I don’t know about you, but I’m still hung up over Baz Lurhmann’s 1996 masterpiece, Romeo + Juliet. Young Claire Danes and a pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio? Exquisite cinematography? An amazing 90’s-inspired soundtrack? A love story intertwined with a mafia crime family narrative? Original Shakespearean dialogue in a contemporary setting? It’s just iconic.
Perhaps equally as iconic is the fashion—the looks in the film are timeless and classic, and certainly imitable. Read on to find out how you can evoke the aesthetic of DiCaprio’s Romeo Montague in three simple looks.
“Patterns have been on the rise lately, and floral is certainly in the mix.”
1. Capulet party suit of armour
A quick and easy way to get this look would obviously be to buy an actual fancy-dress suit of armour, but it’s not the exact outfit we’re going for here, it’s the vibe. So, how can you achieve this? Firstly, you’ll need a simple grey shirt, preferably long-sleeved, but shorter sleeves will do in a pinch. Pair this with some black jeans and some heavy-duty lace-up boots to stick to the militaristic ethos. Over the top, add a grey, structured jacket or bomber to mimic DiCaprio’s shoulder plates. Try to use different shades of grey to give your outfit depth. A silver chain necklace or two could be added for a nod to the chainmail of the original look.
2. Hawaiian shirt
Firstly, can we just appreciate everyone’s style in this film? Mercutio (Harold Perrineau) is making a seriously bold statement with his sheer, monochromatic ensemble and oversized accessories, and Nurse (Miriam Margolyes) was way ahead of her time with her leopard print parasol, bright red coordinating blazer and skirt, plus some minimalistic tiny sunglasses.
Meanwhile, a staple of any 90’s kid (or current-day Ocean-goer), the Hawaiian shirt is making a comeback, both in the ironic sense and as a serious piece of fashion. Patterns have been on the rise lately, and floral is certainly in the mix. The most important component of this look is the short-sleeved, slightly oversized blue Hawaiian shirt that Romeo is wearing. It has a large, bright floral print that might be hard to locate, but a quick look online or in a charity shop will likely produce something similar. Add to this some black jeans and a mid-length silver cross necklace, ensuring the necklace is over the shirt. Add the look of someone who’s about to get themselves banished from Verona, and you’re set.
“this late-nineties look is influencing our current fashion a great deal.”
3. Casual-formal suit
Now this look is pretty easy to imitate. All you need are three key elements: a white pinstripe shirt, an oversized black blazer, and some black trousers to match. The shirt spears to be fairly see-through, and has a shiny, silky quality to it, and of course a super-wide collar. This aspect might be hard to locate in most modern shops, but by pulling the lapel and collar outwards across your shoulders, the aesthetic should be pretty achievable. Otherwise, a jacket with a wider collar/lapel will give the same effect. Sweep your hair over to look windswept, pop open a few shirt buttons, and you’re good to go.
I think Romeo’s style in Romeo + Juliet is fairly simple to recreate, and I feel that this late-nineties look is influencing our current fashion a great deal. It’s also really versatile in how androgynous it can be, and how it can be both dressed up and dressed down. I’d encourage you to watch the film to nail down the fashion sense of each and every character, but capturing the essence of the look, as demonstrated here, can be easily achieved with just a few cheap and accessible items.
All images courtesy of Bazmark Films via IMDb.