Movie Characters That Have Influenced Fashion

mia wallace

Olan Ahern checks out some iconic movie looks that have made it to the catwalks and the high street: 

Movie characters have always had a major influence on the fashion world; they have set trends and have been an inspiration for many fashion brands year on year. Here are my top 5 influential characters in movie history. What makes these characters special is that their looks have lasted the test of time.

5. Uma Thurman – Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction

Uma Thurman’s androgynous style in the cult classic Pulp Fiction set the tone for women in the 90s and places her at number five on the list. Her smart black bob and chic white collared shirts combined with red lips and matching nails represent plenty about women in the 90s. The look represents both sex appeal and power, and is still popular today in high-end fashion. Mia’s collared shirts to this day are still popular with young professionals looking to encapsulate chic, powerful business women.

James Bond4. Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Rodger Moore and Daniel Craig – James Bond

Mr. Bond features at number four on the list. Many brands use James Bond as there muse when it comes to sleek, smart and masculine attire for men. James Bond is possibly the figurehead for the modern man – taking pride in your appearance. The character has made suit jackets, smart shirts and trousers items in every man’s wardrobe and not just the millionaire’s boys club.

Since the release of Dr. No in the early 1960’s the demand for tailored suits, polo shirts and chinos have remained a feature of any fashion-conscious male. Top suit designers Tom Ford, Canali and Prada should be paying endorsements to Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, for cementing the smart suit as the must-have item in every man’s wardrobe.

Sandy in Greece3. Olivia Newton John – Sandy in Greece

The 50’s iconic style of the High School movie formed the basis of a huge fashion statement worldwide and features at number three on the list. What makes Sandy an iconic character when it comes to fashion is the variety of styles she portrays in the film.

From preppy varsity jackets thrown over her shoulder to sassy lycra pants, they have lasted the test of time, making comebacks year on year. Each season new items seem to pop up on the railings of high street stores and on the runways during fashion week, inspired by Sandy.

From skinny jeans, skater skirts and dresses to leather and denim jackets we see these as cemented pieces in both young and old wardrobes of today.

Which brings us on to our top two, both of which pretty much personify the word “icon”. They need no introduction really, but we’re gonna introduce them anyway…


Breakfast at Tiffanys2. Audrey Hepurn – Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The reason most girls root through their mother’s closets and jewellery box, Audrey Hepurn as Holly Golightly features at number two on the list as she enforced the idea that every woman must have a little black dress. The image of her in that dress has remained timeless and is a universal symbol of fashion; it has been copied by many but never quite equalled. This is still in play today, there are hundreds of different styles of dresses out there but the little black dress is for every occasion and always looks good. Holly’s accessories; big sunglasses, pearl earrings and high bun hairstyle have all become fashionable accessories to be worn no matter the occasion.

James Deane1. James Dean – Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause

James Dean, simply put, is the style icon of men’s fashion and figures unsurprisingly at number one on the list – a defining factor being his image has eclipsed his acting through time. James Dean’s iconic dressed down look was epitomised by Jim Stark. You can’t imagine the actor without the tight jeans, fitted white T-shirt and leather jacket.

Famed fashion writer, Chris Laferty, from, stated; ‘This was the first era in history when turning heads meant dressing down, not up.” The character’s style has been copied countless times over the past 50 years, as it was the first time an audience of men had a tangible style inspiration. What epitomises this, is fashion brand Lee still use Dean’s legacy to promote their jeans. He’s pretty much solely responsible for denim becoming the national fabric of America. Though the jeans have got skinnier, T-shirts more tailored, and variety of leather jackets available are infinite, James Dean and Jim Stark’s look will remain infinite.

So there you have it, five characters that have influenced fashion over the years. The recurring theme is all these trends are set by characters that the general public look up to and admire, but also can relate to. I’m sure there are characters that you think should have made the list, but haven’t, so let us know in the comments section below.

Words by Olan Ahern