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20 Famous Coats in Films – Iconic Movie Coats – HarpersBAZAAR.com

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Looks that live in our heads rent-free.
“What’s a coat you think about a lot?” This prompt by Twitter user Pete Anderson got team BAZAAR.com thinking about all the cinematic toppers that live in our heads rent-free. From Diana Ross in that iconic white trench as Tracy Chambers in Mahogany, to Rene Russo’s dreamy camel-colored Michael Kors for Celine blazers and coats in The Thomas Crown Affair, the list ran the gamut. Color, material, buttons, length of the sleeves: It is the details, the little things, that help build that character. As a result, we see ourselves in their clothes, and become inspired by their wardrobes.
Ahead, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of the most iconic coat looks on film—along with similar pieces you can shop now.
Year: 1942
The trench coat has had a starring role in a number films throughout history, from A Foreign Affair (1948) to Kill Bill (2003). But arguably its most iconic appearance came earlier, when Humphrey Bogart’s laid-back, suave character, Rick Blaine, wore the gabardine topper in Casablanca. Blaine was a man who spoke very few (yet very quotable) words; he let his gestures and attire express his opinions. And his Burberry coat (the brand that originated the style) certainly reflected both his modesty and mystery.
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Here’s looking at you, Burberry. 
Year: 1960
Elizabeth Taylor’s character, Gloria Wandrous, is a model (but really a callgirl) who has an affair with Weston Liggett, a wealthy married executive. After an argument with her paramour, she steals a mink coat that belongs to his wife; it’s the plot point that drives the second half of the film. But the topper that lands on this list is the cream cashmere number with a larger-than-life fur trim (talk about luxe) that she wears at the beginning of melodrama. Like Wandrous (and Taylor), it oozes over-the-top glamour.
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Category: drama. 
Year: 1961
No style roundup about movies is complete without the mention of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Audrey Hepburn–starring film has effectively made the LBD, kitten heels, and a single strand of pearls wardrobe essentials. The one piece that doesn’t nearly get enough credit, though, is the orange Hubert de Givenchy–designed coat that Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, wears while gallivanting around New York City with her neighbor and love interest, Fred. To wit: We’re adding this to our list of closet staples stat.
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This bright orange coat is perfect for days when you get the mean reds
Year: 1967
For a film about bondage and sadomasochism, Belle du Jour is a virtual runway show of prim, buttoned-up coats—all of which were designed by Yves Saint Laurent. Catherine Deneuve (the designer’s longtime muse) plays Séverine Serizy, a young housewife who fulfills her sexual fantasies as a high-class prostitute during midweek afternoons. The conservative, girlish silhouettes of her toppers are a stark contrast to her carnal urges. Indeed, they serve a great disguise to her innermost desires.
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Oui oui! 
Year: 1968
In Barbra Streisand’s first movie role, the entertainment tour de force plays Fanny Brice, a singer with a resounding voice trying to make it big on the vaudeville stage. And the evolution that the character goes through—from a tenacious funny girl from Brooklyn in a sailor dress to a glamorous headliner in a fierce leopard-print coat—is mirrored in her style choices throughout the musical.
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Hello, gorgeous.
Year: 1975
Political thrillers aren’t known for setting fashion trends, but Three Days of Condor is the exception. The film centers on Robert Redford’s character, Joe Turner, a preppy CIA analyst (a pencil pusher, really) who gets thrust into murder coverups by the government. He is meant to be an ordinary guy, the average joe (ha!), and his peacoat (a style originally made for the U.S. Navy, which became popular in the ’70s) is intended to reflect that. But because it was worn by a hunk like Redford, the topper became an emblem of sophistication—and not just for men.
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In the navy. 
Year: 1975
From Lady Sings the Blues (1972) to Double Platinum (1999), Diana Ross has consistently exuded style in her short list of films. Her most glamorous role, however, was in Mahogany, in which she plays an aspiring fashion designer, Tracy Chambers, who steadily realizes that the industry is fraught with seedy characters. But before she reaches that epiphany, Chambers fully envelopes herself in the glitz and glamour. Case in point: the white trench she wears while strolling the streets of Paris, arm in arm with a buzzy photographer (spoiler: He’s a seedy guy).
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The supreme.
Year: 1986
Woody Allen is a problematic figure, to say the least. Still, there’s no arguing the director’s contributions to the film industry, especially when it comes to fashion. Annie Hall, indeed, gets the bulk of the praise (Diane Keaton’s wardrobe is the stuff of legend), but when it comes to coats, Hannah and Her Sisters tops our list. The film centers around Allen’s character, Mickey, and his relationships with his wife, Hannah, and her two sisters (the movie has a pretty concise title). Of the three, Dianne Wiest’s character, Holly, is the most stylish. She’s a struggling actress, former drug addict, and frequenter of punk clubs. And her roomy topper (it was the ’80s), with rolled-up sleeves and adorned with brooches, conveys her free-spirited outlook.
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Big sis! 
Year: 1995
The film’s lead, Cher Horowitz (played by Alicia Silverstone), is a stylish, uber-wealthy high school busybody from Beverly Hills whose mission is to pair up everyone she comes across—sometimes to disastrous results. Her matchmaking skills, however, don’t fall short in the wardrobe department. From a yellow checkered suit by Dolce & Gabbana to a red Alaïa body-con under a coat with pronounced trims (which she wore while getting mugged in the Valley), Horowitz’s fashion sense makes her a total Betty.
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Perfect for rollin’ with the homies.
Year: 1998
Gwyneth Paltrow was a bona fide It girl in the ’90s, and her most stylish film in the decade (there were plenty to choose from) was A Perfect Murder. A remake of an Alfred Hitchcock classic, it stars Paltrow as Emily Taylor, a U.N. translator who also happens to have a fortune worth a cool $100 million. Her older husband—after finding out about her extramarital affair and dealing a financial fallout—hires her lover to do her in (crazy, right?). But before the drama begins, we get to see how Emily has put her money to good use, wearing the sleek designs of Michael Kors for Celine. Indeed, every look is standout, but the piece that really caught our eye is her oversized brown suede coat with exaggerated shawl lapels.
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If looks could kill.
Year: 1998
Out of Sight doesn’t nearly get the credit it deserves sartorially. The Steven Soderbergh–directed film about cops and robbers is one of the sexist films in history, with its stellar cast (Jennifer Lopez, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, and Catherine Keener) outfitted in the chicest styles of the late ’90s. Lopez’s character, Karen Sisco, deserves most of the adulation; her wardrobe—from earth-tone knits to sleek skirts with slits to the most badass leather coat ever—is a virtual time capsule of the decade’s best trends.
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Cop an attitude. 
Year: 1999
Michael Kors for Celine returns to the list, this time with Rene Russo’s wardrobe in The Thomas Crown Affair. In the film, she plays Catherine Banning, a tony insurance investigator on the hunt for a Monet painting from the Metropolitan Museum that was stolen by a wealthy, dashing, and, most important, bored financial executive. The caper isn’t so much a game of cat and mouse, but cat and cat; the two feed off each other’s wits and impeccable sense of style. And because the movie is set in the high-class world of fine art, Banning’s choice in luxe coats befits the atmosphere.
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Museum worthy.
Year: 1999
Set in an apocalyptic future, when mankind is at war with machines, The Matrix is an action film filled with groundbreaking special effects that has stood the test of time. Indeed, the same can be said of the costumes. The sleek PVC bodysuits, small-frame specs, and slew of sleek leather coats indicative of the late ’90s (see Out of Sight) are still riding strong in this decade. The topper worn by Carrie-Anne Moss’s character, Trinity, has especially remained influential; her tough, take-no-prisoners attitude reflected in her attire continues to inspire designers today.
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This coat is locked and loaded. 
Year: 2000
For a film made in the early aughts, Almost Famous has done more for early ’70s fashion than any picture made in the groovy decade. The Cameron Crowe–directed movie is an exaggerated retelling of his days as a burgeoning reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, following a touring rock band and its entourage. It is a love letter to the music, free-spirited vibe, and styles of that era—all which are encapsulated by the suede, shearling-lined coat that a Band Aid (played by Kate Hudson) wears throughout the Academy Award winner.
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This coat has all the trimmings.
Year: 2000
Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love is a visual masterpiece that tells the story of the unrequited love of two people living in Hong Kong in the early ’60s. Su Li-zhen (played by Maggie Cheung) is a quiet, reserved secretary who finds out that her husband is having an affair with the wife of her neighbor, Chow Mo-wan. When both Su and Chow realize the adultery, they, in a way to cope with their sorrow, reenact how it might have happened. Over time, they begin to have feelings for one another, culminating in Chow asking her to go with him to Singapore. Su, however, is initially hesitant, but when she comes to her senses, she dashes across the city in a form-fitted red coat to meet him—a costume that highlights both her frenzy and passion.
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Red hot. 
Year: 2001
The world of director Wes Anderson is marked by quirk, wit, and style. Of his films, some are more eccentric, others cleverer, but none exudes more style than The Royal Tenenbaums. And the character that eclipses the rest in the vast ensemble cast is Margot Tenenbaum (Gwyneth Paltrow returns), the only daughter of a zany family of geniuses. Her fashion sense, like her personality, is a combination of Sylvia Plath, C.Z. Guest, Courtney Love, and Eloise (from the series of children’s books)—all of whom are reflected in her Fendi mink coat.
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The family favorite.
Year: 2002
In Brown Sugar, Sanaa Lathan plays Syd, the editor in chief of hip-hop magazine XXL who slowly realizes that she is in love with her childhood friend, Dre, a recording executive. They are bosses in the music industry, which is reflected in the way they dress both in the boardroom and for casual settings—particularly the chic brown leather coat that Syd wears at the park while chatting with Dre about real hip-hop.
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Sweet as sugar. 
Year: 2006
The Devil Wears Prada? On a list about stylish movies? Not groundbreaking. It is a film, to be sure, that fashion lovers and fashion insiders can recite verbatim. In the rom-com, Anne Hathaway plays Andrea Sachs, a recent college grad starting her career at a glamorous fashion magazine (something we know all too well). Her first day at the gig doesn’t begin well: She gets schooled by her boss, Miranda Priestly (played effortlessly by Meryl Streep), on the “millions of dollars and countless jobs” that make up the industry. Andrea learns her lesson, and—in what is perhaps the greatest example of the makeover montage trope—showcases a parade of designer looks straight out of the fashion closet. The most eye-catching of the bunch? A white wool tie-front coat that every magazine editor would covet (again, we would know).
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Definitely not fished out from a pile of stuff.
Year: 2008
Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) wouldn’t be caught dead in a Patagonia puffer. The beloved character in the television series Sex and the City had an unmistakable style that combined the essence of New York neighborhoods (a bit of the Upper East Side, a dash of Harlem, a whole of helping of the West Village)—which means no goose down here. And when she made the move to the big screen, Bradshaw brought along her signature flair for the dramatic. Evidence: this wild and wonderful fur coat.
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Sexy beast.
Year: 2020
In The Photograph, Mae Morton (played by Issa Rae) is an assistant museum curator who is chic, sensible, and shy—but also about her business. Her selected wardrobe—patterned overcoats, luxuriously knit sweaters, vibrant-hued dresses—showcases the complexity of her character in a manner the dialogue doesn’t.
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Check mate. 

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