Photo:Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures
When you think of fashionable films, you might immediately hearken back to Sex and the City or The Devil Wears Prada—which isn’t wrong. Carrie Bradshaw is a style icon in her own right, and I would still let Andrea Sachs step on me in those Chanel boots. But even films that aren't obviously focused on fashion use style as a plot tool.
After all, the best characters are stylish, and if done right, a character's style can transport the viewers to another realm; indicate a time period; signify class, race, or gender identity; or say what’s left unspoken by the actors. So which films' costume designs possess the ability to transport you? Ahead, we’ve rounded up 13 stylish movies that you can stream right now to get your fashion-and-film fix. Grab your popcorn because the costumes and cinematography in these movies will have you reeling.
Watch if you’re a fan of classic films and thrillers.
Psychopaths and their victims are pretty stylish—or at least they are in the thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley. Set in the 1950s, Tom Ripley (played by Matt Damon) is paid to bring back a wealthy businessman’s son, Dickie Greenleaf (played by Jude Law), back to New York City. While this film acts as a time capsule for Venice, Italy, and the '50s-inspired looks served by Marge Sherwood (played by Gwyenth Paltrow), it’s more than that. It is a harrowing tale of class and toxic masculinity that takes the viewers to, as Ripley says, “the darkest part of the basement” that makes this film truly timeless.
Watch if you’re a fan of romantic dramas that draw out the tears.
While The Danish Girl is not a fashion film per se, dressing, and more importantly how style is an integral part of gender identity, is a central part of this award-winning biographical romantic drama. Loosely based on the lives of painters Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener living in Copenhagen in the 1920s, the film’s set and the fashion are much of what you’d expect: brooding shots of the city paired with equally chic cloche hats. But what makes this film exceptionally stylish, in addition to the costumes you'll find on both Eddie Redmayne (as Lili) and Alicia Vikander (as Gerda), is the moving story of a transgender woman coming into her own.
Photo:Richard Foreman Jr./FilmDistrict
Watch if you’re a fan of action films, Ryan Gosling, and organized crime flicks.
As far as action films go, Drive is one of the more visually compelling films, as it’s filled with ultraviolet shots paired with '80s-inspired clothing. Following the mysterious life of an unnamed driver (played by Ryan Gosling), viewers are thrown into a world where crime, family, and Hollywood stunt doubles collide—and where the lines between who is good and bad aren’t as clear-cut. And if you’re wondering how this counts as a fashion film, don’t fret—Gosling’s very own Scorpion-embroidered bomber jacket plays a larger part in the plot of the film and will leave you wondering what crime you’d commit to get your hands on your own version of it.
Photo:Neon Cj Entertainment
Watch if you’re a fan of comedic thrillers and foreign films.
If we’re defining what a visual feast is, the breakout film Parasite is that. It follows the lives of the impoverished Kim family living in South Korea as they struggle to make ends meet until they somehow land jobs working for the wealthy Park family. From there, things will take you to an unexpected place, but you better believe the journey will be one of the most hauntingly beautiful you’ve ever seen—and I’m not just referring to stay-at-home wife Park Yeon-Kyo's wardrobe throughout the film. Every element of this film, from the costumes to the characters to cinematography, makes it one of the timeliest cautionary tales of capitalism and class that will shake you to your core.
Watch if you’re a fan of French romance films.
For those looking for a visual escape, look no further than the female-directed French film and Cannes Best Screenplay 2019 winner, Portrait of a Lady on Fire. While the film may take place on a picturesque secluded island in France during the 18th century, the devastating love affair between Héloïse (played by Adèle Haenel) and painter Marianne (played by Noémie Merlant) is as relevant as ever. I won’t spoil all the details, but what I can tell you is that like Marianne herself, when the curtain drops at the end of the film, every detail from the iconic green dress to the Vivaldi tune will be incinerated in your mind.
Watch if you’re a fan of revenge, female assassins, and martial arts.
Quentin Tarantino doesn’t create films for the faint of heart, but if you can stomach the gore, then no binge-watching session is complete without watching Kill Bill: Volume 1—and Volume 2 right after. While Tarantino’s films have always held a special place in the cultural zeitgeist, in many ways the tale of the unnamed former assassin’s (played by Uma Thurman) quest for bloody revenge has left a more prominent stain—much like her blood-stained yellow two-piece suit. But to limit this film’s poignancy down to the approachable costumes is dangerous—from the cinematography to the witty banter, this film will have you roaring.
Photo:Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Watch if you’re a fan of music.
If we’re talking about style icons and listing off stylish films streaming right now, you can’t omit the biographical drama Bohemian Rhapsody. Taking place in London in the 1970s, the film follows Queen’s rise to fame and gives viewers an intimate look into the life of the brand’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury (played by Rami Malek). Whether you define yourself as a fellow misfit, a rock fanatic, or a '70s fashion enthusiast, this film will rock you—and I promise it’s not just because of the leather pants.
Photo:Atsushi Nishijima/Warner Bros. Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Watch if you’re a fan of young-adult novels.
There’s an old saying about dressing as if it’s your last day, which couldn’t be more applicable for romantic drama The Sun Is Also a Star. The plot hinges on a single day—the day in which a single bomber jacket predicted the fate of the film’s protagonists Natasha Kingsley (played by Yara Shahidi) and Daniel Bae (played by Charles Melton). Sure, this film isn’t as high-brow as other films on this list in terms of costumes or cinematography, but nonetheless it has the ability to transport the viewer to another planet, all in the span of a few hours.
Watch if you’re a fan of comedic coming-of-age stories.
I’ll preface this by saying that Christine, the protagonist of the acclaimed film Lady Bird, is in no way your poster child style icon, or a poster child in general—but that’s kind of the point. This heartwarming coming-of-age film, directed by Greta Gerwig, follows Christine, or rather self-named Lady Bird (played by Saoirse Ronan), as she navigates applying for college, friendships, and relationships.
Watch if you’re a fan of classic black-and-white films.
Whether you’re a fan of black-and-white films, Marilyn Monroe, or Old Hollywood, there’s something you can love about the iconic late-'50s movie Some Like It Hot. The film follows two musicians, Joe (played by Tony Curtis) and Jerry (played by Jack Lemmon) who flee Chicago after witnessing a mafia murder. They join a female band and become fast friends with Sugar (played by Marilyn Monroe). If you’re in need of a laugh, or just want to see some serious sequinned numbers, this movie is a must-watch.
Watch if you love period-piece adaptations.
For any viewer looking for a lighthearted form of escapism, it’s easy to fall into the life of the protagonist, Miss Emma Woodhouse, of Jane Austen’s book Emma. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, this recently released film adaptation has become available to rent on Amazon. While it’s not a part of the traditional streaming services, it would be a shame for any costume lover not to see this film, as it brings a delightful revisioning of 19th-century English clothing. From Emma (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) to Mr. Knightley (played by Johnny Flynn), no detail and no top hat is amiss. The only thing that seems to be amiss in this film is Emma’s matchmaking skills, but even that will leave you giddily giggling till the last scene.
Photo:Andre D. Wagner/Universal Pictures
Watch if you’re a fan of action movies, romance, and outlaws.
Most first dates aren’t great—and the protagonists in the film Queen & Slim fall into the category. The movie starts with Queen (played by Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (played by Daniel Kaluuya) being pulled over by a cop after their first date, only for it to escalate into an accidental murder. What makes this film a must-watch is not only the fact that it’s directed by Melina Matsoukas, written by Lena Waithe, and styled by former fashion editor Shiona Turini; or that it's filled with cinematographic shots of rolling countryside from the window of a 1973 Pontiac Catalina; or even the fact Queen runs from the law in some iconic Brother Vellies snakeskin boots. What makes this film poignant is the fact that it dares to tell the tale of the dubbed “black Bonnie and Clyde”; it dares to show how despite the circumstances, these two find love in the face of injustice.
Photo:Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures
Watch if you love classic novel adaptations.
Another period piece? Another adaptation? Yes, I know, but it would not be a list of films to watch without including director Greta Gerwig’s recently released adaptation of the classic novel written by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women. First off, the award-winning costumes in the film will take you back to the 19th century, but that’s the only thing dated about this film. Unlike previous adaptations, we get a more intimate look into the societal structure and life moments that shaped Joe March (played by Saorise Ronan), Meg March (played by Emma Watson), and Amy March (played by Florence Pugh) to move in the world the way they do. For the first time, it feels as if this film adaptation not only honors the life of the unmarried Louisa May Alcott herself but the women of the story itself. Its focus is no longer just about who marries Laurie (played by Timothée Chalamet).