10 Fashion-Inspiring Films

Fashion trends have always been started by the rich and famous and followed by everyone else. With the introduction of film in the 20th century, movie stars and their films became the medium to set an example for what to wear. Movies have always been inspiration for fashion trends and these 10 are some of the most memorable.

10. Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

Madonna’s look in Desperately Seeking Susan is perhaps the one she is most well-known for. It is also the look that defines the 1980’s and pops up on Halloween, themed-parties, and even here and there in new trends. Bold colors, big pants, chunky jewelry, and Capri pants were just the beginning. The movie also introduced new ways of wearing blazers, bustiers, and even mesh tops. Bold shoes and make-up completed the typical 80’s look made popular and immortalized by Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan.

9. It Happened One Night (1934)

This romantic comedy is a classic for more than one reason. The first of its genre, It Happened One Night also introduced another trend to moviegoers; making it acceptable, and cool, for men to forgo wearing an undershirt. The trend caught on so quickly that undershirt sales plummeted after Clark Gable famously removed his shirt to show nothing but bare skin. Early on, this movie was evidence that the degree of popular culture represented in film is large enough to influence what audiences think is cool and create (or end) fashion trends altogether. It’s also a sign that men are not immune to the charms of movie stars like Clark Gable and are just as easily influenced by their favorite actors and their fashion statements.

8. Funny Face (1957)

Audrey Hepburn is no doubt a fashion icon and that includes her performance in Funny Face, about a regular girl who transforms into a famous model. Her outfits in the movie reflect that change, going from every day casual to runway chic as the movie goes on. Perhaps the most memorable look in the movie was her all black ensemble which tends to be equated with the late 50’s early 60’s time period. Many of her other looks are famous as well, including her red gown with white gloves and the wedding dress, which continues to inspire wedding gowns to this day. Funny Face is yet another addition to the list of fashion-inspiring films.

7. The Seven Year Itch (1955)

When you think of Marilyn Monroe, odds are you picture her in the iconic white dress she wears in this movie. When she stands over the street vent and her skirt blows up around her waist an image was created that would be remembered by those who aren’t even sure where it came from. Marilyn’s character, The Girl, wore a white crepe halter dress that symbolized her freedom and sexuality and continues to be recreated in many forms even today. Marilyn’s wardrobe malfunction was a thorn in the Production Code’s thigh but for audiences and fans, it was a classic moment that defined not only the film, but Marilyn herself.

6. Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

Bonnie & Clyde is a crime thriller that re-introduced depression-era style to the mod look of the 1960’s. Starring Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty, and Gene Hackman, this movie thrust opposite style into the mainstream as it brought neckties and knee-length skirts into the world of go-go boots and mini-skirts. Berets and cardigans became staples in any 1960’s stylish girls’ wardrobe. Bonnie & Clyde was responsible for some of the more modest and classic looks of the 1960’s, even if the movie was set 30 years prior. Costume designer Theadora Von Runkle created the perfect balance between the 1960’s current trends and a more realistic, depression-era appropriate style.

5. Annie Hall (1977)

In this romantic comedy, Diane Keaton plays the titular Annie Hall. Annie has a unique style of oversized mannish clothing. Blazers, vests, trousers, long skirts, and boots were staples of her wardrobe. Blending masculine with feminine, Annie Hall inspired many women in the 1970’s to experiment with their style. Keaton actually wore her own outfits in the film, to the chagrin of the film’s stylist, who believed her looks to be “crazy.” Even during the most feminine stages of women’s fashion, we still mix in masculine pieces like Diane did in Annie Hall.

4. The Wild One (1953)

In the outlaw biker film, The Wild One, Marlon Brando plays cool-man Johnny Strabler. The film introduces the idea that teenagers can be dangerous and so they had to look the part. Levi jeans, t-shirts, and of course Johnny’s Perfecto motorcycle jacket set off a trend that has waned and waxed but lives on to this day. The leather jacket has come and gone over the years but will never disappear. Paired with his hat and motorcycle, Marlon’s image from The Wild One became the epitome of cool and the leather jacket would live on forever.

3. Rear Window (1954)

In the 1950’s Grace Kelly was THE fashion icon. She exuded class, style, and of course, grace. Any of her movies could have made this list but it is Rear Window that tops the rest when it comes to iconic and memorable fashion moments. Sleek and stylish, Grace’s character Lisa Carol Fremont is almost Grace herself, and even through the most daring breaking and entering scenes, she remains cool and put-together. All of her outfits possess elegance yet are demure and sleek at the same time, with fancy fabrics and pearl accents. Grace Kelly’s role in Rear Window has become a fashion genre all in itself.

2. Clueless (1995)

Clueless is the spunky, sweet, and quotable modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma that forever lives on as the example of how to be the perfect Valley Girl. Cher Horowitz and her friends Dionne, Tai, and Amber prance around in the most fashionable ensembles of 1995. Cher’s closet was filled with knee-high socks, platform Mary Janes, and mini-skirts. From matching yellow plaid suits to itty-bitty white Calvin Klein dresses, no one can deny the fashion statements made by Clueless that continue their reputation almost 20 years later.

1. Breakfast at Tifffany’s (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is perhaps the most iconic film ever made when it comes to fashion statements. Audrey Hepburn is perfect as Holly Golightly, a beautiful and charming society girl living in New York City who happens to have the most wonderful wardrobe. Many famous pieces have come from the film, including the rain-drenched trench coat and her big black hat. But the most famous Breakfast at Tiffany’s look is by far the black dress Holly wears while at, where else, Tiffany’s. Paired with pearls, sunglasses, and a tiara, this look is one of the most recreated of all time and the dress itself was auctioned off for 1 million dollars (to charity) in 2006.