20 Old School Movies That Still Influence The Styles Of Today

[written by Thomas Starr]

Film and fashion are intrinsically interlinked. With costuming being an essential part of almost any movie and style constantly being inspired by films both old and new, everyone from luxury designers like Junya Watanabe to your Average Joe has drawn style inspiration from movies. Simply put, fashion would be radically different today if it weren’t for the past hundred years of movie style. 

Here is a compiled list of classic movies that have inspired both our own style and fashion as a whole throughout the years; 20 of our favorite movies for vintage style inspiration from the '70s u until today ... in no particular order.

The Matrix is obviously remembered for much more than its classic all black looks, yet it may still be the most style-influencing movie of all time. From the long black coats, to the tiny sunglasses, to the overabundance of shiny black leather, the sci-fi epic’s costume design is among the best, and most memorable, of all time. Just try wearing a long black leather jacket and not having people toss a Neo reference at you. High fashion has been consistently inspired by The Matrix as well, with designers such as Balenciaga and even Rick Owens himself drawing inspiration from the classic film. 

Martin Scorsese’s classic starring Robert De Niro as the titular New York cabbie Travis Bickle has been an icon of movie style since it came out almost 50 years ago. Travis’s infamous M65 Field Jacket and self-cut mohawk have influenced numerous designers, including Junya Wantanabe, who had an entire collection worth of Taxi Driver inspired outfits walk the runway in 2006. Jodie Foster’s Iris is also styled to perfection in the movie, with her classic '70s outfits reflecting the fashion of the time.

A British classic, Trainspotting is a grimy depiction of Edinburgh’s underground, chronicling the misadventures of a group of heroin addicts in the city. The movie’s costuming is a further extension of this non-conformist realism, with the style choices ranging from skin tight shirts with faux leather jackets to ill-fitting suits with spread collared shirts (in true thrifted fashion). Costume designer Rachel Fleming was heavily inspired by British punk bands such as The Clash and the Sex Pistols, an influence that can be seen in the tight pants worn in the midst of the baggy jeans-dominated '90s.

DRIVE (2011)
The beautifully violent neo-noir epic Drive, starring Ryan Gosling as the hunky Driver, is perhaps as famous for Gosling’s white satin bomber as it is for its action and story. The jacket in question, featuring a gold scorpion on the back, is such a timeless piece and perfectly contrasts with the gritty nature and dark lighting of the film. Inspired by Korean War souvenir jackets, 27 were made for the film by LA based Richard Lim.

No list of the most stylish movies would be complete without mentioning writer Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club (and Brad Pitt’s iconic wardrobe as Tyler Durden). For a character who rails against clothing consumption numerous times, he certainly seems to put a good amount of thought into his own appearance, with impeccable outfits heavy on vintage clothing. Tyler’s mesh shirts, flashy jackets, and flared pants easily place him amongst the best dressed movie characters of all time.

KIDS (1995)
Harmony Korine and Larry Clark’s indie cult classic Kids is an homage to the youth of the 90s. Starring actual teenagers from New York City, — including a young Rosario Dawson in her acting debut — many costumes were simply clothes owned and regularly worn by the actors in real life. As such, the movie accurately captures '90s style better than perhaps any other movie, with baggy jeans, tight ringer tees, and backwards hats. Fun fact: director Larry Clark met many of the movie’s actors at the then-recently-opened Supreme store in Manhattan.

An '80s indie cult classic, and the first American indie film to be shown at Cannes, Smithereens follows a young woman, Wren, in New York City as she attempts to use others to find success in the punk scene. What Wren may lack in Kantian ethics she makes up for in perfect '80s punk style, with mismatched colors and patterns defining her outfits. Seemingly every piece in her mostly stolen wardrobe is a statement, including the infamous oval sunglasses now known as “clout goggles” to TikTok users. Notably, Wren’s wearing of the glasses predates Kurt Cobain's iconic look by over 10 years.

Touki Bouki is perhaps the most famous Senegalese movie ever made. Telling the story of a young couple that wishes to flee Dakar for Paris, the film features incredibly vibrant imagery and perhaps even more vibrant outfits. From the green jacket that just oozes cool worn by Mory, to the flamboyant clothing the couple steals from a rich man, every outfit in this West African classic is a masterpiece itself.


The most recent movie on this list, Quentin Tarantino’s star-studded homage to 1960s Hollywood is a masterclass in costume design. Every character, from Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate to Brad Pitt’s rough and tumble stunt double, has their personality clearly reflected in beautifully vintage '60s outfits. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick may take the cake however, with his gorgeous leather jackets and turtlenecks instantly placing him in the movie fashion hall of fame.

Yet another Leo DiCaprio picture, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, is probably the most fashionable rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. The opened-chested floral shirts of the Montagues are perhaps what the movie is most famous for, yet both Juliet and Tybalt Capulet aren’t strangers to eccentric style either, with Juliet’s white dress and angel wings being almost as iconic.

From the music to the style, everything about Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is designed to make viewers time travel to the 1980s. Rocking the wardrobes of true Southern California slackers, complete with crop tops and high top Adidas, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter put on a most radical performance in what was Reeves’s big break in Hollywood.

This film features a captivating portrayal of the fashion industry. Its costume design, led by Patricia Field, captures the essence of high fashion, with an emphasis on cutting-edge trends, luxurious fabrics, and impeccable tailoring. From Miranda Priestly's commanding and polished looks to Andy Sachs' transformation from a fashion outsider to a chic and sophisticated woman, the film presents a visual feast of glamorous ensembles and iconic designer pieces.

Despite being a box office bomb, Empire Records became a cult classic thanks in part to its incredibly memorable style. A '90s coming-of-age movie/ode to independent music, the fashion in this film is easily one of the highlights. From Nirvana-inspired chunky cardigans to Liv Tyler’s Clueless-esque plaid skirt, nearly every character serves as fantastic style inspo.

GREASE (1978)

An undeniable classic, Grease starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John is beloved by generations of both movie and fashion fans. Set in the '50s greaser culture, the movie is chalk-full of classic leather jackets, perfectly fitting blue jeans, and of course colorful skirts. While the greaser style may have remained in the 1950s, its influence on fashion is undeniable, Grease included.

The fashion in Almost Famous captures the spirit of the 1970s rock scene with its bohemian and free-spirited aesthetic. The film's costume design, led by Betsy Heimann, transports viewers to an era of bell-bottom jeans, flowing peasant blouses, suede vests, and fringe details. The characters' outfits reflect their individuality and love for music, showcasing a mix of vintage finds, rock band t-shirts, and eclectic accessories. With the '70s currently enjoying a modern-day revival, Almost Famous ought to continue serving as style-inspo for the foreseeable future.

HACKERS (1995)
1995’s cult classic Hackers follows a group of teenage, you guessed it, hackers (including Angelina Jolie) as they attempt to evade other fellow hackers and the also the government. The movie is famous for both highlighting the early internet as well as the insane cyberpunk inspired outfits worn by the young computer geniuses. Most legendary is Jolie’s red and white Suzuki racing jacket, seen in the picture above.


Among the most famous filmmakers in the world due to his consistent, iconic cinematography and style, nearly every Wes Anderson movie could deserve a place in this list. Anderson always succeeds at crafting incredibly unique worlds with unique fashions as well. From the animated corduroy suits of Fantastic Mr. Fox, to the fisherman’s beanies of The Life Aquatic, to the tracksuits of the Royal Tenenbaums, the outfits of Anderson’s characters are clearly as meticulously throughout as the rest of his movies are.

LEON (1994)
Say what you will about Leon, a professional hitman who takes a young Natalie Portman under his wing following the murder of her parents. But one thing is undeniable, he knows how to dress. Wearing a long black coat and tiny glasses (before the Matrix made it cool), Leon oozes style while he performs his very morally-questionable day job. Portman’s Mathilda is no style slouch either, with her loose knit cardigan and choker creating an iconic outfit for the young soon-to-be star.

SLC PUNK! (1998)
Brightly. Colored. Hair. That may be the first thing you notice about Matthew Lillard’s Stevo in SLC Punk! But the second will be his outfits. A true representative of the '80s punk scene (look at that another '80s punk movie), Stevo’s outfits are mismatching, colorful, and full of interesting pieces. From classes punk leather jackets to vintage military pants, SLC Punk! has you covered if you’re in need of '80s style inspo.

Clueless exposed all of us to the incredibly enviable wardrobe of Cher Horowitz, played by Alicia Silverstone. Thanks to costume designer Mona May, Cher became a '90’s style icon, with multiple looks from the movie being remembered to this day. Most notable of course is her famous yellow plaid suit, to match with her best friend, of course.