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Inspiration for the Perfect Holiday Dress: Top Movie Dress Moments


As I look at my holiday calendar and then look at my closet, I’m feeling unprepared. I feel like I have absolutely nothing to wear, especially since  I’m trying to limit any shopping for myself and focus solely on the loved ones on my Christmas list.  But figuring out new ways to recycle or update old party dresses makes me feel like I’m in the bottom three on Project Runway.

Even though magazines tell me I can update my LBD with new jewelry or shoes, I really want a new dress.  I always remember those moments in movies when the lead actress made a fabulous entrance in an equally fabulous dress: from Scarlett O’Hara’s entrance to Melanie’s birthday party in that scandalous red dress in Gone With the Wind, to Audrey Hepburn’s opening scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in that stunning Givenchy dress. Don’t we all want to make that type of statement?  Maybe those are a little over the top, but I tend to be a fan of fashion drama (rather than real life drama).  I realize I’m not going to huge events or walking a red carpet, and I can’t just drag out my wedding dress (even if I want to).  But there is something amazing about a dress that makes a statement.

We aren’t Scarlett O’Hara nor do we have Givenchy personally styling us, but as each of us looks for a great dress this holiday season, here are a few showstoppers for inspiration.  These are my personal favorites, and above all else, they definitely made an entrance.

Grace Kelly in Rear Window

I loved this movie when I was young, but mostly, I loved Grace Kelly’s character. She was fashionable, beautiful but also daring – impressive.  Rarely did a woman do the gutsy thing in movies back then.  But leave it to 1950’s stylist, Edith Head, and the exquisite Grace Kelly to make this simple tulle skirt and top a showstopper.

Ginger Rogers in Top Hat

I watched a lot of Fred and Ginger movies as a kid.  I just loved that an entire relationship (courtship, falling in love, misunderstanding, breakup, getting back together) was communicated through song and dance.  Top Hat is by far, my favorite because of the ‘Cheek to Cheek’ number.  The song, the dance number, and the dress.  Ginger Rogers is wearing the most incredible satin bodice/ostrich feather dress.  How this dress moves as she dances is incredible.  Watch the video and tell me you don’t want to sign up for ballroom dancing classes but only after you’ve bought a head to toe ostrich feather dress.   Okay, obviously I’m a fan of a little drama.

Keira Knightley in Atonement

When I read the book “Atonement,” the detail and vivid description of the green dress made me doubt whether a film could replicate what I imagined in my head. But they did.  The first act of this film is great, and Keira Knightley is pure perfection in this emerald green, floor-length gown made out of  layers of organza, silk satin, and chiffon.  As my friend Jenni once said, “the best thing about the whole movie was that green dress.”  I agree.

Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

While I find this movie fairly annoying and predictable, I can appreciate Kate Hudson looking unbelievable in the yellow dress at the final event.  When they sing “You’re So Vain” to each other, it’s so cringe-inducing even the yellow dress can’t keep me watching.  So similarly, just get to when she makes her entrance in the yellow dress and then you can stop watching. Sadly that moment is in the last 20 minutes of the movie.

Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman

Who didn’t love when Richard Gere takes his hired hooker of the week (Julia Roberts) to the opera?  We all did.  Personally I think every woman should own a red dress. There is something strong, sexy and bold about them. Julia Robert’s entrance in that full-length red gown is even better when bathed in jewels.  Okay, maybe it was her ridiculously adorable reaction to the jewels that captured audiences, but that dress still holds up.  We can do without the long, white gloves, but the dress still looks good 20 years later.

Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady

In the classic Pygmalion story, Professor Henry Higgins bets he can turn Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a lady who will pass as royalty. Audrey Hepburn wears many amazing outfits and it’s almost impossible for her not to look good, but it’s the dress and hat she wears to the races that captivated me as a child.  There was something so magical about the scene with women wearing the most insane hats.  I’ve kind of had a hat thing ever since.   Even if it is unrealistic and slightly ridiculous, you have to love it. And the “Move ya bloomin’ arse!!” gets me every time.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City

Obviously SJP wore a ton of amazing outfits on the show, the wardrobe was practically the fifth character in the show. In the final season, after Carrie moves to Paris to be with her Russian lover, the wardrobe department really kicked things up a level.  However, there was one dress that I was obsessed with.  I can’t imagine anyone actually putting this on to have dinner with their boyfriend in Paris, but I don’t care. It was stunning.  Carrie wears this full Versace dress for her date with Petrovsky, and I think it’s the greatest thing she wore on the entire series. Yep, I said it.


Do you have any fabulous dress moments? Which one from a film stood out to you? You know I’d love to hear all about it, and could probably discuss each of these moments for ages!


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