History of Men's Style: A List of Films

This is not a list of the most stylish films or characters in film history, but a list of films that show the development of men's style in the past few centuries.  I provide an introduction to it on another page.  I suggest you click here to read that introduction before working through these films in order to get the most out of your viewing.

1650-1700: Baroque

The Taking of Power by Louis XIV (1966): France

1700s: Rococo and Neoclassical

Ridicule (1996): France
Aristocrats (1999): England 

1800-1820: Regency

Pride and Prejudice (1995): England
Beau Brummell: This Charming Man (2006): England*
Sense and Sensibility (2008): England

*at least the first 25 minutes or so 
1820-1840: Romantic

Middlemarch (1994): England
Wives and Daughters (1999): England
Great Expectations (2011): England

1840-1860: Early Victorian

The Great Train Robbery (1979): England
The Europeans (1979): Northeastern U.S.
The Young Victoria (2009): England
1860-1880: Middle Victorian

Gone with the Wind (1939): Southeastern U.S.
The Way We Live Now (2001): England
Daniel Deronda (2002): England

1880-1900: Late Victorian

The Happy Years (1950): Northeastern U.S.
Young Winston (1972): England
Sherlock Holmes (2009): England

1900-1920: Edwardian & The Great War

The Late George Apley (1947): Northeastern U.S.
A Room with a View (1985): England and Italy
The Shooting Party (1985): England
Howards End (1992): England
Parade's End (2012): England


The Idle Class (1921): filmed in California, set in ?
The Freshman (1925): filmed in California, set in ?
So This is College (1929): filmed and set in California
The Great Gatsby (1974 & 2013): Northeastern U.S.
Brideshead Revisited (1981): England*
Chariots of Fire (1981): England
Jeeves & Wooster (1990-1993): England

*Set in the 1920s up into episode 8

Wedding Rehearsal (1932): England
It Happened One Night (1934): Northeastern U.S.
Top Hat (1935): An American in England
My Man Godfrey (1936): Northeastern U.S.
Pygmalion (1938): England
Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978): England*
Gosford Park (2001): England

*for a variation on this theme, see The Woman He Loved (1988)

The Philadelphia Story (1940): Northeastern U.S.
Rebecca (1940): England
The Palm Beach Story (1942): Northeastern U.S. and Florida
Casablanca (1942): Americans and Europeans in North Africa
Notorious (1946): Americans in Florida and Brazil
Rope (1948): Northeastern U.S.
The Imitation Game (2014): England

Roman Holiday (1953): An American in Italy
Sabrina (1954): Northeastern U.S.
To Catch a Thief (1955): An American on the Riviera
North by Northwest (1959): Northeastern and Midwestern U.S.
The Young Philadelphians (1959): Northeastern U.S.
School Ties (1992): Northeastern U.S.
Talented Mr. Ripley (1999): Americans in Italy 

La Dolce Vita (1960): Italy
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961): Northeastern U.S.
Dr. No (1962): An Englishman in the Caribbean* 
The Graduate (1967): California
Bullitt (1968): California
Thomas Crown Affair (1968): Northeastern U.S.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969): England and the Continent*
Mad Men (2007-2015): Northeastern U.S.

*all Bond films in order, aided by this site, are helpful for the '60s to today


Love Story (1970): Northeastern U.S.
The Ice Storm (1997): Northeastern U.S.


Class (1983): Midwestern U.S.
Oxford Blues (1984): England
Masquerade (1988): Northeastern U.S.
Reversal of Fortune (1990): Northeastern U.S.


Metropolitan (1990): Northeastern U.S.

I leave it to you to follow the 21st century development of classical, Anglo-American men's clothing.

Films Covering Multiple Periods

These feature some of the best coverage for certain periods and places (i.e., John Adams for American Neoclassicism through Romanticism, The Age of Innocence for 1870s New York, Brideshead Revisited for 1920s Oxford, A Beautiful Mind for post-war Princeton, etc.).  They are also fun to watch once you have a feel for historical development and can identify the period from the clothes worn.

John Adams (2008): 1770s-1820s: Eastern U.S., France, and England
The Age of Innocence (1993): 1870s-1910s: Northeastern U.S. and France
Forsyte Saga (2002-2003): 1870s-1920s: England
Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939): 1870s-1930s: England
Downton Abbey, (2010-2015): 1910s-1920s: England
To Serve Them All My Days (1980-1981): 1910s-1930s: England
The Aviator (2004): 1910s-1940s: mostly California
Brideshead Revisited (2008 & 1981): 1920s-1940s: England
A Beautiful Mind (2001): 1940s-1990s: Northeastern U.S.

Publications to Read


Conservative Primers with Many Pictures:

These will help you understand the most stable conventions and traditions in menswear with plentiful pictures to help you instantly visualize what is discussed.

Dressing the Man, Alan Flusser
Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion, Bernhard Roetzel

Trendier Publications:
On newsstands twice a year (fall and spring), these will help you know what is in style for the current season, knowledge you should combine with the information from the more conservative books.

Esquire: Big Black Book

GQ Style: What to Wear Now


Conservative Books with Few or No Pictures:
Though very informative, these are best read once you are very familiar with the names of the various garments of men's style - or with the internet in front of you to search for images - as there are not enough pictures to help you visualize what is being discussed. They will help you understand further traditional guidelines, standards of taste, and origins of conventions in men's style.

Elegance: A Guide to Quality in Menswear, G. Bruce Boyer
The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men's Style, Nicholas Antongiavanni

Though including many helpful images, the first is very text heavy, giving a wealth of detail on historical development. The second book is mostly just images.

American Menswear: From the Civil War to the Twenty-First Century, Daniel Delis Hill
One Hundred Years of Menswear, Cally Blackman

For further suggestions, consult Gentleman's Gazette's list of 100 Books.

Comments and Questions Welcome