Babe Paley was born Barbara Cushing, daughter of a neurosurgeon and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Though not born into a family of society, Babe was encouraged to marry a wealthy man by her mother. Her first husband came from the Standard Oil family, and her subsequent beau, William S. Paley, was a chairman for CBS who was rich and powerful; kind and gracious; and worshipped her absolutely.
After her marriage to William Paley, Babe quickly appeared on the map of fashion. Her name remained at the top of the 'Best Dressed List' for most of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Her fashion statements - wearing pantsuits and letting her hair go gray - were emulated by women all across the country and still influence our style today. Babe became such a model of fashion that she could make fashion headlines just by leaving her house. Once in a hurry to get out the door, Babe wrapped a scarf around the handle of her purse. She was spotted by photographers and the image, appearing in fashion magazines around the country, sparked a trend that lasted for years. Her immaculate quality and immense serenity were easily discerned through photos and articles, and earned her the appropriate nickname, "the beautiful darling". Vogue dubbed her style "effortless chic achieved at great effort".
Aside from having amazing style, Babe was also known for her beauty, manners and kindness. She was considered so extraordinary because her inner beauty was equal to, or greater than, her physical charms. Many felt that she lived in a bubble of perfection: her multiple houses were decorated by Billy Baldwin, premier interior decorator to Society; her hair was never out of place, even when sailing on their yacht, and her clothes betrayed nary a wrinkle. One admirer was quoted as saying, "So great is her beauty that no matter how often I see her, it's the first time". She is still used today as a reference point for style, and the fashion coverage of the 1998 Oscar de la Renta summer collection praised its "Paley chic, that says, "I'm rich, but I don't have to flaunt it"".
However, like so many great women, that outer perfection masked a very shy interior. Babe suffered her entire life with a lack of self-confidence that she allowed few to see. One of those she let closest to her was Truman Capote, whom she sensed was also crippled by shyness and lack of self-esteem. Capote had the unique ability to listen closely, and make one think that they were all that mattered in the world. In him, she found both a sympathetic friend and companion for her many social obligations around the world. Truman became a regular visitor on the Paley's yacht, a frequent houseguest, and a mainstay of their many parties. Babe also began confiding in him the details of her marriage, in spite of Slim's repeated warnings. Babe felt he was so sympathetic and discreet that he could be trusted with the truth. Mr. Capote, however, had other plans.
Key Elements of Babe's Signature Style:
Knowing exactly what her style is
A focus on the classics
Not being afraid to take a risk
Find a way to mix your look up, whether classic or funky, and put a fresh spin on it. Find a look that you know deep in your heart looks for you and wear it, unabashedly. Feel the confidence it can conjure up!
Excerpted from Divasthesite.com.
Excerpted from Divasthesite.com.