By Haylee Thorson
What comes to mind when you think of some of the most iconic outfits in movie history? Is it Cher Horowitz’s yellow blazer and matching skirt? Is it Mia Wallace’s white button down and black slacks? Is it Elle Woods’ pink onesie and bunny ears? Or is it one of the countless others that have inspired costumes, trends, and designs throughout the decades? It’s no secret that a character’s wardrobe can leave a lasting impression on an audience. Whether a movie flourishes or flops, we’ll always remember that one character with an absolutely killer outfit. We’ll dress like them for Halloween, we’ll buy pieces reminiscent of their style, we’ll even change our hair and makeup to resemble them. It doesn’t matter if your fashion sense is brazen and bold or subtle and sweet, one of these eight iconic outfits in film is bound to resonate with you.
1. Natalie Portman in The Black Swan
Bone-chilling and twisted, The Black Swan follows a young dancer’s descent into madness. Throughout the film, professional ballerina Nina is consumed by the endless quest of achieving perfection and her mental state slowly deteriorates in the process. In the final scenes of the film, Nina steps on stage in an inky black tutu, a jagged crown, and fierce black makeup for her last performance. Once innocent and pure, this scene completes her transition into darkness.
2. Alicia Silverstone in Clueless
One of the most memorable outfits to ever grace the silver screen, Alicia Silverstone absolutely rocked our worlds when she stepped out in her plaid yellow set in Clueless. Even though her character, Cher, could be a bit ditzy at times, she was constantly trying to make the world a better place and looked incredible while doing it. Even though the film came out in 1995, Cher’s white knee socks and flashy blazer are still inspiring us in 2020.
3. Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction
In one of the most iconic films to date, Uma Thurman was dressed from head to toe in an even more iconic costume. A white blouse, black pants, and a sleek black bob were all it took to create an ensemble that could be easily recognized by many. Maybe it was the eccentric nature of Thurman’s character, Mia Wallace, or the mysterious storyline itself, but a simple button down and a pair of slacks have become a legacy attributed to Pulp Fiction.
4. Halle Berry in Catwoman
Even though it scored a whopping 9% on Rotten Tomatoes, Halle Berry’s costume in Catwoman made up for its crushing losses. Adorned in sexy black latex, a sleek cat mask, and red lipstick, Berry absolutely rocked the heroine meets dominatrix vibe. Despite its box office failure, Catwoman is living proof that women can save the world and look hot while doing it. If you’re ever looking for a Halloween costume that will leave others speechless, this is definitely the one.
5. Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon had so many iconic looks in Legally Blonde that it's hard to pick just one to focus on. While she was always looking on point in practically every scene in the film, her best look has to be her pink bunny Halloween costume. Despite being tricked into attending a party where no one else was dressed up, Witherspoon’s character Elle Woods rocked her fluffy pink bodysuit and satin ears—and ended up being the life of the party!
6. Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians
It’s no secret that Crazy Rich Asians was one of the most extravagant films of 2018. While the spectacular Singapore views and affluent lifestyles were already enough to make your jaw drop, the clothing and jewelry took things to a completely different level—especially during the wedding scene. The bride’s dress was absolutely stunning, but Constance Wu’s Cinderella-esque gown stole the show. So much so, that the actual dress was donated to the Smithsonian for display!
7. Olivia Newton-John in Grease
Not many characters do a full 180 when it comes to their wardrobe in a movie. Olivia Newton-John is the exception. In Grease, her character Sandy was once a sweet and innocent teenager who loved long skirts, frilly bows, and dainty cardigans. However, when she finally finds herself towards the end of the film, she debuts her newfound confidence by stepping out in tight leather pants, red high heels, an alluring black top, and a luscious head of curls.
8. Lupita Nyong’o in Black Panther
Yet another film from 2018 that was absolutely unforgettable, Black Panther was revered for its extraordinary creativity, in-depth storyline, and phenomenal costume design. While the entire cast looked badass in every single one of their outfits, Lupita Nyong’o’s red samurai-inspired ensemble was a show stopper. This iconic superheroine was dressed from head to toe in vibrant scarlet fabric, shiny metal armor, and stunning geometric patterns—all while saving Wakanda.
Haylee Thorson is an editorial writer who specializes in beauty, culture, and travel. Follow her on Instagram.