Movies That Became Fashion Trendsetters

Most of us know that the movies are also responsible for launching new trends in fashion. A lot of our preferences in clothing styles have been inspired by several movies even without ever knowing it. These outfits are as much of a scene-stealer as the actors themselves!

The reasons for movies being trendsetters could be many, but most of them are quite obvious. When we see a film and relate to it, or look up to a certain actor/actress due to their powerful portrayals, we’re likely to mimic them in several ways. While many of us can’t compete with celebrities when it comes to their glowing looks, we do have the easier option of wearing clothes like their iconic costumes.

Old and new films have been the trigger for all the fashion trends so far. We’ll give you some of the best movies as an example of trendy fashion.


The Seven Year Itch

Marilyn Monroe, the Hollywood sex symbol, created perhaps her most famous (and sexiest) image through this movie. The scene where her famous white halter dress (designed by William Travilla) billows over a subway grate will forever be one of the most unforgettable fashion moments in film. Her look launched the vampy, sexy style trends in the 1950s.


Funny Face

There’s no question about Audrey Hepburn being a fashion icon! You see her wearing a lot of famous dresses in ‘Funny Face’, where she plays a bookworm-turned-fashion model. However, she also immortalized the all-black beatnik outfit that has given rise to several imitations.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s

It’s Audrey Hepburn again! Fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy (who had previously worked with her in Funny Face) brought us yet another one of Audrey’s classic looks. That “Little Black Dress” that Givenchy designed for her in the film is often cited as one of the most famous clothing items of all time.


Annie Hall

Diane Keaton’s titular character in this Woody Allen film set the tone for the more masculine fashion trend during the 1970s: oversized blazers and pants, a guy’s tie and bulky boots. Annie’s rather unusual, androgynous sartorial sense of the movie became a hit among ladies, who began to pattern her style by mixing and matching women’s and men’s apparel.


Saturday Night Fever

The film that has been widely credited for putting disco on the mainstream map also helped transform the look of the 1970s’ man. That image of John Travolta’s white suit, chest-baring black shirt, white bell-bottom pants, and black platform shoes created one of the most iconic images not only of the film but also of the entire disco music scene.



Jennifer Beals’ off-the-shoulder gray sweatshirt and leg warmers immediately became the “in” thing in ladies’ 1980s fashion.


Desperately Seeking Susan

Starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna (in her first major film role), this movie is what truly defined 80s fashion. Madonna, as you know, was sort of a fashion trendsetter during this decade. Here, she managed to popularize the wearing of black bras, ribbons, fingerless gloves, heavy necklaces, and Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Risky Business

Risky Business

This was Tom Cruise’s first major film, which launched him to stardom. It also launched him as an A-list endorser along the way. Ray-Bans were one of the most popular fashion items of the 80s, and ‘Risky Business’ is mostly responsible for its success.

Cruise wore Ray-Bans throughout the movie, but this product placement was not just a spontaneous one. It’s actually a marketing gimmick, as the Ray-Ban company itself offered the producer of the movie $50,000 to have its line of sunglasses featured on the movie and on the promotional poster. This “risky business” turned out to be successful as sales of Ray-Bans went through the roof. They managed to sell about 4 million pairs by 1989.



The film that made Alicia Silverstone an overnight star also set a new precedent in 1990s fashion. Alicia’s role as the Valley Girl Cher had her wearing miniskirts, plaid outfits, and Mary Janes. The whole ensemble resulted in the ultimate preppy look that a majority of 90s girls tried to copy.



Some might groan to hear about the Twilight saga, but there’s no denying that both the movies and the books are highly popular. As a result, we also see them having an effect on the fashion sense of the target audience.

Twilight was responsible for reviving the Gothic look — pale-white faces, blood-stained lips, and sheer garments. Twilight also inspired the modern vampire fashion that ranges from heavily embroidered garments to sweaters and plaid shirts. The latter looks like a throwback to the 90’s Seattle grunge clothing style, thus proving that retro is never dead.

Reading Up on More

If you’re interested in reading more about fashion in movies, there are several books and documentaries you may peruse. We suggest starting with an enjoyable and detailed work like the book called ‘Fashion in Film” by Christopher Laverty.

With this book, we can learn how the most famous and inspirational outfits in movies came to be. Since movies are works of art, the clothing of the characters has something to say in context. Learning about this aspect of fashion will help us appreciate both the clothes and the movies even more.

There are also some gorgeous illustrations of celebrities wearing amazing dresses in this book, which makes it an excellent addition to your coffee table. Keep in mind that the author, Laverty, is a fashion and costume writer as well as a consultant in this genre. He’s also the edit and founder of the “Clothes on Film” website, which assures us of his knowledge on the subject.  

At the end of the day, this is one book that helps you research and learn about the fashion world in a deep, lasting manner. Get it for your own information or as a gift to someone who loves all kinds of fashionable styles.


The popularity of celebrity style isn’t just limited to the screens. The red carpet in premieres and award shows is where we see all our favorite actors and actresses dressed to the nines.

There’s no denying that the movies, TV, and the media have a strong influence on what we deem as fashionable these days. While some celebrities might dress so outlandishly that they defy any copycats (think certain costumes of Lady Gaga), there are several iconic dresses that might give inspiration to fashionistas all over the world.