of course, I do not know the reasons she dressed in her Katherine Hepburn style, but she was by far the chicest lady in the waiting room.

For me, dressing my best (which some consider overdressing) helps my state of mind immensely…no matter the situation.

Katherine Hepburn style

I do watch women over 50 wherever I go and pay attention to what they are wearing.

I snapped this photo last summer of a waiting room Team Overdressed member…she looked lovely as she waited to see her doctor.

Her striped, linen pants caught my eye immediately.


Katherine Hepburn Style

I do believe there is one retailer at this moment that offers the Katherine Hepburn style in clothing.

I am wearing one of their jackets in this picture…it is Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory.

Here are a few pieces to show you what I am talking about which speak Katherine Hepburn Style to me….

Katherine Hepburn Style is also founded upon the woman herself…I know she is controversial to some.   But I really like this quote and her strength and stamina….

“I believe there is nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other,”  Katherine Hepburn.

Your personal style includes what is on the inside as well as what is on the outside.  

Are there other fans of Katherine Hepburn style here today?  Please share if you are.  


By Pamela Lutrell

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Katherine Hepburn Style


  1. I have read quite a few books by and about Katharine Hepburn, because as an actress, I have always enjoyed her work. She certainly had an interesting life. I remember going to the fashion museum at Kent State University (I live relatively close) when they had a Katharine Hepburn fashion display. It filled a large room in the museum and was amazing. I do like the style, as she had a great way of interpreting classics, and she was always true to her style. You would never call her trendy and I admire that in her style. Her willowy figure was perfect for this as well. From reading about her, you understand that she was just “who she was” and didn’t apologize for it but rather celebrated it. Her style perfectly exemplifies that. As a petite, it would be kind of difficult to pull this look off, but I certainly enjoy seeing women who can!

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Karen. The woman I saw was tall…her husband was very tall. They were a striking couple. I do want to learn more about the actress.

  3. Pam, I love what you have coined Team Overdressed! I want to apply for membership! 🙂 Take care and I hope you are feeling better.

  4. You are in, Marysue! Another reader, Lorrie, coined the name and I love it! You will see more of Team Overdressed as we head into a new year! Thanks for joining the team.

  5. Hi, Pam. First, I’m praying that you are doing well and recovering with ease. Getting dressed up for surgery!!!!! I love it. You are right. 99% of how we deal with life’s moments, either dark or bright, is our attitude and spirit that we take into the situation. Go Team Overdressed!! I’m a member, too. I like classic style such as Katherine exhibited. The world needs more of this. Pure class! Rest well. Much love is being sent your way. Now I need to go order that book.

  6. I wondered if she was the patient, did she have to fold and roll her suit up to fit the little white drawstring bag they give you when you change into the surgical gown? Or did she have someone to hold onto her clothes in the waiting room? That is why most people dress so casually at the surgical center. But why their drivers dress like this also is the question. I like to look nice but I’ve had too many surgeries to know how much/little you can get in those white bags.

    When I’m the person waiting, I like to dress to lift my mood and stay warm. Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a sandwich. Those places are always so cold.

    Times have changed around these waiting rooms, sometimes people bring a lot of friends and family and have a social atmosphere. This happened at one of my husband’s emergency surgeries late at night. I was alone and felt alone/lonely listening to them yuck it up while I was scared to death. At another planned surgery, we had a large family do the same and there were not enough chairs in this huge waiting room for all the others because they took up one large corner area. Fifteen to twenty people waiting and acting social. And it must have been a booming surgical day because the place was packed with an overflow room down the hall. This was just after the pandemic with no one wearing mask. Maybe I’m just jealous but a quiet, non-crowded atmosphere is more conducive to waiting with less anxiety. Another cultural change I guess.

  7. You are right…there were a lot of family members with the patients that morning. Some how having people to observe keeps my mind off why I was there. This surgical center gives us nice, thick, large bags. My Ruana outfit easily fit in it. I know it is different everywhere. I completely understand those who dress more casually for this moment. It helps me personally to go the other direction. Thanks for your observations, Babs!

  8. I have always loved the Katherine Hepburn look and have tried (more unsuccessfully than successful) to attain it. Like Karen I, too, have a more petite frame that makes it difficult to achieve the style. Perhaps if I had made to order clothes it could be done, but with today’s sizing being cut to fit so many different frames and bone structures it’s difficult. I’m thinking of trying it again now that I have a waist after so many years. I think that helped by cinching in the middle some it kept the shape more feminine. Love her look—and her sass!! Hope you’re up and around soon.

  9. KH had a style that stood out amongst all the popular popular pin-up girls of that era. Her fashion sense was not reflective of Hollywood glam. I am definitely on team overdressed but I am so tired of seeing grown women in athletic attire all the time. There is a gal in my community who reminds me of KH and it may be an equal amount of style and attitude that brought me to that conclusion. My confident friend wears casual cargo suits, sometimes belted, with such aplomb. Her short cropped auburn hair often sports a scarf rolled into a headband. Think Rosie the Riveter. Hope your surgery went well!

  10. I have had four major hip surgeries, I was told to wear full up pants and something easy to slip on and off over my head. I could not wear home what I wore in to the hospital. Maybe same day surgery is different than hospitalization surgery. I had to wear an abductor brace which could not come off for three months, no showers. Mens XXL sweatpants. I had no choice about what I was wearing. I have great hair, keep my weight low, and maintain a great outlook and am approachable and friendly. I have an enviable wardrobe, but there are times when I have to drop back and punt. I had five matching sweat outfits from Walmart, mens xxl sweatpants and mens large sweatshirts to go over my brace which my waist is 29 inches, with the brace is was 48. I had to have an extra wide walker to accommodate my new girth for three months. When I see someone who is 85-90 years old on a walker, living on social security in todays economy in a doctors office looking worried, what she is wearing never crosses my mind. In an oncologists office I feel that people are using every last ounce of energy to be able to listen to the next step. Let’s have some grace. Bravo to the the overdressed, but we all deserve to be lifted up my grace regardless of dress.

  11. Hi Carol, the brand I highlight today, Banana Republic Factory does have petites in these styles.
    Banana Republic Factory

  12. I adore Katherine Hepburn movies, read her autobiography, “Kate” years ago, and have seen a documentary or two on t.v. She was glamorous in a low-key kind of way, and athletic decades before most women tapped into that aspect of life for themselves. I don’t dress like her, but certainly appreciate the style. As to your well dressed waiting room lady, I can relate. For one thing, I spent oodles of time this year in various medical settings. If there was an “ology” attached to the front of a word or title, likely I was there! My husband had two quite lengthy and serious surgeries plus a surprise emergency surgery for a pacemaker, and we were three hours north, in the big city, at the big hospital, with me living out of luggage for a total of 26 days spread out over four months. For each appointment and stay, I dressed in the same way I dress going out in my own town, as a retired physician’s wife. I always want to be a positive reflection of my husband, someone he is proud to have at his side. In his scariest moments, how could I be anything less? If I hadn’t presented my best self, he would have worried I was tired or scared or wrung out from the stress. I projected confidence, even if in private moments I had to shed a few tears.

  13. At 74 I’m still a Kathryn Hepburn “fan girl”. I can’t see her picture or hear her name without smiling. During my life I’ve seen all of her movies multiple times. She lived life on her terms.
    Now that we can buy beautiful wide leg trousers I try to channel her aesthetic.

  14. Hi Pam,

    I am with you on “team overdressed.” Because I am my husband’s caregiver, my outings are minimal these days, and consist primarily of doctor appointments, pharmacy, and grocery. I particularly like dressing up when we go to doctors’ office, specially my oncologists. In addition to making me feel good, I think it shows respect for the doctors who are always dressed up. I feel the same when going to church—I guess I’m old fashion in this regard. Know that I have prayed for you daily that you may have a quick recovery with little pain. It is inspiring to see that you have the drive to continue to put out great content despite your surgery. Love your post today— I do like KH style, but as a petite, I have adapted it with smaller proportions. BRF is a great source for petites at very reasonable prices.

  15. I love this, Connie…that you dress to be a positive reflection of your husband and with your community in mind. I shed a few of those tears in the doctor’s office recently, but was also dressed my best while doing it! I often think how I would want to look if I ran into my old students or business acquaintances. It is part of how I desire to portray strength. Thank you for sharing this when even you were experiencing a difficult time.

  16. This was the first time I have thought of her in a long time, Suzi. The woman I saw could’ve been a relative. And now when I see the wide leg trousers I will think of her.

  17. Well, if being on Team Overdressed is old fashion…then count me in as well, Elisa. There is so much about modern fashion that I would never do…still do not own a pair of distressed jeans with holes! I am so glad you enjoyed the post.

  18. I love Katherine Hepburn’s style. I used to be on team overdressed, and now am much more casual. That said, there is smart casual and sloppy casual. I might wear slim cargo pants or thin joggers with a sweater, but I don’t wear sweatpants or pajamas out of the house. At the hospital, we need to wear what makes us comfortable, and that look might be more polished or more of the sweatpants variety. The hospital is one place where I think everyone should wear what they like.

  19. That is what I wrote…we each have to wear what works best for us in that situation. So I agree!

  20. Let’s hear it for Team Overdressed. I’m happy to say I’m a member. I’ve always adhered to the notion of whenever you go out the door you never know who you might encounter. Even when I’m home all day I give some thought to my outfit and I put on makeup. Your outfit on the day of surgery sounds comfortable while it meets still your adjectives. That ruana is quite stylish. You did a great job of describing the woman wearing Katherine Hepburn’s style. I applaud her for it. I’m neither tall nor willowy so that look is a difficult one for me to pull off but elements of it are definitely doable. I love my trouser jeans but I have a hard time styling them. Most of my sweaters & jackets are too long and I look like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes then I pair them with wide leg pants. Right now the cropped tops are too oversized for me. I’ll figure it out eventually. You sound upbeat today and that makes me happy.

  21. I am upbeat today, Kathie! I confess frustration with having to be still, but overall I am good!

  22. I love Katherine Hepburn and her style. Now I need to order this book.
    Hope your healing is going well.

  23. I love “Team Overdressed.” It is so me! Every time I try to “dress down” for the occasion, i.e., even going to the grocery store, I feel plain and miserable, so I’ve decided to wear whatever I want because it makes me happy, and what am I saving it for, anyway? What’s wrong with being the best-dressed customer in the store? It’s a great mood enhancer to look nice every day. Chico’s and Talbots are my go-to retailers, and you do a great job covering their latest fashions on the blog. I’ll remember to go back to your page and click on your Shopping Links whenever I place an order. You do sound like your usual joyful self today, Pamela. Praying that each days gives you renewed strength and peace!

  24. Thank you, Niki! It’s my season of Joy! I hope I feel like me. Not going to let this get to me!

  25. Hi Pam! Great story, many thanks for your posts even while you are recovering. Wishing you a very merry Christmas and hope you are on your feet again soon!

  26. Hi Pamela,
    Love Katherine Hepburn’s style! Also love the movie Stage Door. It’s a very old movie and has Lucille Ball and Ginger Rogers in it too. You’re right Pamela — Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory are perfect for KH style. I have tons of pieces (mostly from Factory). You look great in today’s photo! Always with the lovely smile and pretty hair. KH inspired style wears nicely on you too. I hope you continue to recover each day. Thank you for all you do. Oh and I made the ham and split pea soup from the soup list you provided! It was really good. Take care 🤗

  27. So glad your soup was a keeper! Thanks for being here, Sandra! I do remember the movie but would like to see it again!

  28. I agree with the idea of looking my best when life is chaotic & not what I would like it to be. For me, it helps to garner as more positive attitude if I feel confident in what I am wearing. Like others, I can’t wear Katherine Hepburn’s style, but I certainly can admire it on others, as well as other looks that are not right for me. One of the ladies who attends my church has such a style. She is always so put together. From her hairstyle to her clothing & accessories, she is definitely a member of Team Overdressed & looks fabulous while doing it.

  29. I have so many women I love to watch because they always look amazing and communicate such confidence. I learn from watching others.

  30. I prefer Overdressed as well, but can’t do oversized. I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes.

    About Underdressed in hospitals and doctor’s offices…..I always feel sorry for them and hope they will feel better soon.

    About the photo of the legs and feet of the person in striped pants and slides……I thought you had taken a picture of someone in her pajamas and slippers as an example of Underdressed. Surprised that she is considered Team Overdressed.

  31. So funny how we see things differently but that is why fashion has been discussed for years and years. Her entire outfit…the blouse, handbag and hair were all well curated. I love mules…actually just wrote about them fin tomorrow’s post. She obviously put thought and care into her style that day. But you can’t see the whole person so I can understand how it might be read differently. I think everyone can read in my post that I am not criticizing anyone who was comfy cozy. I just told another story and why I dressed a little up. I hope you see that.

  32. I like this style, but as a petite I don’t think I can handle those wide-legged pants and longer blazer. With short legs those wide bottomed legs would only make me look shorter, I think. But you can definitely count me in on Team Overdressed. Last week we met our son and his Secretary for a meal. I wore a turtleneck, nice jacket, jewelry, small heels while my husband wore his shorts and a tee shirt. I long ago realized he is unconcerned as to how he looks and resents my suggestions so I dress how I feel and he dresses how he feels. But I’m sure we make an interesting sight together. Oh well, more important things to worry about.

  33. Thanks for sharing, Celia. We each must decide how we want to dress and stick by it…no matter our team.

  34. What fun! I am late to the discussion but will happily join Team Overdressed. Although I love Audrey and Jackie styles, Katherine Hepburn is on my list of notables. I love a menswear or tomboy look at times, especially in the fall. Both of my parents were tall and well dressed. My mom loved Katherine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall styles. KH certainly lived and loved life and her men in her own independent way. I might have to buy that book, read it, and donate it. The entire state of Maine does not have it in their library system. Pam, I am happy that you have a difficult procedure behind you and that you find joy in your blog. There were so many thoughtful remarks today. We are the lucky ones.

  35. You are so sweet, Deborah! And I forgot about Lauren Bacall! She has the same style! Thank you for mentioning her!

  36. I have always loved KH! Even though I am petite, I love wearing Chicos trouser jeans. I just bought their dark green velveteen jeans in trouser style. As long as I wear a column of color and wear my pants down onto my shoes I can get away with it. I bought my matching long sleeve tee to go with it on my 79th birthday coming up on the 14th of December. I have a fine gold chain with a pendant gold Himalayan cat on it. My retired physician husband need never be ashamed of me on his arm. I’m on the overdressed team. He gave it to me years ago and the tiny gold studs I wear with it. It is a comfortable casual look with a touch of Colorado class. Thank you for reminding all of us of gran old dame like Katherine Hepburn. Now I need that book!

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