I remember in high school a group of boys became obsessed with the film Reservoir Dogs. So much so, they began wearing ill-fitting suits to school and never took their sunglasses off. It always stuck with me how much the film must have impacted them to create their entire sophomore year persona around a film from 1992.
But that’s nothing new for anyone, I suppose. Since the beginning of the cinematic industry, films have played a huge part in the way that people envision style. From runway designers to the everyday guy, people turn to the silver screen to grab inspiration to define their own personal aesthetic. But with nearly a century of film history to dig through, it can be challenging to know where to start–and to ensure you don’t look like you’re wearing a costume.
The best thing you can do when emulating a movie character’s style is not to do a one-to-one swap; but instead to incorporate bits and pieces of the overall vibe of the film into your existing wardrobe. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking not only a bit fraudulent, but also, well, a bit silly. You also, of course, have to choose the right film that you want to style yourself after. The four stylish films below is by no means an exhaustive list, but by following the sartorial direction of the characters with the clothing brands suggested, you’ll be on the right track.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Stream: Prime Video, Paramount+
It would be foolish of me to not consider The Talented Mr. Ripley as the top menswear film on this list. With its flashy background of midcentury Italy, the character of Dickie Greenleaf embodies the savoire faire of an American abroad without a care in the world. Think knit polos, short shorts, and perhaps a pinky ring for good measure.
Style Yourself Like The Talented Mr. Ripley With: Scott Fraser
British brand Scott Fraser was, arguably, the first serious brand in a long time to draw a wealth of inspiration from Italian knitwear to define his early collections. Since then, he became a globally recognized authority on all things style. His collection of knit polos and wide-legged trousers pay homage to his inspiration without being a costume of the time.
The James Bond Series
Stream: HBO Max, Paramount+, Prime Video, Netflix
From Sean Connery’s interpretation of James Bond to Daniel Craig, the Bond films have always been able to capture the sartorial zeitgeist with an emphasis on refinement and a bit of debonair manliness. Whether it’s a well-tailored suit or a more relaxed linen number worn in the Caribbean, every iteration of Bond has moved the style needle forward for generations of men going on nearly six decades.
Style Yourself Like James Bond With: Bond Lifestyle
For serious fans of the James Bond franchise, you’ll already know just the sheer number of Bond watches, brands, products, and styles that the character has worn over the 25 or so films. Bond Lifestyle is a vast encyclopedia of cataloguing every product that has touched Bond’s body over the course of the many actors’ iterations of the spy. It’s an incredible way to understand the styling of Bond and get an almost university-level course in cinematic costume history.
Stream: Paramount+, FuboTV
For some, the period of 1980s New York City was a powder keg of wealth, glamour, and power. No one represents that better than Gordon Geckko’s character in Wall Street. With his big personality and direct style, Michael Douglas’s character defined a certain version of masculinity–and, by extension, style–for a generation of men.
Style Yourself Like Wall Street With: Le Alfré
Banker shirts are back, baby, and it’s arguably the fairly new menswear brand, Le Alfré, leading the charge. The mainstay product, Le Original, is a contrast-collar oxford shirt that’s a direct homage to the sort worn by brokers and tycoons of the 80s.
Stream: Prime Video, Vudu, and Apple TV
Richard Gere’s portrayal of male escort, Julian Kaye, continues to regularly pop up on menswear moodboards, and for good reason. This film, with its perfectly cut suits and breezy California-meets-the-Mediterranean style, helped to define what would become the Armani style. Every scene in this film has something to offer in terms of style cues which lead to endless inspiration.
Style Yourself Like American Gigolo With: Husbands Paris
The French brand Husbands looks to subtle 1970s style cues to define its contemporary menswear brands. With an array of suiting options, Husbands has made a name for itself for its ability to balance formal elegance with casual, relaxed fits, perfectly emulating American Gigolo’s style ethos.