The burnt red leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, the depression is rising- and it’s that time of year again. Whether you’re off to high school, middle school or even university, you’re probably anticipating a fresh new start. As fresh as it can be under the unflattering fluorescent lights of some dinghy classroom in the middle of nowhere you want to be right now.
But make the best of it. This is your last chance before the New Year to attempt to reinvent yourself in any way you’re willing to try. Therefore, you must undergo a mental and physical re-evaluation of the character that you wish to present before your peers, for better or for worse. While the clothes and Looks™ you wish to serve up should ideally feed the desperate ‘fuckboys’ and wannabes who harsh your vibe, your motive isn’t solely superficial. Yes, educate them on your beauty and grace, but also focus on building a bullet-proof perspective on your school life that can’t be worn away by words.
With a new wardrobe comes an attitude, one that should ideally inspire scandal and awe in anyone and everyone who matters.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. It’s a piece of cake to just go on a shopping spree, ornament oneself with swabs of overpriced fabric and parade down the hallways in them. It’s completely another to own that look with deeply embedded self-confidence and a certainty that you are indeed ‘slaying’ and giving people life.
Personally, when I most deeply desire for things to go right, I sometimes get ahead of myself and have a habit of letting them go wrong, slipping up out of fear or paranoia. For example, when I have dared to deem myself worthy of pulling off a fashionably ‘louder’ outfit, such as a very bright colour or a shorter skirt, my thoughts themselves get tongue twisted and I delude myself into imagining whispers behind my back. Are those peals of innocent laughter aimed at me or, more specifically, my over-thought ensemble?
But, over years of trial and error, I have remedied a solution. Since imagination is my strong suit, sometimes I pretend like I’m in a movie or a dramatic high school sit-com. As stupid as it may sound, emulating your fashion icons in real life, and specifically the school-girl seductresses that were a staple of our teens, is the secret to owning who you are and effortlessly serving looks.
Ask yourself, what would Blair Waldorf do? She wouldn’t cower meekly if someone threw an insult her way or questioned her authority. She would simply put them in their rightful place beneath her.
While these teen dreams were admittedly all flawed, they had one thing going for them; their ability to radiate power, self love and irrefutable prestige. They turn heads and make men flustered simply by walking into a room, in a way which only has a little to do with their physical appearance.
Below I outline detailed descriptions of how to transform into some of the most infamous back to school vixens in cinematic history. Their staple outfit and its corresponding attitude are paired together for each day of the week. You could also consider them as easy, DIY Halloween outfit ideas with a sentimental twist. Without further ado, let these queens guide you into the art of the social finesse.
- Monday: Jennifer Check (“Jennifer’s Body”)
The Attitude: Hell isn’t Mondays. Hell is a teenage girl. This head cheerleader isn’t your typical run of the mill, cookie cutter popular girl. She is evil. Not high school evil but, like, nightmare evil. The girl is a man-eater. Literally.
Eventually, of course, we learn that she “goes both ways” as tension between her and her ironically named bestie, Needy, rapidly rise. Although she begins with the stereotypical charm of a groupie, she has no choice (being sacrificed to Satan and all) but to ditch her eager ways in place of one purpose only: that of male seduction. As a succubus, it is flesh which feeds her soul and, more importantly, clears her skin. How, you ask? Pull a classic Megan Fox. Pout your lips, speak in a breathy baby doll voice, and don’t hesitate to taunt those around you with a distinct aura of absolute superiority.
The key to adding spice to your mundane high school existence is to keep your wits about you and be able to think of catty remarks on the spot whether they hurt your victim’s feelings or not. My personal favourite is telling someone that they can “barely finish gym class” if they say they’re going to finish you.
In the mix of skinny dipping, brutal violence and flame licking, she also sprinkles in a dash of feminism. According to her, she isn’t eating people (just boys) and she educates those who have internalised sexist myths: “ PMS isn’t real Needy, it was invented by the boy-run media to make us seem like we’re crazy.”
She is never insecure- she was the Snowflake queen, after all. Even on her death bed she insists that she is still socially relevant.
To radiate her powers, you don’t have to actually be a demon. But you could perhaps have a humble conviction of your “godliness”. Don’t limit yourself to a single guy (or girl) and flirt with those around you somewhat savagely. Go to first base in the woods with a football player. And if you ever want to get your way, resort to playing “hello titty” with the bartender.
The Look: Jennifer isn’t a world renowned style icon and her motives don’t consist of being on the cover of Vogue- they consist of showing as much leg and cleavage that a seventeen year old succubus can get away with (which is a lot by the way). When in doubt, go for simple, tight, low rise clothes that can be thrown away easily- very 2000s. Switch it up with a slutty cheerleading uniform. And leave the bra at home (or in the woods).
As the film progresses, she embraces her inner demon and selects creepy, dated pieces like a lace white prom dress, soon to be soaked in blood.
Get the Look (Aesthetic Starter Pack):
-Part your hair in the middle, smother your mouth in cherry lip gloss and coat your eyes in black mascara to extrapolate that whole ‘dead behind the eyes’ look.
- Tuesday: Blair Cornelia Waldorf (“Gossip Girl”)
The Attitude: I wouldn’t go as far as calling her Satan in heels. But she is definitely a bitch in a uniform. Snobbery to her is what oxygen is to most people; she can’t live without it. She practically exudes an air of dominion over the Upper East Side, which in her world is the only place that truly matters. And to be completely honest, she is worth bowing down to.
Every inch and every aspect of her life rarely slips out of her control if she has a say in it. She plans parties, balls, soirees, not to mention countless schemes of take down and destruction. Her organisational skills are pristine- especially when it comes to waging wars with whoever naively dares to threaten the movie script she wants her life to be. Blair needs the best in life and failure is not an option.
Her favourite hobbies include revenge, manipulation and shopping for the Louboutins whose blood red soles match the damage she often wishes to exact. And as much as she adores Yale, there’s nowhere like her adopted home- the steps of the Met (which she is always at the top of), surrounded by her loyal minions. But no matter where she goes, she takes a limo. The infamous back seat remains the birth place of her promiscuity and the death of her virginity. Pedestrianism is for losers, beggars and public school kids. And the subway is an urban myth, of course.
While she is regularly submerged amidst the lavish surroundings of her upbringing, she also has a softer side that is wrapped away in a turquoise Tiffany’s box. If you avoid getting on her wrong side (and she doesn’t see you as an unworthy ‘peasant’), she can actually be really lovely. She is surprisingly less irritating than her best frenemy Serena. The key is to avoid getting in the way of her secret agenda. Take her can-do and conniving critique with you to your next lecture, but just leave the blackmail and ruthlessness at home along with your leggings (‘tights are not pants’!!).
Petty, feisty,sarcastic and ambitious, her one liners are awe-inspiring:
- “You can’t make people love you- but you can make them fear you.”
- “Whoever said that money doesn’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop.”
- “Once men have tasted caviar it baffles me how they settle for catfish.”
- “Ladies you can give your tiny brains a rest. Once again the world has proven that anything you can do, I can do better.”
- “I’m not a stop along the way I’m a destination.”
- “I need a Knight in Shining Armani.”
- “Oh my life is so bountiful. I don’t need a boyfriend to feel fulfilled.”
- “Destiny is for losers. It’s just a stupid excuse to wait for things to happen instead of making them happen.
- “Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s movement, design, and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.”
The Look: She owns the fact that she has more than skin to show. Instead of being suggestive, she embraces the preppy environment without being overly prudish. Even in lingerie, she looks demure (like Grace Kelly).
Headbands are her tiara of choice, representing her identity as the queen of blackmail and Manhattan’s elite princess. They are also the royal badge of livery adorning the heads of all her minions (bonus points if you make them wear identical outfits).
Although she herself dreams, constantly, of becoming Audrey Hepburn, her efforts often miss a certain semblance of the class adorned by Holly Golightly herself. So you can one up her and be a better version of Blair if you look to Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Funny Face.
At the end of the night, slip on a La Perla nightie and indulge in an assortment of French pastries while your maid, Dorota, combs out your silky tresses.
Tweed jackets, coloured tights, plaid skirts, Louboutin heels, trench coats, pearl earrings and otherwise preppy attire are a natural go to.
Anything under 100 dollars isn’t usually an option and she’d rather be caught dead than caught in last season.
Get the Look:
-Nothing too body conscious or tight fitting
- Wednesday: Regina George (“Mean Girls”)
The Attitude: Regina George. How do I even begin to explain Regina George? The alpha of the plastics. She is a world renowned queen and sensation who, unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2004, demands no description. She may not know if butter is a carb but we all know who this bitch is. One time she met John Stamos on a plane and he told her she was pretty.
To emulate the most legendary clique of all time, use the fear that your presence attracts as a tool of manipulating others to love you as much as you adore yourself. Trust in your ability to make anything a viral trend- be it boob holes cut into your tank top or not being able to fit into a size two Sear’s dress. Forget conformity (only when it suits your agenda of course).
The Outfit: If she buys army pants and flip flops, then you wear army pants and flip flops. But she didn’t- that was Cady, the less hot, ‘jungle freak’ version of Regina. You can go as Cady on Halloween if the lingerie, eye glitter and bunny ears get old. But that’s not likely.
In short, the rules of girl world dictate that you can only tie your hair up in a ponytail once a week and you must wear pink on Wednesdays (that’s practically cliché by now). Vitally, you can only wear jeans or tracksuits on Fridays- or else…
You’d become a pariah, a social ruin who eats lunch in isolated toilet cubicles instead of sitting with the holy trinity. But if you gain twenty pounds on some weird Swedish candy bar diet, then just deny the existence of said rules. Those rules don’t count when you renounce them, especially since you were the one who “made them”.
Get the Look:
- Thursday: Cher Holowitz & Dionne Davenport (“Clueless”)
The Attitude: Named after two great singers of the past (who now do infomercials), Cher and Dionne are best friends because they “both know what its like for people to be jealous of us”. They are also both queens of deadly catchphrases and refuse to change for anyone. Cher “taught an entire generation of girls the power of a well-placed “Whatever” and an eye roll” (Teen Vogue).
Although she initially strikes us as materialistic solipsist, Cher has good intentions and ultimately realises that girls should work on their brains and hearts along with their bodies in order to truly be happy. She refuses to give into the peer pressure and give “it” away and remains adamant that she wants the whole package: the perfect setting, the perfect guy and the perfect look (even if this doesn’t exactly go to plan). She never settles for gross high school guys who think fart jokes are edgy and backwards hats are high fashion. Cher is set on romance. But, when she does try to captivate a guy, she doesn’t hesitate to send herself flowers and candy to let them know how desirable she is (if they didn’t already).
Most importantly, Cher and Dionne both refuse to stop improving themselves, inundating us with motivation to push us through the week. Remember that no grades are ever final- use rhetoric, charm, empathy and matchmaking skills to persuade that grumpy old teacher to bump your grade from a B to an A. Whatever the case, be unabashedly yourself whether you volunteer to debate in front of the class or decide to donate your skis to the victims of a hurricane. Behind both their ditzy exteriors are hearts of gold.
The look: Cher is a visual thinker; her wardrobe comes with a state of the art computer that picks outfits out for her, so she’s definitely ahead of 2017. When giving makeovers to the fashionably challenged, you must “sporadically” crop their old shirts and dye their hair a more natural colour. Do squats until your buns feel like steel while watching Cindy Crawford’s ‘Aerobicized’. Work on your accent and vocabulary and read at least one book a week (choose from “Fit or Fat” or “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus”).
Cher’s plaid skirts make me nostalgic for an era I was just a baby in as they scream 90s chic, while her fancier slip dresses are short and usually accompanied by a feather boa or other simple accessories. Dionne is on the riskier side, sporting ‘unique’ hats and hipper ensembles. She is the cool to Cher’s classic.
Get the Look:
-Either braids or straight hair (sometimes swept beneath a risky hat)
- Friday: Jackie Burkhart (“That Seventies Show”)
The Attitude: Who knew narcissism, jealousy and bitchiness were wrapped in such a pretty package? Whoever calls you conceited just needs to learn to love themselves as much as you do. Hey, at least you’re honest about it. Underneath the scheming, vanity and shade, there’s also a timeless need for attention that extends way beyond the seventies.
Jackie also never backs down from a challenge and usually succeeds, especially when that challenge is getting attention or whipping a boy. Not only is she business savvy but she avoids catching feelings like the plague.
She also refuses to conform to gender stereotypes; she doesn’t plan to cook much, just simply hopes she will get by on her looks. And while Jackie is “that bitch” who loves herself, she also cares about others and is willing to put those close to her before herself. And we love her for it.
Jackie has a way with words; if it was up to her, language would be used as a weapon and, with a deliberately harsh voice, it really is.
Her best Burns and Self-assertions:
- “No no no no. You don’t just move on from Jackie Burkhart. I’m like the bottle. You need a 12 step programme to break my spell.”
- “It’s better to have loved and lost than to be butt ugly.”
- “Could you be any more annoying?” “Yes.”
- “I’m going to go out, meet some boys and crush their hearts one by one.”
- “The person I love most is me. Look, if I could run across the beach into my own arms I would.”
- “A job is for poor people. I am a rich person who doesn’t have money.”
- “I’m not strong. But I know a lot of ways to destroy men emotionally.”
- “I just decided being sad is a waste of time. You see, a more productive use of my time is revenge.”
- “I’m a beautiful girl with a shrill demanding voice; I’m pretty hard to ignore.”
- “I’m going to make him wish he was dead.”
- “He called me ugly on the inside and the outside. I’m sorry but he’s just wrong about the outside part.”
- Keep your frenemies close and your enemies fat.”
The Look: It’s in the title- her style is extremely seventies. Flared jeans, blue eyeshadow and feathered hair. A great staple is t-shirts with quirky quotes on them to match your witty personality- this way you’re giving someone sass without even having to open your mouth (although Jackie does that plenty).
Get the Look:
- Saturday:Effie Stonem (“Skins” Generation 1 and 2)
The attitude: On the surface, she is simply veiled by pervasive mystery; others can never truly get to know her. Initially, she took a vow of silence which she eventually abandoned in favour of partying, sex, drugs and emotional mindlessness. Her first words in season one are:
“Sometimes I think I was born backwards…you know, come out of my mum the wrong way. I hear words go past me backwards. The people I should love, I hate, and the people I hate….”
Every effort goes towards concealing her feelings and desires in fear of intimacy. Yet, under the covers, she is actually an incredibly complex and vulnerable victim of psychosis, depression and a plethora of other mental torments.
HOWEVER, the way she succeeds in presenting herself as a coy and ruthless femme fatale makes all of her eratic behaviour redundant when it comes to emulating her tough exterior. She fascinates those around her by appearing almost ethereal in nature as she gives the illusion of floating through life yet also manages to get what she wants like a puppeteer who pulls the strings of others’ destinies.
The Look: One of her most coveted features are her huge unblinking eyes that seem to penetrate one’s soul, almost laughing at the impression on her that people are desperate to create. She accentuates them with dark coal liner that seems smudged in a deliberately ‘accidental’ way. As the seasons progress, so does her rock star aesthetic.
Another prominent trait is the almost permanent smirk that silently screams ‘I am above this’ as she floats through the halls. Her voice is clear and cutting. And her lines are the epitome of ‘it is better not to say anything at all than to say something stupid (or mediocre)’. Whether she thinks before she speaks is unclear, but when in doubt, hesitate before saying something that isn’t going to be memorable, interesting or iconic. And make sure to enunciate it clearly.
Get the Look:
-Edgy without looking like you’re trying too hard (early 2000s, sometimes ugly looks)
-Wavy hair, bare lips, extremely strong eyes
-Maybe place a bandaid somewhere to pretend you have a bruise
- Sunday: Kelly Kapowski (“Saved by the Bell”)
The Attitude: Sunday is God’s day. Or, if you’re an atheist, it’s the day before Monday and hence the day you really need to start getting your shit together (especially after how hellish Monday- Saturday have been).
Therefore, let’s revert back to the good girl within us, Zack Morris’ eponymous crush Kelly Kapowski. The girl with a smile permanently adorning her cherubic face and a cheerleading uniform plastered to the rest of her tiny body. Kelly encapsulates the all American persona with her straight As and her commitment to being the captain of the cheer, volleyball, swim and softball teams. She organises school fashion shows without a secret agenda but all eyes nevertheless manage to remain on her.
Her level of perfection is the type of thing that is only possible on paper and on set rather than in real life. It is only slightly warped by some air headed clichés that she thrusts in our face, such as “No matter what happens, keep on smiling and when life hands you a lemon, make some lemonade.” That is way too sickeningly sweet and optimistic, but it kind of adds to her charm. And I suppose it is refreshing compared to the dark wryness of the other, more manipulative, personalities above.
The Outfit: Make a habit of smiling in a matter of fact, innocent way and exuding politeness from every pore. Dress to impress, with prettiness and charm at the centre of your mind. Her look encapsulates the brink between the eighties and the nineties.
Get the Look:
-Feathered bangs, rouged cheeks, pink lips
Even if your school’s ridiculous, and probably sexist, dress code prohibits you from incorporating the arguably provocative aspects of these outfits, you can save them for your weekend trip to the mall or the Friday night ‘kegger’.
While the looks are disposable, the attitudes are not. As over-exaggerated as these personalities are, they are symbolic caricatures of the most important item a girl should take with her every morning before she steps through the school gate: a penchant for self love, confidence and intuition.
The penchant for human flesh and/or headbands remains optional.
Images are sourced from film stills and screenshots.