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What are your favorite films for inspiration?


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I recently rewatched one of my absolute favorite films in terms of costuming, 3 Coins in the Fountain.

This movie is pretty dopey, but it is entirely worth it just to see what the characters are wearing. And I am just so drawn to that technicolor 1950s palette of muted colors.




I don’t know about you, but I will definitely watch films just for the costume and production design. It’s not just the pretty factor. I like that films construct an entire world of character and story, and the way that’s expressed through the visual.


If you think about it, that’s what each of us is doing. We are each our own little costume designers for our own lives.


If you’re interested in film inspiration, I recommend the (mostly inactive) blog Sweet Sunday Mornings for tons of beautiful film stills.

What films have you found have the most inspiring costumes?

I’d love to learn about some new ones! Give them all to us, be they classic films, new blockbusters, period dramas, all of it! Let’s all update our netflix lists.

[film stills via Sweet Sunday Mornings]

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 170


Miss Fisher’s Mysteries is a favorite of mine. I love a good mystery, but throw in great period costumes and I’m hooked! It takes place in 1920s Australia, and every episode, I’m squealing with glee and sketching her outfits. I’ve heard there’s a season two, and I keep hoping it will appear on Netflix soon since I already burned through season 1. They’re great books too, with lovely cover art.

Gwen Gyldenege

Acorn has season 2.




The third season starts filming in October and should be out next year :)


I have seen Miss Fisher’s costumes in real life (thank you National Trust and the ABC for the exhibition). I only just stopped myself from hyperventilating over her hats……..


Oh my goodness, when I read Sarai’s post on my phone, I came here to say exactly the same thing. I subscribed to Acorn just to watch season 2, can’t wait — although of course we will all have to — for season 3. The first episode was a bit slow, but I kept watching because of Phryne’s fabulous outfits. The second episode takes off, it’s just a great show. Also Rear Window, anything by Hitch.


Totally agree!


I never stopped and thought about movie costuming until recently, but perhaps I noticed subconsciously. My favorite movie is Vertigo and my favorite scene involves Jimmy Stewart’s character giving Kim Novak’s character a new wardrobe and makeover. The whole movie is filled with contrasting colors and Novak’s costumes play a big role in the plot itself. Love it! Plus I would love to have a perfectly tailored grey skirt suit!

Betty Jordan Wester

I love Madeline’s grey suit too. I find Hitchcock’s movie incredibly inspiring.

sj kurtz

I take numerous screen shots of beautiful hats. And ditto Recycled Movie Costumes; sometimes the other movie has better shots for details.


The Desk Set is a favorite movie of mine for the clothes.


I normally don’t look to films for inspiration, but that definitely doesn’t mean I don’t notice beautiful costume design when I see it. I think the first time I actually paid attention to costuming was when I watched Funny Face. There are just so many beautiful moments in that film…..oh, I just did some digging. According to my research :oP Most of the costumes were designed by Edith Head and gowns were designed by Givenchy. No wonder the movie is gorgeous. Although not a film, some of the costumes in Games of Thrones are fantastic.

Jan B

Funny Face!!! Yes yes yes

Beth – Sew DIY

Funny Face is a great one! I just re-watched it last week. I also love the Audrey Hepburn movie Sabrina. The dress she wears to the party after she comes back from France is to-die-for. I’d love to see it in color someday!


There are so many, but for similarly dopey but beautiful, I always go back to Love Story. Really good coats, and I like how they reuse costume pieces as if the characters have a real wardrobe.


First, appologies, I’m stuck, and this is the only way to contact you I can find….


Sorry, cats helping :-)

To continue: I cannot access the 8-26 post: “How to get a level hem”, none of the links seem to function, and I don’t see it when I go directly to this website. It looks like a great article that I would love to read.

Thanks for all of the great content and the work that it takes to produce it!


Lara, that post was published early accidentally, sorry. :) It will be up (with photos this time) next week.


I am glad to see this comment and response! I had searched for the hem post as well. hemming is probably one of the hardest things for me to get right. I was going to comment asking about it, but decided to read the current comments to see if anybody else mentioned it. I am glad that I did! I am really looking forward to seeing the post next week! =)

Thanks Sarai for ALL your sewing inspiration and tips!

sj kurtz

I could not stop laughing and searching for ‘how to get a level hem’: First, stand on an uneven surface that compliments your hem….


You’re going to be pretty happy next week then, because I’m planning to write all about hemming in September. :)


The Women. And the fashion show sequence featuring Adrian’s designs has no relevance to the plot but it’s fun to watch!


I do a lot of period costumes from the Medeival to Renaissance to 1950’s – I have a long go-to list for costuming porn….. Dangerous Beauty, Elizabeth (Cate Blanchet) 1 & 2, any of the BBC Royalty with David Starkey series, How To Marry a MiIllionaire, Grease, The Women, All About Eve, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, ANY Rogers & Hammerstein….the list goes on….


Almost forgot….laugh….TITANIC and of course; Mr. Selfridge, all the Jane Austen Dramas, Downton Abbey & The Paradise. Simply yummy confections!!!


YES! The Women is an absolute favorite! That Adrian sequence, and the modeling sequence in How to Marry a Millionaire are so great.


The dresses in the fashion show scene are stunning!


I think it’s safe to say that 50% of what I watch is simply for the clothes. 3 Coins in the Fountain is, indeed, a dopey movie, but they do have some fabulous wardrobes!

amy w

Classic movie inspiration- Rear Window. Everything Grace Kelly wears in that movie is great…..from casual to dressy.

More recent movies- Under the Tuscan Sun and The Devil Wears Prada.


I am not ashamed to say that two movies I have watched repeatedly simply to ogle the costumes are the Kit Kittredge American Girl movie (Depression era) and Charlotte’s Web (1940s I think). Also, older time period, but lovely details: Anne of Green Gables, and Lark Rise to Candleford (TV). This post has me thinking about how much I often think about the costuming over the plot :) –fun stuff! I’m definitely taking notes in everyone else’s comments!

Gwen Gyldenege

Ooo all excellent choices and inspiration. Who’s your fav character on Larkrise?


Oh, that’s so tough . . .
Favorite characters for clothes: Dorcas and Laura
Favorite characters for personality, laughs, etc.: Thomas, Queenie, Minnie

Sara A.

I love the balance of fashion and economy presented in Mrs. Timmons’ wardrobe. She always looks great, but you can see that she longs for the fuller sleeves Laura and Dorcas are wearing. My husband and I watch so many beautiful costume dramas! He pays close attention to the men’s suits and hats and I am fascinated by the dresses.


Fanny Face is the movie that got my creative thoughts going.


Was that the porn remake? :D


The House of Elliot, a BBC series from the ’90s ,was full of fabulous fashions from the 1920’s and was about two sisters setting up their own fashion house. Some wobbly sets but other than that a great programme to catch up on if you get chance!


The House of Elliot was definitely what peaked my interest, watching it as a child and being fascinated by the scenes in the workroom – all that beautiful hand stitching!

Alice Elliot

This was absolutely one of my major fashion inspirations! Too bad they discontinued the show before all the intrigue was resolved, but the fashions were divine!


I love Merchant Ivory’s “Room with a View” for the wardrobes.


OMG! Every day I am discovering that I am not alone in my obsession with sewing. I thought I was the only one drooling over costume movies. The Great Gatsby with Leonardo is high on my list. West Side Story, Les demoiselles de Rochefort, Sissi.
I have been to the cinema not because I wanted to see the movie but because I wanted to check out the fashion


I agree about 3coins, the costumes are delicious. For inspiration, I like anything outfitted by Edith Head and/or Givenchy (pretty much any Audrey Hepburn movie). I really like her costumes in How to steal a Million (I think that’s the correct title–with Peter O’Toole) and Sabrina.


Who Are You, Polly Magoo? Fantastic 60’s clothing (a really interesting futuristic fashion show opens!) and Peggy Moffitt is one of the striking models.


Little Women (the 1995 version) has absolutely beautiful and well thought out costumes. You will forget they are costumes, and they did things like putting a younger sister in a re-made hand-me-down dress that an older sister wore, which is just so true to life.


I see it’s already been posted but I second Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The quality and design of those costumes is unparalleled on TV!

Gwen Gyldenege

Try following them on FB. They just posted behind the scenes photos of Season 3 costume designs. I love that show. Have you seen Season 2?

Karen Gass

Sometimes I think I watch TV or movies just for the clothes :) Vikings has some great clothes, The Other Bolyn Girl, the latest (i think) move about Marie Antoinette – fabulous clothes. House of Eliot is one of my favorite shows and so ironic. I live with my sister and we both sew for a living :) Downton Abbey has awesome clothes, as does Mr. Selfridge.

I’ve watched different shows on my computer and taken screen shots of many of them, kept in a folder for inspiration or later use. Will definitely look at that blog you listed!!

Gwen Gyldenege

Yes! Mr. Selfridge!


I think the costumes is the three-quarters of the reason I watch that show… as are a lot of other costume-theatre movies and series. Ones that are watchable and have clothes to drool over are: Paradise, Downton Abbey, Lark-Rise to Candleford and
Ones that you can drool over to no end, but are better muted: Mad Men, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and more recently Reign.

In terms of movies: Mona Lisa Smile, Titanic, The Devil wears Prada and Down with Love spring to my mind. Most of these are dopey too.

Now I must go back to lusting over corset dresses with a lace-chiffon overlets and a white woolen coat with black braiding.


Anything with Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy. Will be making coat ala Charade.


The coats in Charade are so so good. I like the orange coat she wears in Breakfast at Tiffany’s too.

Karen Gass

oh forgot another one – Doc Martin series, her wedding dress is PERFECT for her and so beautiful (the first time they plan to get married) And generally love her (can’t for the life of me remember her name) clothes.

Jan B

Louisa (or as we say in my family, Louiser) played by Caroline Catz. I love that in most British TV shows people dress like real people- her dress was lovely but normal- not haute couture.

Gwen Gyldenege

Louisa is one of my style icons! :)

Karen Gass

thank you – i hate it when I forget things like that, that I’ve seen umpteen times :)


Yes, I look with interest at what Louisa wears on Doc Martin. I’m a rural working mother type (albeit on the other side of the world) and she (or rather, the costume designer on Doc Martin) nails it. Interesting, but wearable.


Oh, yes! She’s brilliant


One of my favorites is The Seven Year Itch. I LOVE Marilyn Monroe’s wardrobe in that movie. Beautiful dresses.


A Star is Born – with Barbara Striesand has the most amazing clothes from I think the 70s. I’ve been meaning to do a blog post about the ubspiration from that film!

Lisa G.

Thanks for the link! I recently (re) watched An Affair to Remember and noticed how they kept Deborah Kerr’s wardrobe right in that orange-y color scheme to match her hair. Very interesting and effective. Right now I’m in the middle of the newer version of Sense and Sensibility, and what strikes me are the contrasting colors of the sashes against their regency gowns – it’s a beautiful effect.

Gwen Gyldenege

I watched 3 coins a few weeks ago. I agree. The movie was a little hokey, but the costumes amazing! They are what kept me through to the end.

I love films & TV. Have you seen House Boat with Sophia Loren? That gold dress is divine!

My sewing is definitely influenced & inspired by TV/Movies. I’m working through week 2 of your Wardrobe Architect (I adore this series by the way, such a great soul searching experience). This Friday as I blog about my style icons, I’ll be sharing several of my Film/TV style icons with the shows they featured in. If you let me know of any particular style or genre of movie/TV you like, I’ll make some suggestions. I heavily focus on British stuff, but also adore many AMC Hollywood and current US stuff, plus I love a good Foreign flick or Indie.


I was going to suggest some Sophia Loren movies from the 60’s. Marriage Italian Style, Yesterday Today Tomorrow.


I treasure all of Wes Anderson’s films, for both the characters and the aesthetics. The wardrobes are so meticulously designed – I want to pause each scene so I can take in every thoughtful detail.
‘Out of Africa’ was visually so stunning. Each time I watch it, I’m inspired by Meryl Streep’s gentle-yet-strong costumes.
And I have wanted everything Julie Delpy wears in ‘Two Days in Paris’, ‘Two Days in New York’, and her entire ‘Before…’ series. I wish I could achieve her efortless, feminine, unique style – it’s delicious!


Oh yes, Wes Anderson! Such attention to detail and color.

melissa evans

My family recently watched Out of Africa again. My husband was even commenting on how Meryl was dressed. She looked fantastic.

Kelly M

I love the filmy linen draping Kiera Knightly in Pride and Prejudice when she’s in the bedroom. I think she even runs outside in this nightgown once and lies in the dewy grass in it. Or maybe my mind is mixing in some fantasy.

Robbin Atwell

I love Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd on DVD — the costumes are really fun but what hooked me is the extra feature on the DVD with costume designer Colleen Atwood. She takes you into the wardrobe room and explains how they augmented fabulous vintage items and the artistic methods they used to get a certain look. The segment is only a few minutes but I wish they’d stretch it into a feature length.

There are so many others but the peek into the closet makes this one a stand out for me.

I’m putting everyone’s recommendations on my watch list!!!


Surely my all time fave Liz Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Also Populaire which is not only the most charming film ever it is FULL of stand out 1950s costumes. For a bit of elegance anything with Ginger Rogers or Delores Del Rio.

Betty Jordan Wester

Populaire had lovely clothes. I almost wanted to paint my nails in multi colors :)


I’ve always thought Marie Antionette has a snooze worthy plot but the costumes are AMAZING!!! I definitely watch it just for that.


The Bletchley Circle was a fun mystery and also had amazing costumes. And Call the Midwife! I’m a sucker for anything from that time period (late 40’s, very early 50’s).


I loved both of these programs, too. The insider information interviews were so interesting, too. Casting light on the individuals and how their costumes were planned.


I love the colors and some of the shapes of the outfits in Penelope.

Betty Jordan Wester

me too! That movie is underrated!

Betty Jordan Wester

For Summer, anything by Wes Anderson. I love Margot’s polo dresses paired with flats or sandals. Chocolat- I still have Vianne’s plaid skirt on my to-make list.

For Fall/Winter, Amelie’s deep jewel tones. Twin Peaks plaid and sweaters. Penelope has the best wardrobe.

Movies have always been my go-to inspiration for fashion, much more than anything that’s actually happening.


Audrey Horne is definitely a fashion icon of mine.


Auntie Mame (the 1958 version with Rosalind Russell) has fabulous costumes and is a fun, funny film to boot. I agree that anything with Audrey Hepburn is also great, especially her outfits in Sabrina. I like Lucy’s outfits in I Love Lucy episodes, too–I’ve seen every episode!


Auntie Mame is so fantastic!

Betty Jordan Wester

I nearly forgot- I just saw “Stoker” which was amazing and had the most beautiful subdued clothes.


That was an incredible movie in so many ways. I just love how they used a pair of heels to represent adulthood. Easily the best and most unique use of symbolism I’ve seen in a movie in quite a long time.

Betty Jordan Wester

I agree. And I feel the clothes really had so much to say about all the characters.

Alice Elliot

Wow! So many great comments! I love all the old Doris Day movies for the Edith Head costumes alone! And what a joy to watch a movie in which you can tell the costumes were custom made for the actress/actor. That is a more subtle inspiration.
The first or one of the first scenes in Dangerous Liaisons, in which Glen Close is being stitched into her gown…..lovely.

Betty Jordan Wester

Oh crap- And “Fur,” the imaginary Arbus biopic. I should probably just take a photo of my dvd shelf XD


Funny–and a good idea.


This is a newer show, with maybe a much less vintage look than is your style, but Pushing Daisies had amazing costuming that matched the even more phenomenal set design. The show itself was pretty cute, but I watched for the vivid color palette and vibrant patterns, it blew me away!


That’s funny you should ask– I just watched Funny Face again last night and I LOVE the fashion magazine/bohemian costume spectrum (if that makes sense) as well as any dance number that includes yardage. And as much as I love mid-century style, House of Cards makes me want to buy a bunch of sexy powersuits like Robin Wright.


Oh my gosh, Robin Wright is so hot in those tight neutral pencil dresses.


Hi! My “go to” films are, in no particular order, Vertigo, Rear Window, LA Confidential, Mulholland Falls. I’ve never seen 3 coins in a fountain, but maybe I will see if it’s available. Thanks!


I love watching movies or tv series just for the costumes. When it comes to wearable clothes (so nothimg fantasy or too historical) I love Atonement and The Two Faces of January – beautiful colour palettes and so elegant!


Evil Under the Sun! Fantastic 80’s doing 40’s. Maggie Smith’s outfits are spectacular.

Rouge velours

Hi Sarai!
I’ve never seen “3 coins in a fountain”. A curiosity!
My favorite film for the costumes is “What a way to go!” with Shirley MacLaine.
A pure wonder for our eyes!


Costume designers always seem to have fun dressing Audrey Tautou – I loved her outfits in the French film ‘Delicacy’ although the movie itself was bad. And I was one of many knitters who fell for Hermione’s hats in the later Harry Potter films!


Oh wait, I thought of some more! Bright Star, the movie about the relationship between Fanny Brawne and John Keats has some really gorgeous moments. Lots of sewing, embroidery and beautifulness is that movie. I also watched a remake of Wuthering Heights (staring Tom Hardy…sigh) a while ago and I thought the costuming for that was so cool because even though it was a period film, some of the clothes looked really modern.


Vertigo is my number one favourite film ever for costumes and Bay Area scenery. Downton Abbey’s costumes are sumptuous!


Hahaha, oh man. I learned how to sew because I wanted to be a friggin’ Jedi Knight. That was about ten years ago, and to this day my ratio of regular ready to wear to Star Wars costumes still heavily favours Star Wars. I cherish my copy of Dressing a Galaxy, and I can’t wait until the book on the Original Trilogy costumes comes out this fall. I’ve got a penchant for choosing the weird designs from the Expanded Universe that are more difficult to execute because they were never intended to actually exist, but my next big project is one of Padme’s insanity gowns.

Lord of the Rings has some pretty sweet costumes, too. And I’ve got a couple of Disney princesses in my collection. But most of my love goes to Star Wars. :)


While the 70’s has never been my favorite fashion era, I recently “discovered” the Mary Tyler Moore show and absolutely love the women’s clothing. MTM had a capsule wardrobe each season and you will see her wearing the same clothes over again, and occasionally something from an earlier season would pop up in a later season.


I’ve watched many MTM’s and never noted the repeat wardrobe and that attention to the appearance of a real-life working woman.

Lady ID

Grace Kelly films.
Sound of Music – I have loved Baroness Schraeder’s dress since I was a little girl. Basically I watch lots of films from the 1940s-50s.

I actually instagrammed a still from Three Coins… when I watched it earlier this year – such lovely clothes!


Not a movie, but I love Mad Men for the eye candy costuming. And I love Tom and Lorenzo’s posts dissecting the costuming on Mad Men–a must-read for any fan of the show and the use of costuming to establish mood, character personalities, etc.

DH and I recently re-watched All the President’s Men, which isn’t exactly a movie known for costuming, but I got completely entranced by all of the day-to-day 70’s fabulousness of the characters’ wardrobes.


Haha, I read TLo after every episode of Mad Men. As soon as it’s over, I grab my ipad and Kenn says “Are you already reading your mad men blog?”


Yes Mad Men! I was starting to worry that I was the only one who watched it for the costumes! And yes to Tom & Lorenzo’s blog, I love their indepth discussion of the costumes in relation to the plot. That totally matters in the world scheme of things right?


Recycled Movie Costumes tracks the reuse of costumes in movies. Lots of gorgeous pictures.

Karen at Fifty Dresses

Any film with Doris Day has gorgeous clothes on display!


Oh yeah, Doris had the most amazing clothes! I love her.


Murdoch Mysteries – late Victorian. The men’s clothes are well done as well as the ladies, and all strata of society in Toronto, circa 1900 are included. All seven seasons are on Acorn.


I watched a Jerry Lewis movie that I hated…it’s called Artists and Models…and laughed at myself for drawing some of the outfits rather than paying attention to the rather silly plot. I liked Dean Martin’s parts, as no one can resist his singing, but I learned that I don’t find Jerry Lewis funny at all. Also, all the Gene Kelly movies have some amazing outfits. A favorite is Singing in the Rain for music, dancing, and clothing. By the way, I’m going to make those high waisted, wide legged pants that I saw Cyd Charisse wearing in The Band Wagon. It’s happening!


How To Marry a Millionaire
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Singin’ in the Rain for men’s generous tailored pants & 50’s interpretations of 20’s clothes.
Downton Abbey
Get Smart – for 99’s wonderful outfits.
Miss Fisher’s Mysteries (nice to see Australian TV getting a mention!)
Mad Men
Game of Thrones (my work environment was very political & nasty a few months ago, and I was telling everyone “it’s just like GoT, except the outfits aren’t as good. Oh, and no sex or dragons.”)


Another recent Australian series, ‘A Place to Call Home’ was set in the late 1950s (I think) had really beautiful costumes, all nipped in waists, full skirts, beautifully tailored blouses, and flowing wide-legged pants for the ‘femimist’ character who didn’t want to wear dresses…just beautiful styles, fabrics and details.


Another recent Australian series, ‘A Place to Call Home’ was set in the late 1950s (I think) had really beautiful costumes, all nipped in waists, full skirts, beautifully tailored blouses, and flowing wide-legged pants for the ‘feminist’ character who didn’t want to wear dresses…just beautiful styles, fabrics and details.

Lynda Woerner

The clothing in “Daniel Deronda” and “The Paradise” is amazing and oh so covetable. I also love the costuming in “The Lord of the Rings.” If you want to learn about how the movie was made, including costuming, I highly recommend watching the appendices. You will likely be blown away by the attention to design and detail in every aspect of making those movies. I have met Richard Taylor – he was extremely nice and I have great respect for his genius. I tend more toward costuming and my husband tends to make my everyday clothes. My costumes include Kai Wynn’s formal robes from “Star Trek Deep Space 9,” a Romulan military officer from “Star Trek,” several steampunk costumes, a 1920’s dress. In progress are Kaylee’s dress from “The Shindig” episode of “Firefly,” Mal’s costume from the same episode, Klingon costumes for both of us and Mai’s outfit from “My Neighbor Totoro.” Yikes! I think I just revealed what a geek I am.


Your husband sews your clothes?! Wow! He would be a keeper ;)

Lynda Woerner

I have the most awesome husband. He can fix anything, make almost anything, and is smart, funny, and sexy. Clothing is just design and construction with fabric instead of wood or metal to him. I am the luckiest girl in the world!

melissa evans

I was just telling my husband about your nerd wear. I started telling him about your Kalee dress and he jumped in with “the one with the ruffles”. Oh yes we’re nerds too. My favorite film is the Fifth Element but I’ve never done a costume though.


It’s all about “Amelie” for me. I just love the blend of 90s fashion with this sort of 1950’s/1940’s fantasy-Paris-that-doesn’t-even-really-exist vibe.


Marie Antoinette (a costumers dream), In the Mood for Love (the dresses are just stunning), Lost in Translation (I love her “norm core” style), Cyrano de Bergerac (the hats! the capes! the boots! and Roxanne’s silk dresses!). I could go on… ;)

I now have a list of films to view just for the costuming. I love to watch old ’30s flicks, even the Three Stooges for the room designs from those eras.


Susan Sarandon’s costumes in Bull Durham. Sigh.

Sigh, Bull Durham.


For 20’s inspiration, Chicago and Midnight In Paris are great. And my favorite Oscar Wilde plays turned movies: An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Ernest. For TV shows, I would like to nominate the too shortly lived series Pushing Daisies. Oh, and I totally agree with Marie Antoinette and pretty much anything with Edith Head designs.


I love Marion Cotillard’s dresses in Midnight in Paris!


There are a few films I love for the clothes — The Big Sleep has fabulous outfits that really represent the characters well. Enchanted April has dreamy 20s fashions. And the website GlamAmor is great for movie inspirations!

melissa evans

My all time favorite is The Fifth Element. Jean Paul Gaultier’s work is Fantastic!


Aaaah, the thirties!! I love “The Awful Truth,” “Roberta” and “The Lady Eve,” for costumes, among many others (including “The Women”, which has already been mentioned).


I recently saw The Golden Compass again and was mesmerized by Nicole Kidman’s costume. A mix between 1920’s and 1940’s style they were sumptuous and so touchable. I haven’t been able to find any stills of the show to show these gorgeous creations


Off the top of my head, “Orlando,” “The Cook, The Thief…” “BladeRunner” “Moulin Rouge” “It Happened One Night” and if you want to get way out on a limb, The Cremaster Cycle.


Loads of mine have been mentioned, like Populaire, Penelope, Anne of Green Gables, Chocolat. Also, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Easy Virtue are films with amazing costumes.


Oh, and I forgot to list that version of Dracula with Tom Waits in it… designed by Eiko I think. Amazing.


The Golden Compass, Nicole Kidman especially but also the kids, and Bladerunner: I watched it again on Christmas day and it’s so hard to believe it was made in the 80’s. And I am head over heels for the sewing scenes in Bright Star.


OMG I cannot believe noone has mentioned the Agatha Christie ITV/BBC series….. whether Poirot (set in the mid30s, IMO the best part of the 30s style-wise) or Miss Marple – set in the deep 50s – so much eye candy – for clothes, sets, landscapes oh and gorgeous actors too – you guys, if you like the 30s or fifties, you have to see these! Death on the Nile has the most incredible bias evening dress in gold…. Also, Rangoon, an Australian series set in the late 50s, and Breathless, a Brit series set in the early 60s – yum yum yum more eye candy.


I love that movie for the costumes too! The whole movie is kind of like when great art direction happens to bad movies–the clothes, the scenery, the interiors..


Downton Abbey!!! The costume changes in every episode are amazing and the transition you see from season 1 through 4 with the change in era is fantastic!!

Leigh Ann

I agree. I love the clothes Edith was wearing last season. She looked amazing.


Charade & His Girl Friday! Audrey Hepburn’s clothes in Charade are by Givenchy; if I had her figure I would only wear these (I write about my inspiration here: and Rosalind Russell, because her figure is a lot more like mine (


Kate Winslets wardrobe in the Holiday. Love those erethal cardys over cami tops. Anything Glenda Jackson did in the 70s, fabulous wardrobe in A Touch of Class.

T. Wimes

State Fair with Jeanne Crain
The Women with Norma Shearer
Australia with Nicole Kidman
Rear Window


Downton Abbey, SATC, Amelie, Mad Max (so futuristic 80’s) and of course Annie Hall!


100% Annie Hall!


They’re not my favorite movies, but in terms of costume design, both The Bride Wore Red and Absolute Beginners feature wonderful costume design. I can’t get over that red dress and the sequined cape from the former, and the latter is interesting in that it takes place in the 50’s with an 80’s flair. Plus David Bowie dancing on a giant typewriter.

For films that I do love, Heathers has always been one of my favorite films for costume design. The colors are incredible. Pierrot le Fou is another one of my favorites, or Made in U.S.A. I guess I could just say any film with Anna Karina. And Ghost World!


After hearing Audrey Louise Reynolds on Thread Cult, I watched Kiss of the Damned mostly for the costuming, and wasn’t disappointed!

Rae Cumbie

My Fair Lady and Holiday Inn are two of my favorites. RAE


The Talented Mr. Ripley is one of my faves


Rough Magic, an early Russell Crowe movie, has great costumes, both men and women. Bridget Fonda has beautiful 50s clothes and the outfits for the magician act are great.

Legends of the Fall has always been a favorite of mine too, swoony Edwardian and 1920s clothes, with a western twist (if Downton Abbey had been set in Montana…)


And so, because I am a big geek and had way to much time on my hands, I created a Pinterest board with *most* of the movies/shows mentioned here, if anyone is interested. :)


This is amazing! I’ll include it in the link roundup tomorrow so people don’t miss it!


Thanks–hope it’s helpful!


Currently ‘Masters of Sex’ is my inspiration for clothing. Some of the outfits that virgina and Betty wear are to die for! The collars and dresses and hem lines are amazing, not to to mention he accessories. V x


Loved Scarlett’s clothes in Gone With the Wind, and Carol Burnett’s dress made from curtains in her parody even more. There must be a clip on You Tube if you aren’t familiar with this. It’s hysterical.


Any Alfred Hitchcock movie from the ’50’s, “Entre Nous”, “Chocolat”, “Topsy-Turvy”, “Mad Men”.


Fried Green Tomatoes.
All those beautiful 1930s costumes. The feminine florals and the classic menswear (on the ladies and the men). and those great house dresses.


For the best costumes in a movie, I’d give the nod to Walter Plunkett for his work on Gone with the Wind. Such an eye for detail! An example was Scarlett’s first wedding gown, which was made to look intentionally too big. Everyone was in a rush to get married before the men went to war, so Scarlett’s dress was made to look like it had been thrown together from her mother’s old gown. Genius!

For best individual costumes, the winner is Edith Head. Grace Kelly’s suit in Rear Window was impeccable. But my favorite gown in all of movie history was the strapless white gown that Elizabeth Taylor wore in A Place in the Sun. Absolutely spectacular!

For best overall achievement, the prize goes to Orry-Kelly. He made Bette Davis look stunning in her “fritillary” coat and gown in Now Voyager. He also did her gowns for Dark Victory and The Letter. Orry-Kelly also worked on Casablanca, An American in Paris, Oklahoma and hundreds more. Very underrated.

Do you think I spend too much time watching old movies? LOL!


I forget to mention gone with the wind my all time favourite the costume and all


What a fun post & pin! So interesting to see everyone else’s great ideas.


Oh, almost forgot: Meryl Streep in My Africa. That Karen Blixen-safari-look is perfect!


Gatsby, loved the customers


I love old movies and my favorites are from the 40’s where Irene (Lentz) is the designer. One of these movies is “Too many husbands” and in one of the first scenes Jean Arthur is wearing a skirt suit where the skirt is an A line cut on the bias and the jacket has a closing done with what seems to be pins. Also, in the same movie, there’s an ensemble in what seems to be velvet (black or blue, don’t know which since it’s a black & white movie) with a hat in the same material both embroidered in (silver?) paillettes in the same left line that goes from the hat to the left side of the dress. Actually, almost all of the wardrobe is gorgeous. I say almost because I didn’t like the last dress with the puffy short sleeves in organza. Hope you could watch it!


Grace Kelly’s clothing in “Rear Window”


I re-watched White Christmas on a plane journey recently (totally out of season but I didn’t fancy anything else) and I’d forgotten how gorgeous the costumes are. Not just the Christmas themed outfits for the finale but throughout. Especially everything worn by Vera-Ellen.

gabriel ratchet

yesss! i was waiting for someone to come up with this one… the rosemary clooney dress in “love, you didn’t do right by me”….

Leigh Ann

I love Doris Day’s clothes–she always looks so put together. And I love Lucille Ball’s clothes in I Love Lucy. I even like Ethel’s, ha ha. Ethel has one dress in particular that I LOVE. I am determined to reproduce it one day. I think what I really find interesting are clothes that are worn by “ordinary” people. Of course Doris Day and Lucy were really attractively dressed “ordinary” people, but still. Maybe it’s because I find them aspirational but not impossible to identify with. Maybe I feel that with a little effort and attention, I could manage a modern day version of that.

Laura Poehlman

Just last night I would pause West Side Story and then find pictures to post on tumblr so I wouldn’t forget my inspiration. The Jets and Sharks girls dresses at the dance were killing me (Jets girls in orange and blue, Sharks girls in purple and red) the two tiered skirt of Consuelo’s dress is particular. It’s fascinating because when you look closer the dresses are very body-conscious in the bodice, but not tight. Anita’s dress as she leaves Maria and Tony in the bridal shop just skims Rita Moreno’s body perfectly.. And the muted technicolor palette! I could look at the Jets costumes for days.

Meg K.

I’m ga-ga over the costumes in Down with Love. It’s a sendup of Pillow Talk and totally over the top. The sets are awesome too.


I love Downtown Abbey

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