Closet 101 Style

A Perfect Murder: The Wardrobe

Have any of you seen this movie – A Perfect Murder?

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I first saw it when it came out in 1998 and I remember at the time thinking how glamorous Gwyneth Paltrow’s wardrobe and haircut was in the film. I’ve been able to catch it on TV a few times since in the years after, and it’s a good, if not outstanding, movie. Gwyneth’s closet though? Still spectacular! Her style in A Perfect Murder is undeniably expensive and luxurious, yet also very understated, and conservative (but never stodgy). She repeats many of the same items and pieces throughout, much like a simple peon like myself might. Thus, I’ve always found her style in the movie to be very inspirational.

I tried to Google some looks from the movie so I could share some favorites with you – however many of the photos I saw were fuzzy and I couldn’t find many of my favorite looks. So I decided to watch it again myself, and take some screenshots chronologically so I could share all of the great looks (hopefully without giving away any spoilers). I tried to do my best in this closet breakdown, though the movie is often set in a “darker” color tone, so please forgive the shadows. And remember as you’re scrolling through  – this movie is 16 years old now. I’ve also added in some of my own suggestions for modern day versions of Gwyneth’s looks throughout, in italics.

So the first look – coming in from work. Hi honey (Michael Douglas in Gwyneth’s case), I’m home! Classic shirt, suit jacket, coat, and a hint of pearls.

Want the same classic blazer? I would recommend this lovely number from Akris, or for a more modern twist, this Helmut Lang tux cut (and at half the price too). 

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Next, hanging out more casually at home – no more pearls, jacket or coat. But still very chic in the plain white shirt and cami underneath.

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Dolled up for a function that evening. How perfect is her diamond necklace? So simple yet you know that this is an incredible piece. I believe this is Cartier.

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The next morning – at work again! In her uniform of blouse + simple strand of doubled white pearls.

For a similar look, I would recommend this beautiful Mikimoto strand, or at a mere fraction of the price, this glass Nordstrom strand at $50. 

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Out and about after work…in a lovely paisley shawl.

For paisley, I think you can never go wrong with Etro – they have heavier weights in winter, and lighter weights in summer. 

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Her super cool, unique wedding band.

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Back at work! This time in a blue blouse and a sweater draped casually over the shoulders.

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Her bag of choice (throughout the entire movie)? Hermes black box sellier Kelly with gold hardware, of course!

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Heading out to lunch – I wanted to include this to show this killer brown shearling coat she wears throughout the movie.

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Her necklace and earrings – all simple diamond solitaires.

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Sitting down at lunch without her coat – love the simplicity of this buttoned cardigan.

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Dropping her bag off at home, and giving us all another look. Hi Kelly!

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Now…looking stressed (but impeccable and cozy to boot) at the police station.

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Back in her coat now…and with her Kelly.

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Hanging out in a cashmere sweater, in bed. Similar sweater from Equipment, here

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Eating dinner….with a chic silk scarf tied.

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The next morning, back in her coat and an Hermes scarf.

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The back of the coat. Look at it!

I haven’t been able to find a very close match to this coat, but this Burberry shearling is equally stunning. 

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Later at a friends..sans the coat and the scarf. Looking comfortable and very chic in what you can tell now is a slightly oversized sweater.

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And last but not least, a black coat..

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Underneath of which she has her white gold Cartier Panthere watch, with diamonds…

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worn with this charcoal gray turtleneck. A very similar version, available via Equipment

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Even though this movie is almost two decades old, Gwyneth’s wardrobe still looks fresh and relevant today. Quite an amazing feat and one that I think shows how thoughtful her character’s wardrobe choices are. If I were to glean some lessons from all of these great styles, they would be:

1. Buy the best materials you can afford, (even in these darker and smaller shots, you can see the materials of her coats, sweaters, are all top quality wools/cashmere/silks).

2. A few simple but very high quality jewelry pieces can take you a long way. Simple diamond studs, a solitaire necklace, a doubled pearl necklace, a diamond necklace, and a white gold watch are all worn over and over again in this movie. They look classic, and are all forever pieces. But at the same time…

3. Have a few pieces that are just “you”. I thought that the choice of the Cathy Waterman ring was great and very unexpected. Not as “Upper East Side” formula as the majority of her wardrobe, and I think as a result, it made all her other jewelry choices seem more “individual” as well.

4. Everything should fit perfectly. Whether it’s perfectly formed to the body (like her evening gown) or perfectly loose (like her cashmere sweaters), everything fits to a T.

And finally…

5. You can wear items, over and over again, as long as you follow the first four rules. Gwyneth wears the same coat, handbag, jewelry, and blouse throughout multiple scenes in A Perfect Murder. They never look tired. It’s a small wardrobe sure…but wouldn’t one that most of us would kill for? (Please excuse my pun! Had to do it).

Would love to hear your thoughts on the wardrobe in this ultra stylish movie. I hope you enjoyed the recap!

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  • Groupthink7
    April 2, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I remember this movie. I loved the many outfits in the moving including the shearling. I like looking at old movies just to see how fashion has revolved through the years.

    • Katherine
      April 2, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Yes! The shearling!

  • Patricia
    April 2, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Hello there, I’ve been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. I don’t believe I have commented before, but I just had to pipe up to say that this is probably my most favourite movie wardrobe ever! Thanks for highlighting it!

    • Katherine
      April 2, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Thank you for commenting Patricia. Glad to meet another fan of this movie/movie wardrobe!

  • Mod
    April 2, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I love the wardrobe stalking/breakdown- very persuasive argument and conclusions! 🙂

  • diane
    April 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I love this post. I have also seen the movie several times over the years and love the wardrobe. Two other movies that have what I think are fabulous small wardrobes are “I Am Love” with Tilda Swinton and “The Thomas Crown Affair” with Renee Russo. Back in the day, when the original Thomas Crown Affair came out, I remember thinking the same thing about Faye Dunaway’s wardrobe. It was very small but elegant, although I think it was the 60’s so I am sure it would look dated today.

    • Katherine
      April 2, 2014 at 9:05 am

      YES to TCA! That movie is actually up there on my list of ones to cover next 🙂 I’ll watch I Am Love, thank you for the recommendation!

  • Jennifer
    April 2, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Love this post! Would love to see a breakdown on Robin Wright’s wardrobe in House of Cards! you often see her character repeating outfits, shoes, and purses.

  • lissy
    April 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Along the same lines, I love Rene Russo’s wardrobe in A Thomas Crown Affair. Most of what she wore in the movie was Celine when Michael Kors was designing and it is perfectly sophisticated, luxurious and understated.

  • Susan
    April 2, 2014 at 9:51 am

    What is even more interesting is to look at Grace Kelly in the original of this film “Dial M for Murder” (a vastly superior version directed by Hitchcock, but that is another story!). She is styled by Edward Carrerre and looks even more elegant and timeless than Paltrow. The film was shot in 1954. I would be happy, nay delirious, to wear anything Kelly wears in that film.

  • Ella
    April 2, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Brilliant post! I remember seeing this movie in the theater – it has always stood out in my memory as the most beautifully styled movie wardrobe I’ve ever seen. Matchless, for exactly the reasons you state.

  • HM
    April 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Another first time commenter! I’ve been lurking for awhile but want to wade in as it is really one of my favorite movies of all time. Gwyneth really was/is the epitome of a NYC princess. The usual symbols of wealth were there: Hermes, Cartier, Jackie O pearls etc. but with a little bit of edge, shorter/pixie hair, unusual wedding ring and of course uncoventional lover. I remember watching this chewing on my cupanoodle in medschool wearing scrubs for the 1000th time.. the juxaposition was jarring. So glad to see it featured.

  • Mel
    April 2, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Great post about a great movie!
    Have probably seen it 7 times, everything from the scenario, the actors and the wardrobe was so perfect!
    I liked so much this wedding ring! 🙂
    I agree with the quality of the things you buy, and to invest in classic pieces!

    Here my favourite movies with great wardrobes to enjoy:
    A perfect murder
    Breakfast at Tiffanys
    Pretty woman
    The devil wears Prada
    The September issue
    Priceless
    Confessions of a shopaholic
    The Thomas Crown affair
    The bling ring

  • Michelle
    April 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I definitely remember this movie because the most memorable scene for me was the bathtub scene because the waterfall faucet was just amazing!

  • Tata
    April 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Can i just say that your blog is becoming better and better!!! It’s now one of my favorites to read. you cover such broad range of topics and your writing is very good. so much better than fashion blogs with just selfies in the fitting rooms. i particularily love your travel blogs and found it so helpful for my trip to paris. i’m liking it more and more!! thank you!

    • Katherine
      April 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad that you enjoy the blog and I wish you a nice trip to Paris!

  • Jan P
    April 2, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Ooh, thanks for the movie suggestion Katherine. I love the photos of Gwyneth in this, and the classic, timeless outfits. Such pieces can be re-worn for years to come. I love my basics!

    Also, the PSA made me think of this:
    http://www.dvf.com/wrap40/
    …exhibit will be open through May 1!

    • Katherine
      April 3, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Thank you!

  • June
    April 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I love this movie and really watched it over and over when it first came out. But I watched it for a very different reason – I loved the apartment! And I kept watching it for the apartment and the interior. Thanks for sharing the different fashion moments. I think I might have lost sight of it.

    • Katherine
      April 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

      The apartment is GORGEOUS too. I love it and the closet isn’t huge or ostentatious.

    • Glenda
      April 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      June, I will watch a movie–and even choose a movie–based on the interiors & design And the wardrobes, sometimes also hair styles, and I’ll watch them more than once to study the interiors and wardrobes. Nice to know that others may do the same!

      Katherine, thank you very much for taking these screen-shots. After I saw the movie for the first time I tried to find the stills from this movie to see more of her wardrobe, but could find precious few, so your post is a real treat for me.

      Other movies with great leading lady wardrobes:
      Helen Hunt in “What a Woman Wants”
      Jodie Foster in “Inside Man”
      Susan Sarandon & Brit Marling in “Arbitrage”

      Even tho some of the cuts are a bit dated, at the time I adored Annette Bening’s wardrobe in “Regarding Henry”.

      • Katherine
        April 4, 2014 at 8:51 am

        Thank you! I LOVED Jodie in INside Man (though I have to admit I mostly remember her red Birkin). Time to rewatch Arbitrage!

  • Ammu
    April 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    I only ever watch this movie for GP’s perfect wardrobe. It really is impeccable, down to the hair and makeup. Thank you for all the screengrabs! I don’t think she’s ever looked better – that era (1995-1998) was my favourite in terms of her style, so chic and minimalist and easy.
    On another note, doesn’t the film underscore the importance of a chic statement coat? I bought a black cocoon coat from Carven a couple of years back and am still struck by how it effortlessly makes even the most casual jeans + pullover + flat boots look appear more chic.

  • Olyvia
    April 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I have not seen this movie, but I love your breakdown of the wardrobe! The style is definitely relevant today! I wish I saw this movie back then and was inspired enough to shop smarter by keeping things simple, timeless, yet expensive looking 🙂

  • honhon
    April 2, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    I am totally all about the simplicity being the most dressy. I agree with you on wearing these items over and over and not getting tired of. I also enjoyed wardrobe of Blue Jasmine with Kate. She did repeat her small choices of wardrobe and it was amazing.

  • Michelle
    April 2, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Love love love that you dissected this movie and have us insight on some classic wardrobe staples. I think you would like some of the outfits Coffee Stained Cashmere on Pinterest or Google image! Love your blog!

  • melvel
    April 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    That diamond necklace is amazing. And probably hella expensive!

    Another favorite film of mine for the wardrobe and bag choices alone is The Proposal. Sandra’s wardrobe and accessories in that film are to die for.

  • simiyalala
    April 3, 2014 at 6:01 am

    I felt the same way watching this movie years ago. I also feel the same about one of my favorite movies, Sliding Doors from 1998. Her wardrobe in that movie was just as timeless in mostly Calvin Klein.

  • tata
    April 3, 2014 at 8:35 am

    check out Blue Jasmine with Kate Blanchett. Her waredrobe is amazing and also only one bag (Birkin) the whole movie. I also loved Gwyneth in the Great Expectations. Another great waredrobe.

  • Elizabeth
    April 3, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Another first time commenter!
    I too love the style of this movie and have re-watched it simply for the look (closet AND home). In fact, I have a very similar Cathy Waterman wedding ring chosen partially because we found this one so lovely. Cathy does sell “The Perfect Murder Ring” but I didn’t want a copy so we combined three different rings to make my wide triple band.

  • Ava Lon
    April 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Hi Katherine,
    In line with the classics of this post I thought I would share with you some news for you and your readers who may be on the fence about purchasing another classic item…Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry. They are going to hike up their already expensive line 🙁 in a few weeks. (All I can think of is our conversation about your friend and how she got that VCA piece for a whole digit off at the airport…why can’t things like that happen to us?!)

    Another movie you would enjoy the costuming of is with Tilda Swinton, “I am Love,” — just stunning. I do think that while not traditional in the Western sense, “In The Mood for Love,” has costuming that could work today even with the Eastern flair.

    I will admit, I was half hoping you had another article for us to read! LOL! 😉 It’s like my mental Fauchon pastry during the day! LOL!

    🙂
    Ava

    • Katherine
      April 4, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Thank you! I will watch that movie….I heard about that VCA, yikes! Thanks for passing along the info as always 🙂

  • Pret a Porter P
    April 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Sorry if this is a double comment—I remember typing something but not sure if I submitted—hehe that’s what I get for multi-tasking! I’ve never seen this movie in its entirety, only in fragments.

    I just noticed the play on the Kelly bag—I remember this being a modern version of Hitchcock’s Dial M with Grace Kelly. I could never look as poised and perfectly coiffed as her. Not only is it the quality of her clothing—but there is something to be said for someone’s bone structure, posture, etc… Her look whispers of wealth. It’s interesting to see the enduring styles of her clothing and accessories for a movie 16 years old.

  • leslie
    April 3, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    if I remember correctly, I believe it was Donna Karen that did the wardrobe for the movie and it is perfection and it still holds up today. I remember being in awe of the clothing when it came out and today I would die for that coat. It’s a great movie and a great post! Thanks!

    • Katherine
      April 4, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Thank you for that tid bit! Who wouldn’t like a custom wardrobe via DK? 🙂

  • Glenda
    April 5, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Thanks, Katherine–this is my favorite post of yours ever. It’s had me thinking the last couple of days about something I did a few years ago after reading an article in a magazine or blog–I don’t remember–about creating a capsule wardrobe. It made me think, “If something happened so that I had to start from scratch to create a wardrobe, what would I do, where would I begin?” So, I laid out a plan for myself at that time, and after thinking about it I thought I would post it here.

    A couple of “notes”: I’m blonde, I prefer navy to black, I like pencil-skirts and short-jackets/blazers, and I adore pearls; these things and my lifestyle influenced my choices, and this capsule wardrobe should get me through everything from casual to white-tie, at least for a little while. This is what I would buy:

    Navy skirt-suit
    Cream skirt
    Dark blue-jeans
    Navy floor-length silk skirt

    Navy coat
    Red blazer
    Cream cardigan

    White blouse
    Silk t-shirts, 4 total: white, cream, red, & navy

    Navy short-sleeve sheath dress

    Leopard ballet flats
    Navy leather heels
    Navy leather boots

    Red Hermes Kelly with gold hardware
    Navy satin clutch

    Red belt
    Navy belt

    Red leather gloves

    Red-Cream-White Hermes silk scarf

    No-show underwear in nude
    Nude hose

    Gold Cartier watch
    Akoya 7mm single-strand pearl necklace and 7mm stud earrings
    Tortoiseshell sunglasses

    I don’t think I’d get tired of mixing-&-matching these pieces for quite a while…

    • Katherine
      April 7, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Hi Glenda, thank you for sharing your own “ideal wardrobe” buy! I love it all and think it’d look stunning on a blond especially 🙂

  • The Thomas Crown Affair: The Wardrobe | Feather Factor
    April 14, 2014 at 7:34 am

    […] back, I covered the wardrobe from one of my favorite “awesome fashion” movies – A Perfect Murder. I’m so glad that so many of you liked the movie, and I’m going to be covering more in […]

  • Shirlinggun@gmail.com
    April 24, 2014 at 6:10 am

    I love the outfits in ‘Perfect murder and Thomas CA’ glad that to know that you like it too :))

  • Reader Question: On Wallets | Feather Factor
    May 5, 2014 at 8:05 am

    […] sale PSA: classic pearl stud earrings from Majorca, now under $45 (remember the studs in A Perfect Murder?), a drapey cashmere sweater from Autumn Cashmere in light colors for spring, 40% off, and a Clover […]

  • The Talented Mr. Ripley: The Wardrobe » Feather Factor
    July 3, 2014 at 8:15 am

    […] Cate Blanchett), and how elegantly they translate even today. I’ve featured both Gwyneth (in A Perfect Murder) and Cate (in Blue Jasmine) before, and it was fun to get to see them both in this one movie. […]

  • Sharon
    January 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    You’re right on about every single piece. Elegance personified! Thank you!

  • Evelyn Campbell
    December 25, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Just saw this film yesterday for the third time simply to watch the clothes. Gwyneth’s wardrobe is utterly fantastic. Loved your piece and the wardrobe updates.

    • Katherine
      December 27, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Thank you, Evelyn!

  • Liza
    February 23, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Great post. (All that work screen-capping!) So pleased I found your blog.

    • Katherine
      February 23, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      Thank you, Liza!