Whether or not we want to admit it, we all love the cheesiness and the absurdity of cult-classic holiday movies. From movies like Elf to something even more classic like A Charlie Brown Christmas, these movies pang nostalgia in people’s heart’s this time of year, and for good reason too. But what about holiday movies for the aesthete in your life? For the fashionable, stylish and chic? Movies that simultaneously bring on the cozy warm feeling of hot chocolate and candy canes while also serving looks and garments that have a legacy of their own?
Here at GRAZIA, that’s what we’re all about. We’ve decided to compile a list of all our favorite fashion-forward holiday movies for your enjoyment. So grab your wrapping paper, your coziest sweater, or even a little “special” eggnog and buckle in for these old and new holiday classics.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Why not start this list with the epitome of a 1940s Christmas movie? Barbara Stanwyck gives us outfit after outfit as she navigates the tricky dichotomy between perfect, farm housewife (it was 1945 after all) and a renowned food writer whose boss comes to town for the holiday. As the movie progresses, we see the archetype of the housewife played out in real time and in actual complexity, with comedic overtones acting as a means for satire and culturally critical subtext. Depending on which lens you watch this film from, it could either act as a reminder of how gender roles were perpetuated in the 1940s, or what can be learned when you read between the lines of subtlety.
White Christmas (1954)
Admittedly, this is the singular film that inspired this list. A friend recommended this movie to me on a whim and I thought I’d give it a shot. If you can get through the somewhat cheesy and arguably dated musical acts, White Christmas hits the sartorial nail on the head again and again. Besides just being visually stunning, the outfits in White Christmas hold an understated political statement that speaks largely to the state of women’s clothing at the time. Plenty of vintage holiday movies depict women in aesthetically pleasing garments, but in this film, the clothing’s role isn’t just visual, but a vessel through which woman gain their power and autonomy.
As Rosemary Clooney sings in the much beloved “Sisters” act, “Lord help the mister, who comes between me and my sister.”
Falling in Love (1984)
Would it be a complete movie listicle without at least one Meryl Streep movie? We didn’t think so either.
In this 1984 film, Streep, Dianne Wiest, and a heart-throbby romantic appearance from Robert DeNiro, we follow the story of two strangers who meet by city-coincidence on the same New York City subway commute. As romantic tensions rise and we watch more coincidental run-ins at Rizzoli’s coveted Fifth Avenue store, situations become more complex, because in real life, love is never simple.
Okay so, you know how there’s categories of movies that aren’t exactly Christmas movies but feel like Christmas movies? Metropolitan hits the mark in this pseudo-ambiguous category. Following the story of a gaggle of privileged, bourgeois New York City college freshmen as they traverse the first days of winter break. A portrait of high-class society, characters like Sally Fowler (played by Dylan Hundley) go from debutant party to debutant party when, due to a shortage of male escorts (not that kind), the group must take on an outsider, namely Tom Townsend (played by Edward Clements).
A Christmas Tale (2008)
This underrated French tale (originally Un conte de Noël), directed by Arnaud Desplechin, depicts the life of a family at the epicenter of turmoil around the holidays. While this does make it’s mark as a story surrounding the grief of illness and the challenges of blood relatives, it is a magical film in its depiction of dreamy melancholy, jubilance, poetry and music. What makes this film special is its unwillingness to sugarcoat the mess that sometimes can come with family, but providing a solution to celebrate regardless.
The Best Man Holiday (2013)
Revamped from the 1999 debut of director Malcolm D. Lee, the story of this film follows friends through trial and tribulation as they navigate the turbulent world of adult relationships around the holidays, but in style. While lighthearted and largely comedic, this movie does follow some pretty serious themes, but is offseet with the charisma of the actors, namely Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall.
silent night (2021)
If you’re looking for a movie that teeters genre yet still fits the holiday theme, then Silent Night is for you. A horror movie that combines holiday themes, comedy and style into one package is a ambitious project, and director Camille Griffin delivers. Following the story of Nell (Keira Knightley), Simon (Matthew Goode), and their son Art (Roman Griffin Davis), thee family welcomes frriends and guests to dinner, but the situation soon turns dark as one thing becomes apparent: everyone is going to die.