• Fashion

Movie-Inspired Back to School Fashion

Alicia Silverstone in Clueless

When it comes to school fashion, outfits can be an amazing ice-breaking tool. Moreover, sometimes the way we dress is an easy path to manifesting our unique style and personality.


Let’s have a look at some of the most iconic school fashions paraded in movies and TV shows. They might serve as inspiration for the coming school year.


In 1971, The Golden Globe-winning coming-of-age drama The Last Picture Show, directed by Golden Globe nominee Peter Bogdanovich, launched the careers of the future Golden Globe winners Cybill Shepherd and Jeff Bridges. They played high-school seniors in a small Texan town. Some of the outfits created by costume designer Polly Platt for Jacy Farrow (played by Shepherd) have become iconic. They were recreated by many subsequent high-school movies.

Cybill Shepherd in “The Last Picture Show”Cybill Shepherd and Jeff Bridges in “The Last Picture Show”

In 1982, director Amy Heckerling teamed up with the Golden Globe nominee Cameron Crowe as a screenwriter for Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The film included plenty of insights into all things high school life and style. Heckerling gave us unforgettable fashion moments as sported by Jeff Spicoli, played by Golden Globe winner Sean Penn, and Stacy Hamilton, played by the Golden Globe nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh. The costume ensembles were carefully curated by Marilyn Vance, mostly known for the costume design of the Golden Globe-nominated Pretty Woman.

Sean Penn in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

Thirteen years after Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Heckerling wrote and directed Clueless, another generation-defining high school movie. This one is about a popular girl named Cher Horowitz, played by Golden Globe nominee Alicia Silverstone, and her friends at Beverly Hills High School. Costume designer Mona May created an amazing and unique wardrobe for Cher that has been endlessly copied on and off the screen since the movie’s release.

Stacey Dash and Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless”Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless”

Interestingly, Golden Globe winner Reese Witherspoon was also cast for the role of Cher Horowitz, but she was destined to create another iconic fashionista. Her Elle Woods, in Legally Blonde, is not a high school senior anymore but she sure can teach us a few things about making an unforgettable entrance packed with style. Costume designer Sophie de Rakoff is responsible for creating Elle’s wardrobe. It’s the perfect stylebook for anyone getting back to school, including those going for the bright hues of one of the hottest trends of 2022, Barbiecore.

Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde”Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde”

No list of back-to-school fashion styles would be complete without the 2010s high-school comedy Easy A. The role of Olive Penderghast garnered Emma Stone her first Golden Globe nomination. The stylish looks were designed by Mynka Draper and could be easily adapted into a fine 2022 high school wardrobe.

Penn Badgley and Emma Stone in “Easy A”Emma Stone in “Easy A”

More casual high school style inspiration may be found in the new Spider-Man movies. A couple of high school seniors dreaming of getting into MIT – MJ, played by Zendaya, and Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland – wear some Gen-Z favorites. In Spider-Man: Far from Home, released in 2019, the costume pieces were created by Anna B. Sheppard. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, from 2021, the characters were dressed by Sanja Milkovic Hays.

Tom Holland and Zendaya in “Spider-Man: Far from Home”Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”Zendaya and Tom Holland in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”