Homecoming movies inspire 2000s fashion search

September 5, 2019 — by Megan Chen

Digging through my sister’s closet, I grabbed a green sequined shirt, a hideous gray jacket covered in ruffles and a floral dress that poofed inwards at the bottom. The decade-old clothes embodied the style of the 2000s, and I racked my brain for a way to incorporate them into my outfits. 

In the spirit of Homecoming, I decided to see if I could create outfits inspired by 2000s fashion from each of our four Homecoming themes.

I had already watched each of these movies at least once, but I never realized how teen fashion had evolved so radically. 

Gabriella’s outfit for the “High School Musical” poster consisted of a sequined, orange jacket over a neon shirt, paired with teal, corduroy pants. The colorful, tie dye patterns seen in “Radio Rebel” and “Lemonade Mouth” are virtually nonexistent in teen fashion today, having been replaced with minimalistic, one-color designs. The fashion in “Teen Beach Movie” is arguably the closest to modern fashion, with floral sundresses and minimal patterned swimwear.

In an attempt to find pieces with similar colors or patterns to those in these movies, I shopped at stores like Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Pacsun. I walked by cheetah print, neon tube tops and flared denim, but nothing perfectly resembled the bold yet conservative styles from the 2000s.

Walking out of the mall empty handed, I soon realized it was unreasonable to shop for styles from a decade ago in stores targeted at teens. I had hit a wall; where could I go from here?

About to give up, I looked through my old pictures, from before I could choose how to dress myself, and saw multitudes of pink that Sharpay herself would be proud of. Sadly, not only would I be unable to fit in those clothes, but I had donated them years ago.

My older sister, however, had kept her clothing from a decade ago, when she was in high school. I tore through her closet, searching for pieces that I could use in my outfits. Fortunately, many of the patterns found in her closet closely resembled those in the four movies. Unfortunately, I was bigger than she was in high school, and I ended up ripping a couple threads while trying on clothes.

I took one of her five flannels, layered it over a graphic tee and added a set of headphones to achieve the perfect “Radio Rebel” look. The copious amounts of sundresses and floral print in her closet made “Teen Beach Movie” the easiest to recreate. “Lemonade Mouth’s” edgy style inspired me to layer her ruffled, textured jacket over a colorful graphic tee, with a black miniskirt as a finishing touch.

To my surprise, “High School Musical” fashion proved difficult to recreate. Not only was it hard to find Sharpay’s gold pants or intense amounts of pink clothing, but it was also difficult to find bright colors like the ones in Gabriella’s poster outfit. 

Finally, I decided to create outfits based on the boys’ styles instead, which consisted of zip-up hoodies and jeans or khaki pants. After realizing how incredibly similar those outfits were to modern fashion, I looked back at the other three movies, and realized that their outfits were pretty much the same. Although women’s fashion has definitely evolved in the past decade, it’s hard to say the same about men’s.

After struggling to find styles that embodied the 2000s, I still believe the hardest part of this challenge was admitting to myself that I couldn’t fit into some of my sister’s old high school clothes. Maybe instead of fashion, I’ll look into the exercising and eating habits of the 2000s instead.

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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