Clueless: The Fashion Made the Iconic Movie

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I think about the iconic outfits and Cher Horowitz’ (played by Alicia Silverstone) digital wardrobe from the movie Clueless quite often. This coming-of-age movie was written and directed by Amy Heckerling and released in 1995 in the United States, starring Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd. It has the classic coming-of-age plot; a popular high-school girl helps another girl gain popularity and ends up falling in love with the guy she didn’t care for in the beginning. This movie gained popularity not only through the plot and humour but largely because of its costume design (done by Mona May) and remains popular because of it. 

Clueless Film Poster

The 90s fashion scene was heavily influenced by bands such as Nirvana and Kurt Cobain taking on a grunge aesthetic, consisting of baggy attire, boots, denim, and flannel shirts. To then have this movie come in where the fashion is, as Alicia Silverstone herself says, “fun and girly” and the outfits “really cute” was something different and new for its time. In the ’90s and early 2000s when there was no social media like today, fashion trends and influences came about from celebrities and movies, thus, when this movie was released, the fashion didn’t only make the movie popular but also spread to the public. 

If one looks at how fashion is spread in today’s digital age, there is so much content and many different fashion styles constantly circulating through the media that creating one iconic look that has such an impact as the iconic yellow plaid skirt and blazer set from Clueless, has become quite a challenge. It has been almost 30 years since the release of the movie, yet the iconic yellow plaid skirt and blazer set is still popular to this day, circulating through all forms of media. It is seen today not only as a costume but also as inspiration on the runway, for example on the 2018 Fall Versace runway and the 2022 Summer Coach runway. 

Celebrities do still have a significantly large influence on the fashion world today but movies, not so much. If you google or try to think of iconic and influential fashion moments in movies you will find that little to none are from after 2010, when “influencing” and social media really started to grow. This is not to say that influencing has changed the fashion scene for the worse; it has allowed fashion to grow exponentially, creating a multitude of different styles and aesthetics reaching a larger group of people. A lot of fashion today takes inspiration from past aesthetics and trends and since fashion in the past was heavily influenced by movies and other media one could argue that fashion today is still taking inspiration from those forms of media. Nonetheless, it’s still the movies from the past, seeing as movies today have much more competition with plenty of other media than they did a couple of decades ago. Perhaps this is why we see older movies as being more iconic, and in regards to Clueless, the fashion being more iconic.


“Clueless.” IMDb,, 19 July 1995,

Nishi, Naomi. Alicia Silverstone Tells the Story Behind Her Yellow Plaid Outfit from “Clueless” | Vogue. YouTube, Vogue, 27 Aug. 2020, Accessed 30 Oct. 2023.