Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 10/17/2006

List: The Most-Stylish Movies

By Liz Kelly

It's Tuesday so it must be time for another Friday list! Or maybe I'm willing to do just about anything to avoid writing about Madonna's continuing adoption saga ("Malawi Tops Kazakhstan as Most-Talked-About Country No One Can Pinpoint on a Map") or Jennifer Aniston's Oprah gabfest ("No New Boobs and Vince Stays in Relationship"). Though I would probably pay good money to write -- at length -- if the two stories somehow intersected ("Aniston Breaks Up with Malawi, Contemplates Boob Job.")

Fashion icon Cary Grant. (Viking Press/MGM)

Alas, no such luck. So let's do the next best thing: turn our attention to GQ's new list of the most stylish movies of all time, movies that had a lasting impact on the way we dress. Not surprisingly, a film starring possibly the most debonair man ever to walk the Earth tops the list: Cary Grant and "North By Northwest."

Eighteen movies on the list were made before 1980 and only one post-millennial movie made it to the list, 2000's "In the Mood for Love." Clearly the GQ editors have not seen "Napoleon Dynamite" and experienced the massive fashion dynamo that is the "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt.

Here's GQ's list:

1. "North by Northwest" (1959)
2. "Breathless" (1959)
3. "Ocean's 11" (1960)
4. "Purple Noon" (1960)
5. "8-1/2" (1963)
6. "A Hard Day's Night" (1964)
7. "How to Steal a Million" (1966)
8. "Blowup" (1966)
9. "Bullitt" (1968)
10. "Get Carter" (1970)
11. "A Clockwork Orange" (1971)
12. "Shaft" (1971)
13. "Badlands" (1973)
14. "The Harder They Come" (1973)
15. "The Godfather Part II" (1974)
16. "Shampoo" (1975)
17. "Three Days of the Condor" (1975)
18. "Quadrophenia" (1979)
19. "American Gigolo" (1980)
20. "Diner" (1982)
21. "Stranger than Paradise" (1984)
22. "Reservoir Dogs" (1992)
23. "Trainspotting" (1996)
24. "Rushmore" (1998)
25. "In the Mood for Love" (2000)

So, agree, disagree? And which, if any, movies have inspired your personal style?

By Liz Kelly  | October 17, 2006; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Friday Lists  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Mix: Madonna's Malawi Boy Arrives in U.K.
Next: Morning Mix: Report: Mills Claims McCartney Abuse


What about "Clueless"? Although, we're not talking "classic cinema" when you think of this movie, it did shape the way girls provided inspiration and touched on trends that were just beginning at the time.

Posted by: HRHJChristine | October 17, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Lost in Translation" is the first movie that comes to mind when I think of 'stylish'. The scenes all around Japan and inside the hotel are very sleek and modern yet traditional all in one.

Posted by: washington dc | October 17, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Agree with Clueless, and would also recommend adding "Swingers" - VV's breakout, and the first huge exposure of an underground style that went ballistic thereafter. We are STILL plagued with those loooooong chains hanging off everyone's pants. To say nothing of the return of the "wifebeater" undershirt.

(sorry - non-PC name - what else are they called?)

Posted by: Bogota | October 17, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Oh yes, Trainspotting definitely influenced my style of dress. I still like to toss on an insouciant, filthy, vomit-covered garment from time to time out of sheer nostalgia.

Posted by: KiKi | October 17, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

How about "Keeping the Faith" with Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman, and Ed Norton? Jenna's clothes in the movie are amazing.

Posted by: Kathy | October 17, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I just find it hard to believe that there are no James Bond films on the list.

Posted by: Chris | October 17, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Pretty Woman? I'm not going to make a strong case for it, but lots of fashion there.

Posted by: Liz D | October 17, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I'd vote for The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). Pierce Brosnan was impeccably dressed throughout the whole movie, and Rene Russo's clothes were just amazing-- stylish and edgy.

Posted by: Maria | October 17, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Not that I'm saying it was stylish, but I find it suprising "Saturday Night Fever" didn't make the list. Talk about a movie that affected the way a lot of people dressed, good or bad.

Posted by: Kevin | October 17, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Looks like style passed away sometime in the early 70's

Posted by: Boston | October 17, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"Pretty In Pink" defined dress for so many high school girls in the 80s. But for enduring style I'd put "The Graduate" on the list.

Posted by: Centre of Nowhere | October 17, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Wong Kar Wai's in the Mood for Love and 2046 both bleed style in EVERY shot.

Posted by: Zamora | October 17, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

If you're going to nominate The Thomas Crown Affair, at least nominate the original, starring the ever-stylish Steve McQueen (I submit #9 on the list as evidence).

Posted by: jw | October 17, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Clueless and Pretty in Pink
Some more might not have had a lasting impact, but are still noteworthy:
Flashdance (didn't everyone have inside-out sweatshirts for a while)
Dirty Dancing (brought back a lot of styles from the 50's-60's)

Posted by: jerseyg | October 17, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

as leather is always in style, it could be argued that The Matrix, with its apparent love affair with leather attire, should undoubtedly be included as "stylish," no.


Posted by: queenofzouk | October 17, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Note that the GQ editors describe the list thus: "Each film's fashions have had a lasting influence on the catwalk and men's closets alike."

So there are a lot of movies not on the list because they may have influenced women's fashion--although I have to admit I never saw anyone dressed like Claire from Clueless out in Massachusetts.

Posted by: jw | October 17, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Three of the most stylish movies that you missed:
2) Casablanca
3) Blade Runner (the theatrical release)
...and the most stylish:

1) Body Heat.

Posted by: Bunkley | October 17, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

What about FlashDance?

Posted by: SCWO | October 17, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"A Clockwork Orange"? Are they kidding? Who ever dressed like Alex and his Droogs except for Halloween?

Maybe one could argue it influenced punk, with the boots at least (though the suspenders and codpieces or whatever you want to call them didn't seem to catch on), but that was still a number of years off in any case.

Posted by: joseph | October 17, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Clueless -- mos def.

Posted by: it's cher | October 17, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

My own personal style?

One Million Years BC, naturally.

I'm told I cut a fine figure in a natural fur bikini.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

You can't beat Breakfast at Tiffany's. Talk about making an icon of Audrey Hepburn and the little black dress! That is a movie that stands the test of time, style-wise.

In the creampuff movie category, I nominate Legally Blonde. Fashion plays a major role in that movie. And I quote, "Whoever said that orange was the new pink is seriously deranged!"

Posted by: Jen | October 17, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Agree about the Bond ommission. I nominate Thunderball. Love, love, love all the black and white graphic clothing worn by what's-her-name (Bond girl played by an Italian actress).

Posted by: vjl | October 17, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Since it's not a men's movie, it wouldn't have made the GQ list, but I'm thinking that "Breakfast at Tiffany's" probably took hold of people's closets at one time or another. :)

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | October 17, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, where's the Matrix in all this?

Posted by: wha | October 17, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Le Divorce. Amazing french fashion/style.

Posted by: anon | October 17, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely agree with Breakfast at Tiffany's and Thomas Crown Affair. I'd also submit The Devil Wears Prada, for obvious reasons.

Posted by: Arlington | October 17, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

No movies with Audrey Hepburn? No way. Sabrina is even better than Breakfast at Tiffanys in introducing the little black dress.

Posted by: Gran | October 17, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Down With Love! A fun, stylish romp with Renee Zellweger and Ewan MacGregor - should make the list for both men and women.

Posted by: IndyAnna | October 17, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

What about Love Story? Maybe that was mostly for the Ali MacGraw look...not so much Ryan O'Neal.

Posted by: SBH | October 17, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Two films that really made such an impression that all the fashion mags commented about them were not mentioned, one, Annie Hall, when it became fashionable for women to wear mens clothing, and Bonnie and Clyde, which was the first movie to bring back 30's chic in clothing style, (even Life mag did an article on the immpression this movie had on the fashion world). Yet neither of these films are mentioned!!!

Posted by: Barry Dean | October 17, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Her name's Cher, not Claire.

Posted by: Clueless | October 17, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Would only add The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for incredible interior designs -- the wallpapers alone merit inclusion on the list

Posted by: John | October 17, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Made for TV but Brideshead Revisited was pretty stylish.

If you're going to inlcude Clueless, throw Heathers in there too.

Posted by: kc | October 17, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Pulp Fiction, La Dolce Vita, I saw a movie years ago which may have been called "His Kind of Woman" which was very stylish. Almost every Frank Sinatra film is stylish, but oh man, Ocean's 11 is so cool and so stupid at the same time.

While as a kid I rejected it, but what about Annie Hall? I mean, they take Diner's late-70sisms-masquerading-as-nostalgia and don't use Annie Hall? And if you go for ANY nostalgia film then why no MGM musicals? MGM musicals ooozed style, square style that I rejected, but there the same. Is American in Paris or Meet Me In St Louis less stylish than Purple Noon?

And yeah, Blow Up was on my list, but is it less stylish than any of the Knack-and-how-to-get-it swinging london ripoffs that were all style and no substance. I LOVE Carnaby St and Blow-up is good for that, but not the best at it. And then, ok, what about a punk film like Liquid Sky or Repo Man or the Road Warrior. Surely the Road Warrior mixed with magazine photos of the Sex Pistols fueled every suburban punk rocker circa 1984.

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 17, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I think the number of older films on this list doesn't mean that newer ones are less stylish, but that they have much less of an impact nowadays.

This seems to coincide with the rise in styles/fashions influenced by TV shows, like "Miami Vice" or "Friends" (remember the rage for the "Rachel" haircut?). And who can question the influence of "Sex and the City"?

Posted by: Doc | October 17, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

esp for men, i'd nominate top gun. everyone was wearing raybans and a bomber jacket then.

Posted by: m | October 17, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

i thought the great gatsby and the talented mr ripley were stylish.

Posted by: g | October 17, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

For children of the 80's -- hands down it was "Fast Times At Ridgemont High." After that movie came out, Jr. High and High School kids in my little town of Cumberland, MD were decked out with "Sex Wax" t-shirts, cargo shorts, hawaiian shirts and checkerboard Vans (Spiccoli), Piano scarves over Members Only jackets, ray-bans & pleated khakis (Damone) -- leggings, big belts & t-shirt dresses (Phoebe Cates) and -- of course -- the Red String Bikini was happening all over Rocky Gap State Park lake that summer.

Literally, that movie about a California high school and their new wave/surfer fashion transformed our little adolescent western maryland mountain hamlet into a teeming mass of California wannabes. The movie came out just before MTV arrived in our small town. "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" was our one and only template as to what was (then) fashionable and cool.

BTW-- the movie still rocks and I still watch it about once a year on DVD.

Posted by: 80's Flashback | October 17, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yes to the original (1968) "The Thomas Crown Affair." Steve McQueen in those impeccable clothes, in that jaw-dropping Boston mansion; and Faye Dunaway, fresh from her triumph in "Bonnie and Clyde," looking the way every woman wished she could.

Stylish films by definition mean any film Audrey Hepburn is in, and one of the best is 1957's "Funny Face"--duh! It's about fashion! Audrey transformed from the mousy shopgirl, coming down the grand staircase in the Louvre; Fred Astaire channeling Richard Avedon; Paris in the spring. Good enough for the Gap today.

Another Audrey Hepburn classic: "Two for the Road" (1967) with Albert Finney, both of them at perhaps their most beautiful. OK, so it wasn't a great movie, but it had all the things we could aspire to: young people hitchhiking through France; young marrieds traveling France in a classic car; a rich middle-aged couple in the most beautiful places on the French Riviera. Audrey Hepburn changing into that Pucci print in the passenger seat of the Mercedes was the person I thought I wanted to be.

Posted by: seatown | October 17, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

JW, I'm from PA, and still have a zillion pairs of knee-high socks and plaid skirts tucked away from my "Clueless" days!

I'll cite "Reality Bites" or "Singles" for helping to spur on that whole grunge for guys/babydoll dresses for girls Seattle thing.

Posted by: Negatory | October 17, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree that everything featuring Audrey Hepburn should make the list. I just wanted to point out that #7, How to Steal a Million, is a Hepburn film.

Posted by: Angie | October 17, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I think this kind of a chicken-egg problem. My suggestions may be considered stylish or may just be films that typified what people were wearing at the time. My first is When Harry met Sally, the clothes are typical 1980s NYC yuppie garb. My second is Singles. Singles got everyone wearing grunge, combat boots, and plaid shirts (the grunge metal scene played a large part though). But, unlike other lists I've had real problems (i.e. unattractive women) this list isn't so bad except it ignores any "style" after about 1970 (the 21st century film is sent in the 1960s).

Posted by: BB | October 17, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Either Thomas Crowne Affair would meet the bill. I'd add both Sabrinas as well.

Posted by: adr | October 17, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

What about that classic James Dean look (Rebel Without a Cause)?

It Takes a Thief--Grant and Kelly.

Any Fred Astaire movie--although I'm not too sure if any men really imitated his necktie as belt look. The earlier movies (Ginger era) epitomized Art Deco.

Posted by: sn | October 17, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

What about "The Little Colonel?" No one ever looked at a white suit the same way again!

Posted by: ;-) | October 17, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

What about Pillow Talk? Doris Day in all those gorgeous clothes -- especially that tight, sequined off-white sheath with the long gloves and the fur? Wow!

Also, "Now, Voyager" with Bette Davis's upswept hair and designer duds; "How to Marry and Millionare" and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" for 50's glam; "Cabaret" for both set and clothes...This list could really go on and on.

Posted by: WC | October 17, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

My Ten:

SERPICO-Every guy had to have a Pacino Pea Coat.
URBAN COWBOY-Cowboy boots and hats in Manhattan?
SATURDAY NITE FEVER-Dig those polyesters, man.
SOME LIKE IT HOT-Crossdressing.
WALL STREET-Michael Douglas braces and white collars on stripe shirts; Charlie Sheen makeover.
DR NO-Ursula's THAT bikini
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S-Hepburn, forever in fashion.
MIAMI VICE (TV)-Don Johnson makes white and pastels cool.
YESTERDAY, TODAY, and TOMORROW- Sophia Loren makes the black teddy de regeur.
CLUELESS-The cellphone as accessory.
And the winner is:
THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR-If you are going to have an affair, dont you want him to look like Steve McQueen, and her to look like Faye Dunaway?

Posted by: JerseyJoe | October 17, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Since someone mentioned interior design I would say "Meet Joe Black" and although the actors are dressed all rather formally in the movie they all look good

Posted by: will | October 17, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

As far as shows that made the list, I was intrigued that Rushmore made it, but as far as fashion is concerned, I found Royal Tannenbaums to be the far more fashionable of that film makers list.

Posted by: maybebaby | October 18, 2006 4:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm really surprised GQ didn't recognize "The Untouchables" concidering Giorgio Armani was the wardrobe designer. Costner, DeNiro, Connery, Garcia... Great looking people in great clothes. Armani did a fabulous job!

Posted by: Robin | October 18, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I have to give the nod to Breakfast at Tiffany's. The movie was all about Audrey (and Edith Head), but the men in the film never looked anything other than debonair. Likewise for either Thomas Crown Affair, Funny Face and Sabrina. The movie may not have influenced fashion much, but Myrna Loy's dramatic boudoir ensembles in The Thin Man certainly inspired me to infuse some glamor into my wardrobe. And though it seems to have flown under the radar since its release, A New Kind of Love (Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward) is set amid the world of Parisian fashion, with some hilarious split screens that parody the stuffy couture shows at Dior and Lanvin, among others.

Posted by: Becky | October 18, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The Thomas Crown Affair? Either the original or re-make. Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo are two quite stylish actors and any move about multi-million dollar art theft HAS to be stylish.

Posted by: what about | October 18, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Has no one mentioned Out of Africa? That movie inspired the whole safari look of the late 80's/early 90's and put Banana Republic on the map.

Posted by: NoShowMo | October 18, 2006 9:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company