Cool Clothes: Cinematic Looks that Deeply Influenced my Personal Style

Below I’ve chronicled some key movie and television icons (characters, specific looks) that taught me how to be freely quirky but also fairly unoriginal as my middle school, high school, and even college style totally channeled all my favorite fictional females. This article serves as a study in style evolution and imitation for your perusal and for my reminiscence.

Middle School/High School Era

Hermione Granger // Harry Potter Series // Played by Emma Watson

Clothing item (s):

  • Green Coat
  • lil’ pink hoodie
  • all those striped sweaters (we are talking very specifically in Prisoner of Azkaban)
  • Corduroy
  • Almost anything she wore in the movies, and anything I imagined she wore in the books because I wanted to BE Hermione Granger, with all of my heart.

See visuals below:

Look at the above image carefully – I bought a hooded sweater in that style and was all about cords during this phase of my fashion development.

This look was also a very big hit for me! I even had a hair style I did that was very akin to Hermione’s in this image.

Rogue // X-Men // Played by Anna Paquin

Clothing item (s):

  • Rogue also had a very important green coat
  • Striped Scarf
  • Note I did dress up like her for Halloween one year (all black outfit, green coat, striped scarf, grey streak in my hair, gloves)

See visuals below:

I loved the green coat, I still have a green, hooded coat like the one pictured above.

 I thought this tee was mad cool and I even did a high pony like this.

Hoops + serious part – lots of green, I was all in.

Ariadne // Inception // Played by Ellen Page

Clothing items:

  • layering button downs
  • triangle scarf (map pattern)
  • Cords
  • rust colored clothing

See visuals below:

Penelope // Penelope // Played by Christina Ricci 

Clothing items:

  • Purple coat
  • brightly colored scarves
  • full midi skirt

See visuals below:

I loved how luscious all the clothes and  sets were in this film. Penelope creates this beautiful world for herself reflected in both her living space and her clothing choices. I loved how most of her outfits didn’t quite match, but the colors coordinated in very complimentary ways. Every ensemble taught viewers more about Penelope’s imaginative spirit.

Summer // 500 Days of Summer // Played by Zooey Deschanel

Clothing items/what I loved about the character’s costuming:

  • Whimsical but fitted shapes and patterns
  • BLUE palette
  • Vintage inspired skirts
  • Structured tops

See visuals below:

The whimsy of Summer’s style,the opaque fabrics, unique textures, and fairly monochromatic color palette all reflect the mystique of this alluring character. Because Summer has  a primarily blue aesthetic, viewers perceive that she embodies both a calm, and unknowable  depth, as well as a  deep sadness that her suitor, Tom, just can’t quite grasp. 

Her aesthetic is also quite playful, mysterious, and sometimes confusing. Some days her outfits are very structured and professional, other times she wears interesting patterns and flowing shapes – she is unpredictable both in appearance and style, as well as personality. These contrasts reflect the plot – Tom attempts to explore Summer’s personality and just when he thinks he has her figured out, she switches it up.

College Era 

In college, I started to get into throw-back fashion. Heavy movie influences were 80’s and 90’s films like “Reality Bites,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and “Heathers.” In college I became more invested in a vintage/mod aesthetic and played with menswear and also dabbled with interesting textures and patterns. I also was more original with my style, unlike in middle school and HS, I moved away from copying and instead used cinematic aesthetics as fodder for my own experimentation. Significant pieces – hand-me-downs, and statement items also became more important to my over all personal style.

Leslie Hunter // St. Elmo’s Fire // Played by Ally Sheedy 

Clothing items/important aesthetic aspects:

  • Pearls
  • That hair cut
  • Menswear and oversize items paired with very delicate, feminine details
  • Velvet

See visuals below:


Veronica // Heathers // Played by Winona Ryder 

Clothing items/aesthetic choices:

  • Big Turquoise jewels
  • Structured plaid blazers
  • haircut

See visuals below:

I like pretty much everything about Veronica’s aesthetic in”Heathers,”especially how her wardrobe darkens as the plot darkens. She also always stands in sharp contrast to the Heathers, through her wardrobe she embodies the idea of a black sheep in the friend group.


Finally,  Breakfast Club costuming was on point: 

What cinematic aesthetics inspire you? What look did you try desperately to perfect in middle school/high school/college and beyond?

Check out the Manrepeller article this post is inspired by: Girls on Film 





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