Home Quarantine & Chill: 5 Stylish Films to Watch

From the French New Wave to American neo-noir, these films will help you binge watch your way to a better wardrobe.

By: JEREMY FREEDDate: 2020-04-07

Phantom Thread

When Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson combine forces, the results are always worth watching. In their most recent outing (and the last film of Day Lewis’ career, the mercurial actor says) they delve into the fictional life of brilliant but troubled English fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock. Woodcock may be known for his ball gowns and couture creations, but the man himself is an illustration of all that is great about classic British menswear. Woodcock’s wardrobe of silk ascots, tweed blazers and immaculately tailored tuxedoes is a master class in precision, and can teach us all a thing or two about tasteful restraint.

The 400 Blows

If you’re looking to bone up on classic cinema while under lockdown, this is a great place to start. Set in the 1950s Paris of director Francois Truffaut’s childhood, this film helped to establish the French new wave as a major force in filmmaking. It also presents a glorious picture of midcentury French men’s style. The protagonist, a stand-in for Truffaut at 13, roams the streets of Paris getting up to no good in a ribbed turtleneck sweater, a checked flannel jacket and high-waisted corduroys. Adolescent mischief has never looked so good.

Purple Noon/The Talented Mr. Ripley

This one’s a two-fer, with a pair of films adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 thriller, The Talented Mr. Ripley. While both Purple Noon (1960) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) tell the same story of sex and murder on the Mediterranean, each one takes its own liberties with the details while celebrating the sun-drenched wardrobe of American expats living the good life on the Amalfi Coast. Watch this while thinking about your next warm-weather vacation (we all need something to look forward to, after all) and take notes on the best way to wear white pants with a knit polo and espadrilles.

American Gigolo

A short-list contender for one of the most stylish movies ever made, American Gigolo was a breakout success for both a young Richard Gere and Giorgio Armani, who dressed him for the film. Released in 1980, and set to a score by Blondie and Giorgio Moroder, the film introduced American men to the pleasures of modern Italian tailoring while setting the sartorial tone for a new decade. Kitted out in his wardrobe of soft-shouldered jackets, silk shirts and linen trousers, and behind the wheel of his immaculate Mercedes-Benz convertible, Gere’s Julian Kaye remains the personification of 1980s California cool.

A Single Man

If anyone had any doubts as to Tom Ford’s genius, his 2009 directorial debut clinched it. In A Single Man (which Ford adapted from a novel by Christopher Isherwood) Colin Firth plays George Falconer, an English college professor living in Los Angeles. From his spectacular mid-century modern home to his black-framed spectacles to his signature scent—and of course his wardrobe—Falconer’s perfectly curated life serves as a stark contrast to his inner turmoil. Every frame of this film is considered, and every scene a testament to Ford’s exceptional creative vision.

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