29 December 2009

Flashback: Partying in 1999

Remember 1999, when we were young and naive, when we easily believed that computer systems would fail because they couldn't roll over to 2000. There was that collective sigh of relief when time continued to march on like it always did. In 1999 we partied like it was 1999, which was with a bit of fear and anticipation. Looking back on the past ten years, it's easy to see that we should have carried those feelings with us. These past ten years have been turbulent and have tested even the best of us.

In 1999 we thought we were fashionable, but now a lot of us would laugh at our wardrobes of the past or cringe at how outdated they were. We'll do the same to our current selves in 2019. I decided to take a peak at movies from the year 1999 that represented that current year's fashion sensibility. As such, I've left out great wardrobes from films like Girl, Interrupted, The Cider House Rules, The End of the Affair, The Mod Squad, Sleepy Hollow, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and The Virgin Suicides.

Let's take a look back at quintessentially 1999 movies:

American Beauty:

American Beauty is THE film of 1999. Though it has lost much of its luster and sparkle now, those of us who saw it when it was first released remember the freshness of it, the perfect capturing of the present. It's hard searching for images from this film since the most iconic image, that of Mena Suvari covered in red rose petals, reigns supreme on the internet. Here, though, is a great capturing of what fashion was. Note Thora Birch's deep red lipstick and matching dark fingernail polish, heavy eye makeup, her beaded necklace, and over-sized hoodie.

Blair Witch Project:

Just admit already that this movie freaked you out. I never bought the whole documentary masquerade, but as someone who lives in the middle of the woods it was a bit frightening. Heather never represented the height of fashion, but in this movie it was perfectly reasonable that she'd be tromping around the woods in a muted earth-toned flannel with hat securely on. Sadly, I can picture this movie now with flashly and scantily dressed coeds, oh wait, I'm sure they already made that one as well.

Cruel Intentions:

Cruel Intentions was the height of the wealthy, preppy look. I suppose the current take on this might be Gossip Girl. Here we see Selma Blair with her sweater tied over her shoulders, muted colors, and plaid. I haven't seen anyone in quite awhile doing this sweater move, but I can see a lot of elements here that are still going strong in today's fashion.


Oh Tracy Flick, with your flared nostrils, tilted head, and penchant for sweater vests. Tracy always had a bit of out of time/out of place feeling to her, perhaps to emphasize her inability to connect with her peers. Her style was hyper-neat and formal. It's obvious that she tried really hard, but had no fashion know-how. That's not to say Tracy was without distinct style. She was the master of button down shirts, plaid skirts, and the headband. In her own way, Tracy is a style icon.

Never Been Kissed:

Never Been Kissed, simultaneously adorable and awkward at the same time. Somehow we're supposed to be rooting for Josie Geller to hook up with her teacher (or that much younger guy) even though the supposed or actual age differences in both those instances place this in the ewww category. Nonetheless, for those of us who were socially awkward teens, it was easy to identify with Josie. This movie is heavily about fashion. In an effort to embrace her new teen identity, Josie throws herself fully into the realm of teen fashion. She's more hit than miss until she's shown the ropes be her more popular classmates. Now, Josie's outfits feel neither here nor there, but they do feel dated, in this picture the over-curled hair, the shrug, and tucked in tee.

Run Lola Run:

If I could have lived in a 1999 movie, it may have been this one. I spent most of my senior year playing the soundtrack on repeat in my car and trying to dye my hair kool-aid red (epic fail). The red hair is really the fashion stand out in this film, since Lola wears the same worn outfit throughout. Of late, I haven't seen a lot of intensely dyed hair, or navel tattoos for that matter.

Runaway Bride:

The much anticipated return of Julia and Richard. In this picture, I'm coveting her hat and will probably be hunting one down. But here, I actually have something to say about fashion for guys. The last ten years has brought us from ultra-comfort for men with layers and t-shirts to a more informed fashion aesthetic that includes trimmer cuts and more details. I feel like now, perhaps, guys have a bit more ability to customize their wardrobe now then Richard Gere's character had in this movie.

She's All That:

Overalls, need I really say more? Except remember when Freddie Prinze Jr not only acted but was in every movie?

Varsity Blues:

This movie is probably best remembered for its scene of Ali Larter wearing nothing but strategically placed whipped cream. Other than that, it shows how sedate some wardrobes were in 1999, a lot of tank tops, some high school paraphernalia, t-shirts and headbands.

10 Things I Hate About You:

10 Things and dreamy Heath Ledger as a bad boy with a soft heart. Here, though, I'd like point out are the baby tee (thank goodness we've moved on to longer shirts), platform sandals, and rolled jean cuffs which in real life were obnoxious for the amount of debris they collected.

Feel free to comment with other 1999 film fashions or add to the commentary about these movies. No more Y2K!


Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

American Beauty was it; so raw, so real. And yes, the outfits are so spot-on with everything I was into then.

Erika said...

Wow. Nothing like a flashback to senior year. Sadly, I remember this all too well.

Kano said...

Heather Graham? That was Mena Suvari. Come on now. Haha.

I loved the Varsity Blues style. In fact, i probably still wear that style.

Aimée said...

@Rebecca- I feel like I had Thora Birch's outfit, - the lipstick - dark nail polish + green nail polish * angst

@Erika - There were so many movies from that year that I remember so vividly. What a strange time.

@Keith - Heather Graham, Mena Suvari, same difference really. I'll correct that. As for VB style, ask yourself, should you be living in a 10 year old movie ;)