Love Story Turns 50 and We Still Remember the Fashion

It’s hard to believe that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” entered the pop culture lexicon 50 years ago. That’s right. Love Story, the iconic film that made us all fall in love with Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal simultaneously turned 50 years old this month. 

We all remember the romance, the beautiful Harvard background (it is still screened for freshmen every year with students shouting out that immortal line), the awkward family gatherings, and so much crying. But we also remember the outfits, (which will help with the crying.) Yes O’Neal’s Oliver has some of the best jackets but MacGraw’s Jenny (who apparently couldn’t rub two cents together) somehow had the best outfits ever which college co-eds and women meeting disapproving parents have been trying to emulate for 50 years. 

She also pretty much was responsible for the aesthetic pairing of pea coats and dusty bookcases (they both look better with the other it turns out.) But she also had the costume design team of Pearl Somner and Alice Manougian Martin helping her. 

Her style was a mix of schoolgirl chic (the girl wasn’t afraid of plaid and matching her scarf to her tights) and sexy but sophisticated librarian (the girl was all about school, I mean she went to Radcliffe.) The camel coat and red dress combo she wears to meet Oliver’s aristocratic parents was absolutely stunning. You think they would have approved the marriage with a girl with that kind of taste. 

Another great moment that you almost miss is when they are curled up on the couch reading. He in a sweatshirt and she in jeans and those precious black ballet flats. And let’s not forget the Jackie Kennedy-esque summer ensemble of white jeans and a blue t-shirt. But perhaps the pièce de résistance is when she watches former Harvard hockey player Oliver skate on Wollman Rink as we know her body is not so slowly dying of a vague form of cancer (and if that is a spoiler alert, shame on you for not seeing the film, reading the book or talking to a person for the past 50 years.) But god she looks good in that creamy white coat and over-the-top fur hat (to remind us that they are now rich. When they wore poor she wore a knit bucket hat.) 

To nab Ali’s style in the film here is a great pea coat option from Kate Spade, an adorable Banana Republic checkered skirt, a beautiful camel coat from Ann Taylor and a festive red cocktail dress also from Kate Spade. And if you want to go for broke, a fur hat. Love may mean mean never having to say you are sorry, but that hat will. 

Ali MacGraw herself was a fashion icon of the time (so we’ll forgive her for her Oscar dress that year she was nominated for the film) and still is today. 

Meredith Lepore

Meredith is the former editor in chief of the women's career site, The Grindstone. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire @ Work, The Jane Dough, DailyWorth,, Business Insider and Learnvest. She earned her Masters in Magazine, Newspaper and Online journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time and enjoys reading, jogging, SoulCycle and playing with her small dog, Otis.