Fashion in Film

I love movies and I love fashion. So when these two collide, the result to me is truly an exhilarating experience. There used to be a time (before Google and cellphones) where, as an 8 year old girl, I’d hit the pause button on the VCD just to draw the outfits of the characters, then I’d color it and describe them to my mom in great detail so that she could have the seamstress make me something similar. If that’s not an obsession, I don’t know what is! Anyway, looking back, I realize I’ve been living my life as though it’s one big movie, complete with script, costume, and soundtrack—perhaps you can think of your own iconic movies that influenced how you dressed over the years, but here’s a list of favorites (in random order):

  1. Clueless. When Alicia Silverstone and her sidekick Stacey Dash showed up to school in those plaid skirt suits, my jaw dropped in awe and envy. That set the tone for the rest of the film, including the red Azzedine Alaia minidress that she wears in the movie poster, lots of A line skirts, cardigans and knee high stockings, even their P.E. attire was the bomb! This movie totally rocked 90s fashion and some expressions like ‘Whatever’ and ‘As if’ are still used today. It’s now been 21 years since Clueless, and since 90s are all the rage, it should be time for a viewing party!

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  2. Funny Face, Roman Holiday, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. These three Audrey Hepburn films are so fashionably on point that you can wear any of the outfits today and still look stylish. In Funny Face, she wears a sophisticated pink cropped blouse with a white column skirt, and an elegant red strapless gown. In Roman Holiday, it’s the white polo and midi skirt with lace-up sandals that steals the show. In Breakfast at Tiffany’s—who could forget the classic Givenchy little black dress from the opening credits or her hot pink party dress? Just watching these movies is enough to educate women on style, timelessness, and the importance of dressing the part.
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    The Devil Wears Prada. To witness Anne Hathaway’s transformation throughout this film is so rewarding. I must have watched this more than 5 times and I still feel giddy! She went from slouchy sweaters to Chanel tweed blazers and thigh high leather boots, that classic ivory trench coat and beret, the brown belted dress, the black lace gown and red lipstick, the chunky Chanel charm necklace—heck, even all of Meryl Streep’s outfits as well as Emily Blunt’s was drool worthy from start to finish! The wardrobe room of that movie is truly my version of heaven.


    I Die!!!!

  4. Sex and the City 1 and 2. What we loved the most about the TV series, was, of course, the fashion. So of course, the expectation for the movies to deliver the same trademark fabulousness was sky high, and these two did not disappoint. Much of the first movie revolved around Carrie’s wedding, and the girls’ outfits- an incredible Vivienne Westwood number for the bride and beautiful Zac Posen gowns in black, red and blue for the bridesmaids- are just about as iconic as you can get. Then the girls go through a whole delectable fashion year together, from summer in Mexico, the fall fashion shows, and the sapphire Manolo Blahnik shoe that launched a gazillion knock-offs. In the second movie, the level of fashion fantasy goes up even higher as the foursome take on Abu Dhabi. Oh, the floaty maxidresses at the desert safari! Carrie’s Dior t-shirt and lavender ball skirt at the market! I can’t even begin to detail all the rest- suffice it to say, watch both movies and learn.SATC2


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  5. The Dressmaker. Say what? I’ve never heard of this movie until I saw it on the inflight menu on a 13-hour trip. Suffice it to say I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised when I watched it—I was floored! In the movie, Kate Winslet plays a genius designer and seamstress in the 1950s who completely transforms people into fashion plates in her hometown (located in the middle of nowhere). Such glamorous gowns and day dresses reminiscent of the screen sirens of the golden age! This is a definite must-see for all the fashion fans.

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  6. The Great Gatsby (both the 1974 and 2013 versions).   Since the story is all about the excesses of the roaring twenties and early thirties, it follows that fashion is an important element in the film. Mia Farrow of 1974 wears a slinky silver gown and chic headpiece for the bash, while in the later version, Carey Mulligan wears a glittery gold gown and a bejeweled headband. For the daytime scenes, Mia Farrow wears a pretty white lace dress and hat, while Carey Mulligan flirts with lavender ruffles. What a face-off! I can’t decide who won!

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  7. Rear Window. Grace Kelly knocks the ball out of the park in every single scene of this movie—it’s no wonder costume designer Edith Head has received a total of 8 Oscars. Plus this is a Hitchcock, so there is absolutely no excuse for not having seen it. Perhaps the most famous dresses in the movie are the black fitted V-neck bodice with full white tulle skirt, the white halter with apple green pencil skirt, and the white silk gown with a floaty chiffon shawl…it’s enough to cause massive hyperventilation whenever she appears on screen. Well, as we know, the girl snagged a real prince!

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  8. The Other Woman. This is not a classic nor is it a huge box office hit, but all of Cameron Diaz’s outfits in this movie are on point for the modern woman of today. White blazer with black cigarette pants, knee length pencil skirts, lots of chic office dresses, a lemon yellow sundress, LBDs. Nothing earth shattering, but she manages to look consistently classy, polished, and amazing. Then again, with legs like hers….

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  9. Atonement.  There is only one dress in this movie that really jumps out at you, but does it ever! It’s a vintage emerald green silk backless gown so gorgeous that you can’t focus on Keira Knightley’s face (or anything else for that matter) as she moves around in it. Recently voted on an online poll of Time magazine as the best film costume of all time, that says enough.


    That.  Green.  Dress.


Honorable Mention:  How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days  


What are your favorite outfits on film? Share them with me! Cheers to one of the joys of being a girl.


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