Love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that Wes Anderson’s singular point-of-view has influenced the fashion world. With a penchant for looking retrospectively at American and European fashion through the decades, Anderson’s oeuvre is a compilation of styles that blend seamlessly into the pastel-colored worlds he creates in his films.
Anderson’s aesthetic pulls from a broad range of influences — suicidal Austrian writers, Ivy League schools, tennis stars, and cinéma vérité, to name a few. As such, each film, while feeling totally cohesive to the Wes Anderson Cinematic Universe, is wholly unique in tone and costuming. Margot Tenenbaum in her fur coat and bobbed haircut and Jacques Cousteau-cum-Steve Zissou both come to mind.
The polarizing auteur has been accused of being almost too saccharine, with a twee aesthetic and a pacy dialogue, but that criticism falls short when you consider the undeniable fingerprint that Anderson has had on the fashion world throughout his 20-plus year career.
What Is Wes Anderson’s Style?
The most obvious influence over the clothing that Anderson’s characters wear is a preference for vintage fashion, most notably from between the 1960s and 1980s. This was a time of playful proportions, eclectic patterns, and a tonal vocabulary that was eschewed by the too-cool grunge era of the 1990s. Anderson pulls from this particular era as the basis for his wardrobes, but that’s just one layer to the puzzle.
Another layer is that everything feels anachronistic because Wes Anderson blends time periods in his work (I mean, when is Rushmore supposed to take place?). And because everything feels anachronistic, nothing feels anachronistic. Everything is on the table. Bulky mobile phones are in the same scenes as vinyl record players and perhaps a Mercedes coupe. Because of this, the clothes more easily blend styles and have a bit more freedom of expression than a more rigid period film.
Finally, it’s about the details. When one sees the immense tableau that is a Wes Anderson film, it’s clear that every object is a considered decision. The wardrobe is no different. From accessories to proportions of the outfits worn, the costumes are always extremely mindful of the character, placement, and how the outfit blends into the wider world of the film’s universe.
How Match Wes Anderson’s Style
Just like how Anderson has influenced film and design, he’s influenced menswear. And you, too, can add some Wes Anderson style to your wardrobe. Some of these companies have a relationship with Anderson or were directly influenced by pieces seen in his films, while others share a common source of inspiration and therefore fit just as well into the schema of Anderson’s visual mood boards.
Prada Worsted-Wool Mock-Neck Sweater
Prada has a long relationship with Anderson, from the short film he did for the brand in 2013 to the Instagram-worthy Bar Luce designed by Anderson in Milan. His simple, retro apparel fits very well into the pared-down aesthetic of Prada. There are a few pieces every season that Anderson would approve of, and in 2022, it’s the Mock-Neck Sweater with patterned detailing on the neck and a slim black frame that’s perfect for an extra in The French Dispatch or The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Gucci x Adidas
It’s hard to pick just one piece from the Gucci x Adidas collab, as so much of the collection captures the 1970s soul of The Royal Tenenbaums’s tracksuit-loving Chas Tenenbaum (played by Ben Stiller). The mix-and-match design of high fashion brands using sporty material is something that’s just as playful as any of Anderson’s films.
Very Trouble Child Trunk
If you’ve ever watched The Darjeeling Limited and coveted the luggage in the film, you’re in luck. While the original was an exclusive made by Louis Vuitton under Marc Jacobs, the team at Very Troubled Child made a convincing substitute with the line extending to other patterns and bag types. No, you can’t wear luggage, but your Anderson style doesn’t have to end with the clothes you wear.
The Reference Library Stevie
While not a direct influence from Anderson, one can see the shared inspiration that went into The Reference Library’s Stevie glasses and many of the eyewear used in Anderson’s work, like Tenenbaums and The French Dispatch. Both seem to pull from style points taken from 1960s films by Godard, Fellini, and their crowd.
The Thurso, the aquamatic sports watch by Farer, would match the crew uniform of any member of the Zissou perfectly. With its blend of teal and orange, one can see the retro inspiration that pervades much of Anderson’s own work. And at less than $1,000, Steve Zissou wouldn’t have to sell his beloved ship, the Belafonte, to afford it.
FRAME x Ritz Paris
Hotels play a role in many of Anderson’s work (especially, of course, The Grand Budapest), so this ingenious collaboration between FRAME and the Ritz Paris is a natural inclusion on this list. Elevating a grand hotel to the fashion world highlights the beauty and old world charm that still exists in pockets of the world.
Fratelli Mocchia di Coggiola Safari Jacket
Speaking of old world charm, the bespoke tailoring company Fratelli Mocchia di Coggiola and its Safari Jacket (and corresponding pants) make for the perfect outfit for gondolas in Venice, train rides in India, or for running away from home, à la Moonrise Kingdom.