Tag Archives: 1990s

Beauty in the Movies: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead is one of the best movies ever, please don’t be misled by the title. Sure, if you like super serious movies where you get knocked over the head by meaning and intense emotion and all that, then fine, you might not agree, but if you were a girl who was growing up in the 90s, you probably love this film—and there’s no shame in that, only pride!

DTMTBD is like Working Girl for the 90s teen set, only kind of better because the fashion is way more fun. When Sue Ellen (or “Swell” for short) Crandell’s mom decides to jet off to Australia with her new boyfriend leaving her five children alone for the summer, at first they think they’re going to have the time of their lives. So it comes as quite a surprise when an old woman shows up at the door proclaiming to be their babysitter. It’s even more of a surprise when she drops dead leaving the kids with no money.

Sue Ellen soon realizes that, being the oldest, she’s in charge of her ramshackle gang of siblings for the rest of the summer. She and her burn-out brother Kenny (Keith Coogan) toss a frozen pizza to decide who will get a job and who will stay home with the kids. Sue Ellen loses the pizza toss, and soon finds herself cleaning fat vats at fast food joint Clown Dog. She quits pretty quickly, but not before meeting Brian (Josh Charles), a cute delivery-guy.

As a result of copying her resume straight from a book, Sue Ellen lands a coveted position as Executive Administrative Assistant at General Apparel West, making an enemy of the original candidate for the position, bitchy receptionist Carolyn (Jayne Brook).

Swell’s killer interview outfit and fake resume may have won her the job, but now Carolyn and her boyfriend (a greasy pre-X-Files David Duchovny) are determined to take her down.

Luckily Sue Ellen has the best boss ever, Rose (Joanna Cassidy) who not only can’t stand Carolyn but also gives us viewers the delightful phrase “I’m right on top of that Rose”, which to this day I still hear in my head when given an important task at work. Unfortunately 17-year-old Sue Ellen is in a bit over her head and things soon unravel, but not before an amazing work montage, beach romance, and some truly amazing 90s fashion.

DTMTBD has stuck around and remained in our hearts because it’s atypical for a teen movie. I love that Sue Ellen has a power-suit wearing female boss who is awesome and supportive instead of evil. It’s also great that while she gives herself her own “business” makeover, her younger brother is really the one who ends up going through a typical physical transformation—haircut, clean clothes, etc.

Swell was a fashion icon for me in my formative years, I still marvel at how she made harem pants and over-sized blazers look so effortlessly hip. Her awesome early 90s friends are also an inspiration, they remind me of the babysitters I had as a kid who I though were just the coolest. girls. ever. Side ponytails, teased hair, chunky jewelry, as far as I’m concerned they still look damn amazing.

Don’t be betrayed by the name, if for some reason you’ve never had the delight of watching DTMTBD, give it a try. It’s great this time of year if you’re working your butt off in business wear and feeling bitter about the tourists and day-trippers that surround you on your commute (I speak from very strong personal experience). It’s worth it alone to watch for the fashion show at the end, but really, whether she is wearing doc martens or shoulder-pads, Christina Applegate is just so damn wonderful. So crank up the AC, microwave some popcorn, and revisit a teen movie with style and charm that far exceed its title.

Beauty in the Movies: Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Maxi dress
$38 – topshop.com

Diane von Furstenberg sheer blouse
250 – net-a-porter.com

Off the shoulder shirt
$15 – alloy.com

Viktor Rolf slim fit blazer
$698 – lagarconne.com

Freda blue jacket
144 – matchesfashion.com

River Island long jacket
50 – riverisland.com

French Connection harem pants
women.fashionbeans.com

Forzieri black leather briefcase
$659 – forzieri.com

Dannijo silver cuff bracelet
238 – net-a-porter.com

Black earrings
$7.99 – amazon.com

NERIDA FRAIMAN vintage hat
259 – harrods.com

Ray-Ban ray ban sunglasses
€71 – my-wardrobe.com

Calvin Klein wide leather belt
$38 – zappos.com

Cuteberry floral scarve
$16 – yesstyle.com

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Beauty in the Movies: Clueless

This week for Beauty in the Movies I’m featuring the best ’90s teen film ever, Clueless, which in many ways defined a generation and proved that not all teen movies are created equal.

Clueless catapulted Alicia Silverstone to fame overnight (she was previously referred to as simply “Aerosmith girl”) in the role of Cher Horowitz, the wealthiest, most popular and prettiest airhead in her Beverly Hills high school. Cher is based on the title character in Jane Austen’s novel Emma, and while you can definitely enjoy Clueless without knowing the plot of Emma, it’s pretty fun to draw comparisons.

Cher, like Emma is well-intentioned but completely oblivious to the feelings of those around her—even her own. With the help of her best friend Dionne (Stacey Dash), Cher plays matchmaker to a pair of lonely teachers and then sets about making over new-girl Tai (Brittany Murphy), who is the equivalent of ugly duckling Harriet Smith in Emma.

It takes a while for Cher to realize you can’t force people to be something they’re not, and that in trying to help Tai, she has actually created a monster of sorts. The adaptation was pretty brilliant of Amy Heckerling since Emma really is a clueless teenage girl (ok, she’s 20, but still). Clueless proves the versatility and timelessness of Austen, but also that teen movies don’t all have to be about sex and stupid antics, they can be smart, funny and enjoyed by all ages. Clueless paved the way for films like Mean Girls and (another update of a literary classic) 10 Things I Hate About You.

I saw this film in theaters when it was released in the summer of 1995. I was 11 years old and not yet a teen myself, but the impact it had on all the girls my age (whether you were a popular girl or an outcast) was massive. I remember going back to school that September and suddenly all the girls were wearing knee socks and mini-skirts. Clueless changed fashion almost instantly.

It was the age of grunge, Nirvana, My-So-Called-Life and doc martens, but Clueless brought an infusion of color, of girlishness that was in total opposition to the style that was dominant. I myself, maintained Angela Chase as my role model, but secretly loved the ’60s revival that took hold in the mid ’90s—though at the time I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a pair of knee socks.

The amazing thing about Heckerling’s writing is that she takes the stereotype of the rich, spoiled, popular girl and instead of making her a bitch (like we expect) she makes her endearing and likable, even if she’s shallow at times.

As much as costume designer Mona May deserves credit for changing the face of ’90s fashion, Heckerling has to be praised for the effect she had on ’90s language—specifically slang. “Whatever”, “as if”, “not even”, “I’m Audi”, Heckerling didn’t come up with these phrases (she hung out with teens at Beverly High to get an idea of the language they used) but featuring them in Clueless made them part of American teenage (and general) vernacular.

Hidden among the snappy dialogue and the colorful outfits, Clueless has a pretty important message about acceptance, self-awareness and peer pressure. Not pressure in relation to sex or drugs, but the pressure to be a certain way, to hang out with the right people (even if they’re jerks) and to wear the right clothes. Clueless is as relevant today as ever, the kids who were born the year it came out are exactly the age of these characters now, which makes me feel really old, but I hope they’ve all seen this movie, it’s a modern classic that remains as funny and honest today as it did 16 years ago.

Also, RIP Brittany Murphy, and may you forever be rollin’ with the homies.

Clueless

Clueless by justinez featuring cotton blouses

Dolce Gabbana white cut out dress
875 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Calvin Klein spaghetti strap dress
314 GBP – farfetch.com

Clemens en August cotton blouse
$98 – theoutnet.com

Sheer top
$65 – modcloth.com

H by Henry Holland yellow cardigan
18 GBP – debenhams.com

Petite Collection cotton cardigan
18 GBP – debenhams.com

Dolce Gabbana plaid skirt
$361 – theoutnet.com

D G pleated skirt
329 GBP – profilebrighton.co.uk

Acne ripped jeans
172 GBP – net-a-porter.com

Vanessa bruno
26 GBP – theoutnet.com

A P C Madras mini skirt
$68 – lagarconne.com

Fogal cashmere tight
80 EUR – pret-a-beaute.com

Plaid skirt
$35 – modcloth.com

Mini skirt
$26 – chloelovescharlie.com

Knee high socks
$15 – topshop.com

Over the knee socks
$13 – delias.com

Old Navy plaid skirt
$9.97 – oldnavy.gap.com

Delighter
6.90 GBP – irregularchoice.com

Ernesto Esposito mary jane pumps
208 EUR – luisaviaroma.com

Biviel t strap pumps
$99 – endless.com

Christian Dior fur handbag
bagborroworsteal.com

Aspinal of London vintage handbag
495 GBP – johnlewis.com

Leatherbay leather bag
$130 – endless.com

Tarina Tarantino lucite necklace
$70 – tarinatarantino.com

Forever21 flower necklace
$7.80 – canada.forever21.com

Jewelry
$4.99 – debshops.com

John Lewis Women black hat
29 GBP – johnlewis.com

Gucci Classic Logo Rucksack
570 GBP – profilebrighton.co.uk

Ivy & Moon Long Camisole (Big Girls)
$12 – nordstrom.com

Hair Scrunchie (optional)
3.95 GBP – harrods.com

MARLENA GREY+SILVER -ARMOR LAMPER
$120 – dmusastore.com

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Filed under Beauty in the movies