Fashion stylist Bertie Bowen channels the clothes and spirit of a fictional character. This week, she tentatively tiptoes into the 1980s to get some confidence and feel Pretty in Pink.
A few weeks ago I made myself a pink dress. Subsequently Pretty in Pink was my inner companion, the ear worm, writhing around my head day and night. I had to watch the film to kill it and this week’s column was born. So far I have avoided writing about any characters from the 1980s because the fashion then was at best confusing and at worst, an unflattering hideous ragbag. But something about Andie’s attitude towards her style inspired me.
I’ll try my best to capture her maverick and independent character here, from a sartorial perspective, because if we can’t be like Andie, we can at least try to look like her.
COLOUR: which hue is you?
Andie wears a lot of pink. This fact alone seems to break the rules: she is ginger (orange clashes with pink) and she is not particularly girly (I would go so far as to say she is a feminist). But this is Andie all over – she’s also a rebel. She resists being part of the crowd and doing what is expected of her. Already an outcast at school, instead of trying to fit in she prefers to stand out. Choose a colour that represents you and wear it with abandon.
GET CREATIVE: get frugal, get brave
Andie is poor. She supports herself and her alcoholic father with her job at the record store so cannot buy the latest fashions like the other kids at school. Instead of being a hindrance, it serves as a great way for her to feed her creativity and express herself through her style. She looks kooky and dishevelled but she doesn’t care: she is proud of her appearance. Make your own clothes, dress as crazy as you dare and try to ignore your fellow class (or work)mates when they ridicule your latest fashion creation. They’re just jealous of your pluck.
“I’m pretty sure that in an average day Andie changes three or four times. Who knows where this happens; maybe the layers are deeper than we can imagine and she rips off each outfit to reveal a whole new outfit in a phone box like Superman.”
SIZE: increase your dimensions
We tend to want to look smaller these days, choosing clothes that flatter the figure and create a slimline shape but in the 80s volume was in. Shoulder pads, puff sleeves and rah-rah skirts were cool. Add bulk and beef up your wardrobe with flouncy pleats, tucks, netting, ruffles and of course…
LAYERS: more, more and MORE
Andie likes to layer her clothes (jackets over waistcoats over blouses) and her accessories too. Several necklaces, a neck scarf, hat, dangly earrings and Wayfarers all add to the eccentricity of her look. When you think you’re wearing enough, add three more pieces and you might come close to the Andie layering effect.
TEXTURE and PRINT: there are no rules
To add to this volume and layering effect, Andie also likes to clash texture and print. She is particularly fond of satin and lace and thinks nothing of wearing multiple clashing florals on one outfit at a time. Basically anything goes, or clashes, which means you can’t go wrong.
Andie wears a different outfit in nearly every scene. The costume and continuity department must’ve been busy, what with the layers and accessories and changes. I’m pretty sure that in an average day Andie changes three or four times. Who knows where this happens; maybe the layers are deeper than we can imagine and she rips off each outfit to reveal a whole new outfit in a phone box like Superman. This Andie trait is probably one we can merely admire rather than emulate.
FINISHING TOUCHES: the mindset
To top off your Andie look you must adopt the defiant, teenage, fuck-you attitude. I wish I’d had some of her confidence when I was a teen. You’ve got to love the way she embraces her uniqueness. Andie doesn’t change to fit in and she doesn’t apologise for being different. It’s a lesson we should all have learned by now, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves: there’s nothing wrong with being the odd one out.1924 Views
Stylist, writer and mother living in East London. A clompy shoed, curly haired, Radio 4 enthusiast. www.mothershoppers.com