10. Rita Hayworth’s “Put the Blame on Mame” dress from Gilda
On a lot of other women, that gown would have been pretty unremarkable. But Rita Hayworth had so much charisma in that movie and had such an incredible screen presence that she turned what could have been a forgettable gown into the most iconic costume of her career.
9. Elizabeth Taylor’s white slip from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
This right here is proof that Elizabeth Taylor could take the simplest garment and turn it into a definitive screen costume. Nobody worked a white slip better than Elizabeth Taylor.
8. All of Norma Shearer’s gowns from Marie Antoinette
I’d be very hard pressed to pick just one favorite costume from Marie Antoinette. Adrian put an enormous amount of time and effort into designing all those exquisite gowns, no detail was overlooked. They are all works of art.
7. Debbie Reynolds’ “Good Morning” dress from Singin’ in the Rain.
Plain and simply, she looks absolutely adorable in it. She had a lot of wonderful costumes in Singin’ in the Rain, but whenever I think about her in that movie, this is the first costume that comes to mind.
6. Myrna Loy’s striped party dress from The Thin Man
I just think this dress is pure Nora Charles. It’s fun, but classy. She looks like the life of the party.
5. Grace Kelly’s black and white outfit from Rear Window
This just epitomizes Grace Kelly to me. It is so clean and simple, it’s not bogged down with a lot of accessories or jewelry, but it’s one of the most elegant dresses I’ve ever seen.
4. Jean Harlow’s party dress from Dinner at Eight
It’s slinky and ridiculously glamorous. This is Jean Harlow at her finest.
3. Marlene Dietrich’s tuxedo from Morocco
In an era when women rarely wore pants, Marlene Dietrich went all out and donned a tuxedo. Not shocking by today’s standards, but it’s no surprise that her tux caused a commotion when Morocco was released in 1930.
2. Gloria Swanson’s outfit from her first scene in Sunset Boulevard
This outfit tells us right off everything that we need to know about Norma Desmond. She looks rich, she looks like a movie star, and she’s definitely got some issues.
1. Charlie Chaplin as The Little Tramp
As far as I’m concerned, this is the most iconic movie costume of all time. It doesn’t just represent one movie, it represents Chaplin’s entire body of work and it’s a symbol for that whole era of film history. When you see that hat, the cane, those shoes, that mustache, there’s no mistaking him for anybody else. Even when people who don’t know silent films try to describe silent films, odds are they’re going to describe Charlie Chaplin and what he wore.