Classic Hollywood films have great tips on dressing well without spending a fortune. That's the insight I acquired after reading "The 25 Most Stylish Films of All Time," by GQ magazine. Here's a partial list of the most stylish movies & the frugal tips about clothing.
1. Three Days of the Condor 1975
Director: Sydney Pollack
Starring: Robert Redford
The Look: College Professor/Intellectual
Frugal Lesson: You don't need a large wardrobe to make a style statement.
Evidence: "[Robert Redford] wore one outfit throughout the whole picture." --Sydney Pollack
2. Stranger Than Paradise by Jim Jarmusch 1984
The Look: Anti-fashion
Frugal Lesson: You don't need a big budget to dress with style. Don't follow the crowd.
Evidence: Fashion for the main characters came from the casts' personal closets.
"We were like 'Yeah, yeah, yeah--that's great. Nobody wears that.' " -Jim Jarmusch
3. Badlands by Terrence Malick 1973
The Look: Outlaws and outcasts
Frugal Lesson: Shop at thrift stores
Evidence: "Donna Baldwin dressed the cast in thrift store finds," CQ reported adding that star Martin Sheen used his own t-shirts and jeans for the movie.
4. Bullitt by Peter Yates 1968
The Look: Hard-driving, no-nonsense look for actor Steve McQueen
Frugal Lesson: Don't be a snob
Evidence: McQueen's wardrobe came from "someplace like Sears," said the costume director.
5. American Gigolo by Paul Schrader 1980
The Look: High-end elegance
Frugal Lesson: Reach for the unknown. Skip past the well-known designers.
Evidence: Giorgio Armani was just "an up and coming designer" when his clothes were selected for Richard Gere (one of my favorite actors). "He had tiny distribution at the time," said an Armani executive about the designer's status during that era.
6. Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino
The Look: Low-budget
Frugal Lesson: Cheap can work. It's all in the frame.
Evidence: The film maker and designer sought to: "keep it black, white, cheap and simple."
Although the suit worn by actor Harvey Keitel was a gift from Agnes B. (a French designer), "everything else came from vintage stores and bargain bins."
The Rest of the Stylish List:
Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick 1971
North by Northwest by Alfred Hitchcock 1959
Get Carter by Mike Hodges 1970
Diner by Barry Levinson 1982
Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard 1959
Purple Noon by Rene Clement 1960
Shaft by Gordon Parks 1971
Quadrophenia by Franc Roddam 1979
Rushmore by Wes Anderson 1998
A Hard Day's Night by Richard Lester 1964
Shampoo by Hal Ashby 1975
8 1/2 by Federico Fellini 1963
I'll have the rest of the list tomorrow.