Fashion On Film: 9 Movies With Inspiring Style

fashion film


How was your weekend? Did you go places and see people? I'm sure you did, but I'm also almost certain that at some point you kicked off your shoes, wrapped yourself up in a blanket and watched a movie or two. Movies are a great escape, an emotional release and oftentimes an extremely inspiring 2-hour experience.


Some days I dress up as if my life is a movie, don't you? Sometimes it's one I've made up, and it stars me as a budding young ingenue just trying to have it all in The Big City… and sometimes I'm just straight-up channeling Cher from Clueless.


If your wardrobe could use a dash of movie magic, check out IFB's picks for 9 films with inspiring style. Jennine, Amanda and I hand-picked these films for their unique style and inspiring aesthetics.


9 Movies With Inspiring Style


Taylor's Picks

Two For The Road (1967)

Now, I could have gone with the all-too-predictable Breakfast At Tiffany's here, but I wanted to share a movie you actually may not have seen 100 times. Two for The Road stars Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, and is set in the south of France. The married couple revisit the roads and beaches and hotels where they first fell in love, twelve years before. It's a great exploration of the nature of marriage, not to mention the wardrobe (Mary Quant and Paco Rabanne), and the cars and the scenery are to die for.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

You guys, do you remember this movie? It's so good. And so stylish. The cast features the likes of young, tan and amazing Gweneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and Jude Law. It's set in the late 1950's in New York and the Italian Riviera, full of iconic style, gorgeous scenery and of course – drama and suspense. This movie is frequently brought up in current menswear trend references (Dickie Greenleaf is quite dapper), but Marge Sherwood's (Gweneth Paltrow) style is also not to be discounted.

La Piscine (1969, French)

Months ago I wrote a blog post about this movie, and it's highly-styled aesthetic has stayed with me since. It takes place in the hills above St. Tropez (are you seeing a theme here?), at an idyllic villa with a gorgeous swimming pool. The visuals in this film are stunning, from the sun-drenched scenery to the late 1960's French prep wardrobing.


Jennine's Picks

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (1989)

Peter Greenway's film staring Helen Mirren, is a brilliantly colorful film with a gritty and surreal plot. Costume designed by Jean-Paul Gautier, made for the perfect mix between real fashion design and film. What I think more fashion films should be like.

In the Mood For Love

Kai War Wong set this plutonic love story in 1960's Hong Kong, Maggie Cheung plays a wife who's husband is unfaithful. Her dresses are the highlight of this beautifully shot, yet heartbreaking film.


Ciao Manhattan (1972)

I saw this on a whim, well the first 30 minutes of it, it was too sad to see Edie Sedgwick in the state she was a few months before her death. However, it uses a lot of the original footage from her years at the Factory, which alone, was worth watching. Her style is so iconic, and timeless.


Amanda's Picks

Coco Before Chanel (2009)

Get a glimpse at the life of legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel in this French film. Played by Audrey Tautou, you see Coco Chanel grow from the quiet orphan to showgirl to clothing designer all within 120 minutes. While the storyline was a little depressing, I thought the chic and sophisticated costumes were sensational. The best fashion moments in this film? When Coco is at the beach with her beau. Stripes have never looked better!


Atonement (2007)

Set in England, the movie captures the innocence and grandeur before the devastating World War II and the bleak, gray life during and after the war.  While Keira Knightley and James McAvoy's sizzling (and tragic) love affair was the focus of the film. I couldn't help but swoon over the film's gorgeous costumes, especially Keira's green silk dress that she wears in a particularly moving scene. From nursing uniforms to flirty bathing suits, the costumes in this film are evocative and quite breathtaking.


Elizabeth (1998)

Over-the-top hairstyles, grandiose gowns and jarring makeup make this film one of my absolute favorites. The scandalous storyline doesn't hurt either… Based on the popular and controversial monarch, the statuesque Cate Blanchett is simply stunning in this film. Every gown she wears reflects her character's personality: strong, feminine, rebellious, and flirtatious.


What are your favorite fashionable films? Share in the comments!


[All images via IMDB.]


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14 Responses

  1. Mary

    This is great. I watch a ton of movies but have missed many of these. Thanks for the recommendations.

  2. Maggie

    It’s cliche, but def Clueless. This film was one of the first movies I saw that included ‘fashion’ and I really wanted Dion’s style. Cher, of course, was super cute in argyle and etc. but Dion had such a unique thing going on – I wanted to be her! haha

    XO Maggie

  3. style-delights

    Oh , To catch a thief, Rear Window, (most Hitchcock movies for that matter) Devil wears Prada are some more with great style and fashion on screen!

  4. Emmy

    Love Coco Before Chanel. Audrey was fabulous in it.

    I tend to like movies where I can see the characters’s clothes in my closet, so they tend to be movies like Reality Bites and Rent. But for the ultimate fashion inspiration, there’s nothing like Priscilla: Queen of the Desert!

  5. Jeanine Marie

    I have a couple of films that inspire me.

    Bell, Book and Candle 1958 with Kim Novak

    Valley of The Dolls 1967 with Sharon Tate

    Love Story 1970 with Ali McGraw

    and of course anything with Audrey.

  6. Sophie

    Coco before Chanel is one of my favourite films of all time. I also love Grease which I think has interesting style. 500 Days of Summer has some cute outfits. I think lots of period dramas (namely Marie Antoinette and The Duchess) have great style. The September Issue as well, obviously.

  7. merciblahblah

    OOooh, great topic…one of my all-time favey crocketts as far as style is concerned is Nine 1/2 Weeks. May sound crazy, but I love the minimal, almost Japanese, cocoony sweaters that Kim Basinger wears in the movie, and then contrast that with the tight tight tight pinstriped suit? Guh. I just love it. Bonus? Mickey Rourke was actually HAWT in the movie. Sigh. Mickey, what did you DO to yourself???

  8. Charley

    @Jennine : Hell yes, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover is right up there with the best of them! Peter Greenaway’s a genius and that film’s definitely one of his most accessible. So glad you picked it, it’s one of my favourite films. It’s not even just the costumes, every scene is a work of art. You have to watch it a few times to take it all in visually (if you can stomach the gruesome storyline!) It was written as an allegory for Thatcherism (well, check out the date!) with “The Cook” symbolising the hard-working common man, “The Thief” symbolising Margaret Thatcher and her generally arrogant, bulldozing approach, “His Wife” symbolising the long-suffering British population as a whole and “Her Lover” as the countercultural rebel. Sorry I’m sounding like a boring nerd but I thought I’d mention it!

    Also @Vyque good call on The Devil Wears Prada