If you belong to the Millennial generation, it's more than likely you learned a little something about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness from 10 Things I Hate About You. Objectively, the film had all the hallmarks of a quintessential hit teen film: Star-crossed lovers, plots to woo an un-wooable girl, and several climactic fights which occur at the prom. But underneath those generalities, the film offered more profound statements about adolescence, adulthood, and growing up than anyone could have expected. This is, after all, a retelling of Shakespeare's Taming of The Shrew, and therefore needed its requisite scholarly content.
But as any fan of the film gleaned, 10 Things I Hate About You was more than just generic aphorisms. The movie had heart. During a recent viewing, I was struck by the fact that even the film's fashion offered a kind of life guidance, from mere suggestions about what style means to broader assertions about maintaining one's own personality while dressing. In honor of the film that made every female viewer want to exchange places with Julia Stiles, here are ten fashion lessons 10 Things I Hate About You taught us. And quite frankly, the advice is applicable to more than simply your choice of dress.
1. PERSONAL BEAUTY AND STYLE ISN'T AN EXCUSE TO BE UNCIVIL
Even if you're having the chicest day of your life, remember that an uppity attitude negates every trace of sartorial prowess. A healthy dose of confidence is a much more elegant choice.
2. YOUR UNDERPINNINGS SAY MORE ABOUT YOU THAN YOU'D THINK
3. YOU ARE DESERVING OF GORGEOUS THINGS
This particular nugget is just as applicable to life as it is to fashion. But for the sake of argument, if you feel you deserve that pair of marked-down Louboutins and can somewhat justify purchasing them, don't let naysayers talk you out of your choice. And on a broader note, simply don't let naysayers of any sort put a damper on your motivation.
4. THERE IS A SARTORIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIKE AND LOVE
5. GIRLS IN GORGEOUS DRESSES CAN KICK SERIOUS BUTT
What you choose to wear has no bearing on your ability to make an impression. And in fact, a pink tulle skirt and a crop top may be the perfect uniform for a feminist in-the-making.
6. SPEAKING OF PROM ATTIRE...
Crop tops rock no matter if it's 1999 or 2009.
7. THE VERY BEST STYLE IS BASED ON INDIVIDUALITY, NOT EXPECTATION
Kat's character in the film is decidedly contrarian, from her refusal to engage in the juvenile debauchery of her peers to her decidedly individualistic wardrobe. And for this reason, she is the most commanding presence in the film. The hidden lesson? Embrace your unique style, because it will be all the more powerful thanks to its distinctive nature.
8. DON'T FEEL AS IF YOU'RE BEHOLDEN TO TRENDS
Trends are simply moments in fashion, and if you don't find them appealing, don't try them. In the words of Kat, don't do something "simply because everyone else [is] doing it".
9. SMART IS SEXY
Though parents, professors, and friends constantly tell us that intelligence is the ultimate turn-on, sometimes it appears that being clever isn't exactly the best way to woo someone. Au contraire, 10 Things I Hate About You provides foolproof evidence that in fact, a quick wit is your best asset. Forget that lacy camisole for date one, and bring along a handful of shrewd literary references instead.
10. THE TRUEST MEASURE OF YOUR SARTORIAL CAPABILITIES IS BEING SERENADED BY A SUITOR
If the likes of Heath Ledger is crooning about his adoration for you, you're doing something right — whether your style is baggy jeans and platform flip-flops, or pearls and sweater sets.
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