History’s Most Fashionable Films

Snow in Denver
Ever have those days when you have nowhere to go and nothing to do, and you are absolutely bored to tears? Ever have those days that you are forced to stay in a particular location due to adverse weather conditions? Well for those of you in Colorado, you know what I mean, and for those of my readers who are not currently in my hometown of Denver, Colorado, there was a snow storm that recently shut down highways and caused many people to be snowed into their homes…IN APRIL. But, all bitterness to the weather forecaster aside, what is a person to do when one has nothing to do. My personal philosophy is TV. Yes, I know, it’s a typical “American” answer, but I’m a fashionisto who is snowed in! How else am I to pick up on current events? But one of my favorite things to do while stuck in my house is to watch movies. So needless to say I have watched a bazillion films. Since I have my degree in fashion I tend to gravitate towards movies that have good costumes or accurate fashion. Since most of my readers haven’t studied fashion I thought it would be a novel idea to create a list of movies to see that can help educate the masses in terms of accurate historical/vintage clothing. Set chronologically of course.

Chicago- Although people probably didn’t break out is song about murder too often in the 1920’s, the costuming in this movie is phenomenal, which is probably why costume designer Coleen Attwood won the academy award for best costume that year. Everything from the flashy flapper-wear to the dapper suit and ties, down to the last button, this movie is a perfect representation to 1920’s historical fashion.

Rebel Without a Cause- One of my personal favorite vintage films. This movie is actually one of the few movies on the list that was made to be “current” in the time it was made. Released in 1955, iconic actors James Dean and Natalie Wood bring to life the story of a boy coming into his own when he moves to a new town. Aside from the stunning performance by James Dean, the costuming is actually clothes they wore in 1955. The big thing about male fashion in the 1950’s is the T-shirt. Men would wear it as an undergarment until this decade, when they started wearing it as a garment. And you can bet red bomber jacket sales sky rocketed with the release of this film.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s- Fast forward a decade to the 1960s, where fashion was free and women were revolutionizing fashion by wearing pants for the first time. Not only is this movie a good representation of the 60’s vintage fashion, but it represents the ideals of strong independent women, which frankly up until this point were background noises. Including costume work by Hubert de Givenchy, the classic long slimming black dress has made its stamp on cinema fashion.

Saturday Night Fever- DUH. I mean it’s John Travolta in the iconic disco, polyester leisure suit. Again, made in the decade of which it is representing, SNF is the way people of that generation choose to remember 1977. Exuberant and eccentric this movie really made John Travolta’s career, so if you don’t watch it for the sheer fashion education value, watch the film that made one of the most iconic stars of all time.

Breakfast Club- Probably my FAVORITE movie of all time, this movie made in 1985 captures the essence of what it was to be a teenager in the 80s. In a time of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, this movie really embodies the teenage experience, everything from getting into trouble to parental issues. Not only is this movie fantastic because of the plot but because of the costuming. It is one of the only movies that shows more than one facet of youth fashion. Normally movies focus on one group of fashion followers, the Breakfast Club focuses on five, distinctly different groups and the “threads” they wore.

Clueless- What else was I supposed to pick? 50% of this movie is all about fashion. Generally a movie will showcase the fashion in one or two scenes just proving the movie is current, but clueless kills the 90’s fashion aesthetic in every scene. If there was ever a question as to what was popular in the 90s, this movie answered to almost every major trend during that decade, focusing mainly on the “prep” megatrend.

Beyond the 90s, I think you guys are allowed to make the calls. Which movies do you think are the most relevant in terms of fashion??

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