Now that it’s spring, I’m all for a bit of rebirth, particularly when it comes to my wardrobe. But how do you shake things up without buying a bunch of stuff? Here are eight big-screen moments to provide sartorial inspiration…
Call Me By Your Name: Sleeves? Who needs sleeves?
How does one take a tired old tee and make it feel worthy of a heartthrob on a hot summer day? That’s easy, just chop the sleeves off, like Timothée’s character, Elio. It’s a look that says, “Who, me? Care? No, I just happen to look this cool.” This hack turns a boring shirt into a perfect gym shirt or tank top, for zero dollars.
Thelma and Louise: High-waisted jeans plus tops.
Don’t feel like trying today? Don’t fret. The perfect look for everything from running errands to running from the law (just kidding, don’t do that), this combination will never let you down. Back in 1991, Thelma and Louise took weathered Levi’s and tees and elevated them to icon status. Bonus points for adding a bandana.
West Side Story: Color-blocking is your friend.
Do mustard and eggplant go together? You bet. Can one wear red and evergreen without resembling a Christmas tree? Bernardo says yes. The Sharks and Jets don’t only win at choreography — they look like they just raided a Uniqlo and emerged with outfits you’ve only dreamed of.
Crazy Rich Asians: Dress with a smile.
It’s safe to say that Awkwafina as Peik Lin stole every scene she appeared in. Her bright and outlandish ensembles, like the dog-print number seen here, could inspire even the most curmudgeonly among us to crack a smile. If creature-print two-pieces are (understandably) outside of your comfort zone, try adding humor on a more accessible level — like a T-shirt, socks, or watch strap. Here’s the thing about dressing with a sense of humor: You won’t just amuse yourself, you’ll amuse other people, too. And that is a public service.
Love Story: Take one collar. Pop it. You Win.
In addition to rocking the world’s best middle part, Ali McGraw in Love Story shows that collars are best when they face the sky. This works on overcoats, jean jackets… any jackets! This one little change takes two seconds and makes your look feel entirely different.
Do the Right Thing: Don’t be afraid to be bold.
Rosie Perez dancing in the opening sequence of Do the Right Thing is pure fire. She proves sporting a bold, monochromatic look — dress, tights, even earrings — is nothing to be afraid of. There is nothing wrong with being seen. In fact, often times, it’s the best way to be. (Fun fact: This scene was inspired by the opening sequence of Bye Bye Birdie, which Spike Lee saw as a child and couldn’t get out of his mind.)
Cleopatra: Sometimes, more is more.
Maybe you’re not going to wear this ensemble to the workplace, or to a wedding, or even to the Met Ball. But let Liz-as-Cleo remind us all that sometimes, it’s okay to pile it on. Dare to wear bold makeup PLUS your most dazzling clothes PLUS gold jewelry. Keep everything in the same color family and you’re good to go.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Don’t forget about loungewear.
You know where you spend a lot of your life? Asleep. Or watching TV. Or eating, standing up in the kitchen. And what do you wear when doing these things? Does it bring you joy? (Not hypothetical. Please answer for yourself.) If the answer is no, let us follow the example of Freddie Mercury’s very excellent patterned robe, the perfect blend of comfort and style. Dressing, after all, is a way to care for yourself. No matter where you may be.
Do you have any other fashion hacks, or favorite movie looks? Would love to hear.
P.S. A magic date dress and a Q&A with the Crazy Rich Asians costume designer.