Since the Old Hollywood era, the film and fashion industries have worked together to dress the stars on the silver screen. Movie costumes are integral to the storyline and character development, and their influence on fashion trends is undeniable. From leather jackets to sunglasses to the little black dress, Hollywood movie styles have indelibly impacted what people wear. 

1. Sylvia/Sylvester Scarlett — Sylvia Scarlett (1935)

Sylvia Scarlett
Image Credit: RKO Radio Pictures.

Acting legend Katharine Hepburn was known for being unconventional, and her wardrobe in films like Sylvia Scarlett reflects that. In the 1930s, women mostly wore gowns and dresses, while men wore trousers. Hepburn flouted those rules by wearing pants in Sylvia Scarlett, where she masquerades as a boy to hide her identity. Today, a woman wearing slacks is the norm, thanks partly to this trendsetting actress.

2. Jim Stark — Rebel Without A Cause (1955) 

Rebel Without A CauseRebel Without A Cause
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

James Dean’s acting career may have been cut short by his untimely death, but his sartorial influence from Rebel Without A Cause endures. With his casual attire, Dean’s character, Jim Stark, rebels against his parents’ and society’s expectations. The pairing of a white T-shirt and blue jeans symbolizes youthful rebellion off-screen and remains a popular clothing combination.  

3. Juliette Hardy — And God Created Woman (1956)

And God Created WomanAnd God Created Woman
Image Credit: Cocinor.

Bikinis existed years before Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman. Still, the ones Brigitte Bardot wore in this film made them mainstream. They replaced the more modest one-piece and two-piece swimwear choices of that time. Today, the bikini is a must-have for beachgoers worldwide.

4. Holly Golightly — Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffany'sBreakfast at Tiffany's
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Audrey Hepburn’s impeccable sense of style made her a fashion icon. One of the looks that elevated her to that status was the little black dress (LBD) and oversized sunglasses she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The LBD and outsized eyewear remain essentials for any wardrobe, mainly because they’re affordable for any budget and never go out of style.

5. Rosemary Woodhouse — Rosemary’s Baby

(1968)

Rosemary's BabyRosemary's Baby
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Mia Farrow’s styling as Rosemary Woodhouse in Rosemary’s Baby was trendsetting in several ways. While many Hollywood actresses at the time embraced long hair, Farrow wears a flattering short pixie cut, a hairstyle that American women soon emulated. Rosemary’s preference for loose-fitting shift dresses, miniskirts, and wide Peter Pan collars made these styles fashion staples in clothing stores.

6. Annie Hall — Annie Hall (1977)

Annie HallAnnie Hall
Image Credit: United Artists.

In her portrayal of Annie Hall, Diane Keaton shattered the expectations of what actresses in film should wear. Hall’s dress style — layered menswear pieces, including loose-fitting pants, ties, button-down shirts, vests, and a bowler hat — came from Keaton herself. She attributes the look to what New York women wore at the time. 

7. Jeff Spicoli — Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Fast Times at Ridgemont HighFast Times at Ridgemont High
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Sean Penn’s beloved slacker, surfer character from the classic 1980s film is more than a pop culture phenomenon. He’s a fashion influencer thanks to his unique wardrobe. Teens and young adults who are neither surfers nor skaters continue to sport Spicoli’s surf baja hoodie and checkered Vans sneakers. 

8. Alex Owens — Flashdance (1983)

FlashdanceFlashdance
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The smash hit starring Jennifer Beals had a lot of memorable scenes, but Alex’s collarless, off-the-shoulder sweatshirt had women and girls replicating the look by cutting the collars out of their sweatshirts. Surprisingly, this look was the result of a happy accident. Beals revealed her favorite sweatshirt shrunk in the dryer, and the only way she could fit it over her head was to cut the collar off.

9. Joel Goodsen — Risky Business (1983) 

Risky Business Risky Business 
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Even if you’ve never seen Risky Business in its entirety, you’re probably familiar with the iconic scene in which Tom Cruise’s character wears Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses while he lip-synchs to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” in a button-down shirt and underwear. Wayfarers are the definition of cool, but Joel Goodsen upped their cool quotient exponentially. 

10. Cher Horowitz — Clueless (1995)

CluelessClueless
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

One of the most stylish onscreen looks is Alicia Silverstone’s sweet-natured character from Clueless. Cher’s matching plaid skirt sets, layered crop top and shirt combinations, over-the-knee socks, and Mary Jane heels solidified her place as a fashion icon for the decade. 

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The Usual Suspects
Image Credit: Gramercy Pictures.

 

Stephanie Allen

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