Why 'Josie And The Pussycats' Was So Fashionable

by Melissa L. Haney

While it may not seem possible, this April marks the fourteenth anniversary of the cinematic debut of early '00s masterpiece, Josie and the Pussycats . Starring Rachel Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, and Tara Reid, the film was what '00s teenage dreams where made of: A super cool group of three best friends being plucked from small town obscurity and made over into pop superstars, TRL visit and all. Throw in a soundtrack with tracks that held their own against some of top hits of the era ("Three Small Words," anyone?), an absurd but honestly quite smart subplot (that music was being tainted by hidden subliminal messaging to sell products), and some jokes that probably went over most of the young audiences' head (at least at the time), and voila — an instant cult classic was born.

And of course, there is the fashion. Another key to the lasting success of Josie and the Pussycats is undoubtedly the "straight out of Delia*s" looks that Josie (Cook), Val (Dawson), and Mel (Reid) wore throughout the film. Bandana tops and bandana headbands, flared jeans and low-rise jeans, choker necklaces and studded bracelets — Josie and the Pussycats had it all. So in honor of the film's anniversary, it seems only fitting to indulge in a bit of early-oughts nostalgia, one absurd fashion trend at a time.

1. Bandanas

One thing Josie, Val, and especially Mel rarely ever skimped on was bandanas, in virtually every form. Of course, there were the bandana head wraps and headbands, which certainly saw their imitation at Claire's and Limited Too's across the country. Then, there were the bandanas used as tops when tube tops just didn't seem to fit the bill. Sure, the actresses all looked great, but wearing bandanas as shirts just doesn't (and probably shouldn't) work for most people. Bandanas are not shirts — they're bandanas. They shouldn't fit like a shirt and they should not be worn as shirts — they should be worn as bandanas.

2. Cat Ears

Of course, with the name Josie and the Pussycats, cat ear headbands prove a logical and almost necessary accessory choice. Plus, a staple of the original cartoon Josie and the Pussycats, the cat ears not only add a bit of character to the live action version, but they also serve as a bit of an ode to the original characters. Yet, despite being logical in context, it's still surprising that this somewhat absurd fashion choice is, as of yet, the only trend to carry on into 2015. Thanks in large part to pop star Ariana Grande, cat ears are actually on trend — at least for the moment.

3. Glitter

Since this movie stands as sort of a stalwart of early '00s culture, it's certainly fitting that the entire film is a unapologetic glitter explosion. Almost all the clothes included some sort of sequin, rhinestone, or shimmer finish and the hair accessories always added a bit of shine. But makeup most definitely served as the greatest glitter bomb, exploding in bursts of hot pink, electric blue, and vibrant purple all over eyes and lips. Josie, Val, and Mel's fashion and makeup choices were anything but subtle, but who could blame them — subtly had no place in the closet of an early '00s rock star.

4. Boy Bands

Sure, this isn't distinctly a fashion trend, but what would a celebration of Josie and the Pussycats be without an ode to rival boy band DuJour? The "Back Door Lover" singers (which included the likes of Seth Green and Donald Faison) offered a masterclass on boy band fashion, something that played an undeniably important part in the early '00s style lexicon. Irrelevant tribal armband tattoos, tanks with irrelevant Mandarin characters, shiny (and incredibly tight) metallic leather pants, silly hats, and omnipresent headset microphones — DuJour truly had it all.

5. Colored Sunglasses

Just as with DuJour, it would be simply inappropriate to talk about Josie and the Pussycats without mentioning their crazy "British" agent, Wyatt, played by the legendary, Tony-award winning Alan Cummings. Key to Wyatt's eccentric style were his colored sunglasses, something that any early '00s fashion maven would have loved. Tragically on trend back when the movie was made, thankfully the colorful, transparent lenses seem to have disappeared. Although, with more and more blue, purple, and silver metallic lenses popping up every summer, Wyatt's favorite style might be back sooner than expected.

6. Flared Jeans

Ah, yes. Flared jeans. Not quite the bell bottoms of the 1960s, but certainly a far cry from the straight legs of the 1990s, flared jeans seemed like the only stylish option in the early oughts. How could anyone ever think any other style was stylish? So, in keeping with the likes of Britney and Christina, the ladies of Josie and the Pussycats loved a dramatic flare on their jeans. Obviously, the jeans also had to be super low rise and preferably dyed to some sort of color other than blue — because who in their right mind would want to wear regular blue denim?

Like Spice World before it, Josie and the Pussycats may not be the greatest movie of its time, but it's certainly one of the most memorable — and that's thanks in large part to the oh-so-early '00s fashion that extended through every inch of the movie. Sure, it looks dated, but that's why it's still so fun to watch. There's no harm in remembering what it feels like to be a punk rock prom queen, even if just for an hour and 39 minutes.

Images: Archie Comics Production; Giphy