Fashion & Beauty / Film & Music

Sartorial Cinema: an Introduction

Amy’s Obsession with Film Fashion 101

Working at a video store has caused a small habit of mind to explode beautifully into a part-time hobby, like a multi-colored bag of flour being cut open and chucked off a porch, complete with lens flare. When something catches my eye in a movie, and by something I mean outfits, I first have to ask myself a few questions:

  1. Who (there’s often multiple) of the characters caught my eye? Or what element of the film? Was it the directors mis en scene, color correction, scenery, or one character in particular? 
  2. What is it about their look that attracts me to them? Is it simply the color combinations? Tailoring? Or the juxtaposition of their clothes? A particular piece perhaps? A time period they’re channeling? Or is it simply the fact that I’m drawn to their character and development/role in the story, and feel that if I can somehow capture that in clothes I can afford, I will take on a piece of their magic? Often, it’s the last option. 
  3. In going about channeling this characters (or these characters) sartorial choices, am I looking to directly copy one outfit in exact detail, or simply gain the general vibe? Think the difference between buying a full on Hogwarts robe set vs noting the various sweaters and plaid Hermione wears throughout DH.1 and piecing together parts of her outfits into one look that suits me? And all the gray areas in-between. Generally, this is most imperative to ask myself in terms of outfit inspiration from period films, seeing as I don’t have access to a thrift store that sells Victorian dresses for royalty. (Or do I… *mysterious head tilt and turn to camera swiftly*)
  4. What is my price range? aka a few quiet moments to stare in solemn silence at my checking account
  5. Do I already own pieces that could be warped into an outfit like the one I’m aiming for?
  6. Where do I want to start? Often this means asos, topshop, polyvore, and more often than not everyones’ mutual friend google. Also: is this about a fashionable interpretation of the character, or a full on head-to-toe DNA sample in the form of socks and hats and everything in between? See questions 1 and 3. Have an existential crisis, watch Netflix, return to work.
  7. Do you want to have french toast with me? 

I first remember attempting to copy film fashion with “Harry Potter”, which is basically the root of my obsession with cinema. I’d spend countless hours trying to figure out common threads (FASHION PUNZ) between Hermione’s outfits and how I could get her look. Was this because she was a powerful, intelligent character who was an amazing friend to some of my other all time favorite characters ever written? Of course. Was it also because of Emma Watson and her fierce curly hair, so dear to my own frizzy haired heart? Yes, yes it was. From there my addiction grew, to “Star Trek”, “Lord of the Rings” (here’s looking at you, leaf earrings), “We Bought a Zoo”, “Little Women” and “Pride and Prejudice” (princess waisted dresses of poor fathers be damned), the occasional “Hugo”, “Batman Begins”, “Inception”, or “Perks of Being a Wallflower” look here and there. Most recently I’ve been drawn to the mystical qualities of Wes Anderson, “Finding Nemo”, “Sherlock”, Harry Styles (whoever would like to point out One Direction isn’t a piece of fiction- you’re right, but still, I love them), “Ferris Bueler’s Day Off”, etc etc. My love for copying media fashion can be extended across TV shows that reflect eras of my life (HIMYM, Brooklyn 99) and even Youtube (vlogbrothers, charliisocoollike, jacksgap). Online shopping carts have no boundaries, it’s one big jumble of discrimination-free fabrics and well developed plots.

I’ve found little victories here and there, in things as simple as simply not trying too hard and letting myself be proud of my quirks rather than the tailoring of my pants, a la “Juno”, or my love of black skinny jeans and old t-shirts and surf spray shared with my very own Harry Edward “I only own two pairs of pants” Styles. Larger victories are seen in attempting to channel my inner Luna Lovegood via tights with unexpected shoes, and t-shirts with sunglasses, plus a side of caring more about mythical creatures than strangers opinions, or my ever-present search for boyfriend jeans and old, unattractive skirts like Kiera Knightley in “Begin Again”.

In this series, I’ll go bravely and boldly into the friendly ocean that is online shopping to capture the essence of some of the movies and characters most dear to my heart. Here’s to you, Maria Von Trapp (“that’s the ugliest dress I’ve ever seen” happens to be my favorite dress) and Aragorn and Tiffany (“Silver Linings Playbook”). May your happily random outfits continue to illuminate my path to joyful insanity.

Best Regards,




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