How Annie Hall Brought Menswear into Our Wardrobes


Sociology student with everlasting passion for learning and creating.

Have you ever thought about how movies are bringing the hottest fashion trends into the industry? Surely, if we are talking about Carrie Bradshaw, it changed fashion forever. But please, look at your closet now and tell me if I am wrong when I say: you have, hanging there, at least one blazer that you combine with classy, unicolor, men’s shirts. Probably a pair of baggy men’s working pants, a vintage watch, big glasses that are maybe for sight or maybe just the best fashion statement. Did you know, that ”Annie Hall”, Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning film, with Diane Keaton as the leading actress, is what made it a popular trend?

Before the 70’s and ”Annie Hall”

First, let’s take a look at how women in movies were dressed before this trend exploded. We must pay special attention to the one everlasting piece of clothing that came from this era: the LBD! That’s right! Audrey Hepburn, in her famous ”Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in 1961, presented us the little black dress, worn in a way which no woman ever after that (I’m standing beside my words) successfully pulled off better. What else did we have in the 50s and 60s? If we are talking pants, they wore slim fit ones, always high waisted, and if you were daring, with a tapper to the ankle. Dresses were either shapeless shifts or they followed body curves, but always with white cuffs and collars. Chunky knit sweaters or cardigans with big collars as well as simple t-shirts with stripes were what was classified as a casual wardrobe.

A Lesson in Style

Now, even if we put the current obsession with 70s style aside, if you already haven’t, you must take this lesson in style from Diane Keaton. In the March of 1977, the famous Woody Allen movie “Annie Hall” premiered in the USA and by the end of the year, it was in cinemas all over the world. Here is what Ruth Morley, the lead costume designer for the film, said in 1978 for Vogue: ‘Now people tell me that all the girls in London and Paris are turned out like Annie Hall, it’s crazy’ Annie was the first woman on film to rock a white shirt, wool vest and high-waisted, wide-leg pants so charmingly. What’s really great, is that almost every clothing item in the film that Annie wore came directly from Diane’s closet! Rumor has it that Ruth Morley wasn’t really happy with Diane’s choices and that she almost put a veto on them. Luckily, Woody Allen was the one to say ‘Leave her, she is a genius. Let her wear what she wants’.
Diane was the first woman on film to so openly reject gender-normative clothing items. Nevertheless, she succeeded in expressing her sexuality strongly. It was the first time that the movie industry captured such a phenomenon: a woman in a vest and polka-dot tie, covered in layers of tweed, with huge glasses, all buttoned-up, stole the hearts of girls around the globe and became their fashion icon.

Diane truly rocked this kind of tomboyish, but at the same time elegant, style. We must agree that it’s not only about the clothing items; one could hardly pull off this androgynous style so effortlessly, without a dose of coy, strong confidence and eccentricity.

After the debut of the film, her look launched menswear-inspired fashion into the mainstream. One can say with certain conviction that menswear makes a strong fashion statement and captures female empowerment.
Let’s take a look at some of the costumes that she wore in the film (although it’s a known fact that she stayed loyal to her style to this day)

Talk about influences…

I know, I know… You are probably thinking: ”Yeah, sure, that is really empowering, but for God’s sake, she is wearing tweed…” If you are still thinking that this look is distant past, let me try to change your mind. First, we will take a look at some of the homages organized recently for the 40th anniversary of the film. One of the loyal admirers of this trend and Miss Keaton is most certainly, Alexa Chung! How Annie influenced in style creation of one of the world’s most famous trendsetters nowadays, you can read in Alexa’s book ”It”, but check out this photo session she did for InStyle and things will come clear to you. Ok, I couldn’t help myself, we actually cannot skip Carrie Bradshaw. If you are not aware of the impact that Carrie’s clothing choices had on fashion industry… Nevermind the industry, the impact that they had on our lives! – Well, you must be from another planet, I don’t know what to tell you. But, who influenced Carrie?

Does Carrie’s outfit on this photo remind you of someone? Hm, I find it strangely familiar…
That’s right. Annie. Annie’s character, amongst many others, is the one that had an impact on Carrie’s fashion choices.

If you need more evidence, check out, for example, Vogue’s catalog for March of 2009…

Lesson Learned

And now you are probably wondering…”Am I even gonna be able to pull that off?” OF COURSE. If you don’t feel like wearing that dress today or those uncomfortable shoes – you don’t have to. You can pull off sexy even in a vest. Don’t take my word for it, but believe in these ladies above. All you have to do is be more open-minded, you must embrace your free spirit. The only one that you depend on is YOURSELF. Although you are encouraged to improvise as much as you want, here are some tips or options.

Go with pastel color and bagginess…

…or with many layers of different colored items…

Pants and blazer from the same set are also always a bold choice…

… or you can spice it up. Wear different patterns on pants and suit. Thrown in some item in vibrant color.

What are you waiting for? Steal her look!