9 Random Pop Culture References That Inspire My Beauty and Fashion Choices Today

There's something about the pop culture we consume during our formative years that sort of imprints on us.
Publish date:
March 20, 2015
nostalgia, 90s, style inspiration

Obviously, pop culture will always have a huge influence on fashion and beauty. But there's something about the pop culture we consume during our formative years that sort of imprints on us, driving us to purchase version after version of the same clothing item in an attempt to recreate the looks that we wanted to emulate in adolescence. For instance, I've been painting my nails pastel blue for a decade because of a music video I saw when I was 13.

Below, that and 8 other pop culture references that have burrowed their way into my sartorial psyche.

1. Liv Tyler in Empire Records

Um, has there ever been a more perfect look in God's creation than this sweater/schoolgirl-skirt combo worn by Liv Tyler as "Corey" in "Empire Records?" I will never look this good, but I will buy any fuzzy blue sweater I see just in case.

2. Richard Kern New York Girls cover

I'm not sure when I bought Richard Kern's awesome photography book "New York Girls," but I'm sure that it was both at an impressionable age and one at which I was too young to be looking at Richard Kern's "New York Girls." If you don't know Kern's work, he mostly photographed naked ladies in pervy/sexy/fetishy situations in 90s New York. And I loved the cover image of those two happy girls hanging out without tops, one of them in a fluffy white hat. I love it so much, I've been purchasing versions of that white hat for a decade now.

3. Jewel in the "You Were Meant for Me" video

Pale. Blue. Nailpolish. No idea what that stuck with me all those years, but I still think it's the very coolest nail color choice.

4. Wednesday Addams

This is just one of at least 6 dresses I have in this stye. Style icon Wednesday Addams made such an impression on me as a young person that to this day I will buy pretty much anything with a Peter Pan collar. (This obsession was further reinforced by 90s-era Courtney Love.)

5. Drew Barrymore in the 90s

Daisies! Daisies! Daisies! I am a crazy daisy lady. I have daisy dresses, daisy jewelry and several blue daisies in my tattoo sleeve. And I will always think a daisy nestled in a pile of curls is the BEST LOOK, thanks to Drew circa that infamous David Letterman appearance. And remember her Playboy spread? God, she was the coolest.

6. Kate Hudson in Almost Famous

There's a scene in Almost Famous where Kate Hudson, as Penny Lane, dances around a hotel room wearing a huge fur-collar coat and almost nothing else. I've imprinted on that scene where that coat is now my platonic ideal of a coat.

7. Nicole Kidman in To Die For

This movie was on TV last week and pretty much inspired this whole post. The dark Gus Van Sant satire is full of Nicole Kidman wearing great outfits, but there's one particular scene where she dances in the headlights of a car for her teenage lover, wearing a flirty little sundress. When I looked back at this scene, the print looked totally different than I remembered it, but I've been trying to recreate the shape and spirit of this dress for years.

8. The Craft

Did every young girl in the 90s go through a "Wiccan" phase? My friends and I cast circles on my suburban lawn and protested against "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" for being an inaccurate depiction of what it's like to be a REAL WITCH. When I got called into the principal's office for wearing a Pentagram necklace, I responded with "How come other students can wear crosses, but I can't express MY religion?" Oh man, teens.

Anyway, in retrospect I wonder if it wasn't all inspired by the killer fashion looks displayed in The Craft. A black miniskirt, white shirt, black cardigan and black knee-highs combo? Still my religion.

9. Janeane Garofalo in Reality Bites

I love a lot of Wynona Ryder's outfits in "Reality Bites," too, but it's Janeane's 60sish thrift store dresses with funky tights and blunt bangs that made the most lasting impression on me. I have a particular preference for MUSTARD tights that I think I can trace back to this film.

What pop culture style looks from your teens are still influencing you today? Also, did you go through a "Wiccan" phase? And what's the absolute coolest nail polish color?