Twenty years ago, Reese Wetherspoon brought the character of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde to life.
Recently, a cold rainy fall afternoon turned into an opportunity to re-watch the 2001’s comedy Legally Blonde. Here I thought, I would get a couple of good laughs and call it a day. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t help but notice how much I liked the professional outfits our heroine was sporting. Twenty years after the film’s release, most of the Elle Wood’s costumes remain wearable. Granted, I wouldn’t be borrowing her full fushia leather ensemble any time soon. But given how easy it is to fall in pattern of grey and black garments, my workwear could use a little touch of youthfulness and fun. (Let’s pretend we’re not in a pandemic and just living in Loungewear). As a matter of fact, from a fashion standpoint, Legally Blonde is the perfect backdrop for inspiration on young professional dressing.
Here are the four tips I learned from Legally Blonde :
Tip # 1 – Having a signature color creates continuity in your outfits.
Legally Blonde features a strong reference to pink. Twenty years later, if you wear an all pink look, chances are at least one person will reference Reese witherspoon’s character. Now you’re probably thinking : this is just a movie and I have no intention to wear an all pink look anytime soon. But here is my point. We can go on forever on all the benefits of a signature style: it saves you time, money and sets a specific image to the rest of the World. But settling down on what constitutes your own style, can take years and requires lots of experimenting. Which as you probably realize cost money.
So, how about narrowing down to a color ? You could start small by adding accents of your favorite color in the accessories (perhaps a bag, a necklace, or a belt). Going further, you could incorporate one piece of clothing in your signature color for every single of one of your looks.
Don’t believe me ? Look at the use of orange in fashion blogger Steffy’s outfits.
Tip #2 : BE CONFIDENT EVEN IF UNDERDRESSED
Let’s start with a cheesy quote : “Confidence have no competition”. In this scene, Elle is invited to her first Harvard party which she had been told was a costume party. She shows up dressed as a Playboy Bunny only to realize that she is the only one in costume.
Instead of runing away defeated, Elle doesn’t let it get to her. She carries herself with a healthy dose of confidence and inhabits the same comfort as if she was simply wearing a good pair of jeans. Eventually, she almost convinces us that a bunny costume can be a regular outfit to wear to your student library.
I said almost.
Tip #3 : Shop in the men’s section
Shopping in the menswear section can be a great idea. First off, you will save money. According to CNBC, Woman clothings cost in average 6% more than men. This is in part due to the “pink tax”, a term used to define the practice of charging woman more than men for the similar services and products (data from Canadian Labour Institute). Given that male consumer tend to prioritize practicality over trendy pieces, you are more likely to find higher quality items at a lower price if you just go through the men’s section. Menswear brands will also favor classic silhouettes.
Lastly, dressing in both men’s and woman’s section doubles the chance to find great items. Why limit yourself ?
Tip # 4 : Don’t just wear the rack. Inject your personality into each outfits
As you enter the professional world, you don’t have to mute your personnality and fall for the same grey and black garments. You can infuse your individuality in the details and wear colors. Granted, some of us have strict dress codes since the policing of woman’s body continue to exist in 2020, but you can still leave trails of your individuality through accessories such as jewellery and scarves.
The Fashion Verdict
For me, the fashion lesson I take away from Legally Blonde is that being stylish in the workplace is a matter of utilizing the tools you have. Revisit the traditionally masculine garments ( necktie, blouse, cardigan ) and play with accessories to inject your individuality into your 9-5 outfits. Don’t be afraid to experiment as you develop your own signature look. As a matter of fact, it’s through trial and error that Elle shaped her impeccable professional dressing.