What to wear this winter: fashion tips from the world of film

Inspiration on stylish ways to wrap up warm this winter, courtesy of great snowy movies from Doctor Zhivago on.

Samuel Wigley
Updated:

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

“David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago does for snow what his Lawrence of Arabia did for sand,” quipped one reviewer upon the 1965 release of Lean’s wintry Russian Revolution epic. But while Lawrence’s desert-wear has had precious little influence on the world of fashion, the fur hats, coats and woollen jumpers worn by 60s icon Julie Christie in Lean’s romantic blockbuster remain a highwater-mark of chic winter style. That’s half a century after they were first appropriated for the catwalk by Marc Bohan and Yves-Saint Laurent. Costume designer Phyllis Dalton won an Oscar for her efforts: against a backdrop of grave political turmoil, her outfits play a huge part in making the revolution-torn travails of Zhivago (Omar Sharif) and Lara (Christie) just so damned romantic.

Let’s rifle through cinema’s winter wardrobe in search of some equally inspired ways to wrap up warm.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). With London in snow, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) steps out in a long purple scarf, grey coat and a lilac jumper. But we’re calling that plastic bag accessory a fashion no-no

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). With London in snow, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) steps out in a long purple scarf, grey coat and a lilac jumper. But we’re calling that plastic bag accessory a fashion no-no

Yukiguni (1957). In this sadly now obscure Japanese film based on the novel Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, actress Keiko Kishi looks ravishing in this snow-flecked winter coat with fur collar

Yukiguni (1957). In this sadly now obscure Japanese film based on the novel Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, actress Keiko Kishi looks ravishing in this snow-flecked winter coat with fur collar

In Die Another Day (2002), Halle Berry bucks the fur trend with this black leather combo, complete with cowgirl tassle trim. She may have cold knees though

In Die Another Day (2002), Halle Berry bucks the fur trend with this black leather combo, complete with cowgirl tassle trim. She may have cold knees though

Adequately dressed for a long winter up in the mountains of Oregon, the seven brothers in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) look apiece in winter boots, jackets and heavy-duty trousers. But not a woolly hat between them, interestingly

Adequately dressed for a long winter up in the mountains of Oregon, the seven brothers in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) look apiece in winter boots, jackets and heavy-duty trousers. But not a woolly hat between them, interestingly

A Bond film can usually be relied upon for some ski-slope chic, though in For Your Eyes Only (1981) Bond himself (Roger Moore) is thoroughly upstaged by ice-skating prodigy Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson), who looks ready for a winter rodeo in her western-styled coat, cowboy hat and fluffy ear muffs

A Bond film can usually be relied upon for some ski-slope chic, though in For Your Eyes Only (1981) Bond himself (Roger Moore) is thoroughly upstaged by ice-skating prodigy Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson), who looks ready for a winter rodeo in her western-styled coat, cowboy hat and fluffy ear muffs

This could well be a fashion spread in the John Lewis Christmas catalogue: in fact, it’s Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) wrapped up in cosy woollens for a scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

This could well be a fashion spread in the John Lewis Christmas catalogue: in fact, it’s Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) wrapped up in cosy woollens for a scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Producer Val Lewton has thickly laid on the winter atmospherics for this scene in 1944 horror-fantasy The Curse of the Cat People. Irena (Simone Simon) returns from the dead suitably attired for the cold in this Salem-styled hooded shawl

Producer Val Lewton has thickly laid on the winter atmospherics for this scene in 1944 horror-fantasy The Curse of the Cat People. Irena (Simone Simon) returns from the dead suitably attired for the cold in this Salem-styled hooded shawl

Michael Caine tries out the ‘Zhivago look’ for this scene in Ken Russell’s espionage drama Billion Dollar Brain (1967). The black-rimmed specs are his own innovation

Michael Caine tries out the ‘Zhivago look’ for this scene in Ken Russell’s espionage drama Billion Dollar Brain (1967). The black-rimmed specs are his own innovation

Fargo (1996). No need to bat an eyelid at Gaear Grimsrud’s (Peter Stormare) long leather coat; that’s standard killer’s attire. But look again at what his partner Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) is modelling: red trousers with a red polo neck sweater – these are bold choices for winter in Minnesota

Fargo (1996). No need to bat an eyelid at Gaear Grimsrud’s (Peter Stormare) long leather coat; that’s standard killer’s attire. But look again at what his partner Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) is modelling: red trousers with a red polo neck sweater – these are bold choices for winter in Minnesota

Vivien Leigh looking lovely in this 1948 version of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Effortlessly romantic Russian style – perhaps Julie Christie was watching

Vivien Leigh looking lovely in this 1948 version of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Effortlessly romantic Russian style – perhaps Julie Christie was watching

Paul McCartney sporting a sable fur coat for the Alpine sequences of The Beatles’ second film, Help! (1965)

Paul McCartney sporting a sable fur coat for the Alpine sequences of The Beatles’ second film, Help! (1965)

Compare and contrast two approaches to winter style in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987): Steve Martin’s marketing executive clearly struggling to stay warm in grey suit and overcoat, while John Candy’s brash curtain-ring salesman leaves nothing to chance in beret, ear muffs, bold red gloves and thickly-padded ski jacket

Compare and contrast two approaches to winter style in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987): Steve Martin’s marketing executive clearly struggling to stay warm in grey suit and overcoat, while John Candy’s brash curtain-ring salesman leaves nothing to chance in beret, ear muffs, bold red gloves and thickly-padded ski jacket

Medieval huntsman chic in the East German/Czechoslovakian fantasy Three Wishes for Cinderella (1973). You can’t help but admire the accessorising, from the crossbow right down to the winter leggings with oak leaf print down one leg only

Medieval huntsman chic in the East German/Czechoslovakian fantasy Three Wishes for Cinderella (1973). You can’t help but admire the accessorising, from the crossbow right down to the winter leggings with oak leaf print down one leg only

From the muff up, this haunting moment in Guy Maddin’s snowbound autobiographical fantasia My Winnipeg (2007) might contain the snuggest outfits on film – we only hope that’s faux fur

From the muff up, this haunting moment in Guy Maddin’s snowbound autobiographical fantasia My Winnipeg (2007) might contain the snuggest outfits on film – we only hope that’s faux fur

Lucy Liu sporting snow-white kimono and samurai swords as O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

Lucy Liu sporting snow-white kimono and samurai swords as O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

Read more

Back to the top

See something different

Subscribe now for exclusive offers and the best of cinema.
Hand-picked.