What The Most Stylish Films Of All Time Can Teach You About How To Dress

From A Streetcar Named Desire to Badlands, the 9 menswear masterclasses inspired by film

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1 | The Seventies Trend

The Nice Guys (2016)

Shane Black's new film The Nice Guys, set in Seventies Los Angeles, has Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as an enforcer and a private eye solving the death of a famous porn star. Gripping plot and impressive turns aside, we've not been this excited about a film's wardrobe since 2014's American Hustle. The teal leather jackets, oversized camp-collar shirts and wide-lapelled suits make us hanker for high-Seventies style. The fashion industry feels the same and is going wild for Seventies-inspired garb. 

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Teal suede jacket, £1,095, by Richard James. Mustard suede jacket, £140, by H&M

The Lesson

While big collars and flares may not be for you, invest in the trend by upping the quota of suede, corduroy and muted shades in your closet.

2 | Bedwear

Breathless (1960)

Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo
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Jean Luc-Godard's classic tells the story of a young criminal (Jean-Paul Belmondo) who turns to his American love interest (Jean Seberg) to protect him from police. The film's Parisian backdrop, the effortlessly cool and devastatingly handsome lead actors and, most importantly, Belmondo's brilliantly insouciant wardrobe makes this one of the most stylish films ever made.

Navy/white cotton pyjama top, £130; navy/white cotton pyjama trousers, £140, both by Oliver Spencer

The Lesson

Though Belmondo's suiting is probably the star, the bedroom scene where he's sporting a striped towelling bathrobe is incredibly chic. In short, invest in good bed clothes.

3 | Tailoring

American Gigolo (1980)

Richard Gere and Bill Duke

Giorgio Armani dressed Richard Gere as the male escort in Paul Schrader's high-style flick, bringing the slouchy, oversized tailoring trend of the time to public consciousness. 

Powder pink linen double-breasted jacket, £1,150; powder pink wool/silk T-shirt, £630, powder pink silk/linen trousers, £540, all by Giorgio Armani

The Lesson

Keep the shoulder soft, fabrics light and tactile and the cut sharp but comfortable.

4 | Preppy 

Love Story (1970)

Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw

In a tale of doomed young love, Ryan O'Neal's preppy-chic wardrobe, a mix of tweedy tailoring with sporty separates, proudly shares top billing.

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Beige cotton slim trousers, £435; white trainers, £385, both by Louis Vuitton

The Lesson

Aim for an elegant mix of collegiate sportswear and traditional tailoring, ie, a great pair of tapered, cuffed chinos with classic tennis shoes.

5 | Sports Luxe

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Luke Wilson
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Wes Anderson's cult classic is memorable for its lead performances, most notably Luke Wilson as troubled tennis prodigy Richie Tenenbaum, a character as likeable for his fragility as for his camel-hued, Björn Borg inspired wardrobe. The clever combination of functional sportswear and elegant summer tailoring is faultless.

Beige jacket, £430; beige trousers, £150; white leather sneakers, £230, all by Hugo Boss. Red cotton zip polo shirt, £20, by Blue Harbour

The Lesson

Follow in Tenenbaum's footsteps (and channel this season's best looks at Prada and Gucci) and wear a primary colour polo shirt with a soft cotton suit.

6 | Knitwear

A Single Man (2009)

Aline Weber and Nicholas Hoult

Though Colin Firth's perfectly tailored Tom Ford suits may have seemed the stand-out in the menswear designer's first film foray, we are more taken with Firth's paramour (Nicholas Hoult) and his wardrobe of knitwear, namely the pale angora jumper he wears in the opening scenes. 

The Lesson

Blue hand-knitted sweater, £80, by Cos

With knitwear, it's all about playing with texture — nothing makes a subtle statement like a tactile jumper. In warmer weather, opt for something bright in chunky linen or breathable cotton while keeping the rest of your outfit simple.

7 | The basics 

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Marlon Brando
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Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in the adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play has received more coverage in magazines than any other moment in film — for good reason. Perhaps it's the size of the arms, perhaps it's the pronunciation of pout; either way, no one has ever looked better in a white T-shirt. 

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White T-shirt, £25, by J Crew

The Lesson

Go for a classic crew neck collar and sleeves that skim the top of the bicep in high-grade cotton with a tiny bit of stretch (it will wash better).

8 | Denim

Badlands (1973)

Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen

Cowboy boots aside, Martin Sheen's denim-clad turn as outlaw Kit is one of cinema's great leftfield style moments. His Canadian tuxedo is exemplary. 

Blue denim jacket, £85; blue denim 511 slim-fit jeans, £115, both by Levi's

The Lesson

Double denim must be kept simple, ie, a slim-cut jacket and jeans in a similar shade, neither too light or too dark. This ensemble works brilliantly with a Brando-style white T-shirt.

9 | Holiday wear

The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

Jude Law and Matt Damon

It would be fair to say this film can be seen as a career high for Jude Law. Aside from commanding the screen as wayward heir Dickie Greenleaf, he also looks annoyingly handsome and gloriously tanned in equal measure — basically the way we all want to look while on holiday (and the rest of the time for that matter).

Navy cotton trousers, £220, by Paul Smith. Brown leatherespadrilles, £430, by Berluti

The Lesson

Match Law's understated beachside look by choosing a pair of cropped seersucker cigarette pants, a soft silk short-sleeved shirt and a pair of natty espadrilles, all in neutral shades.

What do you think?

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