Six Degrees of Costume Changes

Post by C.M.

It’s only 2013, so in two years time, according to Back the the Future II, we will all most likely be wearing self-fitting jackets, sporting spontaneously-lace-tying shoes and happily hopping on hoverboards to make like trees and leave places in a hurry.

So why, nearly twenty years after Clueless was released, do we not all have Cher’s nifty wardrobe computer at hand in every bedroom in the nation? Taking away the act of decision making, it would make waking up in the morning so much less exhausting.

Pic Image courtesy of

I happened upon Clueless last night, while I was listlessly perusing the channels in search of something to cheer up a drizzly, grey, boring evening in. The oh so delightfully 90s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma did just the trick.

As is my personal tradition, I always consult the IMDB trivia section after watching a movie. No matter how many times I watch a movie there always appears to be something new to hone in on, and this time being it was the costume info.

Did you know that there were 13 different types of plaid or tartan worn on set in Clueless? The 90s are now, horrifyingly, nearly retro, so this fact alone garners another watch, although this time round you might want to pay more attention to Tai pre-makeover, to tap into the Seattle-grunge-scene-era inspired A/W13 trend.

Image courtesy of

The night got even better then, when that movie was followed by Ang Lee’s take on Sense and Sensibility, my favourite Austen novel. Another IMDB consultation found that the dress below, worn by Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood, has been recycled in no fewer than three other period dramas, once in another version of Sense and Sensibility, another time in Mansfield Park and another in Persuasion!

Image from

My interest was peaked, and further research revealed that this is by no means unusual, frocks popping up in all manner of guises, being reused in all manner of ways, on main characters and background artists alike. A dress worn by Toni Collette in Clueless’s predecessor Emma has also made appearances in Northanger Abbey, Princess Cariboo, Mansfield Park and, again, Sense and Sensibility. I couldn’t source an image of the exact one, but let’s all instead compare and contrast this memorable scene:

Harriet Smith image from

Rollin’ with the Homies 

Makes your local Am-Dram group look that little bit more pro no does it not? Not to mention the prospect of going second hand and up-cycling! Cher Horowitz probably wouldn’t touch anything pre-owned, unless it was vintage Alaia, but if this fabulous hat was presented to me, which was featured on an extra in Sense and Sensibility and shown here on Christina Cole playing Caroline Bingley in Lost in Austen, do you think I’d turn my nose up at it? As if.

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“Fetch my hoverboard, Darcy, I must away”

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