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A picture can speak a thousand words… and launch a million wardrobes. Let these three film stills be the guide for your next ensemble – whether it’s a date night look, a flirtation with kidult chic, or a full embrace of period-drama luxe.
1. All About the Slow Burn
Film still taken from In the Mood for Love
How to dress for that after-dark rendezvous, or for days when you’re in the mood for a little romance? Wong Kar-Wai’s 2000 classic In the Mood for Love provides some inspo. Visually arresting, romantic and bittersweet, the film is a heady brew of simmering desire set in 1960s Hong Kong. Many of its charged encounters take place in hallways, around street corners and under darkened skies, including the above stolen moment between the couple at the center of the story. Whether you’re thinking of serious commitment or a summer romance, pay homage to the film’s moody vibes, so-near-yet-so-far ambience and vintage energy by assembling a wardrobe that channels 60s film siren!
For midnight-infused glam, I recommend luxe fabrics and jewel-like patterns rendered in figure-hugging cuts – loosely inspired by the film’s parade of floral cheongsams as worn by main character Su. The goal is to create a moody and mysterious look with a sultry yet understated seductiveness that transitions well into the daytime. For me, nothing screams retro-style siren more than this figure-hugging red dress splashed with white dots. Its daring front side slit will raise the temperature while its long puff sleeves reins in the sex-kitten vibes. If you’re looking for cool separates to channel retro-style romance, why not go for this bold, long-sleeved shirt in an abstract floral pattern, or this high-waist button-up floral mini that’s like a summer garden come to life? If reds and pinks are not your thing, you can still emulate Su’s poise and hauteur with this sleeveless satin top in ivory, which comes fitted with a cowl neck and a dramatically draped front. Infuse your jewelry collection with a dose of 60s chic with these uber-long dangling earrings made up of sparkly flowers, and trade in your sneakers for these vampy Mary Janes in red velvet.
2. Solitude with a Kawaii Twist
Image taken from official sources
For solitary rambles to clear your head, wear something comfortable that still looks subtly stunning – in the style of the titular character from Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2009 fantasy drama Air Doll. A blow-up doll brought to life, she has a passion for exploring the neighborhood on her own, dressed in whimsical garments that highlight her innocence. Not given to skintight fits or flashy colors, her style leans towards the understated, with an abundance of floaty cuts and an almost total absence of serious bling. Follow her lead with a casual, low-key wardrobe that radiates kidult chic, while taking care to adjust elements according to your signature style – a pop of color, a hint of sparkle or an even more austere collar.
If you’re going for simplicity, this comfy plaid button-up dress in bluish-gray is the perfect vintage-inspired choice. For a more colorful yet still highly wearable take on kawaii chic, layer a puff-sleeve mesh top dotted with allover daisy embroidery on top of a cropped cami, and pair with lilac linen shorts for pure summertime energy! Finish both outfits off with strappy white ballet flats that are comfortable rivals to your favorite white sneakers. If you’re looking for a final cutesy touch to your daily outfit, trade in the Air Doll’s bobbed white socks for deliciously colored ones laden with flower embellishments? Alternatively, sling this rainbow-themed crochet tote over your shoulder! It’s large enough to hold everything you need for a solo walk – from a purse, phone and earbuds to a favorite novel – and it’s mood-boostingly bright to boot!
3. Summertime in Soft Focus
Film still taken from Marie Antoinette
Dreaming of a picnic sometime in the future? Soak in the sun-kissed energy and teen-girl spirit of this iconic shot! Taken from Sofia Coppola’s 2006 drama Marie Antoinette, it catches our hard-partying teen queen in a softer moment. Radiating 18th century casual luxe, it features plenty of bright, breezy, gently ruffled dresses that blend the innocent with the flirtatious. A departure from the rococo-style splendor that permeates the movie, it’s a fitting homage to lazy summer afternoons spent with your besties (or entourage).
For your own picnic in the sun, I present a mix of breezy cuts in comfortable fabrics. Choose between an A-line, puff-sleeve button-up dress in a semi-sheer, dotted fabrication or a black and white gingham playsuit! The former exudes vintage vibes while the latter is picnic-ready without losing cool-girl magic. For accessories, you can’t go wrong with summertime staples such as wide-brimmed, lace-trimmed straw hats and rattan crossbodies, both of which vibe well with a dreamy but understated aesthetic. Extend the neutral palette with this double-layered faux pearl necklace that’s a sassier twist on the classic string of pearls. And what royal picnic would be complete without a porcelain tea set? This gilded version in pastels will have your inner girly girl screaming with joy. Simply add jam tarts, classic poetry and a punk rock jam or two (in the film’s iconic mash-up style) for an unforgettable afternoon, Versailles style.