Coco Chanel once said, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” This piece of advice from one of the world’s most famous fashion designers (among other tidbits) is as inspirational today as it was when she launched her first perfume in the 1920s.

Recently, when groundbreaking Cosmopolitan magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown passed away at age 90, it was clear her legacy would live on in her many pieces of printed advice. Among her controversial admonitions? “Marriage is insurance for the worst years of your life. Save the ‘best’ for when you're single.”

While Chanel and Brown were pioneering career women in their day, now there's no shortage of inspirational females at the top of their fields—and there's plenty they can teach us. Whether they’ve spent years climbing the corporate ladder, helming a major fashion house or magazine, or building a billion-dollar brand, these powerful 28 women learned the ropes of their chosen profession, raised families, and mastered the art of balance. Here's the best advice you can take from them.

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