10 female film characters and their badass thrift-like styleFilm
I don’t know about you, but for me– inspiration comes from what I watch, rather than what I see on my day-to-day route.
I get excited when I see awesome females rocking pretty unconventional, other times conventional things. It’s possible that I’m inspired by the strength of the character, just as much as I am what she’s wearing. That’s the power of shooting through a lens– whatever you are and whatever you wear is transformed into something else, something iconic the moment it’s captured. The most drab and dreary shirt in the world can become a sensation. I love that.
This article is a personal list of my 10 favourite female characters and their badass, thrift-like style. If you wanna be excited and maybe want to watch a new movie, buckle your seat belts and check these girls out.
from Fight Club
Marla Singer is a strong-willed, broke, and pretty damn depressed woman, and the only female character within David Fincher’s Fight Club. This isn’t so surprising considering the film is chocked full of testosterone. We see her stealing dinners from a van catering seniors and clothes from a laundrette. She doesn’t have much care for the ethics of life, and she is comfortable blatantly lying. She is a character that acts as The Narrator’s antagoniser and muse.
Marla is cool, and so is her look. Her style is dark, moody, and lost. Her clothing reflects herself. They look like items she has either stolen from those laundrettes she’s lifted from, or bought at the thrift shop– especially her fluffy black coat.
I got this dress at a thrift store for one dollar. It’s a bridesmaid’s dress. Someone loved it intensely for one day, and then tossed it. Like a Christmas tree. So special. Then, bam, it’s on the side of the road. – Marla, Fight Club
from Leon: The Professional
Mathilda, played by Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional is well known for her character’s distinctive and now influential style. With her sharp black bob, boots, and short shorts, she is one stylish 14 year old!
Mathilda, much like Marla, has a stripped back wardrobe. She doesn’t heavily accessorise, only wearing a choker as her only piece of jewellery. A lot of her style choices accentuate her legs as an asset– wearing tight leggings, short skirts or shorts to do so. She also favours crop tops and crocheted items like hats and cardigans. Mathilda’s wardrobe can easily be replicated by finding clothes you’d find in your local charity shops. Construct outfits out of charity shopped items that are flashy on the top, and simple on the bottom. You’ll quickly find it’s easy to channel your inner Mathilda, especially so if you have a sharp hair cut to go with it!
from The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo
Lisbeth Salander is a the key character in David Fincher’s film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth is an introverted computer hacker and private investigator. She is very sensitive and very disconnected from the modern world, so much so that her employer likes her to work outside the office. Not just for her sake, but for the comfort of his other employees who seem visibly perturbed by her appearance. Because of the abuse she has suffered from various men in her life, she generally has an aversion and deep distrust of them. Her clothing, hair and body mods are a way for Lisbeth to keep them away from her.
Lisbeth doesn’t wear a lot of colour. Her wardrobe is a mixture of deep greys and blacks, and a fair bit of black leather. Her style can be described as a mixture of goth, grunge and fet-wear influences. Her appearance is very androgynous, with her haircut and slim body often dressed in many baggy layers of grey. Again, this is likely a ploy to get people, men in particular, to stay the hell away from her.
Amelie is the epitome of Parisian chic style and quirkiness. When I first watched Amelie, I was immediately starstruck by Amelie’s personality and style. She was a lonely child that retreated into her imagination as a means to cope with her lack of interaction with others. Now our Amelie is all grown up. She is still lonely, but helps herself by keeping busy with making other people’s lives happier in small yet touching ways. Her sensitive nature and delicate feminine style work well together in this awesome film.
Amelie’s colour palette of choice is an autumn one– favouring reds, oranges, browns and greens. She wears boots with long skirts often, and never do I remember her wearing trousers. She is feminine and quite conservative in her fashion sense– never wearing short skirts or shorts as part of her wardrobe.
5. The Squad
from Death Proof
They’re not wearing much, but what they are just enhances their badassady!. These are the girls of Death Proof. Death Proof is an awesome (and under rated) film by legendary Quentin Tarantino. The story follows two groups of girls, one after the other who are up against drifter Stuntman Mike. The first set of girls somehow manage to make the simplest of outfits– a white t shirt and shorts, look sexy and iconic as hell. Just watch the lap dance above if you want to see what I mean.
No one can layer like our girl Juno. Ever since watching this flick, I’ve been an admirer of the character that she is. Though I’m aware opinions of the film are fairly mixed– some (like myself) regarding it as a quite inspiring and wholesome deviation of the traditional coming-of-age film, and others seeing it as a try-hard indie flick with a fair amount of cringe. Whatever.
Juno is great. She’s easy to relate to. She’s the kind of girl you either see bits of yourself in, or wish you were like her when you were her age. She’s not a Lolita archetype despite being so young– with her coy smile and desire for sexual intimacy. She’s childish but not stupid. She has a will and identity of her own, which is further established with her choice of clothing.
Shots of Juno in school further set her apart from her classmates as her androgynous (or simply not overtly feminine) style speak for her. Importantly, it’s what she likes and what she’s comfortable wearing. It’s an extension of her personality, and she sees no need to follow her high school’s idea of fashion. She’d rather follow her own. There’s one particular quote that comes to mind:
The funny thing is that Steve Rendazo secretly wants me. Jocks like him always want freaky girls. Girls with horn-rimmed glasses and vegan footwear and Goth makeup. Girls who play the cello and wear Converse All-Stars and want to be children’s librarians when they grow up. Oh yeah, jocks totally eat that shit up. They just won’t admit it because they’re supposed to be into perfect cheerleaders like Leah, who, incidentally, is into teachers. – Juno
Juno loves layering. You can see her donning tshirts under long sleeve tshirts, under cardigans, then a hoodie under a coat.
from Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
Though I’ll admit Clementine’s ever-changing hair colour is definitely an attraction, her clothes aint too bad either– especially if you’re into thrift, and even-more especially if you have brightly coloured hair yourself! Clem’s clothing is slap-dash and hastily put together, making it easy to replicate in your own wardrobe. Why is her fashion sense the way it is? I’d imagine her style is portrayed this way to reflect her life, which is equally chaotic and mixed up.
Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours. – Clementine, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
8. The Coven
from The Craft
The Craft is an absolute classic. Love it or hate it, there’s a reason it’s well known for as a teen drama with plenty witchy goodness.
A newcomer to a Catholic prep high school falls in with a trio of outcast teenage girls who practice witchcraft and they all soon conjure up various spells and curses against those who even slightly anger them.
Their fashion sense is bang on trend for it’s 90s release date, with the added bonus of some gothic chokers and maybe a smidgen of black eyeshadow. If you want to be inspired by some authentic 90s fashion sensibility, watch The Craft.
9. “Roller Girl”
from Boogie Nights
Word of warning: the video above is quite graphic, so watch at your own peril!
Poor poor Roller Girl. She was such a sweetheart, it was such a shame what happened in the end. Then again, behind all the apparent glamour and appeal of the porn industry (especially in the 70s and 80s) lies a quite ugly reality. One that many people such as Roller Girl in the film Boogie Nights felt after spending years in it.
Despite this, her character always bought some warmth to the screen– with her heart-shaped sunglasses, cute short skirts, legwarmers and of course roller skates. So long as you have these, you’re bound to channel her!
from Ghost World
I want to say I’ve saved the best ’til last, but I really can’t make my mind up! Either way, here is Enid from Ghost World at No.10! Enid is brilliant, and falls in a similar bracket to Juno. Enid’s starts out quite immature and cruel, but over the course of the film, she gains a sense of respect and compassion for others. This is brought on by Seymour, an older man she initially and cruelly pranks, but eventually strikes up a close friendship with.
Enid’s style changes quite wildly throughout the film in the same way Clem’s does. She’s just finished school and doesn’t know what the hell she wants to do with her life. Her often ill-fitting, badly accessorised clothes are an extension of her. She just doesn’t give a shit. Whilst her school friend Rebecca has gotten a job and on the look out for an apartment, Enid is torn. She doesn’t want to be an adult, nor does she want to be in school for the rest of her life. She feels like a failure before she’s even failed, at one point attempting to ‘reinvent’ herself in true 1977-punk-rock style (see the video above!). The result is humiliation, and she quickly goes back to her distinctive black bob.
I love Enid because embarrassingly so, she reminds me of how I was at her age. All that anxiety trying to figure out who you are, it’s just so clearly her. Cynical, deeply frustrated, cut off, loud and brattish. It feels good to see as a character like her with plenty of faults and annoying personality quirks, and it being OK. If you want to see more of what she wears, I encourage you to watch Ghost World for yourself. Hell, watch all of the films I’ve listed– they’re fab.
What’s your favourite outfit?